Still not enough ‘Friends’ income for C&RT

February 2017 - Allen Richards investigates

Since the monthly target for the number of paying ‘Friends’ recruited was published in the last annual report the pressure on Chief Executive Richard Parry and fundraising director Sophie Castell is very public – but Allan Richards has been looking at the numbers and it seems targets are still being missed by a mile.​

C&RT has confirmed that it will miss its latest target of having 22,500 ‘Friends’ (regular donors) at the end of its current financial year (2016/17).

However, this will come as no surprise to many as it has missed ‘Friends’ recruitment targets in all four previous years.

The Trust’s long term objective was to have 100,000 ‘Friends’ and be raising £10 million of charitable income a year by 2022.
However, little has been heard of these oft-repeated long-term objectives since the departure of £70,000 a year Head of Fundraising, Ruth Ruderham, in late 2015.

At the start of this financial year C&RT had accumulated losses of £4 million from charitable giving and had just 15,800 ‘Friends’.

C&RT’s 2016/17 short term objective was to increase the number of Friends to 22,500 during the financial year. This target was as published on page 45 of the Trust’s 2015/16 Annual Report - with progress towards it recorded in bi-monthly reports to the board.

It was at the board meeting on 23 September 2016 that trustees were first informed of a problem. Richard Parry, Chief Executive, stated that ‘Friends’ recruitment was some 700 behind the phased target for July (four months into the new financial year) but recovery by year end was possible.

Two months later, the shortfall had more than doubled with with the board being told there was no realistic possibility of target being achieved.

The director responsible for fundraising, Sophie Castell, blamed staffing and weather for the failure, adding: “As part of business planning we are reviewing the overall performance of the Individual Giving Programme to (a) focus on high impact, high return activity, (b) open up more channels to increase the monthly run rate and (c) potentially, develop some additional offerings like ‘family Friends’.”

Does anyone still seriously believe that these actions will produce 100,000 ‘Friends’ and £10 million charitable income per year by 2022?

Photos: (Top) The long-term aim of 100,000 'friends' in ten years - now way behind target., (Middle) The target spelled out in the last annual report, (Bottom) The director responsible for fundraising, Sophie Castell, blamed staffing and weather for the failure.

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