Griffon vulture Gyps fulvus, in flight

Money matters

A summary of the financial year from our treasurer, Graeme Wallace, and details of our income and spend.

From the treasurer

Our commitment to continue to invest in important conservation work to save nature is central to our financial report for 2015-16. We increased our annual spend on our charitable objectives, ending the year with a surplus of £3.4m, allowing us to maintain modest but sound financial reserves that give us capacity to deal with whatever challenges may lie ahead.

This is thanks, in part, to prudent financial management, but mainly due to our dedicated team of staff and volunteers together with the generous support that you, our members, give. I’m pleased to report that expenditure on conservation has risen for the tenth year in succession.

Spending more on saving nature

Our overall expenditure on our charitable purposes was £97.3 million (£96.4 million 2014–15), which supported the essential research that underpins all our work, helped maintain the rich natural biodiversity found on our reserves, enabled us to purchase 1,042 hectares of nature reserves at a cost of £2.7 million and invest £4.2 million in improvements to our visitor facilities.

Importantly, and with the generous support of Aldi, we significantly expanded our education work helping to connect more children with nature which is essential if conservation and nature is to continue to have the support it needs a generation from now.

We also increased investment communicating as widely as possible what we do and the impact that we have. This includes use of digital communications, as well as more traditional media such as TV advertising.

Commitment to the highest standards

This expenditure was financed by growth in almost all of our income streams which, while very welcome financially, also demonstrates the faith that people have in the RSPB to save nature on their behalf.

I as Treasurer, and the RSPB as a whole, never, ever, take that for granted. Throughout the last year, public trust in charities was the subject of considerable negative media scrutiny. Our commitment to work to the highest standards in all that we do and recognition that our success is solely based on your continued trust and support has contributed to taking our membership to an all-time high of 1,187,839 members.

At year end, our free financial reserves were the equivalent of eight weeks’ expenditure. This allows us to plan our work with confidence, and to react quickly to opportunities and risks, as appropriate.

Your continuing support is enabling us to do more for nature, grow our support and invest. Thank you.

Graeme Wallace

Income and spend

Summarised financial statements for 2015-16

Raising money for charitable purposes

  £m £m £m £m
Trading income 22.5 (20.1) 2.4 2.9
Membership subscriptions and donations 47.7 (12.3) 35.4 34.2
Grants, corporates and trusts 23.8 (3.3) 20.5 23.7
Legacies 34.1 (0.9) 33.2 29.7
Land income and fees for services 7.6 (0.0) 7.6 7.2
Financial income - profit on sale of fixed assets and interest 1.7 (0.1) 1.6 3.1
TOTAL INCOME 137.4 (36.7) 100.7 100.8

Expenditure on charitable purposes

Research, policy and advisory      (37.4)  (38.1)
Managing RSPB reserves      (34.0)  (34.2)
Education and inspiring support      (21.5)  (19.6)
Supporter care      (4.4)
TOTAL EXPENDITURE      (97.3)  (96.4)
Surplus      3.4 4.4 

Assets and liabilities

Nature reserves      194.3  189.8
Equipment      4.3  4.1
Total long term assets      198.6  193.9
Pension liability      (59.0)  (86.5)
Cash and investments      32.3  41.1
Stock, debtors and creditors      11.9  4.2
Total representing available financial reserves      44.2  45.3
TOTAL      183.8  152.7

Amount held for future purposes

Available financial reserves      44.2  45.3
Held for specific purposes      (31.7)  (31.3)
Free financial reserves      12.5  14.0
Representing future expenditure cover of      12.5
(8 weeks)
(9 weeks)



Net income was £101 million. Cost of generating income was £37 million.

Pie chart showing spend of £98.9 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 September 2016, 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 2016.

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.

Steve Ormerod