Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most frequently asked questions of Dóchas are listed below. If you have a basic query, please check here first before contacting us.

Click on a question to view the answer:

I am carrying out research into the charity sector and am looking for some information and statistics, can Dóchas help?

Dóchas can provide information about Dóchas member organisations and the governmental aid programme. You can search the online Dóchas Members section for more information or contact organisations directly, or else turn to our Fact and Figures section.

Dóchas members make up a majority of Ireland and part of Northern Ireland international development sector, but not the entire sector.

For more information about the whole of Ireland's not for profit sector, you can have a look at Irish Links, an online directory of Irish non-profit organisations or look up recent research by Trinity Centre for Non-profit Management mapping the sector (Tel: +353 1 896 1000).

I have an event that I would like to advertise for Dóchas members, how can I do so?

You can advertise the event in the weekly Wednesday News, which is an e-newsletter that provides a short and accessible overview of the main meetings, events and job opportunities as well as other general information that may be of relevance to those interested in the Irish development sector. Wednesday News is circulated to all Dóchas members and over 900 other subscribers.

If the event is relevant to a particular working group it can be circulated to the group members. To do so, please contact Dóchas about your event.

If an organisation is a Dóchas member, does that mean Dóchas endorses the organisation?

Membership of Dóchas does not constitute an endorsement for relationships with official bodies. Dóchas makes no judgement about the value of the work or about the competence or governance of the organisation.

How do I know if an organisation is a registered charity?

You can check with the Revenue Commissioners in Ireland.

All Irish charities are obliged to communicate their charity details and, in most cases, their company details on their websites and letterheads.

If you cannot find this information, Dóchas recommends you contact the NGOs in question, to ask them for their CHY number, and to point out their obligations.

What is a charity?

To be a charity, an organisation's purpose(s) must be exclusively charitable. It must also be set up for the 'public benefit'.

See the Revenue Commissioners website for guidance on the range of purposes that are charitable.

What is an NGO?

NGO stands for non-governmental organisation.

An organisation is deemed non-governmental as long as the government of the State or the government of Northern Ireland does not control it directly by choosing or appointing a majority of the board of directors or other officers or does not control its constituent bodies or members whose concern with development co-operation would otherwise render them eligible for membership.

While most NGOs will probably be registered charities, organisations may include Trusts, Foundations, Co-operatives, Friendly Societies, and Companies limited by Guarantee.

I want to set up a charity overseas, can you help?

Dóchas works exclusively in Ireland with legally registered organisations based in Ireland. We are unable to offer any advice about registering overseas. We recommend that you contact the Irish Embassy in your country.

You can also search the Dóchas Members section to find organisations working in the same country as you want to work, and then contact them directly for their advice.

How do I register as a charity?

For comprehensive information about how to register a charity in Ireland, please see the Revenue Commissioners website.

Further useful information about starting, registering and managing an NGO can be found on our Resources for NGOs webpage.

Can Dóchas fund us or partner us?

Dóchas is not a funding body and does not distribute any funds or direct assistance. Dóchas also does not partner with overseas organisations.

Some Dóchas member organisations may provide funding or assistance, or those that work in the same area as you might be able to become a partner organisation. You can search the online Dóchas Members section and contact the organisations directly.

You could also get in touch with the Irish Aid office in the country where you are working, as many of them disburse funding to civil society and have open funding programmes.

Where can I find information about funding for development NGOs?

Irish Aid published its funding guidelines and deadlines on its website.

Dochas published information about EU funding in its Members Update, a monthly newsletter which is available to Dóchas members only.

Other information about EU funding can be found here

How do I apply to join Dóchas?

Please visit the Dóchas Members section on our website on how to apply for membership, or you can contact us (Tel: 01 4053801) and we will forward an application pack.

Does my organisation need to have a Charity Number to apply for membership of Dóchas?

Yes. All applicant organisations must have a charitable tax exemption number (or CHY number) from the Revenue Commissioners in the Republic of Ireland or a charity reference number for tax purposes (usually beginning with XO, XN or XR) from the Inland Revenue in Northern Ireland. This number must be supplied on the application form for membership.

Do applicant organisations have to be legally established in order to apply for membership of Dóchas?

Organisations applying for membership must be legally established and located in the Republic of Ireland or in Northern Ireland. The organisation should be headquartered in Ireland, or, if it is not, the Irish branch should have substantial powers of decision-making in its own right, including control and disposal of funds and appointment of personnel. If the applicant is registered under the Companies Acts, the Company Registration Number must be supplied on the application form (copies of which are available from the Dóchas office).

My organisation is not based in Ireland, can we join Dóchas?

Dóchas is a membership organisation for Irish organisations that are working in the international development sector. Only organisations based in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland can become members of Dóchas.

However, the majority of our members do work directly with overseas organisations. You can search the online Dóchas Members section which contains information about all our members and contact any relevant organisations directly.

I want to volunteer overseas. Do you have any information?

Dóchas does not provide volunteer placements overseas. The best place to turn to for advice on volunteering is the Volunteering Options website.

Some Dóchas member organisations may organise voluntary placements. You can search the Dóchas Members section or in the weekly e-newsletter Wednesday News for any suitable organisations. If you are interested in a particular advert, you can contact the organisation directly.

If you are interested in working for a Development NGO, a number of resources available are listed on the Dóchas website to help you make an informed choice.

Volunteer and intern positions are usually unpaid, though lunch and travel expenses are often provided. Conditions and terms vary greatly with the agencies, so do ask.

I want to volunteer with an Irish international development organisation. Do you have any tips?

Some volunteer or intern positions are listed in the weekly e-newsletter Wednesday News. The best place to turn to for advice on volunteering is the Volunteering Options website.

You can also check on Irish development organisations websites. If you are interested in a particular advert, you can contact the organisation directly.

If you are interested in working for a Development NGO, a number of resources available is listed on the Dóchas website to help you make an informed choice.

Volunteer and intern positions are usually unpaid, though lunch and travel expenses are often provided. Conditions and terms vary greatly with the agencies, so do ask.

I would love to volunteer to help out in time of disaster but do I have the right skills?

Well-intentioned people who lack disaster experiences and technical skills and who are not familiar with the local culture and language can become a hindrance to relief efforts without realising it. They can get in the way, or use up valuable resources such as transport and accommodation, without effectively contributing to the relief effort.

If you do want to help and you do not have the skills and experience to work in the disaster region itself you can play a very important role in the relief effort by volunteering in Ireland. It is possible to volunteer your skills to help the aid agency here in Ireland. You could staff phone lines for an aid agency and take donations or it may be possible to organise a local fundraising event.

For more information on how you can help, please visit http://www.howyoucanhelp.ie/

I want to make sure my money goes straight to the victims of disasters and is not spent on overheads of the aid agency. How can I do this?

It is not possible to deliver aid without incurring costs. Transport is expensive. Staff will be needed to identify the beneficiaries, arrange transportation and distribute the aid.

At the same time there is a responsibility on the part of the aid agency to ensure that all overheads are kept to a minimum without compromising the effective delivery of aid to the people who need it most. Information on the overheads incurred by agencies are available in their annual accounts.

Do remember that the organisation with the lowest overheads is not necessarily the best. Be sure to ask for detailed information from the agency about their activities. Only donate to organisations whose work you approve of

For more information on how you can help, please visit http://www.howyoucanhelp.ie/

I have already collected items, many of which I have discovered are not going to be of use to the disaster victims and the rest is too expensive to transport. What do I do now?

It would be best to sell the items in order to generate much needed cash. If they cannot be sold, then it might be possible to donate them to a local charity. Donating locally eliminates transport costs and ensures relief workers are free to carry out priority work. Local agencies will have time to sort the items and identify how they can be most useful.

For more information on how you can help, please visit http://www.howyoucanhelp.ie/

I want to volunteer at Dóchas. How do I apply?

Dóchas does not usually take volunteers or interns.

I want to work for Dóchas, do you have any paid vacancies?

All vacancies at Dóchas are advertised through the networks of our members, on the Dóchas website, in the weekly e-newsletter Wednesday News and in some cases in the national newspapers.

Dóchas does not keep CVs on file. Therefore those interested in joining Dóchas must keep an eye on the means mentioned above.

How do I contact Dóchas with my comments, suggestions or general questions about Dóchas membership?

You can do so by using our contact form, or sending a letter or fax. Please see our contact details. Information about membership is also available on the Dóchas Members section.

How do I sign up or remove myself from a Dóchas mailing list?

You can do so by using our contact form, or sending a letter or fax. Please see our contact details. You can sign up for the Wednesday News mailing list by entering your email address on our home page.

What is a Dóchas working group?

As the Dóchas network is constantly growing and given the diversity of Dóchas members, it may be more effective to work in groups rather than as the membership as a whole. The Dóchas working groups actively encourage members to work together on particular issues.

Dóchas working groups benefit the wider Dóchas network through the development of expertise in the sector, by garnering momentum and action for collective advocacy work, and by providing a space for continuing learning, training and development. Groups may also act as a source of advice and capacity building in their specialist area for others in the network.

Dóchas working groups are member-led and self-managed. Their formation, mandate and structures are determined by the Dóchas Board but their agendas and activities are determined with support from the secretariat.

Template terms of reference for all Dóchas working groups are available on Dóchas website.

Groups usually function as communities of interest, with a large membership who engages through information sharing.

What is the role of the Chair of a working group?

The role of the Chair is to be the point of contact between the working group and the Dóchas secretariat, and to be the lead person within the group. The Chair is elected by the working group, at an interval outlined in the group's Terms of Reference. The main duties of a Dóchas working group Chair include:

  • setting the tone for the Group's work;
  • ensuring that working group members have the information needed to fulfill the aims of the working group;
  • overseeing, planning and monitoring the work of the working group;
  • serving as external contact point for the working group;
  • reporting to the Board through the Director;
  • facilitating group meetings;
  • initiating and leading the working group's annual evaluation; and
  • assigning work to the group members, setting the agenda and ensuring distributing of meeting minutes.
How do I set up a new working group?

People interested in starting a new working group should propose their idea to the Dóchas secretariat. The Secretariat will look at the request and if it is aligned with Dóchas' strategic plan, it will ask the wider membership to put forward their interest.

If sufficient interest exists, then a new working group could be formed. Alternatively, a one off event or a mailing list for circulating relevant information might be more appropriate. Ultimately, the decision whether or not to create a working group is taken by the Dóchas Board. See the Dóchas Governance and Procedures Manual for details.

The Dóchas secretariat supports the process and offers guidance but all Dóchas working groups are member-led and self-managed. Their formation, structures, agendas and activities are determined by the groups themselves, with support from the secretariat.

To propose a new working group, please contact us.

What is expected of me if I join a working group?

As a member of a working group, you can:

  • be on the mailing list and keep yourself updated on the news and activities of the group, contribute to consultations, circulate and share information with the group
  • attend group meetings,
  • represent the group at relevant meetings (eg. with Irish Aid)
  • stand to be Chair, Vice-Chair or Treasurer of the working group (if your organisation is a member of Dóchas).
How do I let Dóchas know about changes to my organisation’s address or other contact details?

You can do so by using our contact form, or sending a letter or fax. Please see our contact details.

Tel:
+353 1 405 3801
Fax:
+353 1 405 3802
Address:
1-2 Baggot Court, Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.
Copyright © Dóchas, 2006–2014

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Company Particulars: Dóchas – the Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations is a private company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital. It is registered in Dublin, Ireland, No: 94384. It has been granted tax exemption by the Revenue Commissioners in Ireland and has a charitable tax exemption number: CHY6410. Company Directors are those listed as Board members.