Health charity plans further deficits as it bids for financial sustainability

23 Jan 2024 News

Arthritis Action's logo

Arthritis Action

A health charity has said it expects to operate at a deficit over the next three years as it invests in driving up its fundraising income.

Arthritis Action has already reported a deficit for the last four years, with 2017-18 being the last time it reported an income that exceeded its expenditure.

The charity’s income has fluctuated in this time from £391,000 in 2019-20 to £919,000 in the year ending October 2022, while its expenditure had remained over £1m, leading to a decline in its reserves.

Arthritis Action now plans to invest in its fundraising team over the next three years to achieve long-term financial sustainability.

A spokesperson for the charity said that it is expecting to record a £400,000 - £500,000 deficit in the first year of the strategy, “with a declining trend over the following two years”.

Investing in fundraising

Arthritis Action has recruited one additional member of fundraising staff in 2023-24 and plans to increase its capacity further in the following two years.

In its latest accounts, Arthritis Action reported £431,000 of fundraised income, with legacies the biggest source of this.

Its total income grew by £312,000 over a year due to the disposal of one of its properties bringing in £326,000 for the charity. 

The charity told Civil Society that it plans to grow its annual income over the next three years by focusing on trust fundraising, corporate fundraising and securing more government funding. 

Its strategy reads: “We are investing in our fundraising team, which will help us achieve our growth plans and aspirations over the next few years.

“Generating new income streams and engaging in long-term relationships with our supporters and partners will continue to be a key focus. 

“To achieve our new strategy, and increase the level of assistance we provide to the growing number of people living with arthritis across the UK, the trustees have set an ambitious budget that involves incurring annual expenditure which will exceed operating income.”

The charity aims to achieve long-term financial stability, as its mission is to continue operating “indefinitely”. 

“Financial sustainability is an ongoing effort that requires effective financial management, continuous fundraising, and adapting to changing circumstances,” the strategy reads. 

“As a result, consideration is always given to the long-term financial implications of our decisions and actions.

“Although we currently have an ambitious budget that involves incurring annual expenditure which will exceed operating income, steps are being taken to achieve a balanced budget within the next few years.”

Operationally, the charity aims to ensure its self-management services are widely promoted and visible so it can reach more beneficiaries.

Arthritis Action also plans to raise its profile with healthcare professionals and reach more diverse communities that are affected by the condition by creating a diverse and inclusive culture within the organisation.

Arthritis Action interim CEO Noha Al Afifi will be speaking at Civil Society Media’s first ever Elevate fundraising conference on 20 March. Book before 2 February to save £125.


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