Minister Joe O’Brien Launches Ireland’s First National Philanthropy Policy 2024-2028

14th December, 2023


  • Policy to deepen understanding and knowledge of philanthropy
  • Key themes for development of philanthropy in Ireland identified
  • Framework developed in collaboration with wide range of stakeholders


Minister of State for Community Development, Integration and Charities Joe O’Brien TD today (Wednesday 13th December) launched Ireland’s first National Philanthropy Policy 2024-2028 in the RDS in Dublin.


The Policy is designed to deepen understanding and knowledge, create an enabling environment and accelerate engagement with Philanthropy in Ireland for social good.


It has been developed in collaboration with stakeholders, including government departments, following a detailed research and consultation process.


The Policy framework contains five broad strands:

  • communications and awareness raising –  this includes developing a strategy to communicate the positive impact of philanthropy.
  • data and research – a key action will be to collate independent baseline data on philanthropic giving in Ireland.
  • stimulating and incentivising philanthropy – includes identifying appropriate measures to facilitate growth in the sector.
  • government and sectoral partnership – a key action will be to promote collaboration and awareness at government, and local government level, of the benefits of philanthropy.
  • capacity building – will include linking donors with potential beneficiaries.


The Policy contains 21 actions which are outlined under each of these strands. It will be implemented over five years (2024 to 2028) with an extensive review planned after the first three years.


Launching the Policy, Minister O’Brien said:


The Policy that I am launching today is the result of a collegiate approach involving many people, including representatives of the philanthropy and charity sectors, government departments, both at local and national level, and academia.


“The strength of this policy lies in the cooperative and collective nature of its development.


“The Policy identifies a number of key themes to form the bedrock of the development of philanthropy in Ireland. Government is very aware of the need to support and facilitate the generosity of the philanthropic community which contributes to a more just Ireland, and can have a positive effect on the lives of so many.”


The Chief Executive of Philanthropy Ireland, Éilis Murray, welcomed the launch of the Policy, saying:


“Philanthropy Ireland, representing the sector, has advocated for this policy for a long time and welcomes the leadership of Minister of State Joe O’Brien in delivering it.


“It presents a durable framework which marks the willingness to stimulate philanthropic giving through practical and necessary steps. In enabling philanthropy through independent data, incentivisation and collaboration, our communities will be the beneficiaries.”


The National Philanthropy Policy 2024-2028 is available here





The Department of Rural and Community Development Press Office

01-773 6843 / 086-4618285


Note to photo desks:

Official photography will be available from Julien Behal Photography


Notes to editors:


What is Philanthropy

There are many different definitions of philanthropy, but the working definition used by this Policy is that ‘Philanthropy is long-term, strategic and sustainable. It is solution focused, often evidence based and can take risks. It is private giving for public good’.


National Policy

The purpose of this Policy is to deepen understanding and knowledge, create an enabling environment and accelerate engagement with philanthropy in Ireland for social good.


This Policy is a recognition by Government of the value of philanthropy and a statement of intent to collaborate and support the development of philanthropy to maximize its potential for public good.


This first National Policy on Philanthropy for Ireland is the newest step in the development of the enabling policy documents framework by the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD). It is envisioned that it will positively contribute to facilitating and advancing philanthropy to support a more equitable, sustainable, and just society. It looks to define philanthropy in the Irish context and examine how philanthropy can be developed to support society.


Policy strands

The National Advisory Group identified five broad strands to form the framework of the Philanthropy Policy. Supporting objectives and the associated twenty-one actions are outlined under each of these strands in the main body of this document. Taken together these signal the vision and broad ambition of this policy:

  • Communications & Awareness Raising – To increase awareness of the value of philanthropic giving so that it is recognised, supported, and developed for the improvement and enhancement of peoples’ lives.
  • Data and Research – To activate strategies for the creation, collection and utilisation of data and research to inform and guide decision making in philanthropy, contributing to building an evidence base of needs.
  • Stimulating and Incentivising Philanthropy – To create an enabling environment and culture for Irish philanthropy to thrive and maximise its potential to benefit society.
  • Government & Sectoral Partnership – To promote understanding and collaboration between philanthropy and government for innovative solutions addressing key social issues.
  • Capacity Building – To build and support capacity of philanthropy stakeholders to strengthen engagement and to maximise impact for civil society and the communities they serve.


The outcomes that are expected from the policy are:


  • Increased understanding and support of philanthropy from key decision makers combined with an awareness of the impact and value of philanthropy leading to a stronger and more visible culture of philanthropy in Ireland.
  • Established third level centres of excellence to create and collate valid, timely, comparable data and knowledge on philanthropy in Ireland leading to transparent, accessible baseline data to support and inform key decision making.
  • A supportive fiscal environment following consideration of how our tax system can better encourage and support philanthropy.
  • Strengthened relationships through agreed models of engagement at both national and local level that support collaboration, increase confidence and inform decision making.
  • Through targeted supports in capacity building, increased capacity within beneficiary organisations is leading to increased confidence in donor investments having a meaningful impact and positive social return in addition to driving an increase in philanthropic donations.



National Advisory Group

The Policy was developed in conjunction with the ‘National Advisory Group on the Development of a Government Policy on Philanthropy in Ireland’. The Group was chaired by Minister of State Joe O’Brien. Members of The Group included representatives of a cross section of government, the broader philanthropy sector, relevant agencies, corporates, and academia.  The full Membership of the National Advisory Group can be found in the appendices to the Policy.