Charity Finance Group's income rose by 11.4 per cent last year

The CFG's latest accounts show income went above £2m for the first time in the year to 31 March 2016

The Charity Finance Group’s income increased by 11.4 per cent in the year to 31 March 2016, its latest accounts show.

According to the document, released today, the CFG’s income increased from £1.81m in 2014/15 to £2.01m this year, the first time its income has passed £2m.

This increase is due partly to a £135,000 grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to fund the CFG’s small charities programme, the accounts say. Without including that grant, there was a 4 per cent increase in income.

According to the accounts, conferences generated £631,226 and there was a 2 per cent increase in membership to 1,385 charities overall. Over the course of the year, 156 organisations joined for the first time.

The accounts show that expenditure increased by 5.6 per cent from £1.57m to £1.66m, which the document says was a result of the CFG’s small charities programme, IT development work and increased employee costs.

The accounts say that the CFG’s free reserves fell slightly from £168,886 to £165,773. This is below the CFG’s free reserves target of between £175,000 and £275,000, but the accounts say that free reserves are expected to reach at least £225,000 by 31 March 2017.

Unrestricted reserves increased from £306,709 to £549,614, the accounts show, with £110,000 used for IT development work.

The increase in free reserves stands in contrast to 2013/14, when they fell from £251,000 to £61,500 because of an office move, a restructure and an accounting revision.

But free reserve levels were brought back to target levels in 2014/15.

The CFG has also experienced significant changes in staffing over the past few years. Two of three directors appointed in January 2014 left after a few weeks. And in 2015 a trustee, Uday Thakkar, managing director of the social change consultancy Red Ochre, resigned citing "management and governance shortcomings".

Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the CFG, said: "Change isn’t easy, but the CFG has come through the last three years in a stronger position than we started. We haven’t achieved everything we set out to do, but we have done a lot, particularly in raising the profile and importance of charity finance within the sector.

"We are working on our next strategy, which will see us build on these achievements and put financial leadership at the top table. While a good year is something to celebrate, we are focused on the long term. I know that we still have a long way to go to achieve our goal of seeing a financially confident, dynamic and trustworthy charity sector, but this annual report shows that we are well on our way."

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