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Tracking our income and expenditure

Save the Children Australia has a proven track record of using the funding and donations from our supporters in the most efficient and effective way possible. We value transparency and share our financial profile so that our community of supporters can see that their contributions have been used to the greatest effect. This allows us to measure our impact, improve our services and earn the trust of the communities we serve. Below is our financial profile for 2021 which shows where our money came from and where it was spent. 

How the funds were spent

We have a conservative approach towards managing and protecting donations.

From every dollar spent in 2021:

  • 81 cents went directly to benefit children through our health, education, child protection and humanitarian response programs, and through increasing public awareness of international aid and development issues
  • 7 cents went towards raising the funds we need to deliver these programs
  • 7 cents were allocated to administration costs to make sure we have the talented people, infrastructure, and systems we need to manage and deliver our programs for children in Australia and across the world
  • 5 cents were invested in our retail stores.

Where the money came from

In 2021, Save the Children Australia recorded its highest revenue result in its history with total income of $179.1 million, an increase of $16.3m or 10.0% from 2020. Other income decreased by $13.2m (8.2%) largely due to JobKeeper being received only in 2020. Grants, consulting and sales income increased by $26.0m (8.2%). Community support income increased by $3.2m (0.3%) from 2020 as a result of record Tax Year End and Christmas appeals and growth in our regular giving donor base. Income from retail activities was impacted by rolling lockdowns nationally due to COVID but was able to record a slight increase of $0.3m from 2020.

Explanation of Terms 

Community support income: Donations, fundraising, legacies and bequests received from the Australian public and corporations. Continued generous public support enables our community support income to assist us to effectively deliver programs to children and to respond to emergencies such as the Syrian crises and Rohingya appeal. 

Grants, consulting, and sales income: Grants received from the Australian Government’s overseas aid program, other Australian Government departments, government bodies, Corporates, philanthropy and international organisations. Consulting income, training fees, sales revenue and revenue from other mission related activities by our various social ventures.

Retail: Includes revenue from our retail stores. 

Other income: Includes investment income and JobKeeper. 


Where the money went

The percentage of overall spend attributable to programming, consulting, and training increased by 1.1% to 80.4%, driven by an increase in spend from $119.5m in 2020 to $140.1m in 2021. Despite the growth in our store footprint in 2020 spend on our retail activities decreased as a result of rolling Covid lock-downs nationally (-$1.2m or 12.3%), a decrease of 1.6% as a proportion of total spend. Despite a reduction in fundraising costs in 2021 the proportion of our spend on fundraising activities increased marginally by 0.2% to 7.2%. Despite the continued growth in the organisation’s accountability and administration expenditure, proportionally this expenditure only increased by 0.3% to 7.3%.

Explanation of terms 

Program, consulting, and training spend include: 

  • Long-term development and emergency response work across both international and domestic projects, 
  • Community education that includes costs related to informing and educating the Australian community of development, humanitarian, and global justice issues.
  • Other mission-related expenditure within our social ventures

Fundraising costs: Costs associated with developing and securing our donor supporter base to attract donations to fund our project and advocacy work. 

Accountability and administration expenses: Administrative and other costs required to efficiently run the organisation. It includes items such as staff costs in finance, IT, human resources, administration, office maintenance, audit and legal fees, insurance premiums and IT equipment costs, as well as investments in further developing the organisation’s capabilities and infrastructure. 

Project expenditure ratio

The total amount spent on projects, including project support costs, consulting, training, and community education. This is expressed as a percentage of total expenditure. 

Our program, consulting and training expenditure ratio has increased from 79.3% in 2020 to 80.4% and is reflective of  increased programming in most regions, highlighted by growth in Australia, the Pacific and Africa, as well as continued growth in mission-related activities undertaken by our social ventures. 

Administration cost ratio

The total administration costs expressed as a percentage of total expenditure. 

The administration cost ratio in 2021 has increased to 7.3% from 7.0% in 2020, with administration costs in aggregate increasing by 2%. We continue to remain focused on providing the right support to our growing programs portfolio, whilst ensuring we do this efficiently to maintain this ratio at below 10%.

Cost of fundraising ratio

The total fundraising cost as a percentage of community support income.

Net surplus from fundraising ratio is the balance of revenue from community support income after deducting fundraising costs. 

Our cost of fundraising ratio increased to 42.3% in 2021 from 39.6% in 2020 due to increased income, increased expenditure on community fundraising and increased spend in channels used to acquire regular givers.  We continue to focus on investment in our fundraising across multiple channels and anticipate reverting to similar historical trends in the future. Another ratio often given attention is the fundraising cost ratio as a percentage of total revenue. In 2021 this was 7.0%, an increase from the 6.4% recorded in 2020 due to the increase of $16.3m in total income in 2021 coupled with an increase in spend in channels used to acquire regular givers.

Explanation for income streams and expenditure categories

In the full audited financial statements, retail and social enterprise results are combined under commercial activities. In the annual report financial brief and graphs, retail income and expenditure have been disclosed separately and social enterprise income combined with grants, consulting and sales income for revenue and program, consulting and training spend for expenditure. Prior year comparatives have been amended to reflect this realignment.

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