2014 proved to be a year of consolidation as we secured income of £917,375 with half of that income being secured from two restricted grants from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Big Lottery Fund. This was about 11% down on the previous financial year in 2013. Our expenditure was down as well by 21% to £810,998, as we sought to build up a reserve in light of the closure of our DFID and BLF grants in 2015. As such 2015, is shaping up to be a much more challenging financial year.
Our major sources of income in 2014 were:
- The UK Department for International Development (DFID) for the Widowed Survivors Empowerment Project (WSEP) generated our largest single source of income of £323,208.
- Funding from Foundation Rwanda amounted to £151,126 restricted for use for educational support for children born of rape in Rwanda.
- The second full year of a three year grant for the Genocide Widows Empowerment Project from the Big Lottery Fund generated £148,054.
- A grant of £97,736 from the Charities Advisory Trust, through income it generates from the Good Gifts Catalogue and the Card Aid scheme, continues to be a vital source of funding.
- We received £76,082 from individual donors in 2013. We maintained our expenditure on key projects proportionate to the income received for them, as well as controlled our expenditure on our core costs:
- We reduced our staff costs by 3% from £200,293 in 2013 to £194,312 in 2014.
We do not have any fundraising spend, as we undertake no marketing, paid-for advertising or direct mail. This is quite exceptional for a charity that generates over £1 million in income. Though we do receive a Google Grant, which provides us with free advertising on Google with an equivalent monetary value of $15,166 in 2014.
The year ahead is expected to be a challenging one financially, due to the closure of our two largest current grants –Widowed Survivors Empowerment Project (WSEP) in March 2015 and the Genocide Widows Empowerment Project (GWEP) in November 2015. Both projects contribute significant funding towards our core costs, and as a result we will need to consider how to reduce our cost base. Alternatively, we will need to secure additional funding to supplant the closed grants, though this appears less feasible considering the significant time required to secure large institutional grants, though we do have one smaller three year grant of £249,968 secured for a new employment and entrepreneurship project with AERG.
We had secured approximately £300,000 of income at the start of the year, including £150,000 from Big Lottery Fund for the Genocide Widows Empowerment Project (GWEP), £85,000 from Foundation Rwanda for our educational support project for children born of rape and £65,000 from the UK Department for International Development for the Empowering young people who have left Secondary School in Rwanda to Create, Secure and Sustain Employment (ELE).
New grant proposals are in development to Comic Relief for a new project, and we continue to seek to identify independently additional funding opportunities with trusts and foundations in the UK, and in the USA in partnership with Foundation Rwanda. Continued emphasis will be placed on supporting our partner organisations to develop and secure funding for projects directly, which will result in less income being channelled through SURF over time.
We are committed to keeping our costs as low as possible outside of Rwanda in 2015. SURF continues to retain only one employee outside of Rwanda (the CEO), who works from home, and is supported by a part-time consultant.
Following a salary review of staff in Rwanda, we awarded an increase of 5% for junior staff, in line with inflation in Rwanda. However, salaries for senior staff both in Rwanda and the UK were frozen at the same level as 2014, which will be reviewed only once we have greater visibility of our financial position.
We plan to continue to maintain the level of grant expenditure in 2015 as our income allows, ensuring that we try maintain a small surplus despite the challenging financial environment.
We maintain a reserve of approximately £15,000 which we hold in Rwanda Francs in a high-interest bearing deposit account in Rwanda, which can be drawn down if ever required.