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Questions and Answers


FAQ’s about the Directory of Irish Nonprofits

Who is behind this project?

Between 2016 and 2022, Benefacts produced the Database of Irish Nonprofits and published a searchable website giving the public free access to extensive information about the sector, using data derived from their financial statements and other regulatory disclosures. Learn more about the Benefacts project, or access some of its legacy datasets or analysis reports.

When Benefacts closed in March 2022, some philanthropies and charities took steps to explore how the base register – the only live directory of all nationally-registered nonprofits in Ireland – could be reinstated and maintained as a key infrastructure for the public, and for the sector itself, its funders, donors, analysts and other stakeholders.

Is this directory an exhaustive listing of all Irish nonprofit organisations?

No. Local Public Participation Networks (PPNs) produced in each county in Ireland together list about 12,000 locally-based nonprofits not elsewhere registered – unincorporated associations, clubs and societies some of which are members of national umbrella bodies which themselves may be registered charities or companies. These networks are locally administered, sometimes as a branch of local government, but public disclosure is not provided for in the regulations governing their establishment, nor is the data they publish governed by open data regulations. These local bodies are constituted as unincorporated clubs and societies and in some cases are members of national umbrella organisations which themselves are registered companies and/or charities.

Church bodies of various denominations active in Ireland – many of which are registered charities – themselves have at least 4,000 subsidiary organisations not separately listed on the Charities Register or on any other public register. They are not included in this Directory because their data is private.

Why bother? This is all public domain information I can presumably get from the Charities Regulator

Registered charities make up only a portion of the entire nonprofit sector – read our analysis of the makeup of Ireland’s nonprofit sector in 2023. Without a base register drawing data from multiple public regulatory sources, there is no way of knowing the full population of registered organisations that make up the nonprofit sector in Ireland.

The Companies Register provides information about incorporated Irish enterprises of all kinds, but does not facilitate an analysis that distinguishes between non-profit and for-profit enterprises. More than 50% of Irish nonprofit (limited by guarantee) companies including social enterprises are not registered as charities – the Directory of Irish Nonprofits is the only source of a list of these. 

None of the sector’s regulators reports on the profile of organisations newly added to or removed from their register. Nor do they report on the range of other regulators to which each nonprofit reports. For example, the Charities Regulator does not provide information about the tax status of charities.

Learn more about the data.

Where’s all the extra information and financial analysis that Benefacts used to provide?

Between 2015 and 2022, thanks to co-funding from the State and philanthropies, Benefacts was able to harvest, digitise, normalise, aggregate, classify, publish and analyse the regulatory disclosures of the entire sector, deriving a large body of verified data from their constitutions and annual financial reports. 

Extracts were summarised in the form of a detailed website listing for each one, and every year Benefacts produced an analysis of employment, funding, governance and other trends across the entire sector. Read Benefacts Annual Sector Analysis Reports

From 2018, these sector-wide reports were augmented by annual reports on charitable and philanthropic giving in Ireland. From 2020 – using data provided by State bodies – Benefacts produced Who Funds What? –  a classified public listing of more than €7bn in itemised State grants to nonprofits.

With the termination of State funding – and consequent loss of earnings and philanthropic grants – the resources to maintain the expert team and specialised processes to deliver this information and analysis were no longer in place. That is why detailed financial and governance information, analysis reports and analytics services cannot be provided anymore.


I thought Benefacts had closed?

Benefacts Company CLG ceased trading at the end of March 2022, and was struck off the Register of companies six months later. The datasets created with the benefit of public and philanthropic funding between 2015 and 2022 were lodged with the Irish Social Sciences Data Archive which is held at UCD Library, and are also available here.

Benefacts’ residual data and other intellectual assets were transferred to a new nonprofit company – Benefacts Legacy Designated Activity Company – which was established by some of Benefacts’ former Directors and staff to promote the legacy and values of the project and to work with anyone who is interested to use Benefacts’ experience for the benefit of Irish nonprofits and their stakeholders.

Who is responsible for producing the Directory of Irish Nonprofits?

Benefacts Legacy DAC created this directory in 2023, with a view to handing over its continued maintenance and potentially its further development in 2024 to its partners Carmichael and Enclude.