Focus: Finance and Governance - The Numbers - Sense

Patrick McCurry

Sense provides services to deafblind people and those with single sensory impairments and a range of other difficulties.

Total income £51m for year ending 31 March 2005, up from £47m in 2004.

Highest salary One employee earned more than £80,000.

Reserves policy Because it takes six and a half weeks on average to get payment from local authorities, the charity's short-term reserve covers this period.

In addition, there is a long-term reserve to cover the risk of a financial downturn. In total the reserves target is equivalent to 19 weeks' turnover, or £20m. At the end of the year, reserves fell short of this target and were £8.4m.

Fundraising costs The charity raised £6.8m in fundraised income, including legacies, and spent £2.7m on fundraising, giving it a fundraising ratio of 40p in the pound. The ratio was 46 per cent in the previous year.

How performance is communicated

The trustees' report is impressive, because it takes the reader through the charity's activities and describes what the goals were in the different areas and how they were achieved.

It also links these goals and achievements to the charity's longer-term strategic plan. A separate annual review, aimed at the more general reader, gives summaries of some of the activities and includes the impacts of particular achievements.

Both reports are available online at

The charity says: "The commercial and charity retailing climate has been very challenging over the past year. There were, however, some real successes and achievements, such as continued growth for antiques and collectables sold via eBay.

"Sense Trading still returned some of the best sales and profits figures in its sector."

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