The Donkey Sanctuary’s Trustees' Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2015 have been prepared in accordance with Accounting and Reporting by Charities: Statement of Recommended Practice 2005 (SORP). The following paragraphs provide the highlights of the financial position for the charity for 2015.
In 2015 The Donkey Sanctuary’s financial performance was very positive, with consolidated total income reaching £35.1m (2014: £31.5m), an increase of 11% for the year. We increased total expenditure, including capital, to £33.3m (2014: £30.7m), an increase of 8%, and ended the year with free reserves coverage of 9 months of 2016’s planned expenditure. This represents a sound financial footing for the charity and will enable us to effectively manage the risks and uncertainties we face, and to work towards achieving the objectives set out in our Strategic Plan.
The Donkey Sanctuary continues to be reliant on the generosity of its supporters and the voluntary income they donate to help us work towards achieving our vision of a world where donkeys and mules live free from suffering and their contribution to humanity is fully valued. In 2015 our voluntary income from donations and legacies grew by 11% compared with the previous year, and we are extremely thankful to everyone who continues to support us. In 2015 our donation income grew by £1.5m (19%), reflecting our ongoing efforts to highlight donkey care and welfare issues and the benefits of human-donkey interaction to our supporters all over the world. Towards the end of the year we launched a special campaign to raise funds towards a new veterinary hospital; the old one served us well over the last 35 years but no longer meets the standards our donkeys need and deserve. The Get Better hospital appeal helped to raise over £0.5m by the end of the year and will contribute towards new facilities where we can treat more sick donkeys more efficiently. During the year we maintained the momentum from 2014 in promoting our new Adoption Scheme, as well as opening our first charity shop, which has proved a great success. We also worked hard to introduce new supporters to the charity through fundraising efforts that aimed to inspire support and increase awareness and recognition of our work.
Legacies continue to be a very important source of income for us and we are extremely grateful to all who have remembered us in their will. In 2015 legacy income grew to £22.5m (2014: £20.7m), an increase of 8%. This figure includes income generated from all group entities including The Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys and The International Donkey Protection Trust.
Income generated from other trading activities increased to £2.3m in 2015 (2014: £2.2m). As we continue to attract higher numbers of supporters to our Sanctuaries and centres across the UK and Europe, the resulting increase in visitor numbers helped to grow the income from our trading and fundraising activities, including our restaurant and catering facilities and the sale of souvenirs from our visitor centres. During the year we opened our first charity shop, which provided a great opportunity for us to engage with new audiences, to promote our work, and to generate income from a variety of activities. All profits from our trading subsidiaries’ activities are donated back to the charity to further our objectives.
Total expenditure for the year, including investment in capital projects, grew to £33.3m (2014: £30.7m).
During the year operational expenditure on our charitable activities increased by 3% to £24.0m (2014: £23.3m), with growth across many areas of activity.
During the year our activities to reduce the numbers of donkeys in short-term livery and to increase the numbers rehomed progressed very well. However, we still experienced continuing high levels of relinquishments across our Sanctuaries, particularly in Ireland. The trustees acknowledge the risks associated with the current levels of relinquishments and are confident that our plans for 2016 to effectively manage those risks are robust. Strategies will include:
- working in collaboration with other like-minded individuals and organisations to enable us to maintain the highest standard of care, whether this is through expansion of our rehoming activities or the use of temporary leases on farms or paying livery at holding bases;
- following our 2015 investigation to determine the main drivers for current and potential future relinquishment (to charities) and abandonment of donkeys on the island of Ireland - we will use the recommendations from the report to develop the charity’s operational strategy for future years in Ireland.
Our activities involving donkeys in the community include many aspects of our international projects. During the year we extended the scope of our collaboration activities with other like-minded organisations, and this, combined with the development of infrastructure across our international teams, meant that we were able to extend our activities to reach approximately 1.6m donkeys and mules worldwide. During the year our expenditure on donkeys in the community activities increased by 19%, reflecting the expansion of activities within our international projects, particularly in Ethiopia.
In 2015 we increased our expenditure on human-donkey interactions, reflecting the continued growth in activity, including development of our mobile units to extend our reach to new areas of the UK. We also completed the first stages of a research programme into the specific effects of human-donkey interaction on human physical, mental, social and emotional outcomes, alongside the benefit to the donkeys. In 2015 we added a new executive member of staff to oversee the strategic growth of human-donkey interaction activities throughout the world.
Amid the recent focus of media attention on the charity sector, and fundraising in particular, it is heartening to report the continuing success of our fundraising strategies. It is a testimony to our supporters’ commitment to The Donkey Sanctuary and their understanding of our work and values, as well as the skill and commitment of our fundraising teams, that we have seen growth in many areas of income in 2015. The trustees recognise that, in order to continue the future success of the charity, there is a need to invest in new fundraising activity. This is reflected in the increase in expenditure on raising funds (including trading costs) to £7.0m in 2015 (2014: £6.2m). The proportion of our expenditure attributed to raising donations, legacies and other fundraising income remains low, at 18.1p (2014 (SORP2015 Restated): 17.3p) for every £1 of total expenditure.
Please note that in adopting the provisions of the new Statement of Recommended Practice in 2015 ‘Charities SORP (FRS 102)’ we have realigned the analysis of fundraising expenditure in the accounts, thereby removing previous references to ‘activities for generating funds’ and ‘cost of generating voluntary income’ and replacing them with the new combined caption of ‘expenditure on raising funds’. This is reflected in note 5 of the accounts.
By closely monitoring our fundraising campaigns we are well placed to direct our resources into our most successful fundraising activities, and we are pleased to report that progress during the year accorded with trustees’ expectations. The trustees have recognised the risks associated with the media attention on fundraising activities and the potential for reduced levels of income in 2016 and beyond. Through our well-established and robust financial and other internal controls, the trustees, executives and senior managers are able to closely monitor the charity’s fundraising activities so as to mitigate this risk and take suitable action as required.
The trustees operate a reserves policy which they consider appropriate to ensure, barring unforeseen circumstances, the continued ability of The Donkey Sanctuary to meet its objectives. The trustees are increasingly aware of the potential volatility of income levels and the significant proportion of our total income from legacies. In addition, due to the fact that we make considerable investment in projects outside of the UK, the trustees and executive team are mindful of expenditure in local currencies funded by monies received in sterling. As far as it is possible, we aim to maintain free cash reserves to cover at least one year’s expenditure.
In terms of our total reserves, £27.9m is designated to fixed assets (most of which is land and donkey accommodation), and £14.1m is for residual legacies that have been advised to us but for which no cash has yet been received. In addition, £2.8m relates to funds earmarked by their donors for specific purposes, leaving free cash reserves of £24.4m, which is equivalent to 9 months’ projected expenditure for 2016. Our aim is to maintain 12 months’ free cash reserves so as to fund the ongoing direct operational costs such as feed, bedding, veterinary costs, staffing and other costs associated with providing sanctuary for nearly 5,000 animals in our direct care. The reserve also enables the trustees, executives and senior managers to effectively manage the many risks and uncertainties that the charity may face such as the potential reduction of future fundraising and donation income referred to above.
It is important to note that we have designated the net income for the year to contribute towards our expansion plans within our strategic plan. This includes relocating our veterinary hospital, visitor facilities and restaurant as mentioned above, as well as other capital projects completed in 2015 and those committed for completion into 2016.
Construction of the new facilities commenced early in 2016 and there is a dedicated project management team comprising trustees, executives and senior managers who oversee the completion of the project, managing risk and ensuring that building work meets our quality expectations and is delivered on time and within budget.
|2015 Trustees' Report and Accounts||3.34 MB|
|2014 Trustees' Report and Accounts||4.29 MB|
|2013 Trustees' Report and Accounts||3.18 MB|
|2012 Trustees' Report and Accounts||2.76 MB|
|2011 Trustees' Report and Accounts||2.42 MB|
|2010 Trustees' Report and Accounts||1.38 MB|
|2009 Trustees' Report and Accounts||693.96 KB|
|2008 Trustees' Report and Accounts||1.52 MB|
|2007 Trustees' Report and Accounts||1.06 MB|