2022 Annual Return: Much progress made, but more to do!

We have recently completed and filed our annual accounts (link) for Free UK Genealogy CIO, the charity that operates FreeBMD, FreeCEN and FreeREG projects. Last November, we shared the news that we had turned around our financial position after a few years of challenges. These accounts confirm the journey that we have been on, turning around a £30,000 deficit into a £43,000 surplus, and delivering the much strengthened financial position we now have:

Many people have contributed to this turnaround and we would particularly like to thank:

  • Kate Streatfield, Nick Riches and William Speight, whose efforts on the Fundraising Steering Group bore fruit with the BigGive campaign last Christmas and increased donations
  • Our partners at MyHeritage and Publift who have worked with us to improve the effectiveness of our advertising without degrading the user experience
  • All our staff and volunteers whose ongoing efforts have helped keep costs under control.

But as we said last year, financial stability is not an end in itself: it means we can focus on supporting our websites and our volunteers and delivering our objectives – making genealogy records available –  in the best way possible. Our report also illustrates the urgency of this focus:

The continued reduction in volunteers highlights the importance of improving our transcription systems and the volunteer experience. Whilst 15 million new records is very impressive, this has continued to fall. Now that our financial position has been turned around, we also need to turnaround the decline in our volunteers and transcription rates - two key measures of how we deliver our objectives.

This was why we organised our Strategy Weekend in June, which brought together staff, volunteers and trustees to discuss our priorities. We have adopted “Quality, Value, Growth" as our focus as we look to strengthen our projects in the years to come.

We have started to appoint the additional committees we agreed at the strategy weekend, to focus on the key priorities and challenges that we are facing.

This will take time to bear fruit; however, just as we have been successful in turning around our financial position, we are confident that we can also turn around our slowing progress with our projects.