What is the Charity Classification Standard?
In simple terms the charity classification standard is how charities which share the same or similar characteristics, are divided into groups or categories.
Being able to group charities with similar activities will provide clarity for research and comparison purposes. It will also help guide funders and policy makers in assessing the charity sector and facilitate collaboration and knowledge-sharing among registered charities in Ireland.
Classification is not an exact science and there is no perfect standard so some charities will not neatly fit into the classification. There will be compromises to be made by these charities when determining the most appropriate categories. The classification has been kept simple and the categories are broad enough to enable every charity to select a ‘best fit’. It is for each charity to consider the ‘best fit’ for their particular charity within the standard using the information and examples set out in the Classification Guide.
PLEASE NOTE that although charities are limited in the number of categories they can choose, this does not limit the types of activities which a charity can undertake to further its charitable purpose(s). The activities section of the annual report filed by charities will continue to provide an opportunity for charities to elaborate on the diversity of their operations.
How does charity classification work?
There are 10 primary groups. Every charity must choose at least one of these primary groups, but may choose two.
- Social and Community Services
- Health and Care Services
- Community Development and Housing
- Environment and Animals
- Community Relations, Reconciliation, Advocacy and Civic Responsibility
- Funding, Philanthropy, Benevolence and Volunteering
- Education and Research
- Arts and Culture
- International Activities
Every primary group is subdivided into a number of secondary groups to further categorise the activities. When a charity selects a primary classification group, it will then be able to select up to two secondary groups linked to that primary group. Many of the secondary groups also have another layer or sub-classification which add additional detail to the classification.
You can find out more information about the groups, along with some practical examples, in the Classification Guide.
What should charity trustees consider when classifying their charity?
Charity trustees should consider the charitable purpose(s) for which the charity has been approved in conjunction with the main object, the activities of the charity and the financial expenditure (excluding staff and administration costs) on each activity to determine the most appropriate classification for the charity.
The Classification Standard and the Classification Guide will help trustees with this process.
It is important to understand that it is not the mechanism of delivery which should determine the classification, instead trustees should focus on what the objective of the activity is and the public benefit which is being provided. For example a number of charities use sport as the medium to deliver on their charitable purpose. However, the public benefit being delivered by those charities is not sport itself, but could be promoting social inclusion for people with disabilities or providing a support network for cancer survivors so this what they should base their classification choices on.
How to submit the Classification Form?
Once the charity trustees have decided on the classification, a Charity Classification form should be completed and submitted through your charity’s online Charities Regulator account (MyAccount). Our step-by-step guide provides an overview.
You must be logged into MyAccount to file reports and forms on behalf of your charity.
What classification information will be included on the public Register?
All classification information submitted by your charity will be published on the 'Overview' page of the charity's Register entry.
Can a charity amend its classification once submitted?
Yes, if your charity makes a mistake or needs to amend its classification you should complete and submit the online classification form again in MyAccount. The Register will then be updated.