Barn Owl Trust finances

What happens to your money?How we use your £1

For every £1 you donate, 91p goes directly towards Barn Owl conservation. The other 9p helps us to run the charity and to raise the next £1. We spend 69p from every £1 on practical conservation work such as making and erecting nestboxes and caring for casualty owls and 21p on running our free national information and advice service. Support costs include running vehicles, paying phone bills, insurance, etc.. Our Management costs are 3p and include accountancy and end of year ‘independent examination’.

We are always pleased to hear from individuals or businesses that would like to support our work. Please contact us.
Ways to support our work.

Income 2020 2021

This chart (right) shows how our income was made up in the financial year ended 31st March 2021. Donations were 29% (31% in 2020) and grants 22% (8% – 2020) of our income. The grants were almost entirely Furlough payments to support our staff during the Pandemic. ‘Charitable activities’ includes the sale of nestboxes accounted for 18% (40% – 2020) of our income. Our training courses which normally generate income, were unable to run during the year. Fundraising accounted for just 1% (1% – 2020) ‘Other income’ 1%, includes, bank interest and solar energy generation. Legacies accounted for 28% (14% -2020) of our income in the year. Our total income was £432,896 (£307,159 -2020).

You can view full copies of our accounts from 2012 onward on the Charity Commission website.

Expenditure 2020 2021As with most organisations our expenditure increases year-on-year. It costs us more to do the same amount! Our total expenditure for the year was £410,104 compared to £347,180 in the previous year. The chart below for the same period shows that we spent 91% (87% – 2020) of our expenditure on Conserving the Barn Owl and its Environment. 37% went on practical conservation, 21% on running our free national information and advice service, 7% was the cost of building nestboxes. During the year we transferred the Lennon Legacy land and the balance of the original legacy used to purchase it to the Barn Owl Legacy Trust (Charitable Incorporated Organisation 1190997) – 26% – this is shown under grants and donations. Our Support costs made all of these things possible – 9% of total spend covered the costs of running vehicles, telephones, electricity, insurances etc. We spent 3% of Support costs on management of the charity enabling us to fulfil our legal obligations; accountancy, financial inspection etc.  Fund-raising, publicity and purchase of sales goods accounted for 3% (5% – 2020) of expenditure. We are able to keep these figures low because we have a wonderful team of volunteers.

The significance of grants and legacy income

The Barn Owl Trust became a registered charity in 1988 and we published our first accounts in 1989. The Trust has grown in response to the need for the services we provide – practical conservation, education, information and research. We also own and manage 26 acres of land for wildlife The Lennon Legacy Project and have a small owl sanctuary and owl hospital. This growth has been made possible by the donations and other income we receive with the support of grants for specific projects and legacies. The chart below shows our annual income and the significance of grants and legacy income (and gifts in memorium) since 1989.

As you can see in the last financial year legacies and the furlough grants made up over 50% of our income.

The significance of grants and legacies since 1989


The Economics of Charity Life

Income & expenditure 2020 21


We have 15 staff (3 full-time and 12 part-time). We don’t have a fund-raising team. Applications for grants are written by the staff and most fund-raising is done by volunteers. The general economic situation over the last few years has affected us. Grant giving trusts have less money available and more applications. Like most other charities the grant income we receive varies year on year. Last year our expenditure exceeded income by £40,021 which we covered from reserves. This year our income exceeded our expenditure by £22,792. Grants and Legacies were significantly higher than the previous year, but donations and other income was down.


The chart above shows our income and expenditure since 2000 and the difference between the two. You can see that since 2004 we have ended several years, including last year, with a deficit. We’ve been able to weather these low periods (when expenditure exceeds income) thanks to legacy income. However, our reserves were severely depleted by two years of deficit, (-£33,281 & -£99,674 in the 2012 and 2013 financial years) and -£40,021 in 2020. To ensure we can continue operating at our current level we need to become less dependent on legacies and increase our regular support, donations and fund-raising. We need more  Friends!

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Thank you for supporting Barn Owls.

Barn Owl LLP flying day with radio tag

Updated November 2020