Charity donations impacted by scandals

More than a third of charities have been adversely affected by recent controversies that have hit the sector, with many claiming donations have fallen as a result.

A survey of 67 charities by the Wheel, the sector’s representative body, has found that one-third said they had been impacted as a result of controversies elsewhere in the sector — and of that number, two-thirds said it took the form of a direct fall in donations.

A separate and larger survey of charities conducted last July showed that 71% said demand for their services had increased.

It means that many charities now say they are squeezed financially, between falling donations and the need to continue to provide services to a growing number of clients.

The findings of the most recent survey — which was conducted from September 21 to 27 — were revealed yesterday as representatives of the sector outlined measures they would like to see outlined in next month’s budget.

It came as a coalition of six national charity networks, encompassing 1,600 individual organisations, demanded an increase in Government funding for services for people in need.

The Wheel, Disability Federation of Ireland, Care Alliance Ireland, Irish Rural Link, Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups and the National Youth Council of Ireland said spending needs to increase in areas such as people with disabilities, young people, carers and rural communities, as in most cases the level of State expenditure is still way below pre-crisis levels.

Just yesterday the Irish Examiner’s own opinion poll of farmers and farm families showed that 61% of respondents said that they are now more reluctant to make donations to charities as a result of recent controversies.

The controversy at Console is the latest in a string of issues to beset the sector in recent years.

Ivan Cooper, director of public policy with the Wheel, said: “We cannot lurch any more from crisis to crisis.”

He said charities need to be resourced adequately, to be regulated effectively and for the public to recognise and value the role they play and not take them for granted, adding that in many cases charities are filling gaps in areas such as public health and social care.

Yesterday he said: “We have heard a lot in recent months about the growing homeless crises, the lack of social housing, the lack of capacity in our health service, problems with the standard of care and growing social problems in rural areas; these issues are not unrelated, Ireland’s community and voluntary sector was subjected to disproportionate funding cuts since 2008, and the cumulative impact of these cuts is being felt in every community.”

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