Council expenses

One of the remarkable things about the Central Council is how much gets done with a very small amount of money.  The Council provides advice and guidance services to help ringers negotiate with religious, conservation and government agencies.  Its volunteers maintain digital services like the Dove’s database of bells, and the method libraries.  The Council also owns valuable historical assets (parts of the library, the Rolls of Honour, the Carter Ringing Machine to name a few), which it preserves for all ringers.

As we add new services for ringers, this will also add to the things that the Council needs to preserve and sustain, meaning that things that start off as ‘projects’ eventually become part of the normal operations.

Keeping the lights on

All in all, for 2024, our regular income sources give us a little shy of £11,000.  Unfortunately, our bare minimum costs for simply staying in operation come to about £12,500.

What are these costs?  About 1/3 is the cost of the AGM, and most of that is the cost of hiring a room of the right capacity and facilities.  This doesn’t include budget for the additional costs of, for example, live-streaming the meeting.  This would be a good thing to be able to do where we have facilities that permit it.    In our forecast model we have added inflationary increases over time.

Our other major cost is insurance for Council activities and events. The next biggest cost is travel and other administrative expenses for workgroup volunteers and for the Council executive.  The cost of travel has gone up a lot in recent years, and by using Zoom as much as possible, we have kept this cost well-controlled.  However, as an organisation, we should and do pay reasonable expenses.  Otherwise, we send a message that you can only participate if you can afford to pay your own way.

Finally, there are various operational expenses across our digital estate, such as hosting and domain costs, software licenses and the like.

These are all relatively fixed costs, and so our ‘keeping the lights on’ budget over 10 years only reflects indexing against anticipated inflation, and hovers around the £15,000 mark in about 10 years’ time.

That amount doesn’t take into account increases in operational costs due to needing to sustain more activities and projects.  It also doesn’t take into account making the Council more responsive by adding a limited amount of paid staff to keep all the plates spinning.  We know that for Ringing 2030 to have real impact, it will need to be supported in this way.

The additional cost of 16 hours per week of admin support is a further £18,000 per year, which  would become part of our regular expenses.  This work would cover some PR administration, managing the new recruitment portal, and other Ringing 2030 related project support as that limited time permits.

Project costs

We have some projects that we have already committed to funding, including:

  • £2,000 Remaining costs of moving the library to its new home
  • £4,000 for two news Rolls of Honour books
  • Branding research and assets for Pillar 1 Marketing/recruitment campaigns

However we also have upcoming projects relating to Ringing 2030 which include

  • School lesson plan development and support (including branding)
  • Recruitment portal and network (including fresh designs)
  • Youth hub designs and support
  • Targeted marketing campaigns
  • Social media campaigns
  • SW course development
  • Further promotional video development and production

Not all of these are happening at once, and currently range between £12,000 and £15,000 per year over the course of the Ringing 2030 campaign.  It is possible to consider these projects as ‘discretionary’ spend, in that we don’t have to do them.  However, if we are to satisfy all our strategic objectives,  and mitigate the negative effects that have caused a net reduction in the number of ringers, and especially in the number of young ringers, then we have to act.

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