How we work – FAQs

ALONE – Frequently Asked Questions

All financial figures quoted are based on latest full year accounts (year end 2015)

  1. Who does ALONE provide services for?

ALONE is a national organisation that supports older people to age at home.

  1.  What services do we provide?


  1. Are ALONE services available outside of Dublin?

Yes we support older people across the country directly or by linking them in with the relevant services in their own community.

  1.  We are a rights based Charity. What does this mean?

ALONE believes that older people should not be dependent on charity. We work with each older person to identify long-term sustainable solutions to help them age at home.

  1.  What are the presenting needs of older people who use our services?

  • Support to age at home.
  • Isolation, loneliness and social exclusion
  • Housing issues and homelessness
  • Physical health, disabilities,  mental health and dementia
  • Income poverty, fuel poverty and income cuts.
  • Elder abuse, ageism, relationship and  family issues

  1.  How do older people come to ALONE?

Referrals may come from older people themselves. They may also be referred by a family member, their GP, public health nurse, primary health care team, local politician, friend or concerned neighbour.

  1.  What do our staff do?

The needs of the older people we work with can be complex and we aim to provide long-term solutions. Most of the issues we deal with cannot be solved through money alone but require the application of skills and time by professional staff.  Our staff all provide support to our volunteers and ensure our services adhere to strict quality standards.

  1.  Do you give money and goods directly to older people?

If the provision will resolve an emergency and/or will support the long term solution then we do give money and goods directly to older people.

  1.   Is there a need for all the charities that work with older people?

There are 12 major age charities that all do very different things. Although each organisation has specific aims and objectives, we work in partnership to  ensure the best use of our resources and maximise the impact for the older people we represent. Where appropriate we campaign with other age charities and we often take and pass on referrals with other charities to ensure that work is not duplicated.

  1. What does ALONE do to ensure quality of service, transparency and accountability?

  • Our accounts are externally and independently audited and we comply with SORP standards.
  • We publish an Annual Report which shows the work that we do, the outcomes achieved and our income and expenditure.
  • We have become the second charity in Ireland to achieve the internationally recognised ISO quality standard for services delivery.
  • Our services are internally and externally audited. Internal audits are carried out at least 3 times per year. Annual external audits are conducted by an ISO auditor.
  • In 2015 an external evaluation of ALONE’s Befriending servicewas undertaken and a report was published.
  • In 2016 our Support Coordination service will be externally assessed. The report will be published as soon as it is available.
  • We are the first organisation to achieve the internationally recognised Quality in Befriending Award.
  • We have achieved the Investing in Volunteers Quality standard.
  • We comply with CII Principles of Fundraising.
  • We have signed up to the Government’s Voluntary Code for Housing Bodies.
  • Our Board operates to good practice guidelines for governance and has signed up to Governance Code.
  • We are a member of the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) and we participate in the HAPM (Housing Association Performance Management) 
  • We are an approved Housing Body.
  • We are a registered charity– our charity number is CHY 8259.
  1. How does ALONE ensure value for money?

  • We do not duplicate other organisations services but work in partnership
  • We believe that our cost versus benefit ratio is second to none
  • We provide high value low cost services while still working with those most in need
  • We have a strong ethos on how we manage money which has been donated.
  • We look for cost substitution before spending money

In 2015, staff secured over €310,000 value of benefit-in-kind, goods and services; €10,000 more than in 2014.  All of this goes to improve the lives of older people.

  • We do not pay any third party fundraisers; we do not do street collections.
  • 100% of all donations directly to supporting older people in need.
  • ALONE volunteers donate an estimated 46,800 hours per annum.
  1. Does ALONE receive any kind of government funding?

ALONE receives some funding from the government for specific projects. We continue to rely on the generosity of the general public for the day to day running of our vital services.

  1. Where do donations go?

All individual donations – general and corporate – are used for the provision of services.

  1. What percentage of donations goes directly to services for older people?

100% of donations go on front line services.

  1. How much are paid to ALONE’s Board Members?


  1. How many people are paid a salary of €100,000 or more?


  1. What salary, pension arrangements and other benefits are paid to the CEO?

  • The CEO has a salary similar to an assistant principal officer in the Civil Service.  There are no hidden payments and no top-ups. The CEO also operates as the General Manager and spokesperson for ALONE. The CEO receives:
    • a salary of €72,000 / equivalent to assistant principal officer in the Civil Service
    • a contribution towards Heath Insurance – €350 per year
    • a 5% Pension Contribution
    • Out of pocket expenses for the last 3 years total €4,024 (average of €1,341 per year) – this includes; fuel, travel and other expenses.

Our CEO oversees the day the day running of ALONE and also campaigns nationally for the rights of older people. Since Sean Moynihan took over the role in 2008, ALONE has more than tripled the number of older people supported to age at home.

  1. Who set the pay of the CEO in ALONE?

The Board of Trustees for ALONE approves wages and salaries. This is done through recommendations from the Human Resources subcommittee.

  1. What does ALONE  pay its other staff?

€25 – €50k. Wages are paid in respect of their experience, training,

ALONE makes a 3-5% annual contribution into Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) after three years of employment. There is no long term liability for ALONE as these are a defined contribution plan.

  1. What was the total expenditure on salaries, pension benefits etc for all employees?


  1. What was the total cost of generating funds?

€88,066.  (This includes wages).

  1. What was that amount generated through fundraising, donations and voluntary income?

Total contributions – €571,512

  1. What was the total cost of advertising/PR and support costs (including admin, IT, infrastructure and overheads)?

Overheads include fundraising costs, governance costs – €181, 206

  1. What was the organisation’s total income and expenditure?

Income                       €1,173,625*

*Includes amortisation of Dublin City Council Grants (Once-off grant payments from the Department of the Environment in the form of non-repayable mortgages).

Expenditure              €1,369,029


  1. What is the breakdown of volunteers to staff?

ALONE has over 500 volunteers. These volunteers are supported by 22 staff members.  Volunteers and staff work across all the departments.  (Volunteer numbers vary at different times of the year)

27. What do your volunteers do?

ALONE volunteers provide an invaluable service through their generous donation of time. Some volunteers act as a ‘befriender’ where they visit older people on a weekly basis to provide companionship and social engagement. Other volunteers support ALONE across the board in areas such as; communications, research, administration, services, maintenance, event management, transportation, cleaning and gardening. In 2016 ALONE volunteers offered 46,800 hours to vital service provision.

28. What is ALONE doing now to help older people?

We have doubled in size in the last four years because we are needed now more than ever. Demand for assistance has tripled, and our number of volunteers has also tripled in response.

29. Why is ALONE a Trust?

ALONE was set up as a trust nearly 40 years ago to protect its assets. The deed of trust has a scheme of incorporation. This scheme of incorporation is constantly kept under review and updated to reflect changes in regulation. The most recent edition was published in 2012 and is currently being revised.

ALONE’s status as a Trust ensures greater accountability. As a trust, ALONE has to submit to external audits; we must get permission to buy and sell property, and when doing so we are obliged to explain who we are buying from or selling to and why, and to submit details of all costs involved.

30. How were the houses used by ALONE acquired and paid for?

Currently, ALONE has over 100 homes available to older people who are at risk of homelessness.  Approximately 50% of these houses were purchased using charitable donations.  The remaining houses were purchased as a result of once-off grant payments from the Department of the Environment in the form of non-repayable mortgages.



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