Tuesday 24 October 2017

Poor fundraising blamed for loss of €169,000 at Irish Autism Action

Most of the money was donated by the public through fundraisers and donations. (Stock picture)
Most of the money was donated by the public through fundraisers and donations. (Stock picture)
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

The autism charity that came under fire from parents for cutting outreach services to children lost €169,000 in 2015.

Irish Autism Action (IAA), which survives almost exclusively on public donations, claims it lost the money because of poor fundraising, "restructuring" the workforce, and writing off deferred expenditure.

The charity also claimed it was the victim of "negative coverage" and "unfair reputational damage", a reference to the controversy last year over its decision to cut outreach services for children with autism.

IAA's accounts were circulated to a poorly attended annual general meeting in Dublin at the weekend. The accounts state the losses "may cast significant doubt on the future of the charity". However, the board has made clear that the charity will continue operating.

IAA launched a five-point vision for the charity at its AGM, focussing on education, awareness and a national autism helpline.

The charity's income fell from €969,000 to €894,220 in 2015.

Most of the money was donated by the public through fundraisers and donations.

It raised a further €33,875 from families of children with autism.

The income was swallowed up by "administrative expenses" of €1,057,682, which left it with a loss of €169,627. The deficit compares to a €74,000 loss in 2014.

Wages came to €390,152 for 18 staff, while the charity paid out €30,343 in redundancy costs.

In its accounts, the charity said "negative coverage" could affect donations but it had "worked hard to repair the unfair reputational damage it suffered".

IAA became embroiled in controversy last summer when it cut outreach services to parents to focus "exclusively" on advocacy, because its income had more than halved.

The move angered parents, many of whom who paid a €20 subscription fee and had fundraised for the charity.

Irish Independent

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