At Work: Finance and IT - The numbers - Action on Elder Abuse

Patrick McCurry

Action on Elder Abuse campaigns against abuse of older people.

Total income: £579,000 for the year ending 31 March 2005 (up from £483,000 in 2004).

Highest salary: The organisation declined to provide this information.

Reserves policy: The charity seeks to hold free reserves that would enable it to meet all staffing obligations, up to a maximum of three months.

Annual staff costs for 2005/06 were about £400,000, implying a minimum commitment of £100,000. Free reserves at year-end were £84,000.

Fundraising costs: The charity spent £39,000 on fundraising, against a voluntary income of £155,000, giving it a fundraising ratio of 25p in the pound. The previous year's ratio was 11p.

How performance is communicated: The website (www.elderabuse.org.uk) describes the charity's work and services, but there is little analysis of its impact and how it has made a difference. There is much more information in the trustees' report and accounts, which is not available online. This flags up specific achievements and performance statistics. It also describes the organisation's financial challenges.

The charity says: "In 2002, we launched a three-year recovery programme to set the charity on a more stable financial footing. Since then, we have sought to build more long-term relationships with funding bodies, while strengthening our self-generated income stream. During the year, funding from the Department of Health enabled us to stabilise our finances and begin the process of developing our self-generated income, thus reducing our reliance on fluctuating grants and donations. This, however, will be a long-term process and will require consistent streams of funding for several years if we are to be successful. Our level of reserves, while sufficient to meet statutory obligations, is not enough to ensure long-term stability in the face of a major funding crisis."

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