Oxfam's income reaches record levels

But the charity warns in its latest accounts that demand for its services is outstripping increases in income


Oxfam’s income hit record levels last year but demand for its services is outstripping increases in income, according to its latest accounts.

In its accounts for the year ending 31 March, published today, Oxfam reported that income grew by £13.3m to a record high of £414.7m.

This was largely down to an increase in income from donations and legacies from £124.8m in 2014/15 to £145.5m last year.

In a statement, the charity said public donations rose to £114.5m – the second highest level after 2004, the year of the south-east Asian tsunami.

But the accounts show that total expenditure was £420.7m in 2015/16, up from £389.6m in the previous year. 

The rise was mainly down to a £22.9m increase in charitable expenditure to a total of £322m, the accounts show, with humanitarian spending – up from £116.2m in the year to 31 March 2015 to £139.8m this financial year – the principal cause.

The charity also addressed future risks to income in its accounts, especially from the fallout of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. The accounts say that the vote will have "significant implications for our work" due to "the uncertainty both in financial markets and in the terms of the exit negotiations".

The accounts also discussed recent changes to fundraising regulation, and say that despite expected increases in fundraising costs, Oxfam was confident that it could "transform relationships with our supporters in order to maximise the amount available for our charitable activities within a few years".

The charity’s accounts say that Oxfam helped 11.6m people in 51 countries in 2015/16, and 450,000 people in the UK made a regular donation to the charity.

The charity's pension deficit was down from £35m in 2014/15 to £19.6m last year, the accounts show.

Oxfam also reported a 1 per cent fall in sales from its charity shops in 2015/16, earning the charity a net income of £17.8m once operating costs were deducted.

The charity said that shop managers reported a fall in sales from donated goods, which it blamed on difficult high street trading conditions, and that volunteers in its shops were working for fewer hours on average than previously.

Oxfam said the fall in volunteer hours meant some shops had to be temporarily closed due to volunteer shortages in the periods either side of Christmas.

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