The Wheel: Supporting & Representing Charities – A Comprehensive Guide

Cover image of The Wheel's comprehensive guide for supporting and representing charities

The Wheel is a prominent and trusted organisation that supports and represents charities, community and voluntary organisations, and social enterprises in Ireland. Established as a response to the growing needs of the sector, The Wheel serves as a valuable resource for those working towards social and community development. By offering a range of services and support, the organisation plays a crucial role in the development and growth of nonprofits across the country.

As a driving force in the Irish charity sector, The Wheel provides access to essential resources, HR and training programmes, events and fundraising opportunities, and regulatory guidance. The organisation is actively engaged with the public and civil society, working in collaboration with Irish and European bodies to strengthen the sector’s impact and sustainability. In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, The Wheel has adapted its approach to continue supporting its members through numerous challenges.

Key Takeaways

  • The Wheel is a leading support organisation for charities and nonprofit groups in Ireland
  • Services provided by The Wheel include HR, training, fundraising resources, and regulatory guidance
  • The organisation actively collaborates with Irish, European and global partners to strengthen the charity sector’s impact and resilience.

Background of The Wheel

The Wheel is a prominent organisation that supports and represents charities, community and voluntary organisations, and social enterprises across Ireland. Established in 1999, this Irish association has evolved to become an authoritative and trusted voice for the nation’s community, voluntary and charity sector1.

Over the years, The Wheel has actively promoted transparency, accountability, and adherence to the highest standards of practice and governance within the Irish charity sector2. By connecting people working and volunteering in various organisations throughout the country, The Wheel has played a crucial role in furthering the goals of civil society and fostering meaningful collaborations.

The idea behind The Wheel dates back to 1998, when it was recognised that Ireland needed a network to represent and support the rapidly growing community, voluntary and charity sector3. Since then, The Wheel has worked tirelessly to provide practical information, advice, and resources that cater to the diverse needs of the sector in Ireland.

The Wheel has forged partnerships with various organisations and institutions for the benefit of thousands of Irish charities, social enterprises, and community and voluntary organisations4. These partnerships have enabled The Wheel to create a positive impact on the sector and the broader society it serves.

Throughout its history, The Wheel has remained focused on representing the interests of its members while working closely with key stakeholders to shape the future of Ireland’s thriving charity sector.






Services and Support

Members Support and Services

The Wheel offers robust support services to its members, primarily focusing on non-profit organisations and registered charities in Ireland. The organisation provides practical information, advice, and resources that cover various aspects of running a nonprofit, such as funding, fundraising guidance, and exploring available funding channels. Additionally, The Wheel assists members in navigating governance-related issues by offering support with governance code, recruiting and managing trustees, and charity trustee driver’s licenses.

Community Support and Services

The Wheel also extends its support to the wider community, playing an influential role in representing and promoting the interests of not just its members but the entire community, voluntary, and charity sector in Ireland. The organisation offers a wealth of resources on managing finances, legal matters, human resources, and remote working. To help organisations amplify their positive impact, The Wheel provides guidance on effective communication strategies and reporting methods, assisting in publicising their accomplishments.

Through these targeted services and support, The Wheel continues to bolster both its member organisations and the broader community, fostering an environment of collaboration, growth, and success for non-profit organisations and registered charities in Ireland.

The Role of The Wheel in HR and Training

HR and Employment Law

The Wheel plays a crucial role in supporting and representing charities in the area of HR and Employment Law. With a focus on promoting a thriving community, voluntary and charity sector, The Wheel provides practical information and advice for organisations to navigate complex HR issues and employment law matters. They offer courses and workshops to help non-profits stay updated on regulatory changes and best practices in this area.

Training and Skill Development

Investing in continuous improvement of organisational practice, The Wheel offers a variety of training programmes aimed at fostering leadership and skills development within the sector. Their programmes cover a broad range of topics, enabling charities and voluntary organisations to build capacity and enhance the effectiveness of their workforce. By providing resources and tools available for skill development, The Wheel enables organisations to tackle challenges more efficiently and meet their strategic objectives.

Managing Remote Teams

Acknowledging the increasing importance of remote work, The Wheel provides support for organisations in managing remote and flexible teams. They recognise that mastering the art of operating with a remote, hybrid, and flexible workforce should be an intrinsic part of every organisation’s growth and people strategy. By offering training sessions and resources tailored specifically for managing remote teams, The Wheel helps organisations adapt to shifting work dynamics and enhance team performance in the new working environment.

Events and Fundraising

Fundraising Events

The Wheel encourages and supports various fundraising events to help charities achieve their financial goals. These events play a crucial role in raising funds and attracting more supporters for nonprofit organisations. By organising events, The Wheel brings together charities, donors, and the public, creating opportunities for networking and idea exchange.

Some key tips for successful fundraising events include:

  • Ensuring the safety and well-being of participants
  • Continuously promoting the event to reach a wider audience
  • Evaluating event outcomes to improve future initiatives

Online Events

In addition to in-person events, The Wheel utilises online events to maximise outreach and engage with more participants. Online events are essential, especially in situations where physical gatherings may not be feasible. These events make it easier for charities and the public to connect and share ideas on leveraging resources for impactful projects.

The Wheel’s online events encompass different formats, including:

  • Webinars on various topics pertinent to charity work
  • Virtual training sessions for skill development
  • Online forums and discussion panels for networking and collaboration


The Wheel’s webinar series plays a vital role in providing training and support for charities. Through this platform, members can access informative presentations and panel discussions led by experienced professionals in the sector. Topics covered include fundraising strategies, donor relations, European funding, and charity governance.

These webinars create opportunities for participants to:

  • Enhance their skills and knowledge in charity work
  • Engage with experts and gain valuable insights
  • Share experiences and learn from peers in the charity sector

The Wheel’s events and fundraising initiatives cater to the evolving needs of charities and their communities. By offering both online and in-person events, The Wheel enables charities to maximise their resources and enhance their impact through effective fundraising practices, capacity building, and collaborations.

Government and Compliance Landscape

Governance and Leadership

The Wheel is an influential organisation that supports and represents charities in Ireland. It prioritises good governance and leadership, as these aspects play a critical role in maintaining the trust and credibility of the charity sector. The Charities Governance Code sets out six principles for good governance, which all Irish charities must adhere to from 2020 onwards. The Wheel offers practical advice and support to help charities implement these best practices, ensuring transparency and accountability in decision-making processes.

Financial Management and Reporting

Effective financial management and reporting are essential components of a well-governed charity. This includes having a clear understanding of the organisation’s finances, as well as being able to demonstrate to stakeholders how funds are being used. The Wheel offers training and resources to help charities develop robust financial management practices. By implementing these principles, charities can better manage their resources, safeguard their assets, and achieve their mission.

A crucial aspect of financial management is adhering to the appropriate financial reporting standard. This ensures that charities provide accurate financial information to stakeholders, enhancing both transparency and trust in the sector.

Compliance with Charities Regulator

The Charities Regulator oversees the compliance of charity organisations in Ireland, ensuring that they follow proper governance and financial management practices. The Wheel advocates for a streamlined, responsive regulatory landscape that balances the need for accountability and efficiency, as stated in their policy work.

To accomplish this goal, The Wheel works closely with the Charities Regulator, offering training and guidance to maintain compliance with the Charities Governance Code. By assisting charities in achieving compliance, The Wheel plays a vital role in strengthening the sector’s reputation and ensuring that it operates responsibly and transparently.

Impact of Covid-19

Mental Wellbeing During the Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental wellbeing of individuals across the globe. Charities like The Wheel have been actively working to support their communities during these challenging times. The pandemic caused an increase in stress, anxiety, and depression due to issues such as social isolation, job losses, and general uncertainty about the future.

Providing support and resources to help maintain mental wellbeing is critical during this time, and The Wheel has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that communities receive the required help. By promoting various stress-reducing techniques and connecting people with professional support, The Wheel has played an important role in mitigating the mental health effects of the pandemic.

The Covid-19 Community Outreach (CCO)

The Covid-19 Community Outreach (CCO) initiative is another programme established by The Wheel to support communities and charities during the pandemic. This initiative aims to build strong connections between local and national organisations and ensure that people have access to essential services.

Through the CCO, The Wheel has been able to assist vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly, those living with disabilities, and people in remote areas, by providing them with essential support and services. Additionally, the initiative helps facilitate communication and collaboration between various community-based organisations, leaders, and volunteers to effectively address the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This focused approach towards mental wellbeing and community support demonstrates The Wheel’s commitment to representing and supporting charities during the unprecedented challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Engagement with Public and Civil Society

Advocacy and Research

The Wheel plays a significant role in supporting and representing charities in Ireland. Through their advocacy and research efforts, they have managed to engage with the public and civil society by championing various issues affecting the sector. As an authoritative voice, The Wheel ensures that it collaborates with a wide range of stakeholders to advance policies and best practices for the betterment of community and voluntary organisations, charities, and social enterprises.

One of their notable initiatives is the formation of the Coalition for Civil Society Freedom, which consists of prominent organisations such as Amnesty International Ireland, Irish Council of Civil Liberties, Uplift, Transparency International, Front Line Defenders, and The Wheel. This coalition aims to strengthen civil society’s voice and protect its essential role in promoting democratic values.

Public Engagement and Communications

In addition to advocacy and research, The Wheel also focuses on public engagement and communications as part of their efforts to connect with the public and civil society. By utilising various means of communication, such as organising events, developing resources, and sharing news, they ensure that relevant information reaches the wider audience.

During public engagements, The Wheel often facilitates group conversations and meetings in diverse settings such as community centres, national voluntary organisation offices, hotels, arts centres, and prisons. These discussions allow for a more profound understanding of the issues and concerns faced by nonprofits and the communities they serve.

In conclusion, The Wheel’s engagement with public and civil society through its advocacy and research, as well as public engagement and communication efforts, highlights their commitment to creating a better environment for charities and nonprofit organisations. By working closely with stakeholders and providing valuable resources, The Wheel demonstrates their dedication to driving positive change within Ireland’s community, voluntary, and charity sector.

Working With Irish and European Bodies

Partnership with Department of Rural and Community Development

The Wheel collaborates closely with the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland to strengthen the support and representation of charities, community groups, and social enterprises. They work together to develop and implement policies that foster a vibrant and sustainable community and voluntary sector in the country. Through this partnership, they strive to create an enabling environment for the growth and development of thousands of nonprofit organisations across Ireland.

Engagement with European Parliament

The Wheel actively engages with the European Parliament, promoting the interests of its members and the wider community, voluntary, and charity sector. By maintaining strong connections with key EU institutions and stakeholders, The Wheel ensures that its members are aware of funding opportunities, such as Erasmus+ and the Europe for Citizens programme. Additionally, they advocate for and influence EU policies affecting the sector in order to represent the perspectives and concerns of their member organisations at the European level.

Access Europe Project

The Access Europe project is an initiative led by The Wheel that aims to support Irish nonprofit organisations in accessing EU funding through tailored information, advice and training. Access Europe provides resources and guidance to help organisations successfully apply for and manage EU funding and programmes, such as Erasmus+ and the Europe for Citizens programme. By offering practical support and expertise, Access Europe contributes to increasing the capacity and sustainability of the Irish charity and community sector as they access vital European funding for their initiatives and projects.


The Wheel is a notable organisation that plays a vital role in supporting and representing charities, community and voluntary organisations, and social enterprises in Ireland. They serve as an authoritative and trusted voice for the country’s community, voluntary, and charity sector. Their expertise and guidance have been essential in assisting organisations in various aspects of their operations.

One of the key areas where The Wheel focuses its efforts is promoting sustainable communities. Striving to create socially resilient, environmentally healthy, and economically thriving communities, the organisation subscribes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals framework. By doing so, The Wheel helps local organisations align their objectives with global sustainability standards.

The Wheel actively engages with the government on behalf of the sector, advocating for measures that support charities in tackling social exclusion and fostering community development. Their continuing dedication to these causes has contributed significantly to the empowerment of Irish nonprofit organisations.

In conclusion, The Wheel has proven itself to be a vital resource for Ireland’s community, voluntary and charity sector. Their commitment to championing sustainable development and elevating the voices of smaller organisations reflects their proficiency and dedication to positive societal change.

Frequently Asked Questions

What services does The Wheel provide to charities?

The Wheel is an authoritative and trusted voice for Ireland’s community, voluntary and charity sector. They offer a wide range of supports and services to help with every aspect of running a nonprofit organisation. These services include practical information, advice, and various tools to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their members’ work.

How does The Wheel support fundraising for charitable organisations?

While organisations are in the process of registering with the Charities Regulator, they cannot carry out any fundraising or charitable activities. Nevertheless, The Wheel can provide assistance to ensure that these organisations are well-prepared to engage in fundraising once their registration is complete, by offering advice and guidance on best practices in fundraising and financial management.

What are the membership benefits of The Wheel?

Membership in The Wheel comes with numerous benefits, such as access to resources, discounted training, networking opportunities, and representation in policy and advocacy work. Members can make use of The Wheel’s advice and guidance services to help them navigate the complex world of charity management, funding, and governance.

Who are the notable members of The Wheel?

As Ireland’s national association of community and voluntary organisations, charities, and social enterprises, The Wheel has a large and diverse membership base. The Wheel’s website does not list specific notable members, but they represent a broad range of organisations that contribute significantly to the work of the community, voluntary, and charitable sectors in Ireland.

How is The Wheel involved in policy and advocacy for charities?

The Wheel is a champion for charities and actively engages with policymakers, regulators, and other stakeholders to promote a supportive environment for the sector. They work on behalf of their members to ensure that the needs and perspectives of the community, voluntary, and charity sector are well-represented in policy development and regulatory decisions.

What resources does The Wheel offer for charity staff development?

The Wheel is committed to supporting the professional development of charity staff. They offer numerous training courses and resources to help charity staff develop the skills they need to be effective in their roles. In addition, The Wheel provides publications, research, and guidance materials to help members stay informed on the latest developments in the sector and best practices for their organisations.


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