How to Start a Nonprofit Organization in Ireland

Cersai Stark

Cersai Stark

An organization must satisfy specific requirements in order to be approved as a charity in Ireland. Hence, individuals seeking how to start a nonprofit must be acquainted with the governing principles outlined in the Charities Act of 2009.

In this article, we will outline the registration guidelines for establishing a nonprofit in Ireland.


How to start a nonprofit
How to start a nonprofit


  • The Charitable Act of 2009 buttresses some of the activities a nonprofit is required to undertake.
  • A public benefit is an act of service that benefits the public overall or a specific segment of the public in a measurable way.
  • A nonprofit must have a distinct altruistic goal


What are the requirements of the Ireland Charities Act?

Firstly, a charitable entity in Ireland must be created to primarily further a charitable objective. In like manner, these objectives must be geared toward public benefit. Also, the Act mandates in its charter that all of its assets must be used to advance its charitable goals. This however does not apply to funds utilized for personnel salaries or other expenses related to operation and maintenance. Lastly, a nonprofit may not use its assets to pay or provide benefits in kind to its members unless specifically approved.

What are the guidelines on how to start a nonprofit in Ireland?

Understanding the prerequisites for NGO establishment is the first step in figuring out how to start a nonprofit. Hence, we’ll start by outlining each of the steps to consider when launching an NGO.

1. Clearly define your organization’s charitable purposes

For individuals seeking how to start a nonprofit, the first thing to consider is the purpose of your organization. What does the nonprofit seek to achieve in the long run? 

In addition, the charitable act outlines some of the activities a nonprofit is approved to undertake. The approved activities include- poverty alleviation, education empowerment, religion, youth empowerment, equality, community development, etc. 

By and large, your organization needs to have a distinct altruistic goal. Given this, organizations with non-charitable objectives shouldn’t apply.

2. Align your organization to serve a public benefit within the country or outside 

Simply put, a public benefit is something that benefits the public overall or a specific segment of the public in a measurable way. For instance, fundraising to pay for a person’s medical expenses can be considered a specific segment as it does not benefit the whole population. 

Conversely, fundraising for the goal of covering the medical bills of a class of people with similar illnesses would meet the criteria of delivering a benefit to the public.

3. Choose the legal structure for your nonprofit 

When requesting charitable status, several conditions must be satisfied. One such is the structure of your organization. Consequently, how your organization is set up determines the type of governing document. 

A typical Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) requires at least two directors and at least two members. According to the Charities Act of 2009, the following conditions must be satisfied before an entity such as this can apply for charitable status. 

A Charity Trust is created by a deed of trust, which is contained in the document.

Unincorporated associations on the other hand are governed by a regulation in the form of a constitution. 

After choosing the legal structure for your nonprofit, you can go ahead to register with the Charities Regulator

4. Request a tax break

Following registration with the Charities Regulator, a nonprofit may go further to apply for a Charitable Tax Exemption. This allows a nonprofit to claim specific tax benefits if it meets the eligibility requirements. 

To clarify, the Revenue Commissioners and the Charities Regulator are two separate organizations. As a result, charities must submit applications for both tax exemption and registration. Likewise, it is illegal to operate under the guise of an unregistered charity or to operate without registering with the Charities Regulatory Authority.

5. Adhere to Charity Law and Company Law 

After fulfilling all conditions, a nonprofit must remain subject to all the requirements outlined in the governing Act. 


This step-by-step guide aims to walk you through the procedure of how to start a nonprofit organization in Ireland. For the most part, establishing a nonprofit requires a lot of drive and labor. But it doesn’t need to cost much money. Hence, following the directions provided in this article is a great way to begin your journey of incorporating your nonprofit.

Please let us know if you enjoyed reading this post. Please leave us a comment at the bottom of this post.


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