Category: Website

Benefacts Latest Third Sector Analysis

Today we released our third annual analysis of the Third Sector in Ireland, based on all of the data available from the public filings of nearly 30,000 nonprofits, as at the end of Q1 2019


• Fewer than 300 nonprofits have a turnover greater than €5m, with more than 3,000 reporting a turnover of €50,000 or less.

• State funding is not evenly distributed. €4.2bn, or more than 70% of public money committed to the Third Sector is directed at only 60 major charities for which data is available – 22 higher education bodies, and 38 health or social care services, on behalf of the State.

• Most of the remaining €1.7bn goes to c.1,500 nonprofits – about half of which are registered charities – that derive more than 50% of their funding from the State. About half of these smaller nonprofits were established between 2000 and 2010, often as special purpose vehicles to provide job creation, local development, social supports and other arms’ length services on behalf of the State. The rest were set up independently of Government to provide services mostly in health and social services, local development, housing and advocacy.

• The average size of a nonprofit board is 6 directors/charity trustees – mostly older men. Nearly a quarter have served on the same board for nine years or more. These trends are most pronounced in the boards of sports bodies (where the male:female balance is 80:20, and one-third of directors/trustees have served for more than nine years), and in social enterprise and social housing.

• The Report debunks the impression that nonprofit employees are highly paid. Outside of the higher education and “Section 38” where staff are remunerated as though they were public servants, Third Sector pay norms fall well below the average in the rest of the economy, with fewer than 1% of jobs attracting higher pay (more than €70,000 per annum).

• More than 80,000 people served as directors and/or trustees in Irish nonprofits during 2018. This figure does not include the many thousands of people who serve on the Boards of Management committees of clubs and societies.


Speaking at the launch, Mr Sean Canney TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development, said

“I would like to acknowledge the very important work undertaken by Benefacts, as reflected in this third annual analysis of Ireland’s not for profit sector. The inclusion of data from the Public Participation Networks is particularly welcome, given the on-going growth in PPN membership supported by my Department and the local authorities.”


Ireland’s Third sector presents a complicated mosaic of organisations and groups, which contribute to the wealth and health of our society, environment and culture. Thanks to Open Data policies driving more and better digital disclosure of public information, Benefacts is able to extract a rich dataset from the regulatory filings of about two-fifths of the entities in its database.

• This year, we were able to add nearly 10,000 nonprofits not already in the database, because they are published on the registers of 29 local Public Participation Networks (PPNs), with support from local authorities and the Department of Rural and Community Development. This number will grow as data from the four remaining PPNs are added, and as more local entities sign up.

• We have also started to report on the numbers of nonprofits gaining, or losing, charitable status from Revenue – where there has been a small contraction overall – and from the Charities Regulator – where the majority of newly-registered charities in 2018 were schools.

• 562 nonprofit companies now elect to file their financial statements using Charities SORP – an increase of 4% over the previous year – and 593 nonprofits comply with the Governance Code for Community and Voluntary Organisations, an increase of 19% over the previous year.

Despite these positive indicators, Benefacts is limited in its capacity to provide year-on-year, sector-wide trend data, because the biggest data source of all – the financial statements of thousands of nonprofits including charities – are subject to a double standard.


The rules operated by Government funding departments and agencies require nonprofits receiving State aid to provide their funders with the same version of accounts that they prepare for themselves – detailed statements including the auditor’s report, a directors’ narrative report, balance sheet, income and expenditure statement and notes setting out things like related party transactions, policies on reserves, staff remuneration and so forth.

The 2014 amendment to company law allows nonprofit companies (including charities) to send these to the Companies Registration Office in an abridged form; new financial reporting regulations introduced in 2017 allow smaller companies (which is the majority of nonprofits including charities) to provide even less information, with no notes or narrative at all.

A feature of charity law is that charities that are also companies file their accounts only to the Companies Office, and a delay in promised regulations to specify the form in which charity non-companies are to prepare their financial statements means that the public still has no access to the accounts of unincorporated charities – mostly religious dioceses and congregations, trusts and foundations.

This is accountability without transparency, and it amounts to a lack of joined-up thinking on the part of State funders and regulators. This year these trends – 45% of nonprofit companies filing abridged accounts, 5% of nonprofits (including charities) filing as micro-entities, no financial statements for 4,000 unincorporated charities – deprived us of the capacity to analyse about €1.7bn of sector turnover.

Almost 20,000 Nonprofits in our New Website Release!

We have just added 704 additional nonprofits to the Benefacts Database of Irish Nonprofits, which increases the number of Irish nonprofits you can find here from 18,586 up to 19,290.

Now included in the database are:

Our thanks to the Registrar of Friendly Societies and the Librarian of the Houses of the Oireachtas for their help in getting a lot of this data online for the first time!

Benefacts Open Datasets

As well as adding new organisations to the scope of the database, we’ve released an open dataset about all of the nonprofits in the Benefacts Database of Irish Nonprofits. We’ll be keeping this live which means it will get updated every day as we feed fresh data that we in turn acquire from 8 public sources.

The data is provided in “open” formats – this means that it can be universally and readily accessed and downloaded, and is also machine-readable. Benefacts Open Datasets can now be downloaded here, and we also publish daily updated files to the Government’s Open Data portal. is now 6 months live

Since going live in May 2016, more than 25,000 unique visitors have accessed our site for data about Irish nonprofits.  We’re marking the anniversary with some design and content updates to the website.

Tell us what you think

We’ve updated the homepage to make it more user-friendly and we have further developments to the website planned in coming months – watch this space!

We are always interested in your thoughts about our website please tell us what you think of what you’ve seen so far and also stay tuned as we are rolling out a user survey next week.

For regular updates from, make sure to follow us on Twitter, join the discussions on LinkedIn and subscribe to our e-newsletters.





Beyond headlines: Data on Section 38 and 39 Agencies

In recent weeks, lots of people have been using Benefacts to learn more about the “arrangements with service providers” provided for under Section 38 of the Health Act, 2004.

Currently, 43 nonprofits receive funding from the HSE under Section 38 – you can find the list by typing “health”, then using the search filter for Section 38 funding on

Here’s the current list of “Section 38 agencies”, with links to their individual listings on Most are also registered charities. You can use this to learn about their institutional and financial profile, their funding from various Government and non-government sources, their governance, their regulators and lots more besides, including a link to each of their own websites. If you like, you can also use Benefacts to download their constitution and their audited financial statements for free.

If you’re interested, you can do the same with nonprofits funded by the HSE under Section 39 of the Health Act. Benefacts currently provides information on 884 of these, derived from their regulatory filings – here’s the list – although not all are in the health sector, and only 565 are registered charities, and 755 have a CHY number from Revenue – according to the most up-to date information available from these regulators.

Use the filters to explore “Section 39” nonprofits that provide services in social housing for example, or, sport, or the arts.

Benefacts aggregates publicly-available records from multiple regulatory sources to build the Database of Irish Nonprofits. Use our knowledge base to learn more about the sources of our data, and check back regularly for updates.


Since it went live in May 2016, Benefacts has had lots of useful feedback from nonprofits listed on Some people want to know more about where the data comes from, and why it’s occasionally not comprehensive or up to date.

Fresh every day

Benefacts relies heavily on data provided by nonprofits to their regulators, mainly the CRO, and the Charities Regulator. We update the Database of Irish Nonprofits every day.

Most of the time, our data matches what’s on the public record, but sometimes it takes a while for the regulators to register new filings, and this delay is reflected on They are aware of the issue and are cooperating with us to address anomalies wherever we find them. Bear with us, and please contact us if you have concerns about anything that appears on your Benefacts listing.

More and better financial data

Benefacts extracts a lot of highly relevant information from the financial statements of nonprofits in the Database of Irish Nonprofits. Sometimes, this doesn’t include a breakdown of the sources of government funding. We illustrate this on the listing of every nonprofit, where the data is published in the accounts.

Some nonprofits have asked us to improve on what they filed in their 2014 financial statements, with a breakdown of funding sources. We are happy to update the record and publish the new information, so long as this is provided in a letter from the Directors. Ask us if this is something you would like to explore.

Non-regulatory data

Not everything on is derived from a regulatory source. We went looking for the URL of every nonprofit in our database, and we found most of them. Inevitably, these go out of date from time to time, and we check on this periodically. If your organisation has a URL that is different to what is currently listed – or it’s missing altogether – email us and we’ll fix it.

We also provided a classification code for every nonprofit, so that we could help people to get a better understanding of this sector. Read more about this in our knowledge basetell us if you’re not happy with the classification we assigned, we’re keen to get this right.