Irish Cancer Society facing almost €4m hit to finances due to Covid-19

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The Irish Cancer Society (ICS) is staring at a €3.8 million hole in its finances this year due to the impact of Covid-19 on fundraising.

A spokeswoman for the charity said that Covid-19 “has had a significant effect on the finances of the Society”.

She stated: “We are currently forecasting that we will be around €3.8 million down on what we had planned to raise this year.”

The charity’s annual flagship fundraising day, Daffodil Day for March was cancelled due to Covid.

The spokeswoman stated that “despite the incredible efforts of our supporters online, we were still down €2 million on what we would hope to raise in a normal year”.

The ICS was aiming to raise €4.2 million from Daffodil Day this year and raised around €2 million from the event.

The ICS’s annual report for 2019 shows that Daffodil Day last year raised €3.6 million.

The spokeswoman stated that the ICS’s annual breast cancer campaign Cups Against Breast Cancer has this year experienced a 68 per cent reduction in sign-ups while marathon income is 66 per cent down.

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She added: “Our 21 charity shops nationwide have also suffered during the pandemic due to closures and are 43 per cent down on budget.”

The spokeswoman was commenting on the publication of the charity’s annual report for 2019 where the charity recorded a surplus of €2.9 million for last year.

The spokeswoman stated: “The Society is projecting a deficit for 2020, but our big concern is for 2021. We are expecting that the next six to 18 months will be an extremely challenging fundraising environment as the novelty factor of digital fundraising events wears off.”

On the impact the shortfall in fundraising may have on services, the spokeswoman stated: “We are in a fortunate position this year in that we have had enough reserves to ensure we can meet the increased demand of our services, such as Night Nursing, virtual counselling and the extension of our Support Line.

“However, we’re already seeing concerning dips in income in the second half of the year and are concerned about the effect of a potential recession on our ability to raise much needed funds for those affected by cancer.”

The charity’s total income last year increased by 9 per cent from €22.32 million to €24.29 million.

The charity’s finances were boosted by €3.2 million received in legacies and bequests last year which included a woman in the south-east bequeathing €850,000 worth of shares.

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The ICS confirmed that another woman in the Midwest left over €370,000 as part of her estate while the society also gifted a house in Co Dublin valued at €195,000.

To date this year, the ICS has received €2.8 million in legacy gifts.

The spokeswoman stated: “Anyone who chooses to leave a gift to the Irish Cancer Society in their will is truly leaving a legacy. Their generosity helps fund advances in cancer research which will have an impact for generations to come as well as ensuring that critical cancer support services.”

Staff costs at the ICS last year totalled €8 million that included pay of €125,000 to CEO, Ms Averil Power. Total pay to six key management personnel totalled €737,300.

In her report, Ms Power states: “For as long as Ireland is affected by coronavirus, we will continue to do everything we can to reduce its impact on people affected by cancer. We will remain flexible and respond to new needs as they emerge.”

She stated: “When we first started Daffodil Day in 1986, just three out of ten Irish people survived their cancer diagnosis. Today, six in ten do.”

At the end of December last, the ICS had total funds of €27.22 million whole its cash totalled €14.4 million.

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