At Work: Finance and IT - The numbers - Mental Health Foundation

Patrick McCurry

The MHF is a research charity that works to improve services for anyone affected by mental health problems.

Total income: £4.1m for the year ending 31 March 2006, compared with £4.5m for 2005.

Highest salary: Chief executive Andrew McCulloch was paid £70,000-£80,000.

Reserves policy: Given the medium to long-term nature of the charity's work, the trustees argue that free reserves should be equivalent to 12 months' unrestricted spending. At year-end, free reserves were £2.5m, compared with annual unrestricted spending of £4.3m.

Fundraising costs: The charity spent £1m on fundraising. Voluntary income was £2.7m, giving it a fundraising ratio of 37p in the pound. The previous year's ratio was 28p.

How performance is communicated: The website gives a clear description of the charity's work, written in straightforward language. It also tries to put the charity's work into a broader context, with a section called 'What makes us different from other mental health organisations?' There is not much, however, on communicating performance. The trustees' report, annual accounts and annual review are available at the website The annual review presents the charity's activities chronologically, but does not try to demonstrate performance by linking activity to specific objectives or to include any evaluations of work.

The charity says: "Total income was down on the year before, largely because of two unusually large legacies in 2005. Statutory and other grants income was lower, but trading income was up by 61 per cent. In fundraising, we improved our communication with donors and focused on issues such as our work on diet and exercise. Our donors showed great interest in this 'self-help' aspect of our work and their generosity reflected this, with each mailing going over target."

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