A summary of the financial year from our treasurer, Graeme Wallace, and details of our income and spend.
From the treasurer
This has been a good financial year for the RSPB, particularly when set against the backdrop of continuing austerity and uncertainty arising from the Brexit vote to leave the EU.
At £105 million, our income available for charitable purposes was the highest ever and we spent £99 million on saving nature, leaving us with a modest surplus of £5 million.
We invested in saving nature through acquiring new land, through cutting edge scientific research and through education projects inspiring young people and adults.
On the downside, a change in interest rates meant the pension fund deficit, having recovered somewhat last year, went up substantially. However at the year end we maintained £33 million of free financial reserves, enabling us to plan for the future.
Our successes reported this year were made possible through your generosity. Our appeal to you to help buy a 112-hectare extension to Mersehead nature reserve in Dumfries and Galloway brought in a magnificent £285,000.
Our income grew by 4% on last year through a mixture of consistently strong performance in some areas and some one-off windfalls.
We maintain a diversity of income streams to build stability in the RSPB's available resources. Our biggest income is from you, our supporters. £74 million net comes from individual supporters, backed up by another record – we now have 1,222,985 members!
Through the humbling generosity of our supporters, legacy income reached an all-time high of £34 million net.
Trading income rose again to £23 million gross, with our high ethical and sustainability standards helping to build trust and loyalty in our customers.
In 2016/17 we increased our spending by £1.7 million to £99 million, and we spent a further £4.6 million on acquiring land and investing in our visitor facilities.
We are committed to putting our income and financial reserves to work as soon as possible. Free financial reserves are held at a modest level to maximise the funds that are available for conservation needs. In calculating our free financial reserves we have previously kept this to eight weeks of expenditure, but we have now extended this to 16 weeks in the anticipation that this will fall over the next three years as we adapt to a changing and increasingly competitive funding environment.
From a financial perspective, there is much to celebrate and be optimistic about. Income has grown consistently for a number of years and this is testament to a resilient organisation with varied income streams.
Despite the financial crash of 2008 and the years of financial challenge that have followed, expenditure on conservation and the RSPB's charitable objects has risen every year for the last 15 years.
Our science programme, our nature reserves, the heartening stories of recovery of cirl buntings in south-west England and albatrosses in the southern oceans are the fruits of our strong financial performance over many years.
Ultimately that is down to the support of our funders, partners, supporters and members. Your support enables us to make a difference and to save nature.
Income and spend
Summarised financial statements for 2016-17
Raising money for charitable purposes
|Membership subscriptions and donations||51.4||(10.5)||40.9||35.4|
|Grants, corporates and trusts||20.8||(4.2)||16.6||20.5|
|Land income and fees for services||4.1||(0.0)||4.1||7.6|
|Financial income and investment gains||6.7||(0.1)||6.6||1.6|
Expenditure on charitable purposes
|Research, policy and advisory||(36.7)||(37.4)|
|Managing RSPB reserves||(36.5)||(34.0)|
|Education and inspiring support||(21.3)||(21.5)|
|Supporter care|| (4.4)
Assets and liabilities
|Total long term assets||200.4||198.6|
|Cash and investments||35.8||32.3|
|Stock, debtors and creditors||11.2||11.9|
|Total representing available financial reserves||47.0||44.2|
Amount held for future purposes
|Available financial reserves||47.0||44.2|
|Held for specific purposes||(13.8)||(12.5)|
|Free financial reserves||33.2||31.7|
|Representing future expenditure cover of||16 weeks||16 weeks|
Net income for charitable purposes was £104.5 million. Cost of generating income was £36.1 million.
Report by the trustees on the summarised financial statements
These summarised financial statements are extracted from the full statutory trustees’ annual report and financial statements which were approved by the trustees and signed on their behalf.
The full financial statements, on which the auditors Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP gave an unqualified audit report in August 2017, are available on our website.
The auditors have confirmed to the trustees that, in their opinion, the summarised financial statements are consistent with the full financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2017.
These summarised financial statements may not contain sufficient information to gain a complete understanding of the financial affairs of the charity.
The full statutory trustees report, financial statements and auditors' report may be obtained from the Director of Finance, RSPB UK Headquarters, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL.
Signed on behalf of the trustees.