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Ben looks to recover from £500,000 loss

Industry charity Ben expects to return a small surplus in its current financial year after losing £500,000 in the 12 months to March 31, 2007.

Fundraising and communication director Charles Davis, who joined Ben in June from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, is working on a three-year plan to double fundraising revenue, which accounts for almost half of the annual £10m income.

Among the projects he is considering are: encouraging manufacturers to make a small contribution for every used car sold through their branded programmes (they already make a contribution for every new car sold); encouraging more volunteers to join the charity to support the eight regional managers; new initiatives to bring in regular donations from the after-market, leasing/fleet and the insurance sectors; creating a team of industry champions to promote the charity at the top levels.

Davis said: “By September or October, we will have our new investment proposals for growth. This year, we hope to hit our budget of breakeven with a small surplus. The three-year plan is to double our fundraising capacity to £10m.”

Ben has launched a new website with more information and advice about its work. Podcasts, blogs and advice lines could be added. Davis is keen to set up reciprocal website links with automotive businesses to raise Ben’s profile. “We want to link with as many different sectors and businesses as possible,” he said.

Another area Davis is looking to improve is following up people who have changed jobs. Around 20,000 industry workers contribute through payroll each year but the industry employs more than 800,000 people, all of whom are entitled to use Ben’s services.

“We’ve seen quite a few people drop off the payroll list simply through changing jobs,” said Davis. “We need to follow them up.”

Ben helps 15,000 people every year, ranging from giving advice on benefits to funding intensive care.

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