‘Bold and brave’ charities recognised for excellence in reporting
September 29, 2017
Charities have been recognised for bold and brave reporting at the 15th annual PwC Building Public Trust in Corporate Reporting Awards Dinner on 28 September 2017.
The ‘Excellence in Reporting’ in Charities Award assesses reporting by registered charities in the Charity Finance ‘Charity 100 Index’ and how well this promotes trust and confidence with stakeholders. This year, judges also focused on how clearly charities were able to explain their societal contribution and impact.
For the second successive year, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) was the winner, with the independent judging panel noting that its annual report was highly engaging and visually appealing, making good use of its underpinning theme, ‘One Courageous Community’. They further described the reporting as compelling and vibrant, praising the report for capturing the relationship between the charity’s core purpose and social role, while also linking both to its fundraising activities.
Cancer Research UK was highly commended for an annual report set apart by its clarity, honesty and long-term focus, both in telling its history and its future ambition. Save the Children UK was also highly commended, in particular for its openness about how it has performed against targets and its clarity in explaining the context around its exposure to risks and the mitigation actions taken to address them.
As well as these three charities, which have become familiar appearances for this award, we were pleased to see a continued and sustained improvement in the overall quality of charities’ reporting since the first award in 2014. This is a positive trend as public trust continues to be an important consideration for trustees and management alike. We have seen some good examples of innovative and impactful reporting helping charities to enhance that trust, through honesty and transparency and starting to bridge the gap with their stakeholders.
Charities of all sizes can be bold and brave in their reporting by:
- Telling a compelling story, and not just about what happened in the last year
Readers engage with and trust a charity that can explain how its recent activities fit with its past achievements and future plans, particularly when this message is integrated consistently throughout the reporting or through the use of a theme to create an overarching narrative.
- Talking about challenges, past, present and future
By being transparent about difficult decisions and demonstrating robust risk management, charities can use their reporting to demonstrate that funds are used effectively. This authenticity builds trust with stakeholders and is especially important in the current competitive environment, in particular for funders who want to know that their donations are being used effectively.
- Considering the wider context
Charities’ reporting should cover the wider context of the environment in which a charity operates, including the issues facing its stakeholders, any future issues or opportunities and actions being planned or taken to address these issues. This builds trust by showing that charities are not working in isolation but understand their role within the community and are working with a bigger picture in mind.
By being bold and brave in their reporting, discussing the realities they face while continuing to report on the positive outcomes achieved, charities will benefit from the greater understanding of their own organisation and, importantly, continue to build trust with their stakeholders.
For further information on the PwC Building Public Trust in Corporate Reporting Awards, visit the website.