The main reason for this fall was that income from charitable activities stood at £24.9m, down from £33.5m the previous year. The report says this "mostly resulted from a planned refocusing on activities that are core to our strategy, but also from the closure of the RNIB Pears Centre".
The Pears Centre because subject to a Charity Commission statutory inquiry in 2018 following serious safeguarding concerns, and was closed later that year.
The charity also saw a fall in donations to £18m, from £21.8m in 2017-18. The accounts report that this was mainly due to some large one-off gifts not being repeated.
Legacy giving was the charity's largest source of income, with gifts from wills accounting for 70 per cent of voluntary income. Legacy income decreased slightly to £41.4m from £41.9m the year before.
The charity reported an overall surplus of £3.8m, compared to £6.3m in 2018, with operating cash inflow of £11.9m compared to £3.5m.
A five-year fundraising plan
This year RNIB launched its new fundraising strategy based on three key priorities: “strategic alignment, diversification and relevance”.
Its goal is to increase fundraising income by 29 per cent over the next five years.
The three priorities are first, to increase alignment between fundraising activities and strategy, secondly, to diversify its income generation portfolio, and lastly, to make fundraising offers, communications and products more relevant to supporters and potential supporters.
The accounts said: “We want our donors to have the best possible experience when they’re supporting RNIB, and we’re continuing to invest in innovation to secure both short and long-term fundraising income.”
'Ambitious new vision'
The charity has had some recent management changes, with Matt Stringer becoming chief executive of the charity in May 2019. Stringer took over from Eliot Lyne, who had been interim chief executive since the resignation of Sally Harvey, who stepped down following the Pears Centre revelations.
In the foreword to the report, Stringer says: “The organisation has clearly been through a significant transformation over recent years and now has an excellent foundation in place, in terms of the new strategy and brand to take us forward. We've got an ambitions new vision and big goals to make sure we really make a difference for people with sight loss.”
As part of the work implementing a new strategy, RNIB paid a total of £941,000 to 269 staff in redundancy and termination costs.
The average number of employees during the year was 1,523.