Regulator Helen Martin has warned Irish charities against pivoting too quickly in reaction to the invasion of Ukraine.
Martin said that, while Irish-registered charities wished to meet the needs of the Ukrainian people, they must ensure that their activities continue to align with their stated charitable purpose.
Any charity that proposes to amend or add to its existing charitable purpose needs to apply to the Charities Regulator in order to do so.
This applies, in particular, to those bodies which have implemented the Charities Governance Code.
Under Principle 1 of the code, charities are required to advance their charitable purpose, which should be fully reflected in the main object of the charity, as set out in its governing document.
“However, before making such a fundamental decision, we would urge charity trustees to carefully consider the matter, in particular by reference to the charity’s organisational capabilities, and any potential impact on the charity’s existing beneficiaries, staff, volunteers, donors and other stakeholders,” the regulator warned.
Martin also urged the public to ensure that their charitable donations go to registered charities that have a track record of providing the kinds of practical supports and assistance that the Ukrainian people need at this time.
Charity compliance with the code has been completed to a high standard, and Helen Martin thanked those who continue to show a real commitment to achieving high standards of governance.
The regulator also wishes to enhance the Register of Charities so that it becomes the central point for data and information relating to the charities sector.
The regulator has requested feedback from registered charities and the general public on its proposal to introduce a new charity classification standard.
This would “further improve its ability to report meaningfully, accurately and to provide greater clarity and transparency in relation to the charity sector”, the regulator says.