Tuesday, 22 October 2013
The One Percent Difference National Giving Campaign: Statements
Thank you, Acting Chairman, for the opportunity to brief the House this afternoon on The One Percent Difference campaign, a major initiative of the Forum on Philanthropy and Fund-raising which was designed to play a key role in developing philanthropy and fund-raising in this country. This campaign is all about asking the Irish people and business to give 1% of their time or income to a cause they care about, a campaign described recently by President Clinton during a visit to these shores as a good idea.
I have said this before, but it is no harm to say it again, namely, a successful society rests on three pillars: first, it needs sustainable businesses to create the goods, services and jobs for a decent standard of living; second, it requires good government to promote and foster a safe, just and equitable society and, third, and by no means the least pillar, is a dynamic civil society.
Civil society is where people voluntarily associate and come together to advance common interests for the well-being of the community and to promote the common good. We all want an Ireland where individuals and their families, friends, communities and neighbours share responsibility with Government, the public and private sectors, community and voluntary organisations and civil society in a co-endeavour to realise everyone's capabilities and developmental potential. Civil society makes an immense contribution to the quality of life of the Irish people. There are almost 8,000 charities that do everything from medical research to search and rescue, but there are also sporting and cultural organisations such as the GAA, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and the Abbey Theatre which provide the nation with its heart and soul. Much of what makes us proud to be Irish is a product of the work of civil society.
If there is a crisis anywhere in the world, one will find Concern and Trócaire providing much-needed help and assistance for the local population. Where there are poverty and hunger, one will find many other development aid charities supported by the Irish people. In short, a huge amount of what we really value and are proud of is as a result of civil society. It is the source of much of what makes Ireland a great country, a country of which, for all its faults, we are justly proud. If we want to create a better Ireland, we need to invest in civil society.
The philanthropic sector is facing a very significant challenge in that two of the country's largest foundations, Atlantic Philanthropies and the One Foundation, are exiting the Irish scene, leaving a funding gap of between €50 million and €60 million per annum. Both organisations have made a tremendous contribution to Irish life, but it is now time for Irish foundations and philanthropists to fill the gap.
There are very strong economic arguments for greater private investment in the not-for-profit sector. The sector employs well over 100,000 people, more than the pharmaceutical and IT sectors combined. Increased private investment in the sector will help to foster economic and social recovery and will, I am sure, generate an increased number of jobs nationally.
Ireland's not-for-profit organisations have the potential to play a significant role in economic renewal. The One Percent Difference is all about generating additional investment to support the efforts of those individuals and organisations that are working for a better Ireland. This is an inclusive campaign; it recognises that in these tough times not everyone can afford to give financially, but we can all give time and that is equally valuable and to be valued. The campaign was launched in June 2013. I am delighted to say former President Mary Robinson, sports star Ronan O'Gara, celebrity chef Clodagh McKenna, novelist Fran O'Brien and the president of the GAA, Liam O'Neill, gave freely of their time to help with the launch which was attended by many of the 600 charities that have already signed up to the campaign.
This House was also represented as Senator Fiach Mac Conghail made a very impactful contribution to a video played at the event. He spoke about philanthropy and the arts. He was joined by Dr. Ed Walsh who spoke about the impact of philanthropy on education and Kilkenny hurler Richie Hogan who spoke about the contribution of volunteers to sport and the GAA. The GAA did not just attend the launch; it is a strong supporter of the campaign. It gave it the opportunity to showcase The One Percent Difference logo during the all-Ireland semi-final between Mayo and Tyrone which was shown live by RTE and introduced by Michael Lyster. Perhaps the Mayo lads might give 1% extra next year and finally win that elusive all-Ireland title.
I strongly believe Irish business needs to match the public's commitment to giving. I recently addressed the national council of IBEC and in my speech urged companies to get behind The One Percent Difference campaign. I am delighted to say business is responding. Many Members may have seen and heard the latest adverts for the campaign which feature real people, not actors, talking about their attitudes and habits when it comes to giving. One of the adverts features Anne O'Leary, CEO of Vodafone, who has a great message for business. She stated:
I think it's important for all business to give. Our employees expect it. Our customers expect it so I don't know how anybody could be in business without giving back to the community.That message is not just for corporate Ireland but also for all businesses, big and small. Country Crest and DoneDeal, two Irish SMEs that are leaders in giving, feature in radio adverts urging other small businesses to give 1% to make Ireland a better place in which to live.
Just last week, former US President Bill Clinton delivered the sixth Annual Ray Murphy Lecture at the invitation of the Forum on Philanthropy and Philanthropy Ireland. The lecture is held in memory of Ray Murphy, a former community worker from Cork who worked in Ireland and throughout the world supporting organisations working with disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The lecture is very generously supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies. Mr. Clinton used the occasion of his address to support strongly The One Percent Difference campaign. He stated:
I think the one percent thing is a great idea for two reasons. One is it raises a lot of money. The second is that it would democratise giving further because everybody can afford it, and if you don't have any money you can give one per cent of your time and make a contribution.He also stated The One Percent Difference campaign "is a good and noble thing to do. It is in the Irish tradition and you can do something that I would really appreciate. You can organise and execute it in a way that would enable other people to learn from you."
I urge this House to get behind the campaign. I ask Senators to visit onepercentdifference.ieto find out what 1% of their income is and a cause to support from the more than 600 organisations that have signed up for the campaign or any of the good causes in which they believe. I ask them to urge civil society organisations with which they work to sign up to participate in the campaign and use The One Percent Difference logo and messaging in their fund-raising. The One Percent Difference campaign is the first major step in delivering on the plans of the Forum on Philanthropy and Fundraising to grow the sector. I thank the forum for its work to date.
It is a collaboration of the philanthropic and fund-raising sectors and a range of Departments. My Department will continue to facilitate its work and I look forward to further initiatives from it in the coming months and years. By implementing the forum's plans, the full potential of Ireland’s tradition of giving will be realised as the culture and infrastructure of Irish philanthropy and fund-raising will be transformed in the next four years. I have no doubt that increasing the investment in good causes in Ireland will make a tangible difference to the lives of the people and ensure a better future for our children.
I welcome the Minister. Nobody could disagree in general with his statement. There are two choices in a time of challenge. First, one can become negative and not respond to a challenge in a positive way. The other choice is to realise there is a challenge and a responsibility on everyone to respond to it in a positive way.
We have had some exceptionally good times in Ireland. During the Celtic tiger period we saw the arts and cultural infrastructure grow in a significant way. Added to this is voluntarism. We often underestimate what it means in many of the great projects we have had. While one cannot put a monetary value on voluntarism, there is a sense of ownership which volunteers have when they are involved. One can point to progress made on the road and rail networks and employment levels. However, to have real quality of life and people happy and constructive, one needs to have arts and cultural events in the greater community.
Mention was made of Senator Fiach Mac Conghail and the Abbey Theatre. The high standard of drama productions there has had a good-feeling impact on the wider community and visitors to the country. If one is promoting a business, the worst that can happen is people feel they do not get value for money. Having a visitor to Ireland have a good cultural experience is very important.
Ireland is very good when it comes to donations to charities. Between 2009 and 2011, in the midst of the recession, there was still a major increase in donations to charities. The main donations are for emergencies. If one looks at the American system of giving - that is why I understand the former US President Bill Clinton believes it is a good one - one will see up to €300 billion coming from corporate bodies for the promotion of the arts and culture. Ireland's corporate donation rate is less than 1%. There is a need for education in this regard and for corporate Ireland to understand what it means to develop civil society, as well as how important it is to its work and the happiness of its employees. It is interesting how infectious this becomes.
The One Percent Difference campaign is a practical idea that provides a focus. What is important is getting the message across to the broader public. I am sure the Minister will not mind if I take one small example from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.
This year 430,000 people turned up in Derry for the Fleadh Cheoil. What were important were the messages which went with it, as for the first time the PSNI marching band was able to play in public. I regarded it as a privilege to go to the Waterside to meet the loyalist bands and present them with an award on the platform. We have been toing and froing since. I refer to this because one can have all the plans, policies and megaphone diplomacy one likes, but what is important is interacting with the community. Approximately 9,000 people were listening to the loyalist bands when they were performing on stage. A member of one of the bands told me that it was a good experience for them and stated they would show the lads in Belfast how to behave themselves. That was interesting coming from one member of a loyalist band speaking about another issue. I will not make any judgment on what is happening in Belfast.
The same applies to community arts activities with regard to interaction. When a play is staged in a local community, the entire community gets involved, not just the people on stage. In the same way that people speak about the all-Ireland hurling and football finals for days afterwards, they will speak about the play and the characters. The same applies to a local museum or heritage centre. There are such ideas and they are not pie in the sky.
The Minister is right to exhort us as legislators to get business to back civil society. This means engaging with the community. We should get communities speaking about this concept. These are not unrealisable goals and the bar has not been raised too high. It is doable. It may be a new approach, but most of it is already followed in essence and the question is how to build the structure. We should find some way of engaging with corporate Ireland and I do not mean through begging letters. To do this, we must come up with a message which is productive in order that people will see the value of increasing their contribution. The only reason they have not been doing so to any great extent is it has not been part of our culture. It is part of the culture in the United States, from where we have so much to learn. Those of us who travel back and forth to meet the Irish community see how they have bought in to the culture when it comes to corporate giving to civil society. This should be our first port of call, as well as approaching individuals.
I have no doubt that corporate Ireland would respond positively if this were put to it in a cogent and constructive way. There is something in it for businesses. We must also ensure they are acknowledged. No one can blame any business or firm wanting acknowledgement. We must be generous in our acknowledgement, depending on where the money goes. I have often seen businesses giving money and it has just been taken. There are very simple ways of providing for an acknowledgement locally and it should be possible to do this. Television programmes such as the weather forceast have a product attached to it; in this case I believe it is Avonmore cream. This has become part of how television services raise money. I do not suggest we should be quite this extreme, but there are subtle ways of providing for an acknowledgement.
I compliment the Minister. I hope everything will be positive in our response. I would, however, go one step further.
In that context, as a united political grouping we should seek to sell this back to the wider community in a proactive way.
I welcome the Minister, Deputy Hogan. I assure Senator Ó Murchú that The One Percent Difference campaign is designed to encourage, in a targeted and focused way, businesses, companies and corporations to start giving. The Irish people are known for their generosity but we have not co-ordinated our efforts in the context of how we might procure money from them. The Government has put in place a number of very successful initiatives. Two highlights in this regard are the jobs initiative and The Gathering. The One Percent Difference campaign is similar to both of these in that it is targeted, focused and professional in the context of encouraging people to donate money to charity.
This matter is not all about money, the question of time also arises. One cannot buy time. If people are not in a position to donate 1% of their incomes, and I accept that many individuals find themselves in difficult and challenging financial circumstances, they may still be in a position to give of their time. The time of those who have resources could still be extremely valuable because they may possess a certain expertise which could be very useful to either a voluntary or a charitable group.
It is a matter of concern that some major philanthropists are reaching the end of their engagement with this country. I am sure that engagement has been very successful and that some of the projects they have initiated have made a difference to the lives of Irish people. I am aware of some of the work done by Atlantic Philanthropies and I know it has had a profound impact on many individuals. On Wednesday last, a number of people I invited to Leinster House gave a presentation in the audio-visual room on restorative practices. I only discovered during their briefing that some of the funding their organisation receives comes from Atlantic Philanthropies. The position is similar with regard to the One Foundation. We need to learn from what has been done by these organisations in the context of their engagement with Ireland.
The One Percent Difference campaign will bring matters to an entirely new level and will facilitate companies which may not have a tradition of giving on a professional basis. Such companies will now have an opportunity to donate, as will individuals of high net worth who may be seeking projects in which to invest or to which to donate. If those to whom I refer visit the campaign website, I have no doubt they will receive guidance in respect of some very worthwhile projects which could benefit from their money.
Some sections of the Charities Act, which was passed in 2009, have been activated but there are others which remain to be brought into force. I suggest that the Minister consider, in his own good time, establishing a charities regulator because such an individual could prove extremely useful. Such a regulator could easily be funded by using a small proportion of the incomes of the various charities in the sector. There are many charities which do a great deal of good work but there is much duplication. Issues also arise in the context of the collection of cash. The appointment of a regulator would bring a great deal of confidence to those operating in the sector. A regulator would establish what is best practice, introduce checks and balances and ensure that charities operate in accordance with the principles of best corporate governance. I refer, in particular, to the smaller charities which might not necessarily possess the resources required to put in place such checks and balances.
I am of the view that this campaign is going to be a fundamental part of our recovery. Senator Ó Murchú referred to the 450,000 people who visited Derry for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. Everyone is aware of the massive economic boost which Dublin, particularly the north side of the city, recently enjoyed from the two all-Ireland finals, one of which went to a replay. I am of the view that there may be scope to consider whether sporting organisations should be granted charitable status or something similar. Such a development might encourage more businesses to donate money to sport. Sponsorship of sporting events by alcohol companies is eventually going to come to an end and this will give rise to particular challenges.
There is a great deal of change taking place in that sector.
I compliment the Minister on implementing the recommendations that were put to him and ensuring it is done professionally. In The One Percent Difference campaign, we have an initiative that is easily understood and has a very clear message. I hope it will result in a mass movement throughout the country of people who want to do good by society, make a difference, promote equality and ensure that those who are less well off can benefit from their generosity. It is a challenge for us all, whether in terms of time or money, but it should be embraced on a national basis by as many people as possible. I look forward to welcoming the Minister back in the future for a review of the difference the campaign is making.
I welcome the Minister, Deputy Phil Hogan. It is a pleasure to follow Senators Martin Conway and Labhrás Ó Murchú, both of whom spoke with great passion on this important issue. The launch of The One Percent Difference campaign is an important step towards the development of a culture of strategic giving in Ireland. As I understand it, it effectively represents the implementation of the first recommendation in the report of the forum on philanthropy and fund-raising, which the Minister convened soon after taking office. It is great to have an opportunity to celebrate the launch of the new campaign and reflect on what is happening.
It is absolutely crucial for this country's recovery that the Minister maintains a high-profile leadership role in the promotion of a culture of strategic giving which calls on the civic, ethical and financial resources of all citizens. Government leadership is vital in a context where all the research demonstrates that Ireland is behind in this regard. That research offers various analyses as to why it should be so. One of the greatest barriers is the belief or ideology that it is a matter solely for government to fulfil the cultural, social and economic needs of its people. On the contrary, in a progressive, post-modern, 21st century country we require a robust and growing partnership between citizens and government. Mr. Bill Clinton, former President of the United States, spoke a great deal about this when he was in Dublin. Irish culture must embrace partnership between citizens and government to support the wealth of - and the wealth generated by - the non-profit, social, civic and cultural sectors.
As colleagues and the Minister observed, for the initiative to succeed we need everybody to give and, moreover, to do so strategically. In fact, we need people to give back and give forward. The One Percent Difference campaign, it its awareness-raising and media activities, is presenting the Irish people with this message in a straightforward and effective way. Philanthropy Ireland helpfully circulated information to Members, including links to some of its excellent advertisements, in case we had missed them. I welcome the Minister's leadership in encouraging and supporting the campaign.
It is important to emphasise the urgency of the challenge to grow the culture of strategic giving. We are all aware of the tremendous number of charities, non-profit organisations, cultural agencies and initiatives and community-based organisations - many of which Senators are engaged in - that have had to find ways to continue to operate despite being stripped to the bone of past resources. They have been obliged to do more with less and largely succeeded in that regard, but their spirit and motivation have been significantly impacted by the long period of financial crisis. We have a responsibility as law makers, policy makers and public leaders to ensure the spirit of cultural and social innovation is not damaged beyond repair. We have not yet come to that, but I am deeply concerned that if more resources do not come on stream soon, then we may start to lose one of the Irish people's greatest assets, namely, the ingenuity and idealism which can create the social and cultural conditions for the recovery of our economy.
We need cultural resources too. With the launch of The One Percent Difference campaign, I want to affirm two critical elements of its message. The first is the encouragement for everyone to give, a point on which two previous speakers spoke eloquently. The Minister referred to President Clinton speaking about democratising the culture of giving. That point hit home. Secondly, the message going out is to think about giving in a more strategic manner. At the beginning of the report of the Forum on Philanthropy and Fund-raising is a message:
We want people to give in an efficient and effective way yet we also want people to give because to give, to give back and to give forward is one of the most human things to do. We want to find ways to encourage people to touch the great human capacity of empathy as well as creativity. I was taken by a recent article from the international edition of The New York Timesabout the philanthropy of Ralph Lauren and recalling his most recent philanthropy project, which was restoring an amphitheatre of the école nationale supérieur des beaux-arts. The article quotes him: "I don't like the word 'philanthropy,' because it separates me from the emotion of how and why I did things.”. Is philanthropy a foreign word? I actually like the word but I am struck by the fact it is a difficult word in our culture. Is it a word devoid of emotion? Yes, we need to be strategic, thoughtful and results-oriented and we need to use our logical models to plan the change we want to bring about but we must never go so far into that territory that we divide ourselves and our people from the emotion and the heart of giving.
Philanthropy is a particular kind of charitable giving. It is focused on the root causes of problems and making a sustainable improvement, as distinct from contributing to immediate relief.
I have a number of questions on the campaign. Senator Conway referred to looking forward to reviewing some of the results of the campaign. The forum report refers to setting a target to increase private giving by 10% year-on-year to 2016. Are there plans on how to measure the increase in giving related to this campaign? How will we know if the forum and the national giving campaign has been successful?
As I read the recommendations of the forum, which is effectively a roadmap to develop a culture of strategic giving in Ireland, I noted the four primary recommendations are interlinked. Any one will not work too well without progress on other fronts. I phoned people yesterday to put together some reflections and they made this point. Let us remind ourselves of some of the other recommendations. Can the Minister indicate to us, today or later, if there have been developments on the forum's fiscal and infrastructural recommendations on tax reform? I understand a social innovation fund is being set up and some moneys have been granted by the Government and philanthropic organisations. Has there been progress in setting up the €10 million fund for the establishment and growth of social innovations?
I am mindful of our budget. In his speech about entrepreneurship, innovation and investment, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, referred to measures to encourage the business initiative. In the Action Plan for Jobs, there was a recommendation for Forfás to publish a report on how social enterprise can contribute to our sector. The report was published and the Minister of State, Deputy Sherlock, set up an intergovernmental group to determine how to progress the recommendations of the Forfás report. I am concerned that one report will follow another. I wish the budget had contained an announcement about investment in social enterprise as well as in the business sector. Perhaps it is coming soon and perhaps the Minister can comment on this.
I welcome the Minister to the House and I also welcome the fact that the House is giving this issue a further airing. The Minister launched this campaign in June 2013 and the campaign is now being giving greater publicity. The radio advertisements to which Senator Ó Murchú referred are giving the people of Ireland a greater understanding of the campaign. Irish people have a long tradition of giving to charity but this is usually done in a sporadic fashion. We have donated in a reactive way rather than in a regulated way. I agree with the previous speaker on the point that Irish people are not comfortable with the notion of "philanthropy". I always associate philanthropy with America rather than with Ireland. However, the Irish people give generously in comparison to other countries. A total of 89% of Irish people have given to charities but only on a sporadic basis. We need to change that mindset. Only 15% of Irish people make regular donations to charity while across the water in the UK, 36% of people donate on a regular basis. Senator Ó Murchú also referred to corporate donations. The Irish level of corporate donations is at only 1%, a very low level. I will give an example from my own area. Merck Sharp & Dohme is based outside Carrick-on-Suir. That company gives a phenomenal amount of money to the local community. I do not have a figure but practically every local organisation gets money in some shape or form from that company. I would like to see a marrying of the local donation and the local community benefit under The One Percent Difference, in order to make a difference.
Seamus Mulconry is the head of Philanthropy Ireland and he spoke recently about the amount of money which it is hoped to be raised by this project. He said we need to raise €800 million by 2016. That seems to be a significant amount of money but with the corporate donation level at 0.1% of pre-tax profits it is not such a great amount of money when one takes into the amount of money earned by foreign direct investment companies and traditional and indigenous companies. In my view the plan is very achievable and I commend the Minister on his work. More work is needed in the communities on this issue. We need to show local businesses how they can enhance their business. Senator Ó Murchú referred to the weather forecast advertisement. Many local businesses need to be supported by the local community in order to survive. Such businesses can contribute to their local communities as part of The One Percent Difference. It not necessarily a national-level programme. In my view, it will have more of an effect if implemented at local level. Very little has been made of the fact that one per cent of a person's time and effort can be committed locally. It is not all about money. We are living in difficult times and some people will not be able to contribute a percentage of their net income because they do not have an income. However, people can contribute one percent of their time and that time can be translated into voluntary work or into helping to fund-raise for an organisation. This part of the campaign should be emphasised more. I ask for the Minister's comments.
We are a great nation to give our time, and several speakers have referred to the number of hours given at a local level by people to our national sports of hurling and football. Many hours are also given to music and the arts by people at a local level. This garners goodwill in a community, bringing happiness and joy, and it costs no money at all. This should not just be about money and it should also consider the giving of time, which can be translated into a feel-good factor for communities.
This campaign also offers people an opportunity to stand back and look at what we have done in this society. Nobody in the world is better at donating when there is a disaster and we are the first to give money to donation campaigns. Nevertheless, we must change our thought process regarding charity and providing money to the likes of this campaign. The campaign must steer a message on what it is doing, and people must be aware of the facts. I ask for the Minister's thoughts on the second part of the campaign, which should be about what will happen with money and emphasise the voluntary time element of the effort. If those could be achieved as part of the overall campaign, we would reach the €800 million target set by the chief executive of Philanthropy Ireland.
I welcome the Minister to the House and I am glad to have the opportunity to make a few points about this campaign. We all agree with the ambition of The One Percent Difference campaign, although sadly, the first I heard of it was when this debate was scheduled. I am regularly on-line and read newspapers, although I am clearly not sufficiently well-read. If I am admitting the first I heard of this was when this debate was scheduled, we must raise the campaign's profile. For that reason, we should celebrate the fact we are holding the debate, and I hope the other House has a similar debate. We should use the opportunities we have, through the media and otherwise, to promote the campaign.
I am sure everybody will mention that Irish people are world renowned for contributing to charity and as Senator Landy has mentioned, perhaps we are more renowned when there is a global or international crisis or major event where lives are lost and money is needed. We are per capita bigger contributors than anywhere else. The point has been well made, and 89% of Irish adults give to a charity, compared to 58% in the UK and 40% in Germany. As Senator Landy - and I am sure Senator Ó Murchú - mentioned, at 0.1% of profit, it seems the top 500 companies in Ireland could do more in contributing to charity.
Coming from the sector, I know these companies are putting together a budget for philanthropy; a company like United Drug might give €100,000 annually to philanthropic and charitable organisations but many companies have basic rules such as stipulating that all recipients must get €200. I do not know if that kind of approach has the kind of penetrative impact it could, especially if a campaign like The One Percent Difference campaign could indicate areas of focus. I know we are focusing heavily on the arts, and I will speak on that in a moment. We could have a government-guided approach on the issues funded - perhaps by up to €800 million - on an annual basis, with a menu of areas that we would like people to support. We could also stipulate tangible outcomes to be achieved in that respect, which might help focus minds in the corporate sector. If they see an initiative that they wish to support, it would be better than the approach I outlined as taking place now. I picked United Drug but I am sure there are countless companies, including multinationals and the larger publicly quoted indigenous companies, that could be involved. It would be a better strategic approach.
As Members of the Oireachtas, I imagine many of us far exceed the 1% target in our donations. Quickly totting up the organisations with which I am involved and support, the contribution comes to 6.5% or 7%, and I am sure I am at the lower end of contributions made by Members of both Houses.
Getting everybody up to 1%, even in these difficult times, would be good. We need in selling that idea to highlight the tangible outcomes that can be achieved.
Governments have consistently been penny wise and pound foolish regarding the arts. It is an easy target and a few million euro is taken from the sector every year. For example, €3.1 million was taken from the Irish Sports Council in the budget. These are headings we do not automatically acknowledge as being huge contributors to the revenue of the State with great potential. We need to examine this issue. The arts sector provides 80,000 jobs and contributes approximately €5 billion to the Exchequer, but it has scope to generate tens of billions of euro, if targeted correctly. We can generate larger returns for small investments in the arts. This does not jump out at people as a sector that can create many jobs, but it can and we should think outside the box in this regard. There may be low hanging fruit in the sector to create jobs.
I have raised the issue of sports tourism previously. With others, I championed the Rally Ireland project. The Volvo Ocean Race and Tall Ships events have since been held and run well throughout the country. Rally Ireland generated €50 million following a small investment, while the return was similar for the Volvo Ocean Race. Yesterday I spoke to somebody in Sligo who was involved in the hosting of the world championships in paddleboarding. That event could attract an infinite number of visitors. According to his calculations, it will be worth more to Ireland than the boat race. If we were to target ten events worldwide to bring to Ireland which would be worth €50 million each, that would generate €500 million in revenue. Every €1 million spent on such events equates to 13 jobs. If we produced a list of events such as the fleadh hosted by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann which has a number of spin off events, we could target them to generate more revenue. That would not take from the small amounts given to other needy charities. Along with being the right thing to do in terms of being philanthropic, charitable and donating to organisations, such events can create jobs and additional revenue streams for the State.
I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute. I hope the Minister will up the ante to raise the profile of this campaign, as we all should. I will try, notwithstanding the fact that yesterday was the first time I had heard about it.
I welcome the Minister and thank him for the work done to date on this valuable proposal. It is important to develop this concept. Companies look for specific projects to sponsor rather than giving a set amount to a number of voluntary organisations. There is an interesting connection between expenditure and what it is used for. A member of my family works in Kenya where in a local school there is one teacher for every 70 pupils. It is being suggested companies should sponsor a teacher, which would cost €1,200 a year. This would mean a direct link with specific expenditure, as opposed to the company providing €1,200 for the school generally. This approach to projects needs to be developed in the State.
I am involved in a project where 30 children who have dropped out of school are provided with one-to-one teaching by 18 teachers on a voluntary basis. These 18 people are giving more than 1% and as a result of their voluntary contribution last year, six of the young people sat the leaving certificate applied, while another six sat the junior certificate examinations. It is expected that 14 young people who had dropped out of the education system will sit examinations during the coming year. This is the result of the voluntary contribution made.
I refer to third level colleges. I graduated from UCC.
It is interesting how in the past ten to 15 years UCC has brought in €87 million in voluntary contributions for projects it specifically targeted to sell to people. One donation alone was for more than €5 million. UCC has adopted a proactive approach to getting in money for projects. Without getting such funding, the college would not have been able to proceed with projects.
One of the interesting things that has been evident in the United States for some time is that when people leave a third level institution, one member in each class has the role of keeping track of 14 or 15 students within the class and he or she must feed back the information on their location in the United States or another part of the world. Each graduate pays $100 a year for the first ten years after leaving college. For the next ten years they pay $500 a year and for the following ten years they pay $1,000 a year. If we applied these figures to the Minister, this year he would pay €1,000 to UCC as a graduate of the institution.
It is a system used in many universities and something we should consider and encourage in universities in this country. Irish graduates are doing well, regardless of what part of the world they are in. It is a question of giving back and helping our institutions, especially in the area of research and development. With money coming into third level institutions, research and development is a very important part of job creation. It is one area on which we should work and in which we should make a significant effort.
I thank the Minister for the work he has done in this area. We have much work to do and much catching up to do. We all have a part to play in this regard.
The Minister is building a strong reputation. I give him credit for taking the political lead on philanthropy. Whether we call it philanthropy, giving or supporting, it is something that should be considered as a strong legacy. I do not say the Minister is going anywhere soon, but he should consider it in that way. He has shown courage and moved the agenda forward. He listened to people involved in the industry. The reason I say this - Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú might concur with me - is that we plough a lonely furrow. I am just back from the United States where I was fund-raising for the weekend. I am going back on Sunday for ten days to meet people.
What we sometimes lack is the public congratulations, not to the Abbey Theatre or Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann but the people who give money, and a governmental acknowledgement, whether it is inserted in a speech or mentioned otherwise. That is of benefit because it endorses a culture and what we are talking about is a cultural shift not only when it comes to giving 1% but also to the Diaspora. We are aware that through the Global Irish Economic Forum there are a lot of significant members of the Diaspora and also friends of Ireland who want to support us, not necessarily in a transactional way such that in giving something they get something back but on an emotional level. There is nothing stronger than public commendation, public praise or an acknowledgement. That would help people such as me. For instance, I am going to Boston next weekend. We will have the great privilege of meeting Thomas O'Neill, son of Tip O'Neill, who is the president of The Abbey Theatre Foundation chapter in Boston. He is hosting a dinner which I will attend for 30 potential prospects for us in Boston. The Government can support us without putting its hand in its pocket by endorsing us. One of the recommendations that emerged from the Global Irish Economic Forum two weeks ago was a simple one, namely, that if trade delegations or Ministers travel abroad, they should ask the Arts Council, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann or the Abbey Theatre whether we have an interest in these cities because there is nothing like a Minister, not just the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht or the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade but any Minister, acknowledging the connections for cultural, sports or social activity in which we are involved in the United States because that increases leverage. It makes sense.
People give money and that can actually cause leverage for us to create employment and, more important in terms of my business, improve access to culture and the arts and further the right of citizens to gain access to the arts for as little money as possible, or none.
Let me outline what is interesting about the differences between Ireland and the United States. In Ireland, corporate giving is actually quite strong. In fairness to the corporate companies here, the level is quite high. The challenge concerns individual giving. As Senator Zappone asked, how can we encourage people to become more strategic in their giving, be it through direct donations or volunteering. We need to encourage not only a cultural change but also a more mature approach.
I welcome the measures in this year's Finance Bill to simplify the tax incentive for charity donations. We operate in a declining public funding environment in which the cumulative effect of yearly decreases in funding is taking hold. The cultural shift that the Minister is spearheading is one that I acknowledge wholeheartedly.
One of the recommendations of the report of the forum, which Senator Zappone mentioned, was for a yearly increase of 10%. We must be careful that the Minister is not hoisted with his own petard regarding a particular figure. The target is far too ambitious and not based on specific data. We are missing data. Senator O'Brien will outline how we can try to have a baseline regarding data and the number of charities so we will be able to be clear about this. We must tie in metrics as we do not have accurate data. By way of support, I caution the Minister not to repeat the 10% target year on year. By 2016, we are talking about a 60% increase, up to roughly €800 million. That is a very ambitious target. I deal with ambitious targets in that I have raised €800,000 already this year through private giving. Having targets and being realistic are separate, however. We need to communicate that better so the Minister will not be put in a position in which he must defend an approach that is still not sufficiently accurate.
This week is Best Will in the World Week, a week in which people are encouraged to leave some funding in their legacy. This is an area of future growth. Some might find the subject too delicate and sensitive. The Abbey Theatre benefited twice from it. One of our former artistic directors, Lennox Robinson, left the rights of all his plays to the Abbey Theatre when he died. Therefore, the Abbey Theatre makes money as a consequence. George Bernard Shaw is an extraordinary example. He left one third of the royalties from his plays to the National Gallery of Ireland. When we put on "Major Barbara" this summer, a significant proportion of the money made at the box office went to the National Gallery of Ireland. That is really smart move. There are very inventive ways of leaving a legacy.
I congratulate the Minister and support Senator Zappone's question. We must ensure the metrics are right. How can we evaluate the success of the campaign? While the aspiration is correct, we need actual figures by which to assess the campaign, which I believe will be a success. I have one small concern, based on data reported to us. The One Percent Difference website had 25,300 unique visitors but only 722 clicked onto a cause. That is somewhat disappointing. We need to be clear on the metrics so we can actually share the legacy of success in a couple of years.
I welcome the Minister to the House. He has shown great leadership, vision and reforming zeal. This is a superb intervention. It is good that a Minister of Deputy Hogan's calibre and reputation is endorsing the campaign in the Seanad and giving it his imprimatur. That is important for public confidence and trust.
I beg to differ with the esteemed former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who said the campaign is a good idea. He is wrong; it is a fantastic idea. He is underrating it entirely. The Minister should let the former US President know that Senator Whelan is keeping his eye on him just as The Skibbereen Eagle was keeping an eye on the Tsar of Russia.
From childhood, we are taught to donate and give. I recall from my school days when we made donations for the nuns on the missions overseas. It may have become a little more fancy and sophisticated now with the word “philanthropy”. However, I accept Senator Zappone’s point that everyone can be a philanthropist. The message of The One Percent Difference campaign is that everyone can give a little which can help a lot.
As Senator Mac Conghail said, people also want to be thanked for their donations but also want to see the end result. It is nice to have a gesture of recognition for donations. Never before in living memory have we needed to dig deep and show real social solidarity whether it is for the arts, culture, education or charitable work. People and families are struggling. Those of us who are more fortunate can certainly do with a little less. We could also give up a little and make better use of what we have. Sometimes I am ashamed at how much we have and at how much is wasted such as household food waste. We could organise ourselves better to prevent such waste. A significant difference would be made with just a small donation through a weekly direct debit to a charity, sporting or educational organisation. We must dig deep and help those less fortunate.
I commend the Government on the progress it has made in this area. The Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter, has made significant progress in the establishment of a charities regulator. This, however, needs to be expedited. There is a direct link between people giving and public confidence in that donated moneys are put to best use.
I commend those who give freely of their time to activities such as the GAA or caring for others through meals on wheels. They are an inspiration and great example to us and really put us to shame. Many organisations would fall apart if it were not for their volunteers, people willing to give up their free time.
Going into the winter with its long evenings, no one should go cold, lonely or hungry for the want of us having a bit of extra thought, care and compassion. Irish people are generous but now is the time to dig a little deeper until we get over this hillock of a recession. The One Percent Difference campaign, which the Minister has fronted, is to be commended and supported. All Members of the Seanad support it and will ensure it is driven on in our local communities.
I welcome the Minister to the House and congratulate him on all his work on philanthropy. One of my main passions since I became a Senator has been interacting with the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Alan Shatter, on the need for a charities regulator.
I wish to speak about this issue. There have been two main constants, namely, the public and the charity sector itself. Everybody knows donations to charity are falling on a yearly basis, primarily due to the public having less disposable income to donate to worthy causes. Never before has it been so important that we put in place a framework of regulation covering transparency and checks and balances. To return to a point made by Senator Mac Conghail, we do not have a list, and I would love to see a website where anyone can see a beautiful list of charities, what they do and where their giving is. The main word is "transparency".
Like Senator Mac Conghail I am fund-raising all the time, in my case for the Jack & Jill Foundation. I am glad to say we are doing well but what we find with regard to corporations, particularly foreign direct investment companies, is that my gosh golly one must have one's house in order before one goes near them because they want to audit one and need to know one is squeaky clean. We have no regulatory framework. The Minister, Deputy Shatter, is superb but he cannot get the regulator up and running fast enough. We might have put the cart before the horse because we need this for the initiative of the Minister, Deputy Hogan, to go forward in a powerful way. I hope he agrees with me. The two Departments need to work hand-in-hand. I know they are working hard on it.
Last year, the media, God bless their hearts, damaged the sector by the way it was portrayed. We had "Prime Time", The Sunday Timesand the Evening Heralddiscussing the secrecy of salaries. Even last week I read in the Irish Examinerthat donations from the public to a large Irish charity decreased from €8.1 million to €2.8 million in 2012, and there was a 45% drop in donations in 2011. The good news is the charity in question received a 4% uplift in the Government's donation which was €50 million. What upset me is the charity spent €1.4 million on fund-raising in 2012 as opposed to €1.3 million in 2011, which is a 13% increase. Explaining the massive drop in donations, the directors of the charity stated no major appeals for funds were made in 2012 but it spent €1.4 million on fund-raising. This particular charity has €31 million in the bank on deposit. When people read such things in the newspapers they wonder why they should give to such a charity. As I stated to the Minister, Deputy Shatter, no charity should keep more than two years of what it needs on deposit in a bank account. Many big charities in the country have in excess of €300 million or €400 million. This is hard for those of us with a smaller social entrepreneur charity organisations but it should not be allowed.
I have moved away slightly from the actual subject but I am making this point because we need regulations and transparency so the public can be confident and feel their money is going to the right place and is being looked after correctly in a very transparent and responsible way and they know they are getting value for money.
Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire go dtí an Teach. While monetary planned giving in Ireland is low, Irish people are among the highest donors to charity in the developed world, as has already been mentioned by some of my colleagues. A total of 89% of Irish adults give to charity compared to 58% in the UK and 40% in Germany. Although most Irish people give to charity, only 15% do so in a planned regular way. By contrast in the UK 36% of donors make regular donations.
The contrast in Ireland between the widespread readiness to give spontaneously and the relatively low levels of personal and corporate giving in a more proactive, purposeful and engaged way represents a major opportunity to harness the untapped potential to widen the extent of planned giving and the amount given by the public and businesses.
Philanthropy is not a word Irish people use often. In our history, we have benefited a great deal from philanthropy. Anybody can be a philanthropist because it is the intent, not the amount, that makes someone a philanthropist. We have many philanthropists in this country. Philanthropy, in essence, is about committed investment in solving social problems and building a more vibrant civil society. It is a particular form of charitable giving that is characterised by taking the time to think through how one can best use resources to solve social problems and make a real difference. There is an appetite among the public for a cultural turning point to restore national pride, self-confidence and a renewed sense of community values to replace the rampant individualism of the Celtic tiger.
Research shows a commitment to the principle that in tough times we all need to give a bit more and that Ireland's recovery is everybody's business. We all have a part to play. Despite the recession, research indicates that if properly asked, Irish people are willing to increase their donations. Some need more encouragement than others. Research shows that Irish people respond best when they can see the need and all of us can now see the need for our communities. Not everyone can contribute financially but we can all pull together to give time to a local community or to a cause we are all passionate about and that makes a tangible difference. This should be not just for a few days or weeks but for a lifetime.
The Minister and Senator Whelan mentioned contributions made by voluntary organisations in the country. I acknowledge the time and effort of many voluntary organisations. They are all philanthropists and they have given much more than 1% of their time. GAA clubs have already been instanced, along with the 850 tidy towns groups in the country that are enhancing their towns and villages to make them better places to live in or visit. They receive support from local businesses but there is an opportunity to increase support to our towns, villages, GAA clubs and sporting organisations. We also mentioned the arts and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann contributing to a better Ireland. I congratulate the Minister on this initiative and I assure him of my full support.
Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire. Ar ndóigh, tá an-áthas orm labhairt ar an ábhar seo maidir leis an One Percent Difference agus an feachtas seo atá ar bun. Tagaim le cuid mhaith dá bhfuil ráite ag mo chomhleacaí anseo. According to the dictionary, philanthropy is the performance of charitable or benevolent actions but the root of the word comes from the Greek and means the love of mankind. We all ask for more philanthropy on that basis. From my understanding of philanthropy, there is a general sense that it comes from a person or an organisation with a lot of wealth who or which is therefore in a position to give more. In Ireland we have a reputation of citizens giving a lot to charitable causes. Much of what has been discussed is volunteerism. There is a huge sense of volunteerism in the country, where people give freely of their time.
Philanthropy has been important here in the past number of years. It is important to put the debate in the context of these difficult financial times. Many NGOs are almost completely dependent on the contributions of philanthropic organisations to keep the ship afloat during these difficult times. A number of large philanthropic organisations are ending their engagement with us and it will cause a lot of angst. It is important that the money from the campaign is used to support those organisations to ensure we have continuity. There is a difference between philanthropy and sponsorship. This country has had a lot of sponsorship by large organisations but the nature of sponsorship is that there is a quid pro quo and that the companies or organisations look for some form of return. My understanding of philanthropy is that an organisation will give without strings attached, although there must be oversight.
Ireland does not have a great record on philanthropy and it is something new to us. Sinn Féin welcomed any plans to increase giving. It is important that any proposals to increase investment in philanthropy are discussed and fully teased out, particularly in respect of taxation. At the outset, Sinn Féin has serious concerns about proposals attempting to change the country's tax residency laws under the guise of the giving campaign. People availing of such laws are tax exiles. They are Irish residents but they do not stay here for more than 182 years per day and do not pay taxes on global profits, only their Irish interest profits. We know many of them and it has been reported that they will go to the limit, remaining here for 182 days a year or 280 over two years. We saw an abuse of the system until 2008. In 2009, we got rid of the Cinderella clause, where jets took off from Dublin Airport at 11.59 p.m so that the day was not counted. Sinn Féin has serious concerns that any attempt to link the national giving campaign with tax breaks for those in exile could lead to the view that we are selling tax residency.
However, that does not throw cold water on the whole concept. The previous Government introduced the domicile levy, which had a lower threshold in terms of what people had to contribute. The domicile levy is €200,000, which can be written off against tax on Irish interests. Only seven people paid the domicile levy in the last year for which we have figures. Some 11,307 people made income tax returns in 2011 and claimed they are not tax resident. The pool of people to which this could apply is 11,307. From the domicile levy, we see it is a very low number.
Sinn Féin welcomes the national giving campaign but we are wary of any tax breaks for exiles that may be seen as a way of abusing it. We are also concerned that philanthropy should never be seen as a replacement for State support. The State should not abdicate its responsibility in respect of charities, NGOs and arts bodies. We note concerns brought to our attention that there must be some form of regulation of the bodies in receipt of funding. In some organisations, there are fears that money donated or given on a philanthropic basis can be swallowed up in structures and administration costs. Many people would like to see more money spent on projects on the ground. Go ginearálta, fáiltíonn muid roimh an obair atá ar bun ag an Aire.
I welcome the report and the work of Mr. Flannery and his colleagues to bring us this far. Ronald Reagan described the following sentence as the most feared in the American political language: "I am from the Government and I am here to help." We are trying to encourage civic participation to a greater level. It would be a wonderful thing if the old Irish spirit of community help and community giving could be formalised by this and other structures. The Irish tradition was one of giving and of communities coming together to help. One of the great victims of the Celtic tiger was that type of approach but now that we are in a different economic place, many more people are reflected on what really matters in society. The structures presented by the Minister can make a meaningful difference. Much work remains to be done to change our mindset.
We can contrast western Europe and the United States.
Western Europe has a general policy of high taxation and high state involvement, a policy that produces certain results in the United States as a result of these types of schemes.
Great work, not just charitable work, across educational and health services is done as a result of greater public involvement. I hope we can learn from this and bring about the policies the Minister, from his contribution, and the forum's report are trying to produce.
I thank the significant number of Members of the House who have made a contribution to this debate. I thank them for sharing their personal experiences in so many cases but also for their suggestions to ensure we are going in the right direction and for their proposed changes to make it a better strategy. There is no better person than Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú who has spent a lifetime involved in voluntary activity and developing a brand for Ireland through the Irish language and music that is second to none in terms of its attractiveness to the Diaspora. Together with Senator Fiach Mac Conghail who is involved in literature and the arts, the House has two very experienced Senators in the world of philanthropy who have been getting on with the job in advance of a structured approach such as the forum on philanthropy some years ago.
As I described in my opening contribution, we are in a difficult position. Atlantic Philanthropies and The One Foundation are leaving the field of philanthropy. This will create a financial gap for many organisations that are currently beneficiaries and which have benefited significantly, including in Northern Ireland. I am surprised that Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has expressed concerns and created a diversion on matters relating to exiles and which have nothing to do with this debate. He and his organisation, Sinn Féin, have had many dinners in recent weeks in the United States - political and otherwise; therefore, he and Sinn Féin, more than any other organisation represented in the House, know the value of securing foreign direct investment through these sources-----
How Sinn Féin channels and spends the money is its own business, but in the case of the arts, literature and music there are rules which perhaps might not comply with the normal political fund-raising Sinn Féin carries out in the United States-----
-----is to have a general conversation about how we can improve matters in order to benefit disadvantaged communities, the arts and the music world and to deal with educational disadvantage. We plan to generate a not-for-profit sector which is transparent and regulated.
I take on board Senator O'Brien's point on the charities regulator. I will have a conversation with the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Alan Shatter. The charities sector was part of the Department responsible for community issues, but for some reason it ended up in the Department of Justice and Equality. I do not know how that happened in 2011, but we are working closely together with the Minister who has made some progress in the past year.
Training of fund-raising staff is part and parcel of what we are seeking to do. Many speakers have observed that the public must have confidence that fund-raising personnel are not doing it for personal gain but are fund-raising for an organisation and that the information on their identification document meets the statutory requirements we wish to put in place. That is the remit of the charities regulator and the charities legislation. It is important to have confidence in the system of fund-raising. We have established a diploma course for people who wish to train in fund-raising. Dublin City University is the principal provider of this course to train and improve fund-raisers in order to attract inward investment into organisations experiencing financial difficulties. As Senator Katherine Zappone said, it is a partnership between the citizen and the Government, including the not-for-profit sector. We are seeking to build on that partnership. The Minister for Finance has already implemented some of the fiscal recommendations made in the report. We will not get the extra €300 million unless we can make it an attractive proposition and compete with the US companies that have a greater incentive in their home country to give philanthropic donations. We need to level the playing pitch in this regard to encourage these companies to participate in Ireland
The company established for the purpose of developing the social innovation fund has been incorporated recently. The Minister of State, Deputy Sean Sherlock, will chair an interdepartmental group on how that project can be advanced. I acknowledge that the comparative data are required to show that what is being done stands up to scrutiny and in order that the contributions can be valued. Particularly with regard to finance, we need to reinforce the confidence of the general public and organisations generally in order that they know their donations are going to the desired beneficiaries.
Senator Denis Landy spoke about donations which were regular and consistent. We are hoping to develop this form of donation and it will mean a cultural change. It could be that the meaning of the word "philanthropy" has not been understood by the public. We may need to talk more about national giving rather than philanthropy. It is a word that conjures up the notion of exiles, as Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has tried to describe it. That is not our intention-----
-----rather it means giving by ordinary people on a national level. We want a situation where everyone's contribution of time or money will be valued and every contribution is valued equally. That is our mission statement. I will take on board the Senator's point on the use of the word "philanthropy".
I am curious that Senator Marc MacSharry had not heard about The One Percent Difference campaign. We will again circulate all Oireachtas Members with the details of the campaign for those who might have missed them. We are very anxious that people are informed about the full extent of the campaign. Our policy is very open and transparent.
Senator Colm Burke referred to opportunities in the area of research and development and their extension into the area of enterprise. The Minister of State, Deputy Sean Sherlock, will consider these opportunities for more philanthropic donations as part of his role as Minister of State in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. This has been done successfully in places such as the Dublin Institute of Technology, the University of Limerick and University College Cork. The universities and third level institutions cannot survive without the donations they receive from international high net worth individuals and for which we are very grateful.
I agree with Senator John Whelan that acknowledging contributions is as important as receiving them. We will consider how to publicise the names of the programme beneficiaries and acknowledge the donors in the true sense, by their being recognised in the community or project involved. The diploma in fund-raising will help to raise public confidence in how donations are dealt with.
Senator Terry Brennan spoke about the value of voluntary effort such as the work of the GAA and the Tidy Town committees. The work and contribution of such organisations are invaluable and sometimes intangible. We recognise that work by holding national competitions. The GAA organises itself and the Tidy Town committees are helped by means of substantial sponsorship and money from my Department in an effort to motivate people to make their home place better and more environmentally pleasant. This sponsorship will continue. The 2014 Estimates will not see any reduction in the financial support for these initiatives.
I have covered most of the issues raised by Senators. I thank everyone for his or her contribution to the debate. We are anxious to meet the gap by 2016, even though Senator Fiach Mac Conghail is correct that this is very ambitious. However, it is achievable, given the traditional generosity of Irish people. If we can match that generosity with open and transparent structures, that will make it more attractive for donors and give them the extra fiscal incentive. If we can meet these requirements, The One Percent Difference campaign will be regarded as quick-starting a new community initiative that will meet requirements in so many areas of life to make Ireland a better place in which to live, work and take part in recreational activities.