Focus: Finance and Governance - The Numbers - Asthma UK

Patrick McCurry

Asthma UK aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people with asthma. It also funds research and raises awareness of the condition, which affects 5.2 million people in the UK.

Total income - £9.3m for the year ending 30 September 2004, down from £11m in 2003.

Highest salary - One member of staff earned more than £60,000.

Reserves policy - The charity aims to hold general reserves equal to between four and six months of spending, excluding research already provided, because the bulk of income comes from one-off voluntary donations and is potentially volatile.

At the end of the last financial year, reserves were about 50 per cent higher than this target. The charity's intention was to increase charitable spending to reduce this surplus.

Fundraising costs - The charity spent £1.5m on fundraising and its voluntary income was £8.8m. This gave it a fundraising ratio of 17p in the pound.

This was higher than the previous year, when it was 14p, but the 2003 income included an exceptional legacy of nearly £2m.

How performance is communicated - The annual report and accounts give a lively and in-depth description of the charity's work. The report splits the work into different categories, such as healthcare, childhood and work, and in each category describes in detail the charity's aims, its achievements and targets for the following year.

There is also a lot of information on the website, www.asthma.org.uk.

The charity says "Income excluding legacies and investment income was down slightly on 2003, but the financial position remains sound.

"Following large surpluses in recent years, the strategy has been to increase charitable spending following the rebranding and the development of a new strategic plan."

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