FINANCE NEWS: Guide Dogs to launch products to cut deficit

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is to receive pro bono advice from management consultant Booz Allen Hamilton to find new ways of generating income.

The charity, which needs £46 million a year to maintain its services, is running at a £15 million deficit.

Two consultants from the firm are to begin work with the charity this week to kick-start five new business plans. The collaboration will last around 10 weeks.

The new ventures will aim to capitalise on the charity's brand, concentrating on training services, breeding and "dog-related products", said Guide Dogs' director of finance and commercial development Morag Macdonald.

The charity is also looking into renting out properties that are bequeathed to it by supporters. Currently these are always sold.

Macdonald said that the charity had decided it was too dependent on legacy income and needed to diversify its sources of income.

"We are looking at other robust income streams to act as a safety net if legacies are tailing off. Legacies are static but with an ageing population liable to have to spend more money to support themselves in old age, there is likely to be less money around to be left to charities in future,

she said. "Legacies are not an income stream we can control."

The charity hopes that a combination of cost cutting and the new income streams will enable it to break even.

Macdonald joined Guide Dogs from AOL in July.

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