• Public encouraged to support registered charities with a track record of providing relevant assistance;
  • Charities urged to have the necessary resources and procedures in place to ensure their initiatives are effective and compliant.

The Charities Regulator is reminding the public and registered charities to consider carefully how they support the people of Ukraine, to ensure the significant funds and volunteering efforts being donated achieve their intended purpose. Registered charities, in particular, are being urged to plan fully before undertaking any initiatives.  Helen Martin, Chief Executive, Charities Regulator says: “Charities have a serious and significant duty of care. They must have all required safety and safeguarding procedures in place, along with the necessary resources and capacity.” 

The Charities Regulator Chief Executive adds: “People across the country continue to be moved by the plight of the people of Ukraine and understandably want to help in whatever way they can. Donating time or money to an established registered charity is a much more effective way of assisting people at a time of crisis than seeking to set up a charity from scratch. We urge the public to support registered charities with a track record of providing the kinds of practical supports and assistance that the Ukrainian people need at this time. They can check simply and quickly whether a specific charity is on the Register of Charities at Charitiesregulator.ie.”

Ms Martin also reminds registered charities that they must think and plan carefully before they undertake any new initiatives including those relating to the conflict in Ukraine.  “Any new activities must align with the charity’s stated charitable purpose and should be well thought through so that charity assets and volunteer efforts are targeted properly and effectively.”

“Where a charity is considering providing aid directly to Ukraine or neighbouring countries, for example, they should link in first with other registered charities already on the ground. Additionally they should check with the relevant government departments/agencies prior to undertaking any action so they fully understand all  the procedures that the charity must follow. Risk assessments are another fundamental step in the planning process, to ensure the safety and welfare of the charity’s personnel and volunteers, as well as the Ukrainian people they are seeking to help,” she said. 

Ms Martin said that anyone who has a concern that an organisation or group may be in breach of charity law, can raise their concern with the Charities Regulator, or with other relevant bodies where there may be potential breaches of other legislation. “The Charities Regulator does not regulate the specific services offered by registered charities, which are often regulated by other State agencies. However, any failure by a registered charity to adhere to the required standards of governance with regard to how the charity is run does fall within our remit. Where standards fall below what is expected, we will follow up with the charity concerned and, where necessary, will take appropriate regulatory steps to resolve any issues that have arisen.

”Good governance in a crisis is vital.  Charities depend significantly on their relationship with the public who support their work, and trust is the key to that relationship. The Charities Governance Code, which is available on our website, is there to assist registered charities to ensure that all governance requirements are met.  As always, we would urge charity trustees, who are the people responsible for the operation and administration of charities in Ireland, to carefully assess any proposed activities against the principles and standards set out in the Code,” she said.