How do I want to give?

How do I want to give?

Having identified the causes you want to support, it is then time to investigate the vehicle that will help you achieve your philanthropic aims. There are three main ways to engage in philanthropic giving:

    • Donating directly to charitable organisations;
    • Spending through an existing philanthropic organisation;
    • Setting up your own philanthropic organisation.

It is of course possible to combine the above ways in your giving.

Donating directly to charitable organisations

Through your life experience and research you may have found one or more organisations to which you would like to donate directly. This approach works well where the organisation has a strategic direction with which you agree and is effective in the area. There may be a particular project you are interested in assisting or you may wish to contribute to the organisation’s core costs.

Establishing a fund through an existing philanthropic organisation

Many Irish philanthropic organisations have developed significant expertise in identifying organisations and projects that may be of interest to donors. By working closely with beneficiaries, these organisations have detailed knowledge of various areas of need and the key practitioners working in the area. Some philanthropic organisations offer donor-advised funds, which are philanthropic funds managed by a third party and disbursed with input from the donor.

Foundations which offer such funds in Ireland include:

The Community Foundation for Ireland

The Ireland Funds

Irish Youth Foundation

Other foundations, while not actively seeking funds, have accepted funds from donors where the objectives of the donor and the philanthropic organisation are closely aligned.

Setting up your own philanthropic organisation

Philanthropic organisations (often called charitable foundations or trusts) are organisations governed by a document setting out the causes that it will support. A group of people (often called trustees, officers or directors) is responsible for overseeing the work of the organisation and cannot receive payment for its work.

Establishing a separate organisation can be appropriate where there is a significant amount of money to be spent (although some philanthropic organisations spend less than €50,000 a year, will spend above €200,000 a year), where the area of focus is not covered by other philanthropic organisations, or where a perpetual endowment is to be made (especially if the endowment was set up with assets other than cash). It is also an effective approach where you would like to adopt your own unique approach or have a particular passion or project that you wish to address through a different organisation.

Additional guidance on setting up your own foundation will soon be available on our Web site. In the meantime, please contact us with any queries.