A report by the Charity Commission shows that from a random sample of 107 annual charity reports, 58 did not meet the public benefit reporting requirement.
As part of its annual regulatory monitoring of charity accounts, the Commission found that out of the 58 charities, 13 failed the requirement as they did not describe the difference that their charity had made; 21 charities did not include the required public benefit statement or had 'due regard to' the Commission’s guidance on public benefit and 24 charities did not meet either of the two parts of the public benefit reporting requirement.
The report, Telling your story well: public benefit reporting by charities, highlights that 'All registered charities must publish a trustees’ annual report and this must set out the charity’s activities for the public benefit.'
The regulator further states that 'to demonstrate a clear understanding of the public benefit reporting requirement, an annual report must include:
- an explanation of the activities undertaken by the charity to further its purposes for the public benefit (explains who benefits from its activities)
- a statement by the trustees as to whether they have had due regard to the Commission’s guidance on public benefit (a public benefit statement)
By not meeting public benefit reporting requirements, charities are missing out on a crucial opportunity to share their impact.
Ben Pearce, Social Business Manager for CAN Invest said, “Impact reporting is of fundamental importance to charities, not just from a fiscal perspective, but also from a moral one. Charities, be that senior management or frontline delivery, should be driven by a curiosity to maximize the impact of the work on the people they seek to serve. Moving beyond proving your impact (through measurement) to improving your impact (through management) can help charities become more effective in their delivery – be that helping more people, or helping the same amount of people more. On some level, these strategic management decisions need to be driven by impact data.
"CAN Invest help organisations to measure and manage their impact by developing practical and bespoke tools and approaches to develop an impact-led strategy. Ben Pearce will be outlining some of these approaches at the Annual Fundraising Conference on Tuesday 23rd May and Wednesday 24th May, so come along to his workshop to “Learn the simple steps to proving your organisations Social Impact”.