2014 Annual Report (extract) – famine response

The trustee directors present their report and the accounts for the year ended 30 June 2014.

Overall, there were four key issues in 2014, improving the reliability of and our operating experience with the helicopter; building disaster response support; improving our relationships with our supporters; and maintaining good oversight. We summarize these and our future plans below.

Disaster response helicopter in 2014

Disaster response helicopter. In December 2013 the helicopter was committed to crop spraying because of the famine across Southern Africa. We believe this work has helped lower the cost of food by increasing output. Also we have learned much about sustained helicopter operations: experience of managing engineers, spares delivery and finances are all necessary to be able to conduct sustained disaster relief operations away from main bases.

However, by year end, June 2014, the helicopter was not yet reliable. Major problems had been encountered and fixed, and major problems had been encountered and fixed, and they were purchasing expensive parts and anticipating major servicing work in September.  Combined with many minor problems, this resulted in WLE Logistics Southern Africa spending all its revenues on maintenance, disappointing them and us.  However this investment is finally buying out embedded engineering risks and is allowing us to have a more reliable helicopter.   Two charitable benefits have resulted (1) improved helicopter reliability and (2) an improved ability to conduct sustained field operations .  Both benefit the future disaster relief operations of Wings Like Eagles .  So that the conflicted trustees decided that for giving the loan interest for a second year was in line with our charitable objects and decided to do so.   Managing this loan is reviewed every meeting.

Disaster response support  

In 2014 , the trustees had an opportunity to accumulate funds for our primary output – another disaster relief operation in Mozambique, should this arise in 2015. In earlier reports, we have shown that this has taken us 4 years.  Due to the increased profile of the charity and the investment made in refurbishing the website, it is anticipated that the funds for another small operation will be available in December 2014.  We are delighted that our supporters have risen to this challenge over the last two years.  The income for 2014 has been £11,066 which combined with £15,000 from 2013, assisted by reduction in non-disaster expenditure to £5451 (2013: £6239) or nearly 25%.  Our funds are likely to be sufficient and advanced disaster response and disaster support network is ready, if called for.

Relationships with supporters

Our new website has further increased transparency. Supporters are more up-to-date and the use of that website, Facebook and LinkedIn pages have increased: with about 90% of visits from new people.  We remain deeply thankful to our regular supporters for the prayer and encouragement they are providing. Overall, 2014 saw a 36% increase in regular giving, and a much more resilient balance of income between one-off 27% (2013:61%); corporate giving 32% (2013:20%) and regular giving 41% (2013:19%).  Thank you all.

Oversight

Trustees continue to believe that with the limited staff of the charity, and with the CEO providing a single focus of activity, it remains good risk management to continue to have External Examinations of the handling of funds by the charity, although this is not required by law.  Incapacity of the CEO remains the biggest operational risk to the charity; and message to add resilience there will be reviewed in 2015. 2015 will also see another review of Trustees’ skills and a reconsideration of our advisers.

Future plans

We continue to be focused on gaining an air operating certificate in South Africa and operating our helicopter bracket (and others) across the region in response to humanitarian needs.

It is said that charities should spend more time posting information that donors really want namely how money is spent and its impact. We hope this report and our new website do that.

Please contact us if you need other accounts information.  We would be delighted to help.  If you have seen enough and want to give to us, why not follow this link.  Thank you.