How we work – FAQs

ALONE – Frequently Asked Questions

All financial figures quoted are based on latest full year accounts.

Who does ALONE provide services for?

ALONE is a national organisation that supports older people to age at home. We work with people aged 60 and over.

What services do we provide?


 Are ALONE services available outside of Dublin?

Yes. We support older people directly in Dublin County and City, Louth, Meath, Westmeath, Longford, Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford, Tipperary, Offaly, Laois, Monaghan, Cavan, Carlow, Kilkenny, Donegal, Galway, Mayo and Roscommon; however, anyone regardless of location can get in touch and we will do our best to support you. We also support older people across the country through Befriending Network Ireland (BNI), by linking them in with the relevant services in their own community, and by providing support to the organisations that support older people.

ALONE is a rights based charity. What does this mean?

ALONE believes that older people should not have to be dependent on charity. We work with each older person to identify long-term, sustainable solutions to help them age at home or the place of their choice.

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

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

How do older people come to ALONE?

Referrals may come from older people themselves. Anyone can refer someone to ALONE’s services with the person’s permission. Referrals may come from a family member, their GP, public health nurse, primary health care team, local politician, friend, or concerned neighbour. Referrals can be made online, or by calling us on 0818 222 024.

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.

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

Each of the major age charities have their own aims and objectives. At ALONE, our aim is to support older people to age at home. We work in partnership with other organisations to ensure the best use of our resources and maximise the impact for the older people we represent. We campaign with other age charities and we often receive and pass on referrals with other charities to ensure that work is not duplicated.

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 achieved the internationally recognised ISO quality standard for services delivery. In 2019 we attained the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Standard Award.
  • We comply with the Charities Institutes Ireland Triple Lock Standards, ensuring transparent reporting, good fundraising and governance.
  • 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 service was undertaken and a report was published.
  • 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 our 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 registered charity number is 20020057 and our CHY number is 8259.

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.
  • We do not pay any third party fundraisers.

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.

Where do donations go?

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

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

For all charitable donations raised for specific campaigns 100% goes directly to the delivery of the campaign/service.

All restricted funding received is administered as per the funding agreement to deliver services.

From all general donations, as per ALONE’s 2018 Audited Accounts which is available online,  90% of ALONE expenditure was on Charitable activities.

How much are paid to ALONE’s Board Members?


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


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.

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.

What does ALONE  pay its other staff?

€24k – €61k. Wages are paid in respect of their experience and training.

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

ALONE staff costs for wages and salaries in 2018 were €1,410,490. Social security costs were €150,673 and pension costs were €34,469.

What was the cost of generating funds?

€107,533 – (2018)

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

€880,699  (2018)

What was the organisation’s total income and expenditure?


Income                       €3,867,210

Expenditure              €3,121,764

What is the breakdown of volunteers to staff?

ALONE has over 2,000 volunteers and more than 60 staff members.  Volunteers and staff work across all the departments.  Exact number of volunteers may fluctuate throughout the year.

What do your volunteers do?

ALONE volunteers provide an invaluable service through their generous donation of time. Many of our volunteers are ‘Befrienders’ who visit or call older people on a weekly basis to provide companionship and social engagement. Other volunteers support ALONE in areas such as communications, research, administration, services, maintenance, event management, transportation, cleaning, and gardening.

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.

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, which is available here

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.

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

Currently, ALONE has more than 150 homes for older people who have had housing difficulties or are at risk of homelessness. These were acquired through a mix of charitable donations, Government grants, and loan financing.

This includes state funding  for some housing units from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government funding schemes such as CAS (non-repayable mortgages) and CALF (repayable mortgages at the end of the period). Linked to CALF funding is funding through the Housing Finance Agency (HFA) and Community Finance Ireland.


If you have any other questions or enquires, please email [email protected]