Acc International Relief Inc.: mini charity review for donors

Mini charity review of Acc (sic) International Relief Inc. (ACCIR) as an organisation that seeks donations online. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is ACCIR registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a Victorian incorporated association (A0008672W).
    • ACCIR operates – according to the ACNC Register – throughout Australia. As an association, it has the necessary ARBN registration (26 077 365 434) to carry on business interstate.
    • But in three of the seven states that have a licensing regime it is not registered. (And in two others it is registered in the name it changed from six years ago.)
      • The law in this area is not straightforward – for instance, is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.

What do they do?

  • From the main menu on the website:

We are transforming communities and nations, one life at a time, by developing holistic sustainable solutions to combat injustice, poverty and reinstate the value of life. We do this through:

Community Development Projects: We believe in addressing the issues of poverty and injustice, and partner with organisations that bring change to entire communities.

Child Rights and Child-Centred Development Projects: Providing support to vulnerable children through the provision of healthcare, education and family support services.

Disaster Relief: We provide support to individuals and communities in the wake of disasters and humanitarian crises, both in Australia and abroad. This encompasses the provision of emergency and recovery assistance to whole communities as well as services designed to protect children in post disaster settings.

  • Also see What choices do you have….? Below.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No. From page 4 of the Annual Report:
    • ACCI Relief carries out aid & development activities only. Evangelistic programs and activities are administered and funded separately through the organisation ACCI Missions.

What impact are they having?

  • Neither ‘impact’ nor ‘outcomes’ are mentioned on the website.
  • The section in the Annual Report beginning on page 7 records some impacts.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • If we define ‘directly incurred’ as ‘Funds to international programs’ plus ‘Domestic programs expenditure’, it is 10%.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes, both to ACCIR and to its two funds, World Relief Fund and ACC Relief Fund.
    • Only the World Relief Fund is mentioned on the ‘donate’ page.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is not mentioned.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (but lodged on the second last day, six months after their year-end).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now nine months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: Apart from the absence of outcomes, yes.
  • Financial Report 2015: Yes

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s deficit of 3% of revenue was turned into a 3% surplus.
  • No obvious concerns with financial structure.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please read here and here.

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?

  • Almost. ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank.

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • ‘Partner with a project
    • 7 under ‘Africa’
    • 9 under ‘Cambodia’
    • 1 under ‘Pacific Islands’
    • 4 under ‘South Asia’
    • 7 under ‘South East Asia’
    • 6 under ‘Vietnam’
  • ‘Become a RAISE partner’
    • ‘RAISE: Madagascar’
    • ‘RAISE: Mozambique’
    • ‘RAISE: Sri Lanka’
  • ‘Current Appeals’
    • ‘Syrian Refugee Crisis Appeal’
    • ‘Nepal Earthquake Appeal’

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • See the list at the bottom here.

To whom are ACCIR accountable?

  • Although not claimed on their website, nor under ‘Accountability’ in the Annual Report, they are accountable as a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • They are also accountable to the ACNC.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they XXXX

 

 

The Church Missionary Society – South Australia Inc: mini charity review for donors

Mini charity review of The Church Missionary Society – South Australia Inc (CMSSA) as an organisation that seeks donations online. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is CMSSA registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a South Australian incorporated association (A1032).
    • If it’s ‘carrying on business’ in the Northern Territory, as it appears to be, then it doesn’t have the required registration (an ARBN).
    • CMSSA operates – according to the ACNC Register – in South Australia and the Northern Territory. But it is registered in none of the seven states, including South Australia, that have a licensing regime.
      • The law in this area is not straightforward and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.

What do they do?

  • The only information available is what they wrote in the AIS 2015:
    • CMS workers have continued to serve as co-labourers with international partners, including churches, schools, universities and Christian organisations, in more than 35 countries around the world. Our partners are involved in ministries that fit our gospel vision and purpose. Our partners have welcomed CMS workers into their programs and ministries to share the lasting hope of Jesus Christ with people. We have continued to encourage churches and individuals in SA & NT to get involved in cross-cultural mission. CMS is a deductible gift recipient for provision of overseas aid in several countries, for aboriginal work in North Australia and in support of St Andrew’s Hall, the CMS training college in Victoria.
      • But apart from the sentence beginning ‘We have continued…’ this appears to be about Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd, not CMSSA.
        • It is also almost identical to what Christian Missionary Society Queensland With Northern NSW wrote.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No, not according to the above information.

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • If the unexplained ‘CMS-A Quota’ is defined as the money that goes to achieve the impact, then 36% is administration.
    • There is no total for employee benefits, but if we assume that they include salaries, leave, superannuation, and allowances, they are 24% of total expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Not for a donation to CMSSA.
    • Nevertheless, the giving page that they use, the one belonging to Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd, does offer tax-deductible giving.
    • This means that they are most likely, like Christian Missionary Society NSW & ACT, collecting donations for another charity. If these donations are included in revenue, revenue is overstated.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is not mentioned.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (but lodged two months late, nine months after their year-end).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now nearly 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: No.
    • No outcomes are given.
    • None of the figures in the Income Statement match those in Financial Report.
    • The description of ‘activities’ is largely about another charity (albeit an associated one).
  • Financial Report 2015: No
    • Two of the required four financial statements are missing.
    • There are no Notes to the accounts.
    • There is no Responsible persons’ declaration.
    • One six-line ‘Asset Statement’ is included in lieu of the required statement of financial position. It is far from what is required by the Accounting Standards.
    • One nine-line ‘Income Statement’ and one ‘CMS SANT FY2015 Income Statement & FY2016 Budget’ is included. Both fall well short of what is required by the Accounting Standards.
    • The auditor
      • only audited the two ‘concise’ statements
      • did not, as he says he did, follow the Australian Auditing Standards
      • is not a Registered Company Auditor.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • The Report is not a suitable basis for assessing the financial situation.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • This is rendered largely irrelevant by the deficiencies identified in the Financial Report (see above).

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • Having been redirected from the CMSSA page to the ‘Give to CMS’ page, that is, to Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd’s giving page, your choices are:
    • ‘General Missionary Support’
    • ‘General Tax Deductible Gift’
    • ‘A particular worker’ (with a dropdown listing all the workers)
    • ‘Other’

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the webpages, but you can see who they have listed with the ACNC here.

To whom are CMSSA accountable?

  • Although not mentioned on their webpages, they are accountable as a Member of Missions Interlink[2].
  • They are also accountable to the ACNC.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they…did not respond.

 

 

  1. The website shown on the register belongs to another charity, Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd. CMSSA has some pages on it.
  2. For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

Church Missionary Society Queensland With Northern NSW: mini charity review for donors

Mini charity review of Church Missionary Society Queensland With Northern NSW (CMSQN) as an organisation that seeks donations[1]. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is CMSQN registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a Queensland incorporated association (IA18316). (Despite the lack of the usually obligatory ‘Inc’ or ‘Incorporated’ at the end of the name.)
    • CMSQN operates – according to the ACNC Register – in NSW and Queensland. But it is registered to fundraise in none of the seven states (including NSW and Queensland) that have a licensing regime.
      • The law in this area is not straightforward and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
    • If it’s ‘carrying on business’ in NSW, as it appears to be, then it doesn’t have the required registration (an ARBN).

What do they do?

  • The only information available is what they wrote in the AIS 2015:
    • CMS workers have continued to serve as co-labourers with over 100 international partners, including churches, schools, universities and Christian organisations, in more than 40 countries around the world. Our partners are involved in ministries that fit our gospel vision and purpose. Our partners have welcolmed CMS workers into their programs and ministries to share the lasting hope of Jesus Christ with people. We have continued to encourage churches and individuals in Queensland and Northern NSW to get involved in cross-cultural mission. CMS is a deductible gift recipient for provision of overseas aid in several countries, for aboriginal work in North Australia and in support of St Andrew’s Hall, the CMS training college in Victoria.
      • Apart from the sentence beginning ‘We have continued…’ this appears to be about Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd, not CMSQN.
      • It is almost identical to the what Christian Missionary Society – South Australia Inc wrote in their AIS 2015.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No, not according to the above information.

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • If ‘Missionary Support to CMS Australia’ is defined as the money that goes to achieve the impact, then 64% is administration.
    • ‘Employment expenses’ are 31% of total expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Not for a donation to CMSQN.
    • Nevertheless, the giving page that they use, the one belonging to Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd, does offer tax-deductible giving.
    • This means that they are most likely, like Christian Missionary Society NSW & ACT, collecting donations for another charity. If these donations are included in revenue, revenue is overstated.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is not mentioned.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged two days before the last day allowed, seven months after their year-end).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now nearly 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: No.
    • No outcomes are given.
    • Two of the figures in the Income Statement do not match those in Financial Report.
    • The description of ‘activities’ is largely about another charity (albeit an associated one).
  • Financial Report 2015: Questionable.
    • The audit report is unsigned.
    • The directors have avoided having to comply with all the Accounting Standards by saying, without giving any reason, that CMSQN is not a reporting entity. This means that they believe that there are no users, present (including donors who gave a total of $1.79 m), or prospective, who rely on CMSQN’s financial statements.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s deficit of 5% of revenue was turned into a 12% surplus.
    • However, this surplus
      • is overstated if CMSQN has included donations collected for Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd, and
      • is subject to a significant uncertainty (see the discussion of the audit report below).
  • Even with a reclassification of the ‘Loans from members’ if they are, as usual, repayable on demand, short-term (current) liabilities would continue to be well covered by short-term (current) assets.
  • No obvious concern with longer term financial structure.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He was not able to give a ‘clean’ opinion, but a ‘qualified’ opinion. Read here to see the different kinds of opinions.
    • The qualification was because he said that the directors had determined that it was impracticable to establish controls to ensure that all the fundraising money that was given to CMSQN made it into the bank account. Neither directors nor the auditor explain why, if most – if not nearly all – similar charities are able to establish such controls, CMSQN isn’t.

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • Having been redirected from the CMSSA page to the ‘Give to CMS’ page, that is, to Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd’s giving page, your choices are:
    • ‘General Missionary Support’
    • ‘General Tax Deductible Gift’
    • ‘A particular worker’ (with a dropdown listing all the workers)
    • ‘Other’

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the webpages, but you can see who they have listed with the ACNC here.

To whom are CMSQN accountable?

  • Although not mentioned on their webpages, they are accountable as a Member of Missions Interlink[3].
  • They are also accountable to the ACNC.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they responded, but only to say that they didn’t have time over the next few months to comment.

 

 

  1. Although CMSQN has no invitation to give on its own webpages on the Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd site, the invitation to give by the ‘parent’ remains accessible on those webpages.
  2. The website shown on the register belongs to another charity, Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd. CMSQN has some pages on it.
  3. For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

Church Missionary Society NSW & ACT Ltd: mini charity review for donors

Mini charity review of Church Missionary Society NSW & ACT Ltd (CMSN&A) as an organisation that seeks donations[1]. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is CMSN&A registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
    • CMSN& A is a charity, according to Note 2 in its Financial Report 2015 (see below), that controls another charity, Church Missionary Society Trust Limited (the Trust).
      • It has not taken advantage of the ACNC’s group reporting concessions.
      • According to the Financial Report 2015 of the Trust, it is the trustee for CMSN&A.
        • How this is possible if CMSN&A is not a trust is not explained.
        • The same Report says that the Trust is also the trustee of Church Missionary Society – Australia Limited.
          • That charity is also not a trust.
        • If CMSN&A deems that it controls the Trust, then why not also Church Missionary Society – Australia Limited?
        • The Trust holds the real property of the companies yet there are no properties in its Balance Sheet.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • CMSN&A operates – according to the ACNC Register – in NSW and the ACT. But it is registered in none of the seven states, including NSW and the ACT, that have a licensing regime.
      • The law in this area is not straightforward and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.

What do they do?

  • There is no description on the website, but you can get a very good idea from the Annual Report.
    • ‘Strategies’ (page 4 of the accounts):
      • To raise awareness of world mission and educate Christian churches in NSW and ACT about the importance of God’s mission in the world.
      • To raise support of those being sent out. This is both financial support through charitable fund raising, and prayer support.
      • To communicate with supporters through letters, videos and publications in order to provide information about the needs of the church worldwide, the opportunities for involvement in world mission and to help people take their place in God’s world mission.
      • Providing resources for individuals and churches interested in finding out more about world mission.
      • To run and promote activities that reach a cross section of church members of all ages and differing circumstances.
    • ‘Principal activities’ (page 4 of the accounts)
      • CMS Summer School. CMS Summer School is an annual week long conference held in Katoomba and attended by up to 3,000 members and supporters of the company.
      • General Committee. This is an elected body of members and meets 5 times per year. As a representative group of our key stake holders, the General Committee gives feedback about the effectiveness of the work that is done in service of our missionaries and supporter base.
      • Youth and children’s camps. These are held each year in Katoomba for primary and secondary school students. The aim is to provide a fun environment where children also learn about God’s work in the worldwide church.
      • Conferences for retirees. These are aimed at older members and supporters.
      • Publications. A number of publications are produced to appeal to a variety of people and provide information on current activities as well as encouraging people to become more engaged with global mission through CMS. These include emails, videos and printed media such as letters, newsletters and magazines.
      • Visiting churches. Missionaries on “home assignment“ and staff of the company regularly visit churches, speak at church services and liaise with church leaders.
      • Meetings. Throughout the year, regional meetings are held throughout NSW and ACT to encourage and raise support in more rural regions. Members of staff of the company also meet on an individual basis with any person interested in being sent to serve overseas.
      • Fund raising. Charitable fund raising is carried out throughout the year. This is done mainly through our individual members and supporters as well as churches with whom we have an existing relationship and not by appeal to the general public

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No, not according to the above information.

What impact are they having?

  • No information found. (The performance indicators in the Directors’ Report do not include any impact measures.)

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • If ‘Missionary Support’ is defined as the money that goes to achieve the impact, then 34% is administration.
    • ‘Employment expenses’ are 19% of total expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Not for a donation to CMSN&A.
    • Nevertheless, the giving page that they use, the one belonging to Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd, does offer tax-deductible giving.
    • That they are collecting donations for another charity (see Financial Report 2015, below) and including them in revenue means that revenue is overstated.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is not mentioned.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged just before the last day allowed, seven months after their year-end).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now nearly 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: Not quite – no outcomes are given.
  • Financial Report 2015: No
    • The directors say that CMSN&A has ‘no users who are dependent on its financial statements. This allows them to prepare the type of statements that do not need to comply with all the Accounting Standards. Elsewhere in the Financial Report they say that CMSN&A has 129 missionaries, 5802 individual donors, 445 donor churches, and 757 company members. Their decision implies that these thousands of users, plus all prospective users, have the capacity to ask CMSN&A to tailor a financial report to their needs. It is therefore very hard to see how this is a correct decision.
    • 19% of the $6.96 m donations revenue was ‘Contributions to Tax Deductible Funds’. As CMSN&A doesn’t have any such funds, this money must have been received for a third party. Revenue is therefore overstated by this amount.
    • The statement is called Statement of Comprehensive Income, but none is shown.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • No obvious concerns.
    • Consolidated ‘Cash and cash equivalents’ plus ‘Financial assets’ represents just over eight months’ revenue.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion. To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please read here and here.
    • But see the three points above under ‘Financial Report 2015’.

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?

  • Not quite. CMSN&A is, at least according to the ACNC, long overdue in selecting an Entity Subtype.

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • Having been redirected from the CMSSA page to the ‘Give to CMS’ page, that is, to Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd’s giving page, your choices are:
    • ‘General Missionary Support’
    • ‘General Tax Deductible Gift’
    • ‘A particular worker’ (with a dropdown listing all the workers)
    • ‘Other’

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The people shown here.

To whom are CMSN&A accountable?

  • Although not mentioned on their webpage, they are accountable as a Member of Missions Interlink[2].
  • They are also accountable to the ACNC.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they did not respond[3].

 

 

  1. Although CMSQN has no invitation to give on its own webpages on the Christian Missionary Society – Australia Ltd site, the invitation to give by the ‘parent’ remains accessible on those webpages.
  2. For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  3. Two of the ACNC Register omissions, plus a mistake on the ABN record, were corrected subsequent to the receipt of the draft review.

World Outreach Ltd: mini charity review for donors

Mini charity review of World Outreach Ltd (WO) as an organisation that seeks donations (via the website of the international organisation, World Outreach International). (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is WO registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee. (Not, as it says on the ABN record, an ‘Other Incorporated Entity’.)
    • WO has a fundraising licence in its home state. And there is no licensing regime in the other state in which it operates.
      • But it does seek donations on the internet, so compliance with the fundraising law of the other states depends on whether they deem such a request to be ‘fundraising’.

What do they do?

  • No website, so here’s what they said in the AIS 2015:
    • Emergency relief during humanitarian disasters, micro enterprise, prison work, support an aid to Orphans (sic), Leadership (sic) training and mentoring, community development.
      • Is this really all done by WO, or is this what the international organisation does?

Do they share the Gospel?

  • From the objects in the constitution they should be, but there is no evidence that they are.

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • Without knowing what WO does, this can’t be answered.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Not according to the Australian Business Register.
  • Why then this statement on the International website?
    • World Outreach Australia Limited has DGR (deductible gift recipient) status for gifts to Public Benevolent Funds within Australia. We operate certain Benevolent Funds which are claimable for tax rebates. Any donations designated to Benevolent Fund Where Most Needed will be tax deductible. Contact our Australian Office for details of specific missionaries or projects which relate to any Australian Benevolent Fund projects. We also give tax claimable receipts for donations to the Fulani people project in Burkina Faso.

Is their online giving secure?

  • eWay and PayPal are used, so yes.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged on the last day allowed, seven months after their year-end).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now nearly nine months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: No.
    • There are no outcomes given.
    • The wrong type of financial statements is given in Section E.
    • Only two of the eleven Income Statement figures match those in the financial statements.
    • The email address is incorrect.
  • Financial Report 2015: No
    • The reports that should be signed are unsigned.
    • Revenue is understated due to the netting of grants against donations.
    • ‘Comprehensive income’ is grossly overstated. (And is missing from the Statement of Changes in Equity.)
    • The decision to say that there are no users, either present or prospective, who are dependent on WO’s financial statements is, given WO’s reach and donation income, questionable.
    • The audit report is missing a compulsory paragraph, and the auditor contradicts himself on whether he assessed the appropriateness of WO’s accounting policies.
    • An unexplained, and unaudited, extra income statement is included.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s deficit of 19% of revenue was turned around to a very small surplus (less than ½%).
  • Short term structure: short-term (current) liabilities exceed short-term (current) assets by only 25%.
  • 86% of total liabilities are represented by borrowings from related parties, related parties that are not disclosed in the accounts.
  • The equity is only 14% greater than last year’s deficit.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion. To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please read here and here.
    • But see the last two points above under ‘Financial Report 2015’.

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?

  • Assuming that WO doesn’t consider that it has a website, yes.

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • The following six:
    • ‘Bless as WOI missionary’
    • ‘Bless a project’
    • ‘Tools for missionaries’
    • ‘Empower a leader’
    • ‘Empower the poor’
    • ‘Empower a Woman’ (sic)

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the international website, but from the ACNC Register:
    • Edward Elliot
    • Bruce Hills
    • Gail McDougall
    • Grahame Orpin
    • Searle Thomas (is this the wrong way round?)

To whom are they accountable?

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review…they did not respond.

 

 

  1. For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

Transform Aid International Ltd: mini charity review for donors

Mini charity review of Transform Aid International Ltd (TAI) as an organisation that, via its subsidiary Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd, seeks donations. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is TAI registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee[1].
    • TAI operates – according to the ACNC Register – in all states, and has a public invitation to give. But it is not registered to fundraise in NSW, Queensland or Victoria.
      • The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
      • TAI comment: ‘TAI is registered in all jurisdictions as required.
        • Reviewer response: I asked the respondent the basis for their belief that they didn’t need to register in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. He didn’t answer.

What do they do?

  • The primary object in the constitution says that TAI was formed ‘to act as the affiliated aid and development agency of ABM [Australian Baptist Ministries] [clause 1.7 (a)].
  • This has been broadened on the website to include other Australian denominations:
    • Transform Aid is a space for churches, denominations and agencies to come together to end poverty through community development work and advocacy with Christian Partners in Asia, Africa and the Pacific. We also mobilise supporters in Australia via high quality education, advocacy and marketing resources.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found on the TAI website.
    • TAI comment: ‘TAI’s website contains the 2014/15 consolidated Annual Report which makes extensive reference to our impact.’
      • Reviewer response: Here is an example of how they use the term ‘impact’ in that Report:
        • The Impact: Community members are leading healthy lives in supportive environments.

The outcome: Transform Aid International invested $2.98 million in 40 projects in 14/15. Community members have improved their knowledge of health issues and now practise behaviours which engender good health and see lives saved. Community members now have access to improved health services and enjoy healthy physical environments.

Examples: In one project, our partner in Nepal, ‘United Mission to Nepal’, targeted 40,480 direct and 108,215 indirect beneficiaries in seven of the most marginalised districts of Nepal. The project implemented awareness campaigns, strengthened community health workers in skills and empowered health organisations to address health issues locally. It provided education on living with HIV/AIDS, nutrition, sanitation, sexual reproductive health and infant and child health. Those most vulnerable being women, children and those living with HIV/AIDS were the primary target group.

In Papua New Guinea (PNG) our partner, the Baptist Union of PNG, runs three district rural hospitals, 10 health centres and nine aid posts providing essential health services to 180,000 people. Transform Aid International, in partnership with the Australian Government through the Church Partnership Program, ensures that these services reach the maximum number of people with quality health services and develop professional and community based health workers to service some of the most isolated parts of PNG.

  • Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd: Nothing systematic found.
    • TAI comment: ‘BWAA’s website contains the 2014/15 consolidated Annual Report which makes extensive reference to our impact.’
      • Reviewer response: see above.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • As is often the case, this is not easy to calculate. If ‘impact’ is defined as the outcomes from money spent directly on or for aid beneficiaries, then administration is 38 cents of every dollar of expense.
    • ‘Accountability and Administration’ – excluding the unallocated ‘Non-monetary expenditure’ $315K – is 18 cents in the dollar.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No
    • TAI comment: ‘Yes, TAI is an endorsed Deductible Gift Recipient under the OAGDS scheme.’
    • Reviewer response: The ABN record, accessible from TAI’s record on the ACNC Register, shows that TAI does not have DGR status. Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd does though (see below).
  • Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd: yes. All donations go to TAI’s subsidiary Baptist World Aid Australia Public Ancillary Fund.

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA (for TAI).
  • Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd: The page says ‘Secure transaction’ (but doesn’t name the portal).
    • TAI comment: ‘BWAA uses Eway, a secure payment gateway.’

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged just under six months after their year-end).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now 15 months ago.
      • TAI comment: ‘TAI is fully compliant with ACNC’s requirements, the next ACNC reporting is only due in December 2016.’
      • Reviewer response: I have not suggested otherwise.  If you look at advice on giving with discernment, you will find that my suggestion is valid.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: No. There are no outcomes given, and three of the figures in the Income Statement do not match those in the financial statements.
    • TAI comment: ‘TAI’s financial statements are audited by independent auditors.
      • Reviewer response: The comment is about the AIS 2015, not the financial statements.
  • Financial Report 2015: Yes

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • There was a large increase in surplus as a percentage of revenue (from 3% to 10%).
    • TAI comment: ‘This is explained by a number of large-scale Disasters Appeals with multi-year re-building programs.’
  • One contribution to this was the increased retention of non-designated donations.
  • Consequently, the amount of annual revenue that is covered by ‘cash and cash equivalents’ has increased from 1.7 months to 2.7.
  • No obvious concerns about the financial structure.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion. To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please read here and here.

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?

  • Almost. ‘Website’ is blank.

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • TAI: NA.
  • Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd:
    • ‘Where it’s needed most’
    • ‘Vulnerable Children Fund’
    • ‘Middle East Crisis Appeal’
    • ‘East Africa Drought Appeal’
    • ‘Disaster Action Fund’
    • ‘Community Development’
    • ‘Advocacy Research’

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The first eight people shown here. (Although the page is headed ‘Board’ the others are advisers or interns.)

To whom are they accountable?

  • The four organisations named in the website footer:
    • Australian Baptist Ministries is included in the four because TAI is one of their national ministries, and therefore overseen by them.
    • AICD membership confirmed.
    • Although the link from Australian Aid logo doesn’t show it, TAI has full accreditation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to receive aid grants.
    • Integral. Here are the standards with which they have to comply.
  • There are two accountability relationships not mentioned.
    • Missions Interlink.
      • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
    • The ACNC. (This also applies to TAI’s two charity subsidiaries.)

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they responded the same day. However, they did not respond to my subsequent explanations.

 

 

  1. The website and the Financial Report (including the audit report) not infrequently use TAI’s name without the ‘Limited’ (or ‘Ltd’). As far as I can see – and I am not a lawyer – it does not have the provisions in its constitution that would allow it to do this.

OMF International: mini charity review for donors

Mini charity review of OMF International (OMF) as an organisation that seeks donations. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is OMF registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • OMF operates – according to the ACNC Register – in all states, and has a public invitation to give. But it is only registered to fundraise in NSW.
      • The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.

What do they do?

  • There is no explanation on the Australian page on the international website.
    • Ministry comment: ‘We bring the love of Jesus in all its fullness to the peoples of East Asia for the glory of God.’
    • 53% of the Australian expenses are ‘Transfers to other OMF Affiliates’.
      • Ministry comment: ‘OMF International – a Company registered in Australia – is a member of a global association of sending and receiving mission bodies – all generally known as OMF International. These transfers are allocations for Missionary Expenses and Projects that are incurred overseas, arising from donations made in Australia.’
  • This is what they say in their Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2015:
    • Through the training, sending and support of missionaries in both Australia and internationally.
  • 38% of the expenses go to the undefined ‘Members Expenses’.
    • Ministry comment: ‘Member expenses cover the costs of OMF Missionaries while they are deployed in Australia, and also for retirement savings and other matters relating to Australians working overseas. Overall, this would mean these costs are spent in Australia and Overseas for the support of Missionary activity.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • From their answer to the FAQ on tax deductibility, yes.
    • Can’t check the objects in the constitution because Schedule B has been omitted from the copy of the constitution lodged with the ACNC.
      • Ministry response: They sent me Schedule B. The third object is ‘To promote and teach the Christian religion and to advance and develop the Christian teaching to and evangelisation of persons outside Australia.’ (The ACNC Register has not been updated.)

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.
    • Ministry comment: ‘We have over 120 adults (and their children) supported through OMF International as they work amongst the peoples of East Asia.’
      • Reviewer response: this does not answer the question of impact.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • It is hard to tell from the information given on expenses. ‘General & Administrative Expenses’ are 9% of expenses, but what are ‘Members Expenses’ and are ‘Resettlement Expenses’ indirect rather than direct?
    • Ministry comment: ‘I hope you can revise this comment based on the above information I have assisted with.’
      • Reviewer response: the comment is on what is available publicly, and that is unchanged.
      • Refer to the Ministry response under ‘What do they do?’ for an explanation of ‘Members Expenses’. The direct versus indirect question remains.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • For one-off donations, yes. (PayPal is used.)

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged four and a half months after their year-end).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now nearly nine months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: Not quite. There are no outcomes given.
  • Financial Report 2015: Not quite
    • There are a number of Notes missing.
    • The Statement of Income and Comprehensive Income does not show Other Comprehensive Income, misclassifying ‘Adjustment to Fair Value of Investments’.
      • Ministry comment: ‘I would be interested in you sending me what notes are required.  We have worked within the standards advised by of our auditors, and work closely with them to determine what level of detail we are required to disclose.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s deficit of 5% of revenue was turned around to a 3% surplus.
  • No obvious concerns about the financial structure.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion. To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please read here and here.

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?

  • Yes

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • On the first page, either ‘Support Workers’ or ‘General Support’.
    • On the next page for ‘Support Workers’ name the worker.
    • On the next page for ‘General Support’:
      • ‘An OMF Project’
      • ‘An OMF Field’
      • The OMF Australia’s General Fund
        • On the next page for ‘An OMF Project’ choose from ‘Theological Education’ or ‘Other OMF Project’.
        • On the next page for ‘An OMF Field’, name the field.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website page, but from the ACNC Register:
    • James Becker
    • Edwin Brooke
    • Kenneth Coleman
    • Peter Denham
    • Jeannette Kuswadi
    • John Loxton
    • James Mills
    • Arul Niles
    • Lydia Tan
    • Thomas Tokura

To whom are OMF accountable?

  • Not claimed on the website, but they are, apart from being accountable to the ACNC, accountable as a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • Ministry comment: ‘We do feel we are also accountable to our supporters and in particular the churches who send us workers. “Not claimed on the website” seems a bit narky.  What goes onto a regulator’s website, and what we willingly share with the public who ask, could be different things.
      • Reviewer response: That OMF doesn’t claim the membership on its website is a statement of fact.
      • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they responded quickly. Their comments have been included above.