The numbers: The Vegetarian Society

The Vegetarian Society is an educational charity promoting understanding of and respect for vegetarian lifestyles.

Total income

£1.04m for the year ending 31 March 2006, compared with £1.16m for the year before.

Highest salary

No employee was paid more than £50,000.

Reserves policy

The charity's policy is to hold enough free reserves to enable its operations to continue for a year in the event of a serious reduction in income, with any surplus being spent on charitable or educational purposes. At year-end, the charity had free reserves of £1.6m, equivalent to about 19 months' spending.

Fundraising costs

The charity spent £39,000 on fundraising and its voluntary income was £328,000, giving it a fundraising ratio of 12p in the pound. The previous year's ratio was 8p.

Pension

The charity contributes to a stakeholder pension scheme for staff.

How performance is communicated

The website (www.vegsoc.org) has quite a clear description of the charity's activity, but there is not much on actual performance. The trustees' report and accounts contains a lot of detail and says 2005/06 was a "favourable year", but does not explain why income was down on the year before, nor why donations fell sharply.

The trustees' report is available online, but is rather hidden away in the membership section.

The charity says:

"The reason for the fall in donations was that we received an unusually large donation of shares in the previous year. However, the shares had a lock-in period and, when we came to sell them, they were virtually worthless. On the whole, performance for the year has met the targets set at the start of the year. Incoming resources of just over £1m have generated a net surplus of £50,000. The balance sheet continues to show a very healthy position, with net assets of just under £2.5m."

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