Here are some basic steps you can take to help you be sure your donations are going to a registered and well-governed charity.
- Know your cause
- Check Charity Registration
- Review your chosen charity's data on Benefacts
- Read their Annual Activity Report
- What Governance Regulations are in place?
- Do they recognise they need to be on a Governance Journey?
Know your Cause
What do you care about and then follow your heart and your aspirations – it will mean you are more likely to be generous, and interested in staying engaged. Your chosen charity will also benefit from long term donations from you as an interested supporter.
Check Charity Registration
First thing’s first - check that your chosen charity is on the Register of Charities before you donate.
Review your chosen Charity on Benefacts
Benefacts, a non-profit social enterprise established in 2014 is transforming accessibility and transparency of the non-profit sector in Ireland. The company provides up-to-date financial and governance data, sourced from a number of regulatory sources including the Companies Registration Office
Check your chosen charity on benefacts here and you can see their sources of funding levels of funding, income/turnover, company information (directors and length of terms), employee numbers etc. The information is presented in a neutral and impartial way so you can judge the effectiveness of your chosen charity objectively.
Charity’s Annual Activity Report
Normally available to download on a charity’s website, a charity's Annual Activity Report provides information that’s of interest to a number of stakeholders, including donors. A good report will provide an honest picture of what the charity is set up to do, how they use the resources available to them and their achievements.
What Governance structures are in place?
At an absolute minimum expect to see compliance with the Charities Governance Code – (all Irish registered charities should have complied by 2020).
Charities that meet compliance in the three areas (Governance Code, Implementation of SORP and adhere to Guidelines for Charitable Organisations on Fundraising from the Public) are awarded the Charities Institute “Triple Lock Award”. This is on the basis that these charities uphold the highest standards in transparent reporting, ethical fundraising and strong governance structures.
Is your Chosen Charity on a Governance Journey?
Recognise that most charities are on a governance journey, many smaller charities with exceptionally limited resources and other hurdles are slowly implementing governance structures and financial transparency. In these cases, look for a thoughtful strategy where the charity’s governance commitment implementation plans are clearly set out.
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