By Ann Marie Foley - 19 May, 2014
61% of charities surveyed claim their fundraising has been affected by the negative fallout of the controversy around the two charities.
Of these, nearly half (47%), say that since November 2013 their fundraising has fallen by up to 10%.
The survey conducted by The Wheel, a national network of 950 charities, also found that two-thirds of charities have taken steps to increase transparency and improve governance.
The survey findings were revealed at The Wheel’s National Conference for the Charity Sector which was held last week.
“In Ireland, charities have always been held in very high regard; they are among our most trusted institutions, and the Irish public rank among generous donors in the world. It is therefore reasonable to expect that charities meet the highest standards,” Deirdre Garvey, Chief Executive of The Wheel, said.
“The vast majority of charities are committed to good governance and transparency, and the introduction of the Charities Regulatory Authority will provide added assurance for both the public and the charity sector,” she added.
She said her organisation looks forward to working with the recently appointed board of the Charities Regulatory Authority as it starts work on the register of charities and agrees the format of annual reporting by charities.
Addressing the conference, Una Ni Dhubhghaill, the interim chief executive of the Charity Regulatory Authority, said work on an online register of charities would begin in mid-2014 and that charities with CHY number (with a charitable tax exemption), can be expected to be contacted by the regulator by the autumn.
She expects the register will be published in early 2015. This will then enable reporting obligations under the Charities Act to begin for all registered charities.
The conference heard that steps have already been taken by the surveyed charities to increase transparency and strengthen their governance.
They include publishing their annual accounts online; publishing information about the remuneration of senior staff;
and adopting the Code of Practice for good governance of community, voluntary and charitable organisations.
The survey findings come against a wider backdrop of falling incomes and growing demand for services in the charity sector.
According to the survey:
• 59% of the charities surveyed say their overall income has fallen over the past year,
• while more than two-thirds (67%) say demand for their services has increased over the same period,
• and over a third (36%) of charities have cut back or suspended services in the past year.
Over 200 charities from across Ireland attended the conference. For more information: www.wheel.ie