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 who donate the funds that we need to reach readers around the world.

Below is a summary of our 2019 income and expenditure. You can view our full audited 2019 accounts in our 2019 Annual Report. 

Cash income and expenditure

In 2019, our total income was £20,839,213 of which £2,280,258 was cash income; the in-kind value of the books donated to us by UK publishers was £18,558,955. In 2019 we received cash income of £2,280,258 (above
the 2018 level of £2,029,903). We received unrestricted income of £1,323,434, which funded our core activity of providing books around the world. Income in 2019 was boosted by the high value of legacy gifts (£252,538) as well as very generous support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery in the amount of £500,000. We received restricted income of £956,824, which funded projects including Children’s Corners, Pioneer Book Boxes and Inspiring Readers.

Total expenditure was £20,433,566, of which £2,204,100 was cash expenditure and £18,229,466 the in-kind value of the books we donated to partners around the world. Cash expenditure in 2019 was £2,204,100, higher than
the 2018 figure of £2,028,899, invested in sending more books, implementing more projects, running our organisation and raising funds to support our work.


In response to the COVID pandemic and its likely impact the Finance and Audit Committee conducted an exercise to arrive at an opinion on the funds of the organisation up to and beyond the end of 2021. Based on the information supplied and the modelling performed, the FAC reported to the board that in their opinion the organisation was sufficiently resourced to operate on a going concern basis.

The value of donated books

In 2019, we received donations of books valued at £18,558,955, higher than in 2018, when the total value of the books we received was £17,386,704. This higher figure in 2019 was due to higher levels of donations in general combined with the large volume of medical and higher education textbooks received in the year.

Many of these high-value books were passed on to our partners during the year. As a result, the value of the books we sent in 2019 was also markedly higher, at £18,229,466, against £16,047,872 in 2018.


How we value the books we send

The books we send to our library partners are donated to us by publishers and the value of these books is reflected in our accounts. We value our books based on Neilsen Bookscan prices and we apply an overall 30% discount from the full Recommended Retail Price (RRP) to allow for the estimated market discount for 3rd party commercial buyers.

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 2019 the agreed level was £500,000 – £550,000.

We ended the year with £682,058 in free reserves – slightly higher than anticipated due to a generous unrestricted Gifts in Wills.

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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Read our Trustees' Annual Report and Accounts
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Find out more about our work in our Annual Review
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Our promise to you on how we will use your donations
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