In this section of our annual report I will explain the various sources of funding which ORG has received during its first financial year and although our formal accounts for the current financial year are yet to be compiled, provide some highlights of our progress since.
It is our intention to be a transparent and open organisation and to that aim we voluntarily publish a level of detail consistent with best practice guidelines for voluntary sector organisations which is considerably in excess of our statutory obligations. If after reading this statement and report you have any questions or feedback I and the rest of the board would be very pleased to hear from you so that we can make any changes necessary in advance of next years’ annual report.
The Open Rights Group’s financial model of small, but regular donations from a wide base of individual supporters was enshrined in the original Pledge that many of you signed in late 2005. It is the realisation of a large proportion of that promise into a predictable and regular funding stream that has allowed ORG, much faster than many other start-up organisations, quickly to become operational and achieve the significant campaigning and research results that our first two years of operations have seen.
During its first financial year, individual Open Rights Group supporters like you gave in total over £19,000 towards the running of the organisation; without this support, ORG could never have hoped to achieve what it did in its first year. We are also very grateful to the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd, whose grant of just under £3,000 in the first months of our existence helped the organisation establish the infrastructure necessary to receive donations and allowed us to operate while we waited for supporters and their banks to set up their standing orders.
What follows is an account of our income and expenditure from the date of our incorporation to 31 October 2006. These accounts were filed with Companies House in September this year. Our next set of accounts, for the period 31 October 2006 – 31 October 2007 will be filed with Companies House by 3 August 2008.
This financial year (1 November 2006 – 31 October 2007), we have received over £35,000 in supporter subscriptions, an astonishing amount which reflects our community’s determination to make ORG a success. The cost of receiving these donations has not, however, been negligible. We are working at the moment to reduce the transaction processing costs that we have to bear for some payment methods so that more of your money can go towards funding ORG. Currently these costs represent approximately £1,000 per year.
This financial year we have also benefited from further grant support from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd. In late November 2006, JRRT Ltd granted £5,000 towards our “Release the Music” campaign and in April 2007 JRRT Ltd granted £23,950 towards our campaign to raise awareness about the issues surrounding electronic voting. JRRT Ltd has recognised the important challenges that new digital technologies can present to civil liberties and the role that ORG can play in raising public awareness of these challenges and threats.
This month, we have succeeded in attracting two further funding awards, which will be recognised in our accounts for the financial year 2007-2008. In partnership with 01zero-one, we have been granted £25,000 by the London Development Agency to deliver a set of course materials based around open intellectual property models for creative business. Also JRRT Ltd have granted us £20,000 – plus £10,000 in matched funds – to put towards building the Open Rights Group into a sustainable, robust organisation able to have the beneficial impact on public discourse of which we have already proved capable, for decades to come.
From its inception, ORG has been dedicated to becoming an organisation that is financially sustained by its supporters and our target is to have 1,500 paying supporters by the end of next year, which will allow us to meet this goal.
On behalf of the Board
James Cronin Acting Treasurer, Open Rights Group
To read the accounts of the Open Rights Group from 3 October 2005 - 31 October 2006, please download the full Review of Activities.