2010 has been a very challenging year financially for SURF, as set out in the Statement of Financial Activities appending this trustee’s report. However, despite the poor economic climate, we finished the year incredibly strongly and are now well positioned to grow the organisation in 2011.
We had a formal income target of £600,000, which we exceeded this year, securing £682,372, an increase of 25% on 2009. The most significant new grant of the year was Comic Relief of £523,486 for a two-year HIV+ Survivors Project. We deferred to 2011 much of the first installment of that grant, which has resulted in the organisation having guaranteed income of over £300,000 at the start of the new financial year. This compares favourably to the start of 2010 when we had no secured income.
Our major sources of income this year were:
- For the second consecutive year, the Charities Advisory Trust has been our largest funder. However, due to a difficult trading environment for its Good Gifts Catalogue, the grant was down 30% on 2009. However, the grant of £142,018 has proved critical, funding the livestock projects in Rwanda, as well as university scholarships.
- We received £111,363 from individual donors in 2010, our highest level ever (up 5% on 2009). Online donations amounted to £19,975, and over £32,900 through standing orders.
- We received the first installment of £80,000 of a three year £240,000 grant secured from the Sigrid Rausing Trust; £75,000 of which is unrestricted for use in Rwanda to support work with women survivors affected by gender-based violence.
Our level of expenditure in 2010 was at the highest level in three years, at £726,322, an increase of 10% on 2009, the majority of which (£505,877) was disbursed on programmes in Rwanda.
Our major sources of expenditure this year were:
- Our expenditure in the UK was at a record low level, with only £91,464 spent on the UK office (compared with £155,094 in 2008). We downsized our office, saving on rent, and our administrator went from full-time to part-time in January.
- Our expenditure on the Rwanda office was above budget at £105,885. However, this reflects a change in approach as we deliver more intensive capacity-building support to partner organisations, as well as monitoring and evaluation.
- We committed greater funding to our activities with UK-based survivors, of £23,097 through grants from Awards for All and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
- Governance costs of £4,327 including both the cost of the compilation and auditing of the accounts, and the cost of a visit of three trustees to Rwanda over the year.
For every £1 we spent on raising funds, we generated over £45 of income. Most of our fundraising efforts were expended on grant writing (33% of the Chief Executive’s time), as we do not spend any money on marketing. We receive a Google Grant, which provides us with free advertising on Google.
The year ahead is promising to be the best yet for SURF since 2007. We have brought all our costs under control through a streamlining programme last year and thus begin the year with a very low cost base. We have diversified our funding base, and there are a number of funding opportunities on the horizon.
The two main funding opportunities for SURF in 2011 is a new Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF) of DFID and the International Communities programme of the BIG Lottery Fund. SURF will be submitting multi-year proposals to both funders for grants in the region of £500,000 to set up a new AVEGA office in the Southern Region of Rwanda. In addition, SURF will be working with AVEGA to assist them to submit a proposal directly for funding from the UN Trust Fund.
Funding from Foundation Rwanda is set to increase again in 2011, as they accelerate their fundraising drive in the US. In addition, SURF will be working with AVEGA to assist them to submit more proposals directly to international funders in Rwanda.
We are committed to keeping our costs low in 2010. We have no plans to recruit any more staff in the UK, and the number of staff in the Rwanda office will fall as Sam Munderere, our programme manager, leaves on sabbatical in January.
We undertook the first salary review of staff in Rwanda for four years, and awarded an increase in line with inflation to the UK staff (of 5%) at the end of the year. The Chief Executive will take his 6% contributory pension in 2011 as a lump sum, having forgone the payment until the income was available to do so. We plan to continue to increase the level of grant expenditure in 2011 as in the previous three years.
The policy agreed by the trustees is that the minimum amount to be held as reserve is set at three month’s operating expenditure. In 2010, we spent down most of our reserves, due to the level of reduced income at the start of the year, and they stood at £15,754 by the year end. However, we expect to begin to build back up the reserves in the first half of 2011, and we hope to have the reserves back at the agreed level by the end of 2011.