The 'Friends' numbers just keep changing

March 2017 - Allan Richards has kept tabs on the many and various claims made by C&RT for the numbers of paying 'Friends' recruited for some years – and it seems there is still a glaring disparity as it attempts to cloak its failures.

C&RT has told its trustees that that it will not meet this year’s revised target of 22,500 ‘Friends’ by the end of March (Still not enough ‘Friends’ income for C&RT).

With the Trust’s stated Fundraising ambition of raising at least £10m per year and having 100,000 ‘Friends’ by 2022, one would have thought that they would be keeping quiet about this latest failure.

But no, just one month after a press briefing, held on 27 January, C&RT has issued the document used. ​

C&RT’s failure to meet it target is not mentioned. Instead the trust has attempted to put a positive spin on its poor performance.

The briefing states ‘The current Friends total is 20,072’.

This may be correct. However, it then goes on to say ‘This time last year the figure was 12,250, this represents a 64% increase year on year.’

This is totally untrue. The published figure for ‘this time last year’ (i.e. January 2016) was 15,027 (shown bottom centre of one of the photos). The increase was just 33%’.

This is not the first time that C&RT have misled the public by adding or subtracting thousands of ‘Friends’ from figures already published.

In its 2014/15 Annual Report, chairman Tony Hales claimed ‘we now have more than 11,000 Friends, people who generously support us with their monthly donations’.

Further on in the same document the claim is repeated opposite the names of the trustees who formed the boards Fundraising Sub-Committee at the time.

This committee was chaired by Jane Cotton. Members were Lynne Berry (C&RT vice chair), John Dodwell and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Tony Hales.

The trustees, particularly those on the fundraising sub-committee, would have been aware before the report was published that the claimed figure was not over 11,000 but under 10,000 (the actual 2014/15 figure of 9,754 is shown at the bottom right of one of the photos).

The future of the sub-committee, which was set up in July 2014, was discussed at a board meeting in September 2016. It was decided that it should not meet again.

Are trustees attempting to distance themselves from dodgy ‘Friends’ figures and abysmal performance?

Photos: (1st) What the - now defunct - sub committee claimed, (2nd) What Tony Hales claimed, (3rd) The actual numbers.

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