Bóthar report drop in level of donations but expect 2012 levels to hold firm

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

LIMERICK based charity Bóthar, which airlifts livestock as development aid to more than 35 countries worldwide, reported a drop in income of 25 to 30 percent between 2010 and 2011.

LIMERICK based charity Bóthar, which airlifts livestock as development aid to more than 35 countries worldwide, reported a drop in income of 25 to 30 percent between 2010 and 2011.

However, the charity, which relies on the public for 90 percent of its donations, is in a “much better position than a lot of other charities”, according to Bóthar’s chief executive David Moloney.

The charity reported a fall off in voluntary funding for the second successive year last year, taking in €7.7 million in the year to mid-2010, down 8 percent on the year before.

“Those figures are accurate, but are kind of indicative of what is going on everywhere,” explained Mr Moloney. “However, we are in a much better position than a lot of other charities, and that is due to people’s generosity. People are just as generous as they were, they just don’t have as much disposable income. They would have had a lot more three or four years ago, that is the way things are. We continue with the work that we are doing, but obviously we can’t get to as many people, because we have less resources.”

The charity employ 27 people - two of whom are based in Uganda and Nepal respectively - and the staff have already taken a ten percent pay cut, while Bóthar have also cut administration costs by 3 percent.

“Things are down, but the organisation is leaner and meaner and we are fighting fit,” explained Mr Moloney. “We are very lucky that we have that staff, we have many that have been with us for 20 years and they have stuck with us in these hard times, they have taken the hit, we have cut back in many areas - it is a tightening, but it makes one focus a lot.”

The charity still continues to work in 36 countries, dealing with 15 different species of livestock, and carried out five airlifts at the end of last year, totalling nearly 600 animals. While the charity has not taken on any new projects, it is maintaining its existing projects, despite the slump in funding.

The Bóthar chief believes that 2012 will hold with last year’s levels of donations.

“I think we have levelled out. We are actually slightly up on Christmas just gone on the previous one, just slightly - but that means there hasn’t been a drop. I am very hopeful that this year will be as good as last year and we won’t drop any further,” he explained.

“We need support, there are a lot of needy people out there - what Bóthar does is unique. We continue to get offers of live animals, but what we really need are the funds to fly them, that is the crucial element.”