By any standards, ChoraChori had a remarkable year in 2019 at home and abroad.

We’ve been a little quiet over the past couple of months in terms of blogging, a reflection of just how busy it always is at the start of a new financial year (which for us begins on the 1st January). You might imagine that we are taking a well-earned breather after the intensity of Christmas fundraising, including the Big Give public appeals. Instead, we have been intensely busy preparing our annual accounts for 2019 and defining our plans and budget for 2020 and beyond.

The Charity Commission allows a charity up to ten months to file their accounts but we prefer to lodge them as soon as possible so that we can use these to support our fundraising by showcasing our successes. The accounts are a 24-page document (available upon request) that will be formally lodged with the Commission within the coming week, but if you would like to see a summary, don’t be put off by the kid’s gesture and just click on the image to see a fascinating and inspiring overview (thank you to my colleague in Nepal, Rojika Maharjan, for the artwork and presentation!).

The surge in our income is a reflection not only of the continuing generosity of our donors and health of our partnerships, but also of the inherent value of our projects in Nepal. It is also worth pointing out the success of our fundraising. Although we try to get pro bono fundraising support as much as we can, there is no absolute “free lunch” when it comes to that activity. But for every £1 we invested in fundraising in 2019 we got £10 back.

This 10% figure compares favourably with sector averages. The Charity Financials Top 100 Fundraisers report from 2016/2017 found that across the top 100 fundraisers, average fundraising costs were 17% as a proportion of fundraising income. The report gave the following figures for fundraising costs from leading children’s charities:
• UNICEF-UK – 25.5%
• NSPCC – 15%
• Great Ormond Street – 24.9%

A recent study by Factcheck showed that small organisations are more likely to spend more of their yearly income on charitable activities, while ‘super-major’ charities (those with annual incomes of £100 million or more) were found to be spending relatively little on their charitable activities. How has ChoraChori measured up? From the funds we raised in 2019, £252,291 were used in charitable activities. Of this, £235,936 (93.5%) was spent on our Nepal projects, £11,018 (4.4%) on UK administrative support and £5,344 (2.1%) on the good governance of the charity. This is comparable with 2018 when of the £177,180 we spent on charitable activities, £161,206 (90.98%) was spent on Nepal projects, £10,529 (5.94%) on UK administrative support and £5,337 (3.07%) on charity governance.

We keep our UK costs to the minimum by not operating office premises. We are a home-based charity where all utility costs are covered by the CEO/Founder. The unavoidable 2019 UK fundraising, administrative and governance costs were more than covered by regular support from a UK corporate (£3,000 per month, unrestricted), by some grant applications and from Gift Aid reclaims.

The start of the year is always a good time to review personal finances and that includes writing or updating a will. Please do remember our work, ethos and performance after you have made provision for your main priorities. Even a 1% donation could make all the difference to this cost-effective charity that is here to stay and that takes the long view on how to make a lasting difference to the lives and prospects of Nepal’s children.