Volunteering Matters sees income fall in 'challenging year'

19 Feb 2019 News

Volunteering Matters saw its income fall by nearly £2m to £5.8m, but says it hopes to avoid further redundancies after carrying out a restructure. 

The charity saw its total income fall from £7.7m in 2017 to £5.8m in 2018, according to its accounts for the year to 31 March 2018, which have been filed with Companies House.

This included falling income from numerous sources in this period, including losses of £584,000 from central and local government, nearly £500,000 in national grants, and £200,000 from its Employee Volunteering scheme. Funding from European sources and trust grants rose, however.

The charity confirmed to Civil Society News that it took “robust” steps to deal with these changes, including a staff restructure. The filings also show that it spent just under £70,000 on redundancy payments in the last two years, as the number of staff fell from 198 employees in March 2017 to 175 in March 2018. 

However, the charity’s spending still exceeded its income by over £1 million during the same twelve months. It is the third year that its expenditure has exceeded its income. 

Missed reserves target

According to the report, the charity held only four months of core costs in reserve in March 2018, missing the six-month target set by trustees. The charity said it expects to meet this target once it has sold a surplus property in north London this year. This echoes the approach taken four years ago, when it also sold assets to cover growing costs.

Anne Heal, the chair of trustees, acknowledges in the annual report that it has been “a challenging year financially for Volunteering Matters” and says that the charity took “prompt action” during the year to reduce costs. Heal added that the charity has now recruited a new team to look at ways of generating new income.

As recently as 2011, Volunteering Matters – then operating under the name CSV – had an annual income of £33m. However, this had fallen to £7.1m million by 2015, as the charity cut staff and struggled to maintain free reserves.

Restructure

A spokesperson for Volunteering Matters told Civil Society News:“The funding environment is ever more competitive and when it became clear that we would not achieve our target for new business income, we put in place a restructure plan and expenditure reduction which resulted in a number of redundancies. 

“Thanks to these robust measures, we hope not to see further fall in income or need for redundancies, and in the next year we plan to maximise on our income generation opportunities, grow our volunteer numbers, replicate our most successful projects and influence public policy on volunteering. 

“Our ambition is that Volunteering Matters will become integral to all conversations about social action volunteering in the UK, and that we will continue to deliver high impact volunteering projects that inspire people and change communities, on a local, regional and national level.”

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