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NEWS > Charity Sector News > New guidance from the Charities Regulator on public benefit issued

New guidance from the Charities Regulator on public benefit issued

Public benefit is one of the three main requirements that an organisation must meet to be registered on the public Register of Charities. It's what makes charities different from other organisations.

The Charities Regulator has recently published new guidance, with the assistance of the National Adult Literacy Agency, explaining what public benefit is. It is intended to help charities comply with this important requirement as well those thinking of setting up a charity.

‘Charitable purpose’ is what a charity is set up to do and the Charities Act 2009 (The Act) sets out the specific categories of charitable purpose that are allowed. The charitable purpose of an organisation must benefit the public or a section of the public in Ireland or elsewhere and these benefits must be identifiable. For example, fundraising to cover the medical bills for one individual does not provide a public benefit, as it benefits only one individual. However, if you are fundraising to pay the medical bills of a class of people who have a particular illness, your fundraising is likely to meet the requirement for public benefit.

What is public benefit? When evaluating the public benefit of an organisation the Charities Regulator considers two things:

  1. the value the charitable activity or charitable activities of an organisation create; and
  2. who gets the benefit and value of those charitable activities.

Our guidance covers the following areas:

  • the charity test - the requirements an organisation must meet to be considered a charity;
  • what a public benefit is;
  • what is not a public benefit.

There’s also a selection of case studies to help explain what public benefit is and what can prevent a benefit from being a public benefit. Some of these case studies are based on real issues that we have dealt with during registration or during compliance and enforcement work. Other examples have been developed to illustrate the requirements that are in the Act.

Our guidance on public benefit can be found in the guidance section of our website.

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