From the treasurer
The importance of aligning the RSPB’s expenditure plans with income expectations so we can keep the books “in balance” was highlighted by the outgoing Treasurer, Graeme Wallace, in last year’s report. Steps taken to strengthen our organisation and reduce costs are almost complete but have involved some difficult decisions around the number of people we employ and where we deploy our financial resources. The result, however, is a sustainable financial model that, with your support, gives us the financial confidence to deliver the charitable impact needed to save nature.
In my first Treasurer’s Report, I am pleased to advise that we ended 2018–2019 in a stronger financial position. Income, including investment gains, was £5.3 million higher at £144.6 million, which includes a record year for legacy income at £36.7 million.
Net income, including investment gains available for charitable activities, rose by £10.4 million to £112.4 million. Charitable expenditure was maintained at £99.6 million, together with a further £7.1 million of capital expenditure, including land acquisition and investment in visitor infrastructure on our reserves of £4.4 million. Our balance sheet remains strong and was helped by a £9.2 million reduction in the pension liability.
Together, these factors have resulted in a £7.5 million increase in our free financial reserves.
This represents 18 weeks of expenditure, temporarily above policy, providing a good buffer against any future financial uncertainty.
Your generous support this year has allowed us to achieve many big and significant wins for nature – the completion of the RSPB Wallasea Island habitat creation project and launching the new management of Sherwood Forest with the opening of our award-winning visitor centre to name two.
Looking ahead, the scale of the challenges facing the natural world are unprecedented, including climate change, habitat loss, pollution and persecution. Over the coming year, we will work to drive change at the scale necessary to tackle these threats.
My thanks, therefore, to our supporters who place their trust in us, donating both money and time, to deliver the right outcomes for wildlife.
With your support, we will continue to undertake practical conservation, to save sites and species directly, and also to demonstrate to others what is possible. We will empower people to take direct action for nature, in the places they love, and through the choices they make in daily life. And we will work with partners and other organisations to make real our vision for a world richer in nature.