SORP adoption in Ireland
Most people in the nonprofit sector are by now aware of Charities SORP. This is a standard for financial reporting specifically devised to make the financial transactions of charities more transparent especially in terms of how and where charities have raised their funds and how the funds have been used.
Adoption of charities SORP is promoted as best practice by sector leaders and it forms one piece of the “Triple Lock” standard. This is seen by the Charities Institute of Ireland as fundamental to restoring trust in charities (the other two elements of the triple lock are the Governance Code and the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising).
Benefacts is the only source of information about which charities use the SORP standard in Ireland, where its adoption is still voluntary. The Charities Regulator will be coming out soon with a mandatory financial reporting standard for Irish charities, generally expected to follow the FRS 102 Charities SORP quite closely.
By reviewing what all charities actually report in their annual published financial statements, Benefacts is able to provide a detailed picture about the emergence of higher reporting standards, which has never been available before now.
Currently, 488 organisations in the Benefacts database of Irish nonprofits say that they follow the charities SORP reporting standard. But on closer inspection, 87 of these have chosen to adopt some of the features of SORP and only 401 can in fact be seen to be fully in compliance in terms of the accounting policies as specificied by the SORP-making body authorised by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). Benefacts has used this compliance standard as verified by the entity’s auditors as the benchmark for reporting Charities SORP compliance in the future.
Interestingly, a handful (17) of nonprofits that have adopted Charities SORP are not yet publicly registered as charities in Ireland.
In 2015, the total number of SORP reporters whose accounts are publicly accessible represented 9% of all registered charities. Here’s the list. We’ll report on trends in SORP adoption again in our 2018 Sector Analysis Report.
Benefacts.ie is the only source of up to date analysis of all nonprofits (charities or otherwise) adopting the three standards (SORP, Governance Code and Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising). Use the facets on the left-hand side of the Benefacts search results screen to select which reporting standard you’re interested in – see image for example.
Benefacts nonprofit sector annual analysis 2017. (LtoR) Ian Brady, Head of Davy Charities and Not-for-Profit Group, Niamh Gallagher CEO Drinkaware and Diarmaid O'Corrbui, CEO Carmichael Centre
‘It’s a huge quantum of the sector that no one has been covering’
Ian Brady, Head of Davy Charities and Not-for-Profit Group, Davy Ireland, commented on how refreshing it was to have access to the most up to date information on the sector, and how he thinks this report will gain momentum in the years to come as a measurement of the impact of this sector on society. Listen to what he had to say here.
(LtoR) Adrienne Regan (Davy), Ian Duffy (former chairman of the board at Benefacts), Éilis Murray (Philanthropy Ireland) and Kingsley Aikins (Diaspora Matters) pictured at the launch of the inaugural annual Benefacts Nonprofit Sector Analysis in the Royal Irish Academy on Friday, 28th April 2017. This benchmark report by Benefacts is the most comprehensive analysis ever undertaken of nonprofit organisations in Ireland, including registered charities. View the report at www.Benefacts.ie/analysis.
“Philanthropic giving accounts for at least €83.4m annually.” #BeneFACTS17
Philanthropy in Ireland is in its infancy. It is a small, young yet extremely productive sector. The majority of funds and organisations have only been set up in the last 25 years.
For the first time, the Benefacts Nonprofit Sector Analysis provides us with reliable data derived from available published sources on the status of philanthropic giving in Ireland. This is very welcome because it serves to highlight the role philanthropy plays in supporting civil society and the range of causes therein.
The published figure of €83.4m for 2015 is acknowledged to be an underestimation of the real level of philanthropic giving in Ireland, restricted as it is to the contributions from incorporated institutional philanthropies. Benefacts’ report notes that the figure does not include the giving of unincorporated philanthropic organisations which are registered as charities, but whose financial statements are not yet publicly available from the Regulator. Similarly, this figure does not reflect individual philanthropy or corporate giving. When these additional elements and sources of giving are included, they will contribute to painting a somewhat different picture of the sum of philanthropic giving in Ireland.
What is critically important, however, is that we now have a baseline of information.
The full picture can be developed and analysed further over time. This is essential not just for the nonprofit sector, but also for funders and donors, enabling them to better understand the profile of the sector they are operating within, and supporting them in making informed decisions.
Until now, a key challenge in the development of philanthropy in Ireland has been the limited amount of quality data to help people understand the value of the sector’s contribution to civil society so the Benefacts report is a wonderful starting point. If augmented and further developed to include all strata of philanthropic giving, it will serve to build a substantively informed and rounded picture of the role and value of philanthropy to civil society in Ireland.
Éilis Murray is CEO of Philanthropy Ireland, a member and knowledge-based organisation for the philanthropic sector. She has over 25 years’ experience in the Not-for-Profit Sector working with and for several small teams. A Director of Oakfield Trust, Éilis is currently completing a Masters in Philanthropic Studies.
Read the Benefacts Nonprofit Sector Analysis 2017 here.
‘Really big step forward in terms of the professionalism of the sector’
Neil Pope, Founder and Director of Millington Pope, attended our recent Sector Analysis launch and commented on how this report represents a landmark publication for this sector.
This morning MD of Benefacts, Patricia Quinn hosted a masterclass on governance at The Wheel’s Annual Conference 2017. Entitled ‘Transparency in Action -Disclosure Practices in Irish Charities Today’, Patricia talked about the latest regulations and best practice in governance for the nonprofit and charity sector in Ireland. View full presentation here