Decrease in donations but plenty of volunteers for local charity shops
DONATIONS TO charity are on the decrease since the economic recession took hold in Ireland but three out of four people still donate to charity here.
Figures published during the 'Green Shoots - Fundraising out of a Recession' conference earlier this year show that the number of Irish people donating to charity fell to 75 per cent in November 2009 from a high of 83 per cent in March 2008.
A fifth of those who made a charitable donation gave less than they had planned to give or had previously donated in 2008 as a result of tightened purse strings.
If this trend continues only 67 per cent of people will be donating to charity by March 2011. The decline in the size of donations coupled with a small pool of donors would put massive strain on charities across Wexford and indeed Ireland.
The figures also show that donations from young people aged between 16 and 24 years of age fell sharply during this 18 month period dropping from 78 per cent to 59 per cent.
However, it is not all doom and gloom as although the money donated mightn't be as generous as it once was people are more inclined to donate their time.
The survey shows that people are giving more time to charitable activities with events sponsorships and participation increasing by five and seven per cent respectively since August 2009.
Professor John Healy, Chairman of Philanthropy Ireland, said the charity and non-profit sectors faced considerable difficulties due to declining public donations coupled with a cutback in state support.
'Charities are suffering falling income from the public and from the State, which provides 60 per cent of income, so Government cutbacks mean trouble for the charity sector,' said Prof Healy.
'Even in the good times this would be an unhealthy level of dependence upon one source of funding. But, as we know, only too well, the State is broke and it can no longer support the non profit sector at the same time.
Prof Healy said Irish charities needed to do more with less money and work harder and smarter during the recession.
' There is a need for creative thinking from leaders within our sector and those outside our sector who are sympathetic to what we do, to devise new streams of income.
He said the charity sector was also too reliant on spontaneous forms of giving, such as cash fundraising on the streets and should try move to more settled and valuable types of raising money, such as standing orders.
'People are less likely to cancel standing orders during a recession than they are to cut back on street collections,' said Prof Healy.
Statistics compiled from the Irish Charity Engagement Monitor show on-street cash collections and buying products from charity shops are currently the two most common methods of giving to charity.
Just one in three donors to charity currently give through a direct debit. The figures show that the Irish Cancer Society is the organisation donors most commonly give to, while Trocaire, St Vincent de Paul and Concern are also very popular.