Country Idealist Profiles

Ireland – Funding of the Non-Profit Sector

Posted in Funding of the C&V Sector, Ireland, Ireland - The Third Sector by hynesbrid on August 28, 2008

In 1995 the Non-Profit Sector´s income amounted to IR£3.24bn (€4.11bn) or 8.2% of GDP.  This funding came through 3 main sources namely:

·     The Public Sector (which includes central and local government funding, EU funding, national lottery monies and various third party payments such as funding through the Community Employment Programme, Combat Poverty Agency and the National Social Service Board),

·     Private sources (individual donations and foundations) and

·     Money earned through fees, sales or membership dues.

By far the most important source of income is the public sector whose funding amounted to IR£2.41bn  (€3.05bn) or almost 3/4 of the Non-Profit sectors income for that year.  Both private giving and earned income are less significant than publicly-sourced funds amounting to IR£332.99m and IR£505.77m respectively.


The Government White Paper on the relationship between the State and the Community & Voluntary Sector, 2000 recognises that the Community and Voluntary sector has a long and valued tradition of meeting social needs in Ireland.  Wide ranging changes have emerged during the past 50 years within the Community and Voluntary sector and its relationship with the State.  Public / Statutory funding has become increasingly more important in the provision of social services by the Community and Voluntary sector.  The Community and Voluntary sector has developed a large presence in the development of social policy, especially in the roles of service providers, identifiers of new needs and advocates.  Mechanisms for the creation of social solidarity have been established. The important role of the sector is reflected in the substantial amount of funding ‑ almost IR£1 billion in 1999 (€1.267 billion) ‑ which it received from the Irish State and EU sources as set out in the Table below:


Government Department/ 


Irish funding

EU funding 





£IR million 

£IR million 

EURO €million 

Department of Agriculture,

Food and Rural Development 





Department of Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht

and the Islands/Arts Council 





Department of Enterprise, Trade

and Employment / FÁS 

























Department of Defence /

Irish Red Cross Society 





Department of the Environment and

Local Government / Local Authorities 





Department of Education and

Science / VECs 





Department of Finance 





Department of Foreign Affairs 





Department of Health and

Children / Health Boards 





Department of Justice, Equality

and Law Reform 





Probation and Welfare Service 





Department of Public Enterprise





Department of Social, Community

and Family Affairs 





Combat Poverty Agency (CPA)





Comhairle (NSSB) 





Department of Tourism, Sport and

Recreation / ADM 





Programme for Peace and

Reconciliation (ADM, CPA) 















Ireland – The relationship between Students and the Non-Profit Sector:

In Ireland there is no formal government policies on volunteering for Students.   Volunteering for students is a personal choice.  Some schools and third level colleges are more pro-active around the promotion of volunteering than others.  

There are a series of initiatives both targeting second level and third level students. Below is just a sample of the activity that is taking place in schools and colleges throughout the country.
Second Level:
Young Social Innovators Programme (YSI) is a social awareness and active citizenship and education programme. The programme invites young people between the ages of 15 and 18 to work together to make radical, innovative suggestions and actions for change that can make a real difference to people’s lives, including their own. The essence of YSI is to support and use the resources, talents, skills and above all the idealism of young people, in particular around social issues of concern to them, in order to create a better society.  This programme provides an opportunity for young people and their communities to get involved in something that can potentially change the way society thinks about certain issues.  It nurtures active citizenship and encourages community/voluntary work.  Everyone has a part to play in meeting the YSI vision to fire young people’s passion to change the world for good.  It’s anything young people feel strongly about.  It’s issues they feel should be tackled such as the environment, human rights, integration, poverty, global issues, community concerns and everyone’s physical and mental well-being.  What makes life better for young people? What makes life better for their community? Participants direct their own project, take their own initiative and produce their own results under the guidance and support of their schools, tutors and parents.  To date, over 20,000 young people have taken up the YSI challenge.
 Third Level:
The National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) is host to the first ever student volunteer programme, ALIVE, to be embedded within an institution of higher education in Ireland.    This programme which was initiated in 2007 provides a website that allows community organisations to post their volunteer opportunities online.  Students interested in volunteering can then view these opportunities and register.  Over 1,300 student volunteers registered with the ALIVE volunteering programme during the last academic year. The programme is supported by 70 non-governmental organisations who support the programme and enable the student volunteers to act as bridge-builders between the university and civil society.  Essentially, students can volunteer as much or as little time as they can give and attend the optional training if they need more support.  The training is designed to harness students’ energy and enthusiasm and provide avenues and information on local, national and international volunteer opportunities.  Currently there is over 120 opportunities on the ALIVE website, ranging from work as mentors in school-based local homework clubs, managing promotional events, raising awareness and funds for people with disabilities, as well as providing friendship to children of refugees and asylum seekers and the new communities of Ireland.  The programme draws on a strong tradition of student engagement, both on and off campus, and assists students who wish to actively volunteer while developing tangible and transferable skills alongside practical volunteering experiences.

In addition to the above NUI Galway also host a Volunteering Fair annually – the aim of the Fair is to promote and recruit individuals to local, national and international volunteering organisations.
Many other third level colleges, while they may not host specific volunteer programmes, provide information to students on the different types of volunteering opportunities that are available locally, nationally and internationally.  Below is a sample of some of the information available to students in different colleges in relation to opportunities available.

Ireland – The Relationship between Third Level Institutions and the Non-Profit Sector:

Many third level institutions have developed education and training courses or research initiatives directed at meeting the specific needs of the Community and Voluntary sector.  These include National University of Ireland (NUI) Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway, NUI Cork, University of Limerick, the National College of Ireland and Dublin City University.  There is a growing demand for further development by third level institutions, particularly in relation to non‑degree courses, of education and other supports for the Community and Voluntary sector. 
Accreditation of learning in the Community and Voluntary sector:
The volume and range of education/training courses provided to, and through, the Community and Voluntary sector is considerable and growing.  Courses vary in their content and are wide-ranging in scope and format.  Many courses run in the Community and Voluntary sector do not adhere to strict skill categories characteristic of mainstream education and training courses.  Courses are delivered within local communities by organisations themselves and through consultation with Vocational Education Committees (VECs), FÁS (The National Training & Education Authority), external agencies and institutions.  The institutes of technology, second level schools, other third level colleges and universities can all contribute to the variety of courses available to learners in the Community and Voluntary sector. More open and Distance Learning opportunities are developing to meet the needs of individuals in terms of time, pace and location.

The Government `White Paper on a Framework for Supporting Voluntary Activity and for Developing the Relationship between the State and the Community & Voluntary Sector, 2000´  refers to a number of issues that have been identified in relation to developing accreditation appropriate to the needs of the Community and Voluntary sector and within the broader educational context including:

  • The Ethos of the Community and Voluntary sector
  • The demand and type of accreditation
  • Accreditation models and options
  • Reference to National Standards/mainstream structure/s
  • Resources/support required.

The White Paper highlights the need for a review of the content and delivery of training to those in the Community and Voluntary sector to be undertaken.  The value of this training should be verified and appropriately rewarded.  A priority for the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) will be to put in place appropriate accreditation arrangements for the Community and Voluntary sector.  The NQAI will work closely with the Community and Voluntary sector Accreditation Forum and with bodies such as AONTAS (The National Association for Adult Education) and NALA (National Adult Literacy Association) to progress this area.,2200,en.doc

The role of the Community and Voluntary sector in life‑long learning is affirmed in the White Paper on Adult Education Learning for Life.  It highlights the importance of developing links between the Adult Learning Council and the National Qualification Authority as appropriate.

The below link gives an indication of the variety of courses that are available to the community and voluntary sector across the country.

Ireland – The relationship between Second Level Schools and the Non-Profit Sector.

There is no formal direct link between the schools and the Non Profit Sector.  However, in Second Level schools, students are introduced to the whole concept of active citizenship.

In the junior cycle of second level schools, as part of the Junior Certificate Course,  the subject Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) is taught to all students over a three year period.  This is a course on Active Citizenship.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child underpin this course.  The central concept of this course is that of Citizenship – creating an awareness of the importance of the civic, social and political dimensions in the life of the individual through active participation in society.  During this course, students come to learn and understand the importance of the following seven concepts – Rights and Responsibilities, Human Dignity, Law, Development, Interdpendence, Stewardship and Democracy.  As part of this course students have the opportunity to become involved in active learning situations and Action projects – in the classroom, school, local community or beyond.
Many second level schools offer a one year programme called the Transition Year Programme.  This is for students who have completed the Junior Cycle and before they enter the senior cycle Leaving Certificate Programme.  The aim of this Transition Year programme is to promote the personal, social, educational and vocational development of pupils and to prepare them for their role as autonomous, participative and responsible members of society.  The purpose of this programme is to promote maturity in

  • studies – through the development of general, technical and academic skills,
  • work and careers – by developing work related skills,
  • personal maturity – by providing opportunities to develop communication skills, self confidence and a sense of responsilility
  • social maturity – by developing greater ´people´ skills and more awareness of the world outside school.

The Transition Year provides an opportunity to reinforce and build upon the work of CSPE in the Junior Cycle – the main aim being to develop active and participatory citizenship in pupils with regards to human rights and social responsibilities.  CSPE permetes all aspects of the Transition Year Programme.

Ireland – Good Practice Standards for the Community & Voluntary Sector

The following are a set of principles which the Government suggests should be seen as basic commitments informing the relationship between the State and the sector.  These set of principles emerged from a wide‑spread consultation process leading up to the publication of the Government `White Paper on a Framework for Supporting Voluntary Activity and for Developing the Relationship between the State and the Community and Voluntary Sector´, 2000 .  

  • There should be openness, accountability and transparency in the work of the sector, while having regard to necessary confidentiality in the relationship with clients and statutory agencies;
  • Groups in receipt of statutory funding should publish annual reports and accounts, which will include details of  the number of members, branches and meetings of the organisation and remuneration of the CEO and other key management staff;
  • Organisations should maintain high standards of governance and accountability and commit themselves to adhere to relevant legal obligations and standards;
  • Services and programmes should be informed by the principle of respect for the individual’s dignity, privacy and confidentiality. They should also be informed by the right of users to quality services which are accessible to them, such as people with disability or women with children;
  • Where relevant, customers and people who avail of services should have an input into the planning, delivery and management of services;
  • Customer service charters should be published by service providers.  Where relevant, these should be produced on a partnership basis between voluntary service providers and relevant statutory agencies;
  • There should be equality of treatment for men and women and non‑discrimination in relation to groups who are marginalised;
  • There should be co‑operation between Community and Voluntary organisations within particular Sectors and where appropriate across Sectors in relation to policy development and programme and service delivery;
  • Community and Voluntary organisations should consider registering as companies limited by guarantee.   For this purpose, the Companies Registration Office will provide guidelines for registration for Community and Voluntary organisations;
  • Monitoring and evaluation should be carried out regularly in order to ensure effectiveness and value for money.   Reports should be made available to the funders on the extent to which the programme or project is achieving its objectives and the difficulties, if any, which are experienced.  The report should also outline the adequacy of supports available to the programme or the project, and the lessons learned which have implications for policy development and service or programme delivery and implementation;
  • Insofar as financial arrangements are concerned, voluntary organisations should adopt similar purchasing and tendering principles to those applied by statutory organisations, including competitive tendering for supply of goods and services as appropriate.,2200,en.doc

Ireland – Principle areas of focus of the Community & Voluntary Sector

Posted in Ireland, Ireland - The Third Sector, Principle areas of focus by hynesbrid on August 25, 2008

There are a number of databases and directories that list community and voluntary organisations.  One such database is the online directory of community and voluntary organisations run by The Wheel (a support and representative body connecting Community and Voluntary organisations across Ireland).  In May 2006, the directory comprised over 6500 listings for community and voluntary organisations in Ireland.  The Wheel directory covers 32 categories ranging in size from Education / Training / Support (933 entries in the directory) to Prison Services (1 entry)   The top 10 categories of C&V Activity in Ireland are as follows:
Arts & Culture 175
Sports & Recreation 179
Disability Services 184
Accommodation/housing/Homeless 208
Family Support Services 444
Mental Health 488
Religious Activities 534
Advice / Advocacy/ Information 537
Community Development 643
Education/ Training / Support 933,9480,en.pdf

Ireland – Employment in the Community & Voluntary Sector

Posted in Employment in the C&V Sector, Ireland, Ireland - The Third Sector by hynesbrid on August 25, 2008

Numbers employed in the Non-Profit Sector:
During 2005, the Centre for Non-Profit Managament (CNM), Trinity College Dublin examined employment in the sector and reported the figures presented in chart 2.  Among the 2000 responding non-profit organisations in their survey, the CNM found that there were over 64,000 employees divided across categories of full-time employees, part time employees and state-supported employees.  They also found that there was a larger role played by females in the sector.  There are twice as many full-time female employees than full-time male employees, four times as many female part time employees as male part-timers and 1.65 times as many females employed in the sector on state schemes as there are males
A more focused assessment of employment levels identified that there were approximately 50,000 people employed in organisations focused on socio-economic activities linked to promoting social inclusion.  In employment terms the 50,000 employed in the social inclusion section of the community and voluntary sector is equivalent to:

  • 50% of all those employed in Public Administration and Defence
  • 43% of all those in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
  • 43% of all those working in Hotel and Restaurants
  • 42% of all those in Transport, Storage and Communications
  • 20% of all workers in the Construction Sector
  • 9.7% of all those employed in Industry

The data presented in this note draws from a 2006 report commissioned by Equal at Work to provide a more detailed insight in to the Community & Voluntary sector in Ireland.  The report, prepared by Hibernian Consulting, is based upon data from previously published reports, analysis of content from various C&V databases and the collection of new data via a survey of organisations that are generally focused on socio-economic activities linked to promoting social inclusion.,9480,en.pdf

Level of Payment for employees within the Community & Voluntary Sector:

In 2008, the first pay and benefits survey of community, voluntary and charitable organisations was carried out.  This survey is the first comprehensive survey of its kind in Ireland, designed specifically for the C&V sector.  Its findings reveals a picture of a growing third sector with a high demand for professional skills.

Over 300 organisations participated in the survey commissioned by The Wheel (a non-profit support and representative body for Irish community, voluntarily, and charitable organisations) and sponsored by management consulting and recruiting firm 2into3 and .   Sonraí HR Research conducted the survey.

The Findings:

  • Ireland’s community, voluntary and charitable organisations currently employ over 40,000 full-time and 23,000 part-time staff, with volunteers providing the equivalent of a further 31,000 staff.
  • As an industry the Non-Profit Sector contributes more than €2.5 billion to the economy and accounts for 8.4% of GDP employing 8.8%  of the work force.
  • 82% of the workers surveyed were female, as was 85% of part-time workers.
  • 50% covered worked in the health sector and 30% in the survey are involved in development (including overseas development) and housing activities.
  • 23% of the organisations in the survey indicted that they have experienced recruitment difficulties over the past 12 months.  The main reasons stated by organisations as to why they were experiencing difficulties recruiting staff are that they could not find the right people, or could not find the right skills. 

“The sector has grown extensively in recent years. One consequence of this growth has been an increase in demand for specific professional skills and competencies. The research also suggests that there is strong competition to recruit and retain staff not just within the non-profit sector but also with the commercial sector. This survey provides quality information that will greatly assist individual organisations in their planning and budgeting. Repeating this survey regularly will enable us to track trends and see how the sector is developing with respect to other sectors of the economy,” said Deirdre Garvey, CEO of The Wheel.

Ireland – The Economic Value of the Community & Voluntary Sector

Posted in Economic Value of the C&V Sector, Ireland, Ireland - The Third Sector by hynesbrid on August 25, 2008

The precise monetary value of The Community and Voluntary Sector (C&V) to the Irish economy is difficult to gauge.  However some assessment of its economic value can be established through the total value of all the spending by the sector: on wages, services, facilities etc.
Todate the lack of data on the sector has limited the number of investigations of its economic value.  The most commonly cited source detailing the sectors economic size is a report produced in 1999 by Donoghue et al entitled ´Uncovering the Non Profit  Sector in Ireland´.  In that report, the authors seperate out the Community and Voluntary Sector from the broader non-profit sector and estimate values for its economic role.  In that report they found that the C&V sector accounted for 2.14% of GDP and 2.4% of GNP that year.  Taking these figures, the following table updates them to more recent values using national income figures from the Central Statistics Office for 2004.  In doing so, the table assumes that the proportion of GDP accounted for by the sector is the same in 2004 as in 1995.

  2004 GDP &
GNP Values
Donoghue et al
2004 Equivalent
GDP €149 billion 2.14 €3.2 billion
GNP €124 billion 2.40 €3.0 billion


Ireland – The Number of Community & Voluntary Organisations in Ireland.

According to The Wheel (A support and representative body connecting Community and Voluntary organisations across Ireland) there are over 19,000 organisations in the community & voluntary sector in Ireland.  Each plays a vital part in maintaining an inclusive society, and the sector as a whole makes a big contribution to the Irish economy.  Over two thirds of Irish adults (over 2 million people) engage annually in the myriad of social, sporting, cultural and humanitarian activities offered by these community and voluntary organisations.  The community and voluntary sector directly contributes over €2.5billion to the economy each year.  Community and voluntary organisations employed over 40,000 full time and 23,000 part time staff in 2004, with volunteers providing the work of a further 31,000 full time equivalents.
The Centre for Nonprofit Management CNM in Trinity College estimates that there are almost 25,000 non-profit organisations in Ireland.  The non-profit definition used by the CNM is broader than the community and voluntary sector as it includes all non-profit bodies.  Therefore this definition includes some hospitals, hospices an education providers.  However, of the organisations identified by the CNM, the majority are likely to be community and voluntary organisations.  The following table outlines their regional distribution:

Region Number % of National Total
Dublin 6,147 24.9
Rest of Leinster 6,540 26.5
Munster 6,822 27.6
Connaught 3,865 15.6
Ulster (3 counties) 1,333 5.4
Republic of Ireland 24,707 100

Ireland – NGOs working in International Development Cooperation

This is a list of some of the Irish agencies working in the area of International Development Cooperation:

Actionaid Ireland:
AIDS Partnership with Africa (APA):
Child Fund Ireland:
Christian Aid:
Christian Blind Mission
Concern Ireland:
Debt and Development Coalition Ireland:
Elizabeth Finn Care:
Galway One World Centre:
Health Action Overseas (HAO):
Irish Development Education Association (IDEA)
Ireland-India Council:
Just Forests:
KADE (Kerry Action for Development Education):
Kimmage Development Studies Centre:
Lucca Leadership Ireland:
Médecins sans Frontières Ireland:
misean cara:
Moldova Vision:
Plan Ireland:
Red Cross Ireland:
Self Help Africa:
Skillshare International Ireland:
Suas Educational Development:
The Hope Foundation
UNICEF Ireland:
Voluntary Service International:
Volunteer Abroad / EIL Intercultural Learning:
Volunteer Missionary Movement (VMM) Ireland:
VSO Ireland:
Waterford One World Centre:
World Vision:
80:20 Educating & Acting for a Better World: