The numbers: Mission to Seafarers

The Mission to Seafarers is a missionary society that cares for the spiritual and material welfare of seafarers.

Total income: £3.9m for the year ending 31 December 2007, compared with £4.7m for the year before.

Highest salary: One employee was paid between £70,000 and £80,000.

Reserves policy: At year-end, the charity held unrestricted reserves of £27.9m - equivalent to about six years of unrestricted spending. The charity says it needs such a high level of reserves in order to meet its long-term commitment to operate at more than 200 ports worldwide. It also cites the unreliability of legacy income and changes in pensions law as reasons for keeping high levels of unrestricted funds.

Fundraising costs: The charity spent £900,000 on generating fundraising and trading income, which totalled £2.4m, giving it a fundraising ratio of 37p in the pound. The previous year's ratio was roughly the same.

Pension: The charity participates in two Church of England defined-benefit pension schemes, one for clergy and the other for lay members.

How performance is communicated: The website ( is fairly light on performance information, but does contain the annual review. The review offers a lot more information about how the charity is seeking to operate more efficiently, by working collaboratively with other denominations, for example. The trustees' report and accounts are also on the website and give further detail on activities and strategy.

The charity says: "The strategic work we carried out during the year confirmed our belief in the value of the society's purpose. However, we have been continuing to use cash in excess of our income and, while we have been able to use reserves to meet the shortfall over the short term, it cannot continue in the long term."


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