Income at the Alzheimer’s Society passes £100m for the first time

The charity was helped by a 12 per cent year-on-year rise in voluntary income, which was up to £65.8m

Annual income at the Alzheimer’s Society’s passed £100m for the first time last year due, the charity’s latest accounts show.

Its accounts for the year to 31 March 2017, which were published on the Companies House website yesterday, show an income of £103.6m, compared with £97.9m the previous year.

This was helped by a 12 per cent increase in the charity’s voluntary income, which rose from to £65.8m from £58.7m during the previous year.

The increase follows a rebrand by the charity earlier this year, which saw the introduction of a new logo in the style of a forget-me-not flower in an effort to make the charity’s branding seem warmer and more accessible.

The accounts show that the charity spent £109.5m in 2016/17, with research expenditure going above £10m for the first time and fundraising spending rising from £16.4m to £20.5m, which was down to extra investment as part of the charity’s expansion strategy.

The accounts also show total reserves fell from £36.1m to £35m, of which £26.1m was unrestricted. The charity says in the accounts that the fall in reserves “was conscious and controlled as we invest for future growth and innovation”.

The highest earner at the charity received between £150,001 to £160,000, the accounts show. This was paid to a long-standing staff member who was given a severance package during the year. 

A statement from the society said: “The top income paid to an individual fits into the £150,000 to £160,000 salary bracket. This includes the full annual salary and severance package paid to an individual, long-standing member of staff.

“Packages like these are entirely exceptional. They are only ever made in agreement with our board and subject to evidence that demonstrates the severance package is in the best interests of Alzheimer’s Society’s charitable purpose.”

The accounts show that the charity paid redundancy costs of £389,000, compared with £104,000 the previous year.

The accounts show that Alzheimer’s Society trebled its research funding portfolio to £30.5m – its highest level – including the creation of three centres of excellence in care and prevention research.

Of the research funding from the charity, £9.2m worth of grants were handed out to new research, the accounts show.

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Charities could be missing out on £100m in legacy gifts, says report

An online survey of charity legacy officers and probate practitioners finds that some people are persuaded to leave gifts to charities in ways that aren’t legally binding

The charity sector could be missing out on as much as £100m a year because people are leaving legacy gifts in a non-legally binding form, a survey of legacy officers and lawyers has found.

The online survey of 130 charity legacy officers and 76 probate practitioners, carried out in March and April by the law firm Penningtons Manches, found that only 37 per cent of probate practitioners actively prompted clients to consider leaving gifts to charity in their wills, and 27 per cent “actively disliked” dealing with estates that included legacy donations.

The report based on the survey responses, Bridging the Gap? Improving Collaboration Between Probate Practitioners and Charities, says that 20 per cent of probate practitioners said they encouraged their clients to leave charitable gifts out of their wills and instead include them in separate letters of wishes to friends or family, which are not legally binding.

“On the face of it, this may feel like a relatively small percentage, but when this is extrapolated against the legacy income of the whole charity sector this could amount to as much £100m per year,” the report says.

“This is a very significant issue for the charity sector and needs to be addressed.”

One solution the report puts forward is better communication and understanding between probate lawyers and legacy officers – who, according to the survey, had radically different views of each other’s work.

The survey found that 82 per cent of legacy officers believed they provided a caring, compassionate and personalised approach to their work, but only 54 per cent of probate practitioners agreed and 26 per cent strongly disagreed. More than a third (34 per cent) of legacy officers were concerned that probate practitioners did not fully understand the tax exemptions associated with legacy giving.

More than a third (34 per cent) of legacy officers said they were dissatisfied with the frequency of updates provided by probate practitioners on the progress of legacy cases and, where updates were provided, a quarter were dissatisfied with the level of detail provided and the overall time taken to complete the administration of estates.

Among probate practitioners, on the other hand, less than half (46 per cent) of respondents were satisfied with the frequency at which charities checked in with them about progress and only 47 per cent were satisfied with the level of detail requested.

Alison Talbot, head of charities at Penningtons Manches, said the firm had “picked up on some tensions between legacy officers and probate practitioners” in its day-to-day work but had been “surprised by the strength of discontent” expressed in the survey.

“Even if the charity sector finds the views of the probate practitioners frustrating, it has to take notice of the concerns because these individuals are often the gatekeepers to future charity legacies,” she said.

Legacy officers also had concerns over their own organisation’s senior management understanding of legacies, with only 52 per cent of respondents agreeing that their senior managers grasped the issues and 39 per cent agreeing that trustees did.

Chris Millward, chief executive of the Institute of Legacy Management, said the issues the report highlighted were “sadly very familiar” to the ILM and its members.

He said he hoped the research would “act as a springboard for better understanding, improved communication and increased collaboration between charity legacy professionals and solicitors”.

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