Home | Directory of Irish Nonprofits 

About the data

About the data

How we recognise nonprofits for inclusion in this Directory

“Nonprofit” is a catch-all term for a wide range of organisations that don’t belong to the private sector or the public sector. These include unincorporated associations, companies limited by guarantee, friendly societies, “NGOs”, philanthropic trusts and foundations, political parties, professional associations and trade unions, religious organisations, schools, social enterprises, “voluntary organisations”. Some are registered as charities.

To define the scope of the Directory and to classify Irish nonprofits according to international norms, we drew on foundational work by the Johns Hopkins International Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, which in turn has influenced the approach to classifying nonprofits adopted by the UN and Eurostat. To be included in this DIrectory, entities must be:

  1. Organised or institutionalised to some extent. The organisation may have some form of institutional existence such as a legal charter of incorporation, or a constitution and rules which have been agreed by its members. Excluded are purely ad-hoc and temporary gatherings of people with no enduring structure or organisational identity
  2. Institutionally separate from government. The organisation may receive significant State funding but to be considered a nonprofit it must be structurally separate from the instrumentalities of government, and not exercise governmental authority. Excluded are State Bodies that may be registered as charities such as the Arts Council or the Health Service Executive.
  3. Non-profit-distributing. A nonprofit may accumulate a surplus in a given year but this must be reinvested in the basic mission of the entity and not distributed to the organisation’s owners, members, founders or governing board.
  4. Self-governing. The organisation has its own internal governance procedures, controls its activities, and enjoys a meaningful degree of autonomy. Excluded are organisations that may be incorporated as nonprofit bodies and/or regulated as charities, but are wholly controlled by Government, such as the Institute for Public Administration, or Pobal.
  5. Voluntary. The organisation engages volunteers in its operations and/or leadership either on its board or through the use of volunteers. Excluded are organisations in which membership is required or otherwise stipulated by law such as professional associations that require membership in order to be licensed to practise a trade or profession.

Sources of data in the Irish Nonprofits Directory

The data in this directory have been harvested from various public sources under the provisions of Open Data regulations and other legal provisions.

  1. Data on charities is derived from the website of the Charities Regulator where it is published as an Excel file. The data in this version of the Directory was accessed on January 8th 2023. Excluded from the Directory are State Bodies that are registered as charities. 
  2. Company data is specified and purchased from a commercial data re-seller under the terms of the Companies Registration Office data re-use license. The data in this version of the directory was accessed on January 6th 2023.  
  3. Data on primary and secondary schools is derived from lists published by the Department of Education. The data in this version of the Directory was accessed on February 13th 2023.
  4. The list of recognised higher education institutions is published by the Higher Education Authority. The data in this version of the Directory was accessed on February 27th 2023. 
  5. Eligible charities and sports bodies enjoy the benefit of relief from certain taxes under the provisions of Section 207 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA), as determined by the Revenue Commissioners. For the time being, Revenue has suspended publication of the names of these charities, so the data in this Directory is derived from lists published by Revenue in 2022 and previously accessed by Benefacts in 2021. In addition, donors to a subset of these charities enjoy the benefit of tax relief on donations under Section 848a of the TCA. We accessed the list of these charities from Revenue on 6th January 2023, using CHY numbers published in earlier versions of the list.
  6. A quarterly-updated register of Political Parties published by the Clerk of the Oireachtas (who is also the registrar of political parties) can be found in the Library of the Houses of the Oireachtas, which we accessed on January 6th 2023.

How we process the data

  1. We harvest raw data from the six public sources. Only some of this is available in open data form. None of the data is personal in nature.
  2. We normalise data about the same nonprofit organisations from different sources, using their regulatory IDs (e.g. CRO, RCN numbers) to verify their identity. Some organisations operate under alternative names which is why we also provide other registered names.
  3. We verify the latest available data against earlier data and record the difference. Over time, some organisations go out of business or change their regulatory status, and new ones are established.
  4. We aggregate verified data for the same nonprofits from multiple sources.
  5. We provide a unique numeric identifier to each nonprofit, mapped against all their other regulatory identities.
  6. We classify each nonprofit in the database, assigning a sector and sub-sector code using an approach that follows international norms. This classification system was initially devised by Benefacts following consultation across Government departments and agencies, and within the sector.
  7. We store the data in our database.
  8. We create an application programme interface for pushing the data for publication on a free public website where it is searchable, filterable, sortable and downloadable.