Focus: Finance and Governance - The Numbers - Bliss

Patrick McCurry

Bliss helps premature or sick babies survive and have the best possible quality of life

Total income £1.49m for the year ending 31 March 2005, up from £1.24m in 2004.

Highest salary One employee earned between £50,000 and £60,000.

Reserves policy The charity aims to keep between four and six months' operating spending in unrestricted reserves. At year end these reserves totalled more than four months' projected operational spending.

Fundraising costs The charity raised £1.42m in donations and similar income, and its fundraising costs were £444,000, giving it a fundraising ratio of 31p in the pound. The previous year's ratio was 40 per cent.

How performance is communicated The annual review, available online, gives a good overview of the charity's work. But there is little about the future strategic direction the charity wishes to take. There is more detail about longer-term plans in the trustees' report, although this is not available online. The website contains accessible information on the charity's work and its achievements. It can be viewed at www.bliss.org.uk.

The charity says: "We receive less than 5 per cent of our income from statutory sources, so we rely almost exclusively on the public, trusts, foundations and companies. We have managed to achieve a big increase in our income without significantly increasing our fundraising costs. This has allowed us to spend more of our money on charitable work, which showed a 28 per cent increase to £983,000. The percentage of our spending which goes directly to charitable purposes increased from 59 per cent to 67 per cent. This is a ratio that compares very well with other charities of similar size, and we are delighted to have achieved this turnaround in our performance."

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