Sunday 4 December 2016

Irish Cancer Society's income plummeted by €600,000 in one year

Martin Grant

Published 05/07/2016 | 02:30

John McCormack, chief excutive of the Irish Cancer Society
John McCormack, chief excutive of the Irish Cancer Society

The income of the country's leading cancer charity has plunged by €600,000 in just one year.

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New documents released by the Irish Cancer Society show the charity's income in 2015 was €22.8m - down €600,000 from 2014.

The total amount raised also took a hit in 2015, with €15.4m raised in 2014, decreasing to €14.4m in 2015.

Although the decrease is a significant hit to the cash flow of the charity, it argued that the decrease was due to a number of unique fundraisers in 2014, which had increased donations for that year.

The society came in for scathing criticism in Jauary when it announced it was closing its €1.8m financial support scheme, which provided assistance to patients for extra hardship expenses associated with their illness.

Following a public outcry, it later made a partial U-turn and reinstated the fund, with a budget of just €200,000, but only for families with children suffering from cancer. At the same time, the Irish Cancer Society's chief executive, John McCormack, announced that he was to take a €10,000 pay cut, reducing his salary to €135,000, to help fund the financial support scheme for children.

Read more: Cancer Society chief takes pay cut amid hardship payments axe backlash

In explaining the €600,000 decrease in income, the society said it benefited from "the 'no make-up' selfie viral campaign" in 2014, which generated €1.2m. The campaign involved thousands of women posting selfies of themselves without make-up, and donating money to the charity.

Bosses at the charity will now be looking to see how they can increase funding this year.

"The society's income is principally raised through fundraising and in 2015 the society fundraised approximately 93pc of its income," said financial statements released yesterday.

The remaining income was raised from earned and investment income (5pc) and Government funding (3pc) for the Travel2Care and Quitline services.

"The society continues to evolve and develop its fundraising strategy to ensure a broad income base and to minimise dependency on any one income source," the financial statements continued.

At a time when spending at all charities will be analysed, the documents reveal the Irish Cancer Society also spent €24.7m in 2015, an increase of €1.5m on the €23.2m spent in 2014.

Briefing documents that accompanied the financial reports described 2015 as a "challenging year" for the charity.

The significant decline in income forced the charity to dip into reserves, according to the documents.

Irish Independent

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