If you would like a copy of any of our Annual Reports, please see the Charity Commission website.
Here's a summary of our work from our latest annual report:
As stated in the trust deed: `The objects of OSCAR are to advance the Christian faith in accordance with the Statement of Beliefs appearing in the Schedule hereto in such parts of the United Kingdom and the world as the Trustees may from time to time think fit by the management of an information website on the world-wide internet to
- provide a comprehensive resource for United Kingdom missionaries and overseas Christian workers
- research new ways of providing more effective transport and propagation of the Trust's services
- provide a network for mission organisations, associations and services in order to pool resources and
- to develop teaching, training and consultation services for missionaries, mission organisations and their supporters to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Christian mission work throughout the world
and to fulfil such other purposes which are exclusively charitable according to the law of England and Wales and are connected with the charitable work of the Trust.’
We review our aims, objectives and activities each year. This report is part of that process that helps us remain focused on our stated purposes. We have referred to the guidance contained in the Charity Commission’s general guidance on public benefit when conducting this process. In particular, we consider how planned activities will contribute to the aims and objects of the charity and provide public benefit.
The trust continues to maintain and develop the OSCAR website as its main activity in achieving the trust’s objectives. In addition, in support of the website and to further these objectives, a significant amount of email, online, telephone and face-to-face support is conducted. Access to our website and other services is provided free to all of our users.
There are few organisations in the UK who offer neutral advice and help to anyone with questions about world mission. Most are either linked to an individual mission organisation or have other agendas or restrictive criteria when giving out advice. OSCAR remains the only completely independent service which offers free advice and help across the board. Our users may be mission workers on the field, those enquiring about opportunities, or those who support mission in one way or another. We help them free of charge, regardless of their associations or particular Christian beliefs.
"My daughter has used OSCAR extensively to identify suitable organisations and opportunities, first for her gap year in 2008/2009 and now, in 2011, for her medical elective. She commented last week that the OSCAR site has been amazing and has enabled her to work with organisations with a committed Christian foundation and ethos. So, once again, OSCAR, you are part of God's purposes and an invaluable tool." M Evans
Review of 2011/2012
Statistics for the main OSCAR website show that the number of visits increased by 50% during the year from around 10,000 per month to around 15,000 per month. April 2012 was our best month ever with a total of 24,462 visits. That’s roughly one every two minutes, 24 hours a day. The average time each user spends on the site has also increased from 4.6 minutes to 5.3 minutes over the previous year. We attribute this increase to the new partnerships we have formed for advertising our job vacancy listings, which in turn leads more people to our website.
The website continues to be updated every few days with new and revised information, which makes it a very current and dynamic resource. We receive a steady stream of positive comments about the site either from our regular users or from those who have only recently discovered our services.
'Just to say that having heard about OSCAR only last week I used the information on the website to contact Travel Agents regarding my next trip to Uganda. They have managed to save me over £200 on the cost of my flight for which I am very grateful to them and to you' Revd. Dr. Clive Jarvis
We continue to monitor the optimisation of many of OSCAR’s key web pages to improve ranking with Internet search engines. This means that not only the main front page achieves a high ranking, but other specific web pages also appear high up the search returns when an individual uses a relevant search term to that page or section.
OSCARactive, our separate online mission-focused community website, continues to grow. We now have over 420 registered members (and many other visitors who browse the community for details of events or other advice and info). There are over 30 themed groups in the community and regular discussions either in the groups or between the whole community.
We also maintain a strong presence in various social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin in order to provide OSCAR’s advice and services beyond our regular user base.
Our open content management system, where mission organisations, support organisations and churches can have their own account and update their own information and vacancies, has seen a further increase in participation. The number of organisations managing their own info grew from 228 to 269 during the year. We advertise around 100 new vacancies each month.
Our recently developed mission-minded church directory now contains around 600 churches and all of these were sent a mailing during the year informing them of their entry on our site and highlighting how OSCAR can benefit them in their mission interest and involvement.
Subscription to the main monthly OSCAR Update email increased during the year to around 1400 (up from around 1250 the previous year) and many mission organisations continue to use extracts from this in their own communiques with their staff.
"I have found the OSCAR website and emails to be hugely informative and a wonderful resource to keep us updated with what is happening in the mission world. OSCAR is one of the first places I will look for information related to member care and we recommend to all our mission personnel to access the website." Graeme Riddell, Team Leader for Mission Programmes, BMS World Mission
We also send regular, separate email news to organisations (349) who utilise our services and to churches (33) who have requested to receive it. These are tailored with information and news relevant to them.
This year, OSCAR participated in three major summer events. Firstly, for the eighth year in a row, we ran the central mission advice and information area at the New Wine summer conferences in Shepton Mallet. We also provided a static mission advice stand and jobs board at New Wine North in Newark. Secondly, for the third year in a row, we provided job cards for a jobs board at Detling Summer Conference in Maidstone. New this year, we also provided a jobs board at the Big Church Day Out, a growing weekend event in West Sussex which attracts around 10,000 people each day. All these are significant opportunities for OSCAR to disseminate its information and advice in a practical way. A total of 95 jobs were submitted for display at one, two or all three of these events.
We have had three people working with OSCAR throughout the year. A full-time Director, a part-time Social Media Manager (voluntary) and a part-time Admin Assistant (voluntary). In addition to these, three other volunteers helped at New Wine.
Mike, OSCAR’s Director, has provided freelance training for many years alongside his work with OSCAR. From the beginning of 2012 we wanted to bring some of these courses under OSCAR’s banner. The initial focus has been on two particular day courses: ‘Serving as Senders’ – a course for churches who want to better support their missionaries, and ‘All Change’ – a course for those returning from overseas service. Early in 2012 we conducted three courses: ‘Serving as Senders’ in Gloucester and Poole, and ‘All Change’ in Gloucester. We also planned three more for the autumn (in Gloucester, Newquay and Belfast). It is hoped that we will be able to run around six per year all over the UK.
We have been involved in leading a session on Stewardship’s full-time Christian worker training days several times per year. Our growing partnership with Stewardship has also brought about their sponsorship of the ‘Serving as Senders’ course and they have been helping with updating materials and promoting the course.
At our Spring trustees meeting, we discussed the need to keep OSCAR at the cutting edge of both mission and technology. Whilst the former is a matter of keeping in touch on a daily basis, the latter requires occasional website developments and significant investment in new web platforms every few years. With OSCAR’s main website now over 6 years old and OSCARactive, the online community, growing as a seperate entity, we recognised the need to start developing the next ‘OSCAR’. One which might bring our service right up to date and provide better integration between the static (information) and interactive (social media) sides of our services. A significant donation towards the end of the year has given us the catalyst to begin this development process.
Trust funding decreased nearly £2000 again this year. However, our various other income streams grew throughout the year and, aside from our legacy donation, our overall income actually increased by 10% on the previous year. This has put us in a much better position with regards to our long term financial stability.
The legacy donation received towards the end of the year will enable us to think and plan ahead rather than be limited, as we have been for the last few years, by low month by month cash flow. We sense that God is moving OSCAR into a new phase and are excited by what the next few years hold.