Show me the money! The challenges in how charities present their financial information to the public

How charities spend their money remains a key concern for current and potential donors. In this report we examine how a selected sample of UK charities present their key financial information to the general public, exploring both the content and form of this information. We find that it is clear charities are working hard to demonstrate how much they are achieving through the income they raise and how efficiently this is being done. However, there are a number of recurrent issues that are worth highlighting: 

  • Key financial information of interest to the public remains buried in technical reports
  • There is an urgent need to present fundraising figures in a fair yet externally consistent way 
  • Some charities are omitting fundraising altogether when talking about their expenditure 
  • Detail about administration costs and staff pay is rarely summarized and presented by charities 
  • SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice) is at the heart of many of the problems with the presentation of charity financial data 
  • The Charity Commission's website is currently hindering rather than helping, and probably lowers public trust in charities 

 

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