As charitable expenditure rises to a record level, Oxfam issues an urgent call for public support

Posted by Georgia Best Senior PR Manager

24th Jul 2013



  • Global need for support continues as Oxfam spend reaches record levels, helping 13.5 million people in 54 countries and responding to 27 humanitarian emergencies
  • Retail sales down as shops report drop in donations
  • Urgent call for public to support Syria crisis appeal

Oxfam is issuing an urgent call for public support of its Syria crisis appeal as the charity's 2012/13 Annual Report, released today (Wednesday 24th July 2013), reveals a record year for its charitable spend.

In the face of a challenging year, when overall income was down £17.6m (4.6%) on 2011/12 and demands on the charity's resources increased, Oxfam spent an extra £3.6m on responding to humanitarian emergencies and helping people living in poverty worldwide.

Last year's world events put an unprecedented stretch on Oxfam with emergencies in 23 countries including Syria, Yemen and West Africa.  The Syria crisis, that has currently claimed the lives of 100,000 people, continues to be a major priority for the coming year for the charity, with the £35m estimated cost of Oxfam's response just 27 per cent funded so far. 

Oxfam's shops and fundraising teams both experienced a drop in income as the UK faced another year of economic downturn.  The charity's shops were hit by the tough economic climate with many reporting a decline in items donated by the public.  This was reflected in a drop in sales.  Retail sales were down £1.2m (1.3%) and the net contribution from the charity's shops network was down 9.9 per cent at £20.1m.  Oxfam's fundraising income - which includes donations from supporters, the public and institutional income - was also down £15m (5.6%) on last year, at £267.8m. 

Mark Goldring, Oxfam Chief Executive commented:  "It has been a tough year financially for Oxfam, as it has been for the UK in general.  In the face of this, Oxfam has continued to support those in need across the world, responding to another year of extreme weather and devastating global events.  Right now we are putting significant resources into helping the people of Syria, who are caught up in a humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions.  Violent conflict has forced over eight million Syrians from their home, nearly 1.5 million of whom are now refugees in neighbouring countries. 

"Conflict, increasing food prices and the impact of climate change are all serious threats to the lives of poor people the world over.  Oxfam campaigns for change and works on the ground, putting long-term, sustainable solutions in place to improve opportunities for the world's most vulnerable communities, especially women who often have fewer rights. 

"Public support is vital to enable us to continue this work and we are putting out a particularly urgent appeal for donations towards our emergency response in Syria.  We also hope to inspire more people to become regular donors to Oxfam.  This is crucial in enabling us to plan for the future and bring about really lasting change by working long-term with communities."

Bob Humphreys, Oxfam Finance Director commented:  "It is not surprising that challenging times for the economy have impacted on our income.  We are fortunate that regular donations held up well, however, the lack of a single, high-profile emergency appeal alongside an unexpected shortfall in legacy income led to a drop in the overall contribution from UK public fundraising.

"After several years of pressure on household incomes, people are buying fewer new clothes and other items, which has a knock-on effect on the quantity and quality of donations to our shops.  We need confidence in the UK economy to return - not least to help the many people in the UK who are struggling financially.  We also urgently need people to donate any unwanted clothes, books and homewares to Oxfam, every item helps. 

"The public can be assured that Oxfam makes the most of every penny that comes in.  For every £1 donated to Oxfam, 84p goes directly to our emergency, development and campaigning work.  Just 9p goes to support costs and 7p is invested in fundraising.  Over the past year we have also reduced central costs, including taking £3m out of our support costs while still delivering the essential IT, HR and finance services that keep Oxfam's humanitarian and programme work running."

Global food shortages continued in 2012/ 13, exacerbated by the consequences of war, climate change, resource scarcity and systems of production that are volatile and inequitable.  Oxfam's GROW campaign focused on land grabs, highlighting the fact that in a decade, the amount of land acquired by foreign investors in poor countries could grow enough food for a billion people.  Tackling similar issues, Oxfam partnered with more than 100 UK NGOs for the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign which led to the UK fulfilling its historic promise to spend 0.7% of national income on aid overseas. 

Oxfam also played a key role in a landmark moment of global significance last year when the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was adopted by an overwhelming majority at the UN General Assembly. This was the culmination of more than a decade of campaigning by Oxfam and its allies in the Control Arms campaign.  More than 500,000 people are killed by armed violence every year.  The ATT is the first internationally binding agreement to regulate the $85bn annual trade in arms and ammunition, protecting millions living in daily fear.  In total, 1.6m members of the public took action online in support of an Oxfam campaign over the year.

Oxfam's work in the past year has helped:

  • 4,300,000 people access clean water
  • 2,600,000 people benefit from improved sanitation facilities, greatly reducing the spread of disease
  • 120,000 people access emergency shelter following a disaster
  • 2,000,000 people benefit from the distribution of food, cash or vouchers, enabling them to survive in a crisis
  • 450,000 farmers negotiate better prices for their goods in more markets
  • 700,000 people improve their crops and services, boosting livelihoods
  • 330,000 people benefit from innovative ways to tackle climate change
  • 1,700,000 women be aware and able to stand up for their rights
  • 220,000 people become empowered to engage directly with their local government
  • 430,000 women and men be aware of the actions they can take against gender-based violence

To download the Oxfam Annual Report 2012/13, visit www.oxfam.org.uk/accounts

ENDS

For further information and interviews with Chief Executive Mark Goldring and Finance Director Bob Humphreys contact Georgia Best in the Oxfam press office: gbest@oxfam.org.uk / 01865 472375 / 07717 424463

Notes to editors:

The Annual Report for the 12-month period ending 31 March 2013 was released today; Wednesday 24th July 2013.

Oxfam's overall income for 2012/13 was £367.9m.  In 2011/12 its overall income was £385.5m.

Oxfam is a global humanitarian, development and campaigning organisation working with others to overcome poverty.  From life-saving emergency response to life-changing development projects and campaigning for lasting change, Oxfam works in 94 countries as part of the Oxfam International confederation to tackle poverty at its roots.

Oxfam has one million supporters in the UK.  For every £1 donated, 84p is spent on emergency, development and campaigning work, 9p is spent on support and governance and 7p is invested to generate future income.  Oxfam has nearly 700 high street shops across the UK selling donated fashion, books, music, homewares and new ethical products.  It is supported by a workforce of 22,000 volunteers.  Oxfam also launched the UK's first online charity shop in 2007. 

Oxfam GB is affiliated to Oxfam International, a global confederation of 17 independent Oxfams which share the same purpose.

Visit www.oxfam.org.uk

Blog post written by Georgia Best

Senior PR Manager

More by Georgia Best