Focus: Finance and Governance - The Numbers - Karuna Trust

Patrick McCurry

The Karuna Trust is a Buddhist charity that funds projects in partnership with Indian and Bangladeshi NGOs, to benefit members of the Dalit ('untouchable') community.

Total income: £1.1m for the year ending 31 December 2004 (roughly the same as in 2003).

Highest salary: No member of staff earned more than £50,000.

Reserves policy: The charity's policy is to hold free reserves equal to about three months' spending, to cover currency or funding stream difficulties. At the end of the financial year for 2004, the Karuna Trust's reserves were equivalent to about two months' spending.

Fundraising costs: The charity spent £124,000 on fundraising and its voluntary income was £1.1m. This gave it a fundraising ratio of 11p in the pound. This was lower than the previous year, when it was 14p.

How performance is communicated

The trustees' report gives a brief description of the charity's work and there is a glossy annual review with case studies of projects in India, which reads like a fundraising publication. Neither of these reports provides a breakdown of the trust's activity or assesses performance. But its website does give more detailed information on specific areas of work and a clearer description of the charity's activity. For more information, visit

The charity says "We had planned to raise our income by 5 per cent, but were affected by staff turnover and difficulties getting sufficient fundraisers. The two main methods of fundraising were door-to-door campaigns and applications to charitable trusts and foundations. At the end of 2004, the trustees agreed to undergo a strategic review of all the trust's activities in order to increase effectiveness."

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