The Numbers: Practical Action

The charity aims to eradicate poverty in developing countries through the development and use of technology.

Total income: £22.4m for the year ending 31 March 2007, compared with £17.4m for the previous year.

Reserves policy: The charity has a free reserves target of £3.6m, equivalent to five months' unrestricted spending. At the end of the year, reserves were above this target, at £5.1m. The charity says it will put this money towards its aim of increasing operations by half again in the next five years.

Fundraising costs: The charity spent £2.9m on fundraising voluntary income, which yielded £9m. This equates to a fundraising ratio of 32p in the pound. The previous year, the fundraising ratio was 33p in the pound.

Pension: Under the FRS17 accounting standard, the charity's deficit on its final-salary pension scheme, which was closed to new entrants in 2002, fell from £1.4m to £1m during the year. Pension contributions are set at a level to eliminate this deficit in the next eight years. For staff joining since then there is a defined-contribution pension scheme.

How performance is communicated: The website (www.practicalaction.org) has information about the charity and what it does, although the large amount of text can be off-putting. There is useful information about performance and impact, but it could be presented more succinctly. In terms of financial information, there are some useful graphics that communicate how the charity raises and spends its money. The trustees' report and accounts are available online.

The charity says: "Funding from our supporters has continued to grow, with a 20 per cent increase in voluntary unrestricted income to £9m. Our income in 2006/07 grew by 29 per cent and, for the first time, we passed the £20m mark. Our international offices continue to grow, in Peru, Nepal and Bangladesh, thanks partly to new European Commission funding."

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