Alzheimer's Society's income holds up after 25 per cent increase in individual giving

The charity also received £4.5m from the government's furlough scheme, while it made almost 200 redundancies

The Alzheimer's Society's offices in central London
The Alzheimer's Society's offices in central London

The Alzheimer’s Society’s overall income broadly held up last year thanks to an almost 25 per cent rise in individual giving and £4.5m from the government’s furlough scheme. 

The charity’s latest annual accounts, for the year to the end of March, show it had a total income of £111.1m, a fall of £2.7m on the previous year. 

The accounts show that income from donations and legacies was £82.3m compared with £82.8m the previous year, despite the coronavirus pandemic causing the cancellation of most in-person events and fundraising activities. 

Income from individual giving rose by £2.3m year on year to £12.3m, which the charity said was partly due to an emergency appeal and a higher number of donations made through its website. 

Community fundraising yielded more than £10m less year on year at £24.7m, but corporate donations rose from £3.9m to £5.3m and philanthropic income was up by £2.5m compared with 2019/20, to £7.6m. 

Included in income from donations and legacies was £4.5m from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which involved more than 500 of the charity’s staff being put on furlough during the pandemic. 

But despite the slight fall in overall income, the charity made a surplus of £24m because it reduced its expenditure from £113.3m in 2019/20 to £87.1m last year. 

The accounts show that spending on charitable activities fell to £63.7m, down from £81.1m in the previous year, while expenditure on fundraising was down almost £9m to £23.3m. 

The charity warned last summer that it might have to make up to 300 redundancies because of an estimated £45m loss of income over the following financial year. 

The accounts show the average number of people employed by the charity was 1,844, down from 2,185 in the previous year. 

Spending on wages and salaries reduced from £52.5m in 2019/20 to £44.9m last year. 

A spokesperson said the charity had to make 195 redundancies over the course of the year, which the accounts show cost almost £1m, while it also removed some other vacant posts. 

Kate Lee, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The pandemic had a significant impact on our fundraising, like all charities, and we expect to see the challenges continue for considerable time to come as the full effect of coronavirus on the economy becomes clearer. 

“So we are incredibly grateful to the generosity of all those who responded in a truly amazing way to our emergency appeal and virtual events.

She also said: “At the start of the lockdown, determined to continue to provide whatever services and help we possibly could, we took the difficult decision to cut costs. 

“This included the cancellation of events, office closures, using the government furlough scheme, workforce change programmes and, unfortunately, some job losses. 

“Thanks to those who have donated to our emergency appeal and our other initiatives, including both the sacrifice and dedication of our staff and volunteers, we have ended up in a much stronger financial position than we could possibly have imagined at the start of this crisis.”

The £24m surplus recorded by the charity was welcome because the economic effects of the pandemic were likely to extend for “many years to come”, said Lee.

“We still have a long way to go before recovering our income and activities to pre-coronavirus levels. However, our surplus will enable us to guard against any future emergency, while spending on vital projects such as improving our digital services to ensure we continue to reach as many people affected by dementia as we can.”

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