At Work: Finance and IT - The numbers - National Literacy Trust

Patrick McCurry

The National Literacy Trust works to raise literacy standards in the UK. It runs campaigns to promote a love of reading and books.

Total income: £1.2m for the year ending 31 March 2005, which was roughly the same as 2004.

Highest salary: One employee was paid £50,000-£60,000.

Reserves policy: The charity operates with limited but steadily increasing reserves, which at the end of the year were equivalent to 10 weeks' spending.

The target is reserves equivalent to three months' spending.

Fundraising costs: The charity spent £121,000 on fundraising and raised £1.16m from voluntary income and grants, giving it a fundraising ratio of 10p in the pound. The previous year's ratio was 7p.

How performance is communicated

As part of an attempt to raise transparency, the charity has produced a useful impact report, which describes its aims during the year and how it has met them. It also includes detailed aims for the following year.

It might have been interesting if the charity had included areas in which it had found difficulty achieving its aims. The impact report is included on the website, www.literacytrust.org.uk. The website has a lot of information on literacy, but could perhaps have more about how the charity is making a difference.

The charity says: "We want to strengthen core income, either from donations and sponsorship or from earned income. We will also be investigating ways of extending earned income from conferences and consultancy work. We have reviewed our priorities and decided to focus on language and literacy from birth to eight years old and on promoting reading to reluctant readers of all ages. To deliver this programme will mean securing funding of around £1.5m a year, which includes the cost of nearly 90,000 books for children in our Reading is Fundamental projects."

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