Galway has the third highest number of registered charities in Ireland, with 661 charitable organisations in the county.
These figures come from the Charities Regulator’s Annual Report 2021, which was released today.
The only counties with more the Galway are Dublin, where 3,140 charities are operating, and Cork, which has 1,177.
The Charities Regulator is urging all charities to comply with their legal requirements in order to boost public confidence.
This is after the report found that just 64% of registered charities had filed their annual reports on time, which is within 10 months of the charity’s financial year-end.
These annual reports provide an overview of a charity’s finances and activities in the previous year and are published on the public Register of Charities.
Helen Martin, Chief Executive of the Charities Regulator said: “The question for charities is whether they can afford not to comply with the requirement to file annual reports.”
“Funding is the number one concern for charities we surveyed last year, and as inflation brings an increased cost of living, it will remain so.”
“There is a strong link between greater transparency and accountability by charities and public trust in the sector, according to the public,” she added.
She said that filing annual reports is “an important means for registered charities to provide basic information to the public on their finances and activities in the previous year.”
Ms Martin commended charities on their hard work and dedication to a wide array of causes in 2021, and acknowledged the Covid-19 related challenges which the majority of charities continued to experience during the year.
“Notwithstanding these challenges, we were heartened to see the level of positive engagement by registered charities with the Charities Governance Code.”
Last year was the first year in which charities had to report their level of compliance with this code.
Some of the highlights in the report include that 282 new charities were registered last year, including 98 schools, bringing the total number in Ireland to 11,426.
There was an increase of 22% in the number of concerns raised – up from 466 in 2020 to 568 in 2021.
Ms Martin said that the increase was not unexpected given the gradual resumption of activity by charities during the year, as public health restrictions eased.
The top three areas of concerns were: governance (209 complaints / 37%), legitimacy of charity (196 complaints / 35%) and financial control and transparency (107 complaints / 19%).
“While concerns relating to unregistered organisations remain high, governance and issues linked to financial control and transparency within registered charities continued to generate the most concerns among the public,” said Ms Martin.