British Red Cross income at lowest level since 2013

The charity's latest accounts show its income dropped £41.2m on 2017, primarily as a result of fewer major emergency appeals

The BRC report and accounts
The BRC report and accounts

Income at the British Red Cross has fallen to its lowest point since 2013 and regular giving has fallen by more than a fifth over the same period, the charity’s annual accounts reveal.

The accounts, published on the charity’s website, show that in the year to 31 December 2018 the charity had an income of £243.3m, a fall of £41.2m on the year before.

It spent £243.9m during the year.

According to the document, the fall in income was primarily because the income from restricted appeals had been so high in 2017, with urgent appeals such as those for Grenfell and the Manchester and London Bridge terror attacks bringing in £48.9m, compared with just £16.7m in 2018.

But the total income figure is still the lowest since 2013, when it was £228.4m and rose to £261.8m in 2014.

At the same time, income from regular donations has fallen to £39.7m, down from a high of £50.2m in 2014 – a reduction of 21 per cent over five years.

The charity said its refugee support service had worked with 36,500 people and had reunited almost 1,000 families. 

It supported more than 95,000 people to live in their own home and responded to 1,400 emergencies in the UK, helping more than 9,000 people. 

Paul Amadi, director of fundraising at the BRC, has been among those fundraisers warning that the existing fundraising model was not sustainable. In a blog post for Third Sector earlier this year, he said that the sector would need to evolve to still be relevant in 10 years’ time.

The report says: "The British Red Cross remains in a stable financial position at the year-end, despite sustained economic and regulatory challenges.

"We continue to address actual and projected reductions in regular donations and increasing costs through investment in fundraising innovation."

It adds that the drop in income would be addressed in part by its BRC 150+ continuous improvement programme, marking its 150th year, which "aims to deliver effective and efficient services in order to fulfil our mission of connecting human kindness to human crisis".

Spending was also down this year, from £276.1m in 2017 to £243.9m, again partly because funds were spent on the emergency campaigns for Grenfell, Manchester and London Bridge in 2017.

"We continue to remain confident that our operating model remains robust, but sufficiently flexible to accommodate the impact of ongoing change in the sector," the report says.

A British Red Cross spokeswoman said: "We continue to have fantastic support from our donors, who help us ensure that we can reach people in crisis across the UK and internationally."

She said there were several reasons for the year-on-year fall in income, including "the challenging economic context and changes to fundraising legislation".

She added: "As an emergency response organisation, alongside regular donations, investments and grant income we also receive funds for major emergencies via appeals. In comparison with 2017, there were fewer large-scale emergency appeals last year, so our income and expenditure fell accordingly."

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