Annual Accounts & Budgets
As the year comes to an end, I am working on the budget for the WLT. In 2009 we raised over £2.5 million (over $4million) and are anticipating a further increase for 2010. But while preparing budgets and annual accounts, I also look at those of other comparable organisations. Many have had a downturn in 2009 -- as far as I can see one of the main reasons is that too many conservation organisations rely on Foundations and Trusts to give them funding. In a recession, when interest rates are low, this is a very unreliable source of funds. But some of the blame must rest with the organisations themselves and how they present their work, as well as what they do. An organisation that does not present itself well, will not get the support it might deserve.
One set of accounts I examined (the organisation had better remain anonymous) spent nearly £5 million on Agenda Setting (whatever that is) together with Communicating, Advocating and Educating. No doubt all very worthy activities, if a tad fuzzy in meaning, but sitting alongside an expenditure of only £2.6 million spent on Taking Action, many potential donors would surely question the organisations priorities.
It is important that Charities are as transparent as possible when presenting their accounts. But it is also very important that they actually mean something to their supporters. I would therefore ask any of our supporters who find any part of the accounts we publish on our website, to let us know, as soon as possible, about any improvements we can make.