Small Charities Coalition reports increased income last year

The Small Charities Coalition increased its income last year but made a slight deficit because it hired extra staff, according to accounts published this week.

The organisation, which has recruited a completely new staff team over the past nine months, generated £350,214 in the year to the end of March 2019, compared with £299,436 in the previous year.

But this was more than offset by expenditure rising from £240,572 to £359,595, mainly due to the recruitment of two extra senior staff.

This led to a deficit of £9,381, compared with a surplus of £58,864 the previous year.

Staff costs rose from £151,950 to £266,350 as the number of employees increased from six to eight. Two were made redundant shortly after the year-end results were known.

Professional fees went up from £18,200 to £46,567.

Free reserves fell from 10 months of running costs to 5.4 months, below the set policy of six to nine months.

The report describes 2018/19 as "a year of change and challenge".

It adds: "Whilst the external environment to secure funding remains challenging, the trustees have a reasonable expectation that the charity remains a going concern for twelve months from signing these accounts."

Rita Chadha, chief executive of the Small Charities Coalition, told Third Sector the organisation had built a new four-strong staff team since she joined in the summer, and it would shortly advertise for a policy and influencing manager.

She said "salary levels have been reduced across the board" as the organisation "cut our cloth accordingly".

Chadha said she expected the next set of accounts to break even and was confident the one after would show significant improvement.

"It's been a difficult period, but we feel we are through the worst," she said.

The Small Charities Coalition, which has 10,000 members, helps charities with incomes below £1m.

But it has begun focusing more on the particular needs of charities with incomes of less than £350,000.

Membership is free, but members with incomes of between £350,000 and £1m will now pay more to attend training sessions.

Mentoring will be available only to charities with incomes below £350,000, which will also have access to additional resources.

The annual report reveals that, in 2018/19, the Small Charities Coalition held 54 training workshop and networking events, handled 1,639 questions on its support line and matched 136 small charities with new mentors.

The figures for 2017/18 cover a 10-month period to 31 March 2018 because the organisation changed its financial year-end to align with funders, which are mainly trusts and foundations.

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