There was a 6% increase in reported fundraising and donations across the non-profit sector last year, according to the Benefacts group.

Benefacts compiled a database of the 10,000 biggest non-profit companies and collates information on their activities and financial reporting on an ongoing basis.

Publishing its annual report today, the group said reported donations and fund raising in the non-profit sector had increased from €900 million in 2018 to €955 million last year.

The figures coincide with numerous warnings from charities that their operations are in financial peril arising from the inability to fund raise because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A survey of over 2,000 charities by the Charities Regulator earlier this week found that around half said they didn't believe they could continue to provide services beyond the end of the year if they were precluded from getting back to meaningful fund raising.

Events including the the Cancer Society's Daffodil Day and the Darkness into Light event organised by mental health charity Pieta House were cancelled this year.

"The value of our data is that it shows where we were before this started. We're able to say that if people are correct in their estimates, and there's a 40% reduction in fund-raised income by small and medium sized charities, that would amount to €1.5 billion," Patricia Quinn, founder and managing director of Benefacts said.

"If there was a 90% reduction in fund-raised income for micro and small charities, that would involve losses of €380m. That's the scale of the numbers."

Ms Quinn said the situation was grave, but she said the sector was resilient and many had weathered storms before and managed to survive.

"Most of them are over 30 years old. Some predate the state," she said.

"It's Macra, the GAA, social justice and mental health. It's a wide compass."

More than 165,000 people are employed in the non-profit sector here, according to the Benefacts report.

Aggregate turnover grew by 9.5% from €13 billion to €14.2 billion year on year. 

About €12 billion was accounted for by 150 of the biggest organisations.

In total, the group estimates that there are almost 33,000 non-profit organisations in the country.