Conditional donations soar to SBA
Conditional donations from unclaimed client funds to The SBA The Solicitors’ Charity increased by nearly 70% in 2011 to more than £1.1m compared with £650,000 in 2010, according to its annual report published yesterday.
The SBA’s CEO Tim Martin says the charity now has in excess of £7m in conditional donations, making up just under half the £16m fund. ‘We are liable to repay these donations if the clients materialise,’ he said. ‘Last year, we repaid £10,000 and the year before £13,000. But we don’t want to sit on that money so we have to make a judgement how we use it. One of the really good options is to use it for interest-free loans.’
The charity made grants and loans to 344 beneficiaries last year compared with 317 in 2010. The grants totalled £1,114,500 compared with £970,300 in 2010, including £224,000 to 57 university students, while the loans advanced nearly doubled from £347,000 in 2010 to £612,000 last year.
Martin says an increasing number of applicants are young, with some unable to work due to a disabling disease or stress-related breakdown. The charity’s priority for 2012 is to raise its profile within the profession. ‘Every charity looks for extra donations and income streams,’ says Martin, ‘but our top strategic priority is finding more beneficiaries.’