Focus: Finance and Governance - The Numbers - Samaritans

Patrick McCurry

Samaritans provides confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those that might lead to suicide.

Total income £10.4m for the year ending 31 March 2005, roughly the same as 2004. This does not cover Samaritans branches.

Highest salary Chief executive David King is paid between £60,000 and £70,000.

Reserves policy The charity aims to hold free reserves equivalent to at least four months' unrestricted spending. At the end of the year, reserves were below the target level but significantly higher than the previous year.

Fundraising costs The charity raised £9m in voluntary income. Its fundraising costs of £2.7m gave it a fundraising ratio of 30p in the pound, an improvement on the previous year's 33p.

How performance is communicated The trustees report is comprehensive and readable, giving a good overview of the charity's activities and finances.

It includes useful statistics on use of the services and details on the charity's plans and strategy for the future.

There is also an annual review giving more information on the charity's strategic direction. Both reports are on the website,

The charity says "We've been early adopters of the new Sorp accounting framework, which was issued in March 2005, because we are keen to adopt best practice. Because of this, some of the figures might not be directly comparable with other charities' accounts.

"Income from legacies fell by 38 per cent, but an increase in grants helped offset this fall, with the largest amount being provided by the Vodafone UK Foundation. Donations remain by far the largest source of our funds, but these are down slightly, at about 40 per cent of total income."

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