Mini charity review of Healthcare Christian Fellowship Oceania Inc. (HCFO), an organisation that is exempt from Australian income tax via its membership of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)
For the previous review, see here.
Are they responsive to feedback?
- I sent them a draft of this review on 15 August 2017. See their responses below.
Is HCFO registered?
- As a charity, yes
- Other registrations:
- As a Victorian incorporated association (No. A0043417L).
- Given the low level of donations, I did not check for fundraising licences.
- Not registered for GST – but it is below the limit where it is required.
- Missing: The ACNC Register says that HCFO operates in all eight states. It doesn’t have the necessary ARBN registration to do this legally.
- Ministry comment: HCFO does not have committee structures in States other than Victoria. However, it has supporters in all the major states who pray, give and occasionally join teams for overseas missions.
What do they do?
- From the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2016:
- At our mission trips in PNG, Vanuatu and Tonga, many committed their lives to follow God and commenced a dynamic walk with God.
- There’s no website – the one linked from Missions Interlink belongs to the overseas organisation – but from their constitution (clause 2), this is what they are doing when they are on these mission trips:
- “…train, equip and disciple Christian healthcare workers in subjects such as total patient care, care of the dying and medical ethics.
- …share the love of Christ to all those interested, in the healthcare field….
- …promote biblical Christian healthcare
- …become a prayerful fellowship with trained people implementing Christ’s great commission within the healthcare field.’
- Ministry comment: HCFO’s activities include:
- Praying for the ministry of Christian Health Care workers around the world
- Encouraging and supporting Christian health care workers in Oceania to have a Biblical and holistic approach to their ministry
- Sending mission teams from within the region to needy areas in Oceania to provide a holistic approach to care for medical patients through clinics, counselling sessions, training and evangelistic Church services in the community.
- From the above results, yes.
- Probably via the ‘spiritual counselling’ they do.
- Ministry comment: Mainly through spiritual counselling and also by working with the local pastors and evangelists in outreach meetings to the community and prisons during the “mission trips”.
What impact are they having?
- See ‘What do they do?’ (above).
What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?
- There are no financial statements, but from the AIS 2016, expenses other than ‘Grants and donations made…’ are 19% of the total.
- This is much larger than the percentage mentioned on the international organisation’s website:
- Since almost all our staff are volunteers, our overhead costs are limited to a maximum of 5% of our budget.
- Ministry comment: Administration costs are covered through the registration fees charged for mission trips. Each participant travelling on our mission trip pay for the full cost themselves. Donations and funds raised through family and friends are used for steps to peace with God booklet, bibles, spectacles and similar expenses.
Do they pay their directors?
- There are no financial statements, and it’s not possible to tell from the limited information disclosed in the AIS 2016. But if they did pay them, it wasn’t much.
- Ministry comment: No
Can you get a tax deduction?
Is their online giving secure?
- NA. (Nor is it available on the international organisation’s site.)
Where were your (net) donations sent?
- The countries listed on the ACNC Register are most likely the destination for the overseas grants (the bulk of the money), but no further information is available.
- Ministry comment: Majority of the funds are spent on mission trip related costs mentioned above, which include PNG, Vanuatu and Tonga.
Is their reporting up-to-date?
- Yes (six months after their year-end).
Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?
- AIS 2016: Yes
- Financial Report 2016: NA
- One isn’t required by the ACNC, and HCFO haven’t lodged one voluntarily.
- If you want their latest financial report then their membership of Missions Interlink supports your request: they are required to “have available for its members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor” [Standards Statement, 4.1].)
- The ‘Annual Report’ under ‘Charity’s Documents’ on the ACNC Register is just an Income and Expenditure Statement and a Balance Sheet for three years ago.
What was the financial situation shown by that Report?
- The AIS 2016 shows a surplus of 13% of revenue, assets of $50K and only $4K of liabilities.
What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?
If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?
What choices do you have in how your donation is used?
Who are the people controlling the organisation?
- No website, so here’s the directors from the ACNC Register.
- Anna Ariaratnam
- Mohan Bangah
- Sean George
- Chelliah Gnanaharan
- Padmini Gnanaharan
- Kathleen Merry
- Michael Sabapathypillai
- James Suresh
- Ajith Thomas
- They answer to the members.
To whom is HCFO accountable?
- Because of its income tax exemption, HCFO is accountable to Missions Interlink.
- For one view on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
- As a registered charity, HCFO is accountable to the ACNC.
- And to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.
- “Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14. ↑ ↑