Salvation Army Finance

The Salvation Army’s UK Territory has just published its annual review for 2009. This includes a summary of the Army’s accounts for the financial year ending 31 March 2009, as reflected in its two main trust funds, The Salvation Army Trust and The Salvation Army Social Work Trust.

Total income in 2008/9 was £237m, representing a 2% increase on 2007/8. About one-third of this (£72m, up by 5% on the previous year) derived from social work activities, such as care homes for older people, homeless centres, family and children units, substance misuse centres and defence services centres at military bases in the UK and Germany.

The next biggest source of income was legacies (£45m, up 5%), trading (£36m, up 8%), and donations from the public (£33m, up 3%, despite the credit crunch). But the negative impact of the recession was reflected in a fall in investment income (to £14m, down 5%) and reduced gains from the disposal of properties.

Total expenditure in 2008/9 amounted to £207m, 6% more than in 2007/8. The principal outlays were on social work and defence services (41%), community programmes (20%) and church and evangelism (19%). However, a big ticket item was the cost of generating funds, at £29m or 14% of expenditure.

The surplus of income over expenditure in 2008/9 was, therefore, £30m, a seemingly healthy result. However, there was a decrease of £41m in the value of investments as a result of stock market volatility. So total reserves decreased by £11m (or 2%) to stand at £615m.

Of the total reserves, 3% are endowment funds where only the income (and not the capital) can be used, 70% are restricted funds, and 27% are unrestricted funds. The decrease in unrestricted reserves was a more worrying 16%. Moreover, the subset of unrestricted funds categorized as for general purposes is only £28m, which is below the optimum level of £43m determined by the directors of the trusts.

The Salvation Army’s annual review will be found at:$file/SA%202009%20Annual%20Review%20.pdf

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