How many suicide charities are there?

13 Jul 16

How many suicide charities are there?

The answer – according to a search of the Charity Regulator Register is 232 (see the screenshot below).

The answer – according to Benefacts – is 48.

Benefacts have compiled a list of nonprofits in Ireland whose main purpose is concerned with some aspect of suicide: prevention, counselling, research, public education or information. It can be accessed here. Benefacts acknowledge that there are 235 charities on the Charity Regulator Register where the word is included among their charitable activities or beneficiaries. They note that these include animal rescue charities, citizens and money advice centres, drugs task forces, faith bodies, family and youth centres, mountain and marine rescue bodies, volunteering centres and others whose primary purpose is not related to suicide prevention.

My correspondence with The Wheel, which teases out these figures, is below. As a consequence of my Sunday Business Post article, The Wheel contacted the Charity Regulator’s office about the “glitch” on the Register in how it classifies charities (As of 13/6/16, this has not been fixed by the Charity Regulator).

 

Two Questions.

  1. How accurate is the Register of the Charity Regulator?                                                                                                                                     Why were 232 organisations (236 according to this week’s figures), such as animal charities, permitted to self-describe their charitable purpose with regard to some aspect of suicide?
  2. Will the Charity Regulator, The Wheel or Benefacts provide a breakdown by sector of how many charities there are?                        If a list can be provided for suicide charities, can a liste be also provided for how many cancer, homelessness, animal, etc charities there are?

 

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Hi Elaine,

In your latest column “Do we really need 232 suicide charities?” (Sunday, 26 June) you ask ” Does Ireland need 232 separate charities whose designated main purpose is suicide prevention?”.

We are curious to establish how that number was calculated. Particularly what criteria was used.

When we entered the keyword “suicide” in the “Charity Purpose” field of the of the Register of Charities it did indeed returned 232 records. However, a very quick perusal of the search results show that a very large number or of the listed organisations are not primarily concerned with suicide prevention, in fact some are animal welfare charities.

We are particularly concerned because this number is now being used by other media.

Our Director of Advocacy would be happy to meet with you to discuss the challenges facing the charity sector.

Best wishes,

Gert

Gert Ackermann | Communications Coordinator
The Wheel

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Dear Gert,

Thank you for your email.

As outlined in the piece, suicide was a stated purpose of 232 charities listed on the charity regulator website.

I had observed that animal charities listed this as a purpose. It appears that many charities indirectly related to suicide prevention list this as a purpose. Why does the charity regulator enable such large remit of self-description?

As noted in the article, the list does not include the many suicide charities which are not registered.

I am happy to write about the challenges in the charity sector.

Does the charity regulator have a view as to whether Ireland has too many charities doing the same work? This is my second article on this topic. The first was prompted my remarks from your counterpart in the UK who said that the UK had too many charities doing the same thing.

Kind regards,
Elaine

___________

Hi Elaine,

We have looked into the numbers…

There are 48 charities whose main purpose is concerned with some aspect of suicide: prevention, counselling, research, public education or information. More information on this from Benefacts.ie: https://en.benefacts.ie/2016/07/05/suicide-nonprofits-ireland-today/

Apparently, there is a glitch in the Register’s search function. When we entered the keyword “suicide” in the “Charity Purpose” field it also returned 232 records. However, it turns out that that the search is not of “charitable purpose” or “charitable activities”, but of the full records which includes information that is not used for classification. The 232 number is therefore incorrect. We have raised this with the Regulator’s office.

As I mentioned, we’d be very happy to meet with you to have a conversation about the role, scope and challenges of the sector. Let me know when you are available.

I have attached an international analysis from early 2015. These figures are obviously out of date, but it does provide some context.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,
Gert

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