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Our finances

At Book Aid International all the income we receive is from voluntary donations – we receive no government grants.

We are supported by thousands of individuals, companies and trusts, which donate the funds that we need to reach readers around the world.

Below is a summary of our 2021 income and expenditure. You can view our full audited 2021 accounts here.

Total income

In 2021 our total income was £12,567,896, of which £2,554,623 was cash and £10,013,273 was the value of books donated to us by UK publishers.

2021’s cash income of £2,554,623 was a significant increase of £597,272 from 2020’s income of £1,957,351. Of cash income in 2021, £1,489,090 was unrestricted income compared to £1,194,063 in 2020. This funded our work providing books around the world.

This increase in unrestricted income was primarily a result of continued growth and investment in our individual giving programme which performed strongly despite the pandemic.

There was also an increase in unrestricted income from trusts, major donors and legators. However, community fundraising continued to feel the effects of Covid restrictions and income from this stream was lower than we have seen in previous years. We received restricted income of £1,065,533 in 2021 compared to £763,287 in 2020.

This income was used to support project activities working with our partners around the world to train teachers and librarians, establish school libraries and support public and community libraries.

Total expenditure

Our total expenditure was £15,587,726, of which £2,308,575 was cash expenditure and £13,279,151 was the value of the books we provided around the world.

2021’s cash expenditure of £2,308,575 was substantially higher than the 2020 figure of £1,902,852. The majority of this additional expenditure was a result of increased project spending and an expanded programme as a result of the additional trust income received in the year.

The value of donated books

In 2021, the books that publishers donated to us were worth £10,013,273.

We value our books based on Nielsen Bookscan prices and we apply an overall 30% discount from the full Recommended Retail Price to allow for the estimated market discount for third party commercial buyers.

Because publishers donate books to us free of charge, it costs just £2 to receive, store, select and send a book worth an average of £13. That average is calculated using the value of the books we have sent over the past five years, as shown in the table below.

YearBooks sent (no.)Value books sentDiscounted cost per book*
20211,007,449£13,279,151£13
2020867,567£11,066,372£13
20191,211,423£18,229,466£13
20181,193,263£16,047,872£13
2017938,330£10,300,049£13
Running average£13

*Rounded to the nearest Pound

How we control our costs

Our costs are closely managed by our Board of Trustees, to whom we submit financial reports every quarter. We also have two Board committees who take responsibility for our finances.  The Finance and Audit Committee is responsible for ensuring our finances are legally compliant and in line with the policies set by the Board. The Remuneration Committee is responsible for salary setting and other HR matters. You can find out more about our Board of Trustees and how it governs our activities here.

We aim to be as financially efficient as possible in all our activities. We have no overseas offices and we work through partnerships to deliver our work. We have a committed team of volunteers whose contribution we estimate as equivalent to two full-time members of staff.

Our Reserves Policy

We maintain cash reserves to ensure that we can deliver our planned commitments in the event of unforeseen financial challenges. The minimum level of reserves we must hold are agreed by our Board of Trustees and monitored regularly. In 2021 the agreed level was £500,000 – £550,000.

We ended 2021 with £571,106 in free reserves, higher than anticipated as a result of stronger than forecast fundraising results in 2021.

Our supporter promise

We couldn’t do the work we do without the support of all our generous donors. We appreciate their support and we promise to use their money responsibly and in accordance with our charitable objectives. That is why we have published our Supporter Promise.

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Our people

Our work is only possible through the work of our staff, volunteers, trustees and many friends.

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Our mission and vision

Our vision is a world where everyone has access to books that will enrich, improve and change their lives.

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What we do

We provide brand-new books around the world and work with our global network of partners to support and establish reading spaces, train teachers and librarians and spark a love of reading.

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