Langham Partnership (Australia) Incorporated: mini charity review

Mini charity review of Langham Partnership (Australia) Incorporated (LP), an organisation that seeks donations online, and claims 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 4 September 2017. The CEO, Gillean Smiley, sent a written response on 12 September. Her introduction to her specific comments, with my response, is included in the Appendix. Her specific comments (and my response) are included where relevant below. (I sent her my proposed responses so that she could, if necessary, modify her comments. She has chosen to leave her comments as they are.)

Is LP registered?

  • As a charity, yes
  • LP is a NSW incorporated association (INC9876767).
    • LP, in not using its full name on the internet, is possibly contravening section 41 of its enabling legislation.
      • Ministry response: “The full name is used on the internet. For example, the “Contact Us” page states

  • Reviewer comment: This is not the full name of LP. ‘Inc’ or ‘Incorporated’ is required on the end.
  • It operates, per the ACNC Register, in all eight states.
    • If it is doing business interstate, then it still doesn’t have the required registration (an ARBN).
    • It still doesn’t have a licence to fundraise in its home state, nor in the other five where one might be required[1].
      • Ministry response: LPA agrees with your footnote acknowledging the legal ambiguities regarding interstate licencing, and the existence of legal advice that indicates we are not required to be licenced in other states. Your comment is somewhat misleading that LPA “still doesn’t have a licence to fundraise in its home state”: LPA was granted a licence to fundraise in NSW, that was valid for approx. 7 years. The expiry of that licence was not communicated to LPA, (possibly due the departure of the former sole contact and the change in contact details over the 7 years). However immediate steps were taken to renew the licence on discovery of this fact. LPA is grateful to Mr Sherwood for raising the issue.”
        • Reviewer comment:
          • My statement that LP “still doesn’t have a licence to fundraise in its home state” is still true.
          • The licence expired over two years ago.
          • It does not seem fair to say that the expiry ‘was not communicated to LP’. Even if it is the case that the regulator had an obligation to tell LP that its licence was about to expire, or had expired, it is most likely the licensee’s responsibility to maintain an up-to-date contact address.

What do they do?

  • The answer to this on the website is not particularly about LP, but their AIS 2016 (even though it is almost the same as 2015) appears to be:
    • ‘Langham Partnership Australia equips pastors and leaders in the Majority World. We achieved this through funding and facilitating Biblical preaching training internationally, helping provide literature to Majority World Bible colleges and individuals, assisting the development of indigenous printing and publishing capacity and supporting two doctoral scholars from other countries who are studying in Australia.’
      • Ministry response: Langham Partnership Australia (LPA) queries any concerns regarding having an Annual Information Statement (AIS) that is consistent from year to year? Further, LPA queries what information is required beyond the tab in the website entitled “What We Do”, to answer the question “What do we do?”
        • Reviewer comment:
          • The ACNC intends for charities to describe what they did in that year. One would therefore expect at least some variation from what was said the previous year.
          • Answering the questions on the AIS is quite separate to putting something on a website.
  • LP operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in 23 countries. Langham Partnership internationally maybe, but LP?
    • Ministry response: “Langham Partnership Australia (LPA) is able to demonstrate its involvement with and activity in many more countries than the minimum listed on the ACNC Register. We do not claim to have sole responsibility for operation in those countries, but we are an integral part of activities. In many of the countries listed on the ACNC Register, we have facilitated Preaching Training programs though (sic) our volunteer network. In others, we have funded distribution of literature, and we continue to support/work with scholars from 8 countries who have spent at least some part of their time studying in Australia. We have not claimed to operate in all countries in which Langham Partnership operate internationally (over 80), although as key members of the international council and full members of the Partnership, we might be able to do so. LPA queries what evidence would be required to demonstrate our operations in the number of countries identified?”
      • Reviewer comment: See the Annual Information Statement Guide 2016 for what qualifies a country to be included in ‘Operates in (Countries)’.

Do they share the Gospel?[2]

  • No. (It is not required by their objects.)

What impact are they having?

  • They did not respond to the regulator’s request for outcomes in the AIS 2016.
    • Ministry response: “Langham Partnership Australia (LPA) requests evidence that it did not respond to any request from the regulator. Further, LPA requests evidence that ACNC was in any way unhappy with the outcomes provided”
      • Reviewer comment:
        • Every question in the AIS is a request from the ACNC for information. One of those questions asks for LP’s outcomes.
        • I have not suggested that the ACNC made a judgment about LP’s outcomes.
  • They say that ‘Everyday, we hear stories of congregations and communities being changed, new ministries being started and indigenous leaders catching the vision and running with it’, but no examples are given.

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

  • If the totals for the three programs (‘Literature’, ‘Preaching’, and ‘Scholars’) contain no indirect costs, the answer is 69%. That is, approximately seven out of each $10 is spent on ‘administration’.
    • The absolute total spent on the three programs declined 49% over the previous year.
      • Ministry response: Langham Partnership Australia (LPA) requests a consistent definition used across all charities reviewed, of what constitutes “Administration”. “Administration” is not a term that reflects whether or not a cost is directly attributable to a program. For example, costs incurred preparing materials for an overseas Preaching Program was accounted as Administrative -Stationery and Printing, rather than Preaching costs. Policy decisions within LPA and Langham Partnership internationally has made significant changes to what is counted as “Overhead” and what is direct cost for a program. Further, changes have been made to the accounting of funds spent inside Australia on Programs, and of funds forwarded to overseas operations. Again, the figures quoted do not reflect whether funds spent in Australia on (for example) salary include any allocation for program delivery. Therefore it is impossible to make a blanket calculation on the percentage split between Program and Overhead costs, without more information than that which is being used by Mr Sherwood. LPA calculates a 54% Program/46% Overhead split for the period in question.”
        • Reviewer comment:
          • I provide a link to the ACNC’s explanation of ‘administration’, the explanation that I use.
          • I say ‘If the totals…’, then ‘administration’ is $X. This is a conditional calculation. Change the conditions, change the answer.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is no prohibition on this in their constitution.
  • There is no line item ‘directors’ fees’ (or similar) in the expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No.

Is their online giving secure?

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • Each project is listed in the Income Statement. In the majority of cases, the information is not specific enough though to know to whom the money was sent.
    • Ministry response: “The Income Statement neither purports nor intends to reflect the expenditure of the money. It describes the amount raised for a project. The Expenditure Statement is the source for describing how the money was spent.
  • Reviewer comment: I have not suggested that the Income Statement says anything about the expenditure of the donations other than implying, quite reasonably, that the projects for which donations were received would be the projects on which those donations would be spent.

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

  • On the first page, it says that “If you would like to donate to a specific programme,  please indicate the name of the project/programme name with your donation.” But these are not listed.
    • Ministry response: “Listing LPA Projects would limit donors to being able to choose only those projects listed. The page described is not the source of information regarding projects – the source is email news, newsletters, presentations and the web based sources. Donors have freedom to identify ANY project of which they have learned, through the space available for a free text entry.”
      • Reviewer response: The desire to allow a donor to select any project does not, as other charities show, necessitate there being no options. In fact LP themselves overcome the limitation they suggest in their own form for donors using a credit card.
  • The page that opens after selecting ‘credit card’ has the following options:
    • Where most needed’
    • ‘Langham Literature’
    • ‘Langham Preaching’
    • ‘Langham Scholars’
    • ‘Other Projects’ – Please specify (No options given)
      • Ministry response: Please see above for why listing the options is in fact a limiting mechanism.”

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six and a half months after their year-end, three months earlier than last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • ‘Type of financial statement’ is incorrect.
    • No outcomes are reported.
    • The figure for ‘Employee expenses’ doesn’t match the information in the Income Statement.
  • Financial Report 2016: No. Once again
    • It is missing two of the four required financial statements.
    • The Income Statement is in a format long since superseded.
    • There is only one accounting policy described, and most of the other required Notes are missing.
    • The directors say that LP ‘is not a reporting entity’, and therefore doesn’t have to comply with all the Accounting Standards, but they don’t say why.
    • They are effectively saying that they don’t have any users, present or prospective, who rely on their financial statements.
    • The cover has
    • the name and contact details of the auditor, not LP.
    • an attempt to make the Report confidential to the members of LP.
      • Ministry response: “LPA requests evidence that any of the above allegations are valid or correct. As repeatedly requested throughout this document, this includes any evidence that LPA reporting was in any way insufficient or unsatisfactory for to (sic) any stakeholder or regulator.”
        • Reviewer comment:
          • The ACNC website plus the help of any accountant who is a member of one of the three professional bodies will show that my comments are valid. If it is found that I have made a mistake I am happy to change the review.
          • I have not based my comments on whether stakeholders or regulators are satisfied that LP’s reporting complies with their requirements. (With the regulators, the acceptance of a Report normally does not guarantee that the Report complies with their requirements.)

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Although the loss as a percentage of revenue was reduced from 49% to 28%, successive losses means that there is now less equity than last year’s loss.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • Despite the issues with the Financial Report – see above – the auditor, Alison E. Lacey, Chartered Accountant, issued a ‘clean’ opinion[3].
    • Alison is only qualified to do this audit because of the ACNC’s transitional provisions for reporting by incorporated associations: the NSW regulator doesn’t require the audit of LP to be performed by a registered company auditor.

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

  • Not quite. LP is, at least according to the ACNC, (still) long overdue in selecting an Entity Subtype.
    • Ministry response: The ACNC register includes the followong information, which has been present since 2014 (as noted in the attached snapshot). LPA queries in what way ACNC claims that LPA is overdue in selecting the entity sub type “Advancing Religion” in 2014?”

Reviewer comment: My comment is an accurate reflection of what it says at the top on the right-hand side of LP’s record on the ACNC Register.

  • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are still blank, but these are not compulsory.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Said, on the website, to be these people.
    • A Public Officer is not automatically a member of a committee of an association.
  • The list on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) has the above people, plus Gillean Smiley (twice), and Trevor Cork again:
    • Paul Barker
    • Graham Collins
    • Trevor Cork
    • Trevor Cork
    • Jill McGilvray
    • Grant Robinson
    • Gillean Smiley
    • Gillean Smiley
    • David Tsai
      • Ministry response: “There is no claim that the CEO is present as a Director: the ACNC records her presence as “Other”, which is all that is required. There are several persons listed twice. The ACNC website only allos people to be removed by stating on which date they ceased to be Responsible Officers. AS the relevant people have not ceased to be Responible Officers, it is jusdged better to leave them on twice than attempt to remove them with an inaccurate statement. It is assumed that any sensible reader of this information will reaalise the entry has been duplicated, and there are not two people wiith the same name.”

      • Reviewer comment:
        • I have not suggested that the CEO was listed because she was a director – in fact I suggest the opposite.
        • If she is not a director then she shouldn’t be included on the Register.
        • There are only two responsible persons listed twice.
        • An incorrect entry is not the only reason that a name may appear twice: some charities consider that if a person holds two offices then they should be included twice.
        • I suspect that the ACNC would be happy for LP to enter any date if it were the way to remove a duplication.
  • There is no provision in the constitution for the CEO to be a director. Is she there as an elected member?
  • The committee is responsible to the members. We don’t know the size of the membership.
    • Ministry response: “Membership of LPA is clearly detailed in the Constitution. LPA queries where the regulator or any other entity requires details concerning members, including numbers?
      • Reviewer comment: I have not suggested that there is any legal requirement to disclose the number of members.

To whom are LP accountable?

  • Membership of Missions Interlink claimed. However, they no longer appear on the list of members.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • Also accountable to the ACNC[4].
  • And to the New South Wales regulator of incorporated associations.
    • Ministry response: “LPA queries evidence that any other entity to which it is accountable has expressed any concern or dssatisfaction (sic) with its performance in any respect?
      • Reviewer comment: I have not suggested that a regulator has expressed concern or dissatisfaction. All I do is list those entities to which LP has accountability.

 

 

 

Appendix: Ministry Response

“Langham Partnership (Australia) expresses its deep concern with the publishing of any of the information included in this “review”. We note that

  • The “review” was not requested or authorised
    • Reviewer comment: Neither request nor authorisation is required for somebody to review a product or service for the benefit of future consumers.
  • There is nothing contained in the “review” (other than inaccuracies or misinterpretations) that is not otherwise fully and freely available to the public.
    • Reviewer comment:
      • As will be seen in the review above, LP has not identified any ‘inaccuracies or misinterpretations’.
      • The review adds to the information that is available to the public by (a) gathering it in one place, (b) organising it in answer to the questions that should be asked by a donor, and (c) providing links to explanatory material.
  • LPA is unaware of any qualification or expertise that would enable Mr Sherwood to undertake a professional and comprehensive review or to publish any “findings” from a review in a credible fashion.
    • Reviewer comment: I can appreciate how LPA may be unaware of these things.
  • Having briefly explored the front page of Mr Sherwood’s site, not only are these questions unanswered, but I can find no “reviewed” charity that has actually responded to Mr Sherwood’s claims. The conclusion could be drawn that these credible and well respected charities may not wish to waste time responding to allegations that are poorly informed and inaccurate.
    • Reviewer comment:
      • There are ten reviews on the first page. Three show responses, and another is preparing a response. I would not be surprised if this response rate (40%) applies to the entire database of reviews.
      • LP offer my support for their claims (a) that what I have written in the reviews on the first page are ‘allegations’, and (b) that the statements and questions in these review are ‘poorly informed and inaccurate.’ LP’s conclusion is not even supported by the material I present about them.
  • Given that LPA has responded, we do not authorise or permit Mr Sherwood to publish any of his findings without including LPA’s full and unedited response. Further, LPA reserves the right to seek redress should anything be published that is inaccurate or in any way unfairly detrimental to LPA’s reputation.
    • Reviewer comment:
      • Although I do not need LP’s authorisation or permission to publish a review of publicly available information, it is my practice – as is evident from the published reviews – to seek the response of the charity before publication, and then to publish that response in full. This would have been no different with LP.
      • I will not be seeking redress from LPA for the damage done to my reputation.
  • LPA regrets the unnecessarily aggressive, confrontational and on occasion offensive tone and language used by Mr Sherwood, which undermines what may otherwise have been seen as a positive attempt to review and evaluate the performance of Christian ministries.”
    • Reviewer comment: I leave it to the reader to judge both my behaviour and that of LP.

 

 

  1. 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.
  2. “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.
  3. To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please read here and here.
  4. LP have, since the review was drafted, relinquished their membership of Missions Interlink. This means that they no longer have an exemption from income tax via such a membership.

World Team Australia Incorporated: mini charity review

Mini charity review of World Team Australia Incorporated (WT), an organisation that seeks donations online[1]. (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 6 September 2017. Like last year, they…. did not respond.

Is WT registered?

  • As a charity, yes
  • WT is a Victorian incorporated association (No. A0030511U).
  • WT still has no business names. (A trading name, which is what WT has, does not, despite its name, allow WT to do business under that name.) Registration is therefore required to continue to us the name World Team (its website), and World Team Australia (Facebook).
  • WT operates, per the ACNC Register, in Victoria (its home state), New South Wales and Queensland.
    • It still doesn’t have an ARBN, a registration required if it is doing business interstate.
    • It still doesn’t have any fundraising licences[2].
  • WT operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in Indonesia and Philippines. Papua is still missing from this list (see the AIS 2016).

What do they do?

  • The About page in the Australian site is not particularly about WT but about World Team as an international group.
  • From the Description of charity’s activities and outcomes in the AIS 2016:
    • Our main aim is to share the Gospel of Jesus with people by planting churches. Missionaries in Philippines offer English as second language training & computer training and train fishermen to dive safely. Our missionaries also work with locals to preserve the coral reefs. They also commence (plant) churches. In Papua we operate a HIV Clinic in Wamena, provide lecturers to a Bible College in Mamit.
  • ‘International activities’ in the AIS confirms that WT itself operates overseas:
    • Operating overseas including delivering programs

Do they share the Gospel?[3]

  • From the constitution, supported by the information immediately above, it’s not clear that they do this themselves.

What impact are they having

  • Nothing systematic found.
    • WT did not respond, once again, to the request in the AIS for a description of its outcomes.

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

  • There’s no Financial Report, but using the summary figures in the AIS 2016, and defining ‘direct’ as ‘Grants and donations made…’, ‘administration’ is 54% of the expenses.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is no prohibition on this in their constitution.
  • There is insufficient financial information disclosed to check for such payments.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

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

  • ‘World Team Missionaries’
    • No online option
  • ‘World Team Ministry Fund’
    • The link leads back to itself.
  • ‘Priority Projects’
    • ‘Micro-enterprise/Missionary Training (Africa)’
    • ‘Abra Advance Training Center’
    • ‘Oroko Bible Translation (Cameroon)’
    • ‘Missionary Care’
    • ‘Rain Forest (sic) International School Youth Hostel’
    • ‘Papua Translation and Literacy Project’
    • ‘Mission: Mobilization’
    • ‘Technology’
    • ‘Tribal Ministry (Suriname)’
    • ‘Church Planting (France)’
    • Each of these ten options has a link to a further page. No giving options are shown on those pages.
  • ‘Innovative Giving’
    • The page from the link includes the statement ‘If you from Australia and would like to make a tax-deductible gift, please go here. This takes you to the Australian giving page (see above), but there is no tax-deductible option there.

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • No information on this is available.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five months after their year-end, three weeks earlier than last year).
    • This means that the next financial report is due by 31 March 2017. Before that the financial information on the Register will be up to 18 months out-of-date. You may therefore need to ask for more up-to-date information.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Almost – no outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2016: Yes
    • Because of its size WT doesn’t have to lodge a Financial Report.
    • WT did not choose to repeat what they did last year, and lodge one with the ACNC voluntarily.
    • It was, until recently, a member of Missions Interlink. One of their requirements is that members ‘have available for its members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor [Standards Statement, 4.1].

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • No Report (see above), but from the AIS 2016:
    • WT states in its AIS that they used the cash ‘accounting method’.
    • 87% of the $180K receipts came from ‘Donations and bequests’.
    • ‘Grants and donations made…’ totalled 50% of money spent.
    • The one employee cost 49% of receipts / 40% of payments (there was a large deficit).
      • Are the missionaries not employees?
    • The deficit was 23% of income. This left less than twice this amount in equity.
    • Because the cash method was used, liabilities (and assets if more than cash) must have been calculated outside the accounting system.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • No audit report has been published. (One is required though.)

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

  • No
    • ‘Responsible Persons’ has only two names.
    • ‘Date Established’ is blank.
    • WT is, at least according to the ACNC, (still) long overdue in selecting an Entity Subtype.
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but they are not compulsory.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The page on the website for ‘Leadership’ is blank.
  • From the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’), these are the leaders:
    • Anthony Lyon (the employee?)
    • Ian Parker
    • This is seven less than the number required by the constitution.

To whom are WT accountable?

  • Accountable to the ACNC.
  • And to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

  1. If Mission Interlink’s list of members is accurate, WT recently gave up its membership. This means the loss of the income tax exemption provided via that membership.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

G.L.O. Ministries Limited: mini charity review

Mini charity review of G.L.O. Ministries Limited (GLO), an organisation that seeks donations online and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

(To see the situation last year, read this review.)

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review on 6 September 2017. Like last year, they…did not respond.

Is GLO registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • The company’s name is G.L.O. Ministries Limited, not as it uses it, GLO Ministries Limited.
    • And, as it doesn’t have the necessary provisions in its constitution, it is not entitled to omit ‘Limited/Ltd’ when it uses its company name. See, for instance, the website.
  • GLO has a registered business name, GLO College of Ministries, for its bible college.
    • But no registration in the name it uses on Facebook for the college, CrossConnect.
  • GLO operates, per the ACNC Register, in all states except the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. It still doesn’t have any fundraising licences where they might be required[1].

What do they do?

  • Generally.
  • For what they did in 2016, see the comprehensive report in the Directors’ Report in the Financial Report (see below).
  • GLO operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in nine countries.
    • It is not clear how this relates to their statement that they are ‘partnering with mission workers in over 20 countries’.
    • Gifts were sent to ten countries, eight of which are in the list on the Register.

Do they share the Gospel?[2]

What impact are they having?

  • The only thing found was some anecdotal evidence in GLO’s magazine, Spearhead. But the latest issue is (still) Spring 2014.

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

  • Defining ‘direct’ as the expense ‘Overseas ministries and humanitarian aid’, ‘administration’ is 71% of expenses. And this figure doesn’t include any ‘Employee expenses’.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is no prohibition on this in their constitution.
  • There is insufficient financial information disclosed to check for such payments.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Contrary to what GLO says at the bottom of its giving page, GLO itself does not have deductible gift recipient (DGR) status. However, you can claim a tax deduction for a donation on this page if you restrict your donation to one of its two building funds, GLO School of Team Ministries Building Fund and Gospel Literature Outreach Training Centre Building Fund. No information is given on these two funds though.

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA. (It’s not offered.)

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The Directors’ Report (in the Financial Report 2016) says that ‘Gifts were distributed to workers and projects in Afghanistan, Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Romania’.
    • This list is missing Japan and has the additions of China and Pakistan compared to the one the one prepared at around the same time for the AIS 2016.
  • No more specific information on the destination of donors’ funds is available.
  • GLO continues to claim that it ‘passes on 100% of every gift to the ministry. GLO Ministries trusts the Lord to provide for our overhead costs…
    • This is not borne out by the figures: ‘Donations’ were $413K, yet ‘Overseas ministries and humanitarian aid’ expense was on $312K.
  • In the same note, GLO also claims that ‘our administrative costs are covered through general donations and Course Funds’.
    • This is also not borne out by the figures: even if we assume that ‘general donations’ were 100% of ‘Donations’, and therefore none were sent overseas, ‘Donations’ plus ‘Course fees’ gives a total well short of the $758K incurred on ‘Administration’.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged three months after their year-end, a month earlier than last year).
    • 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 eight months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No:
    • ‘Administration and occupancy expenses ($349K) are reported as ‘Grants and donations made for use in Australia’.
    • ‘Other Income’ is overstated.
    • Only some of the ‘home office’ staff raise their own financial support, so how can GLO show zero for employees and zero for ‘Employee expenses’ in the AIS 2016?
    • No outcomes are given.
      • The reader is referred to the ‘annual report’. But there isn’t one.
    • The business name is missing.
  • Financial Report 2016: Questionable.
    • Again this year
      • The directors do not say why they have chosen to prepare the lower standard special purpose financial statements. By this choice, they are saying, in effect, that anyone wanting information about GLO can command the preparation of a report tailored to their needs. For a charity operating in six states and 21 countries, with a turnover of $853K, owning at least two properties, operating a bible college, and seeking donations on the internet, this is stretching credulity.
      • There is no explanation for the fact that GLO reports zero employees. It doesn’t fit with, for instance, the existence of ‘home office’ staff who are not self-supporting.
      • There is no information on the two tax-deductible funds.
    • GLO does not comment on the validity of the going concern assumption.
    • Also
      • Again, the auditor includes a disclaimer about accounting policies from a superseded Auditing Standard.
      • GLO continue to include the statement, on the cover page of the Financial Report, a document that they must lodge on a public register, that the report is not be used by the public ‘unless accompanied with additional information concerning the company or the company’s financial position.’
      • The Directors’ Report is included twice.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s deficit of 3% revenue was dramatically increased, to 26%.
  • Is it correct that they have a turnover of $853 K, operate in six states, and have more than one property yet not a single employee?
  • Despite the sale of property, the relationship between short-term assets and short-term liabilities (working capital) decreased from 22% positive to 8% negative.
  • There are no long-term liabilities, so with $5.80 m of land and buildings, long-term structure is sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, S.J. Hutcheon, of StewartBrown, issued a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • His report again includes these two contradictory statements:
      • No opinion is expressed as to whether the accounting policies used, as described in Note 3 to the financial statements are appropriate to meet the needs of the members’, and
      • An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates made by the Directors…
    • In reaching this opinion, he implicitly agreed with the directors’ decision to produce special purpose rather than general purpose financial statements (see above).
    • As well as the above, these articles (here and here) will help you take the right amount of comfort from this opinion.

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

  • No. Still.
    • GLO is overdue, since 2015, in selecting an ‘Entity Subtype’.
    • The business name is missing.
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but neither are compulsory.

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

  • “Support a Mission Worker
    Partner together with God’s labourers serving in the field by giving a one-off gift or ongoing support. At present we need more support for mission workers in India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal and the Philippines.
  • Donate to a Ministry Project
    We are involved in exciting mission projects in countries like Afghanistan, Nepal, Philippines and Mongolia that all need extra financial support.
  • Give to a Building Project (Australia)
    Help provide new facilities and improve existing ministry facilities. Donations to GLO building projects in Australia are tax deductible…
  • Sponsor a Scholarship Student
    GLO Ministries is equipping new workers from Fiji, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and South Korea.”

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website, but here’s the list from the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • Allan Driver
    • Kenneth Harding
    • John Quilliam
    • David Scott
    • Craig Stokes
      • There are 10 directorships in the name ‘David Scott’. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course doesn’t include for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which GLO’s David is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful, it would be legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.
    • The directors are accountable to the members. At 31 December 2016 there were 49 of them [Directors’ Report].

To whom are GLO accountable?

  • Although not claimed on their website, 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.
  • And, as a company, to ASIC.

 

 

 

  1. 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.
  2. “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.

Youth With A Mission Sydney Hills Incorporated: mini charity review

Mini charity review of Youth With A Mission Sydney Hills Incorporated (YWAMSH), an organisation that seeks donations online (via this page), and is a member 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 5 September 2017. Like last year, they….did not respond.

Is YWAMSH registered?

  • As a charity, yes
  • YWAMSH is a NSW incorporated association (No. INC9878517).
  • It trades under another name[1], YWAM Sydney Newtown, a name that is still not registered.
    • According to the Bookers in November 2015, YWAM Sydney Newtown’ have ‘taken over’ YWAMSH. But despite their claim that the new organisation is now ‘government-official’, two years later YWAMSH is still registered and ‘YWAM Sydney Newton’ is still unofficial.
    • Neither YWAMSH, nor YWAM Sydney Newtown are in the list of centres on the YWAM Australia site.
  • YWAMSH operates, per the ACNC Register, in only New South Wales. It does not hold a fundraising licence in NSW. Nor in any other state where one might be required[2].
  • The ACNC Register says that it doesn’t operate overseas. It therefore doesn’t need the income tax exemption that its membership of Missions Interlink provides.

What do they do?

  • The ways that you can become involved give a good idea of what YWAMSH does.
  • This, from the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2016, is what they said they did in 2016:
    • Hosting teams that are doing a Cert 4 training course, to meet training outcomes while on there (sic) field assignment. While hosting them we have them help in the local community.

Do they share the Gospel?[3]

  • I expect so.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing found.

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

  • No Financial Report has been made public, and it is not possible to estimate this figure from the limited information required in the AIS 2016.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is no prohibition on this in their constitution.
  • There is insufficient financial information disclosed to check for such payments.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No.

Is their online giving secure?

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • Your donation will go to ‘Alana Blasé’.

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

  • None

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (seven and a half months after their year-end, two weeks late, and ten days later than last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Not quite.
    • YYAMSH is ‘known by’ the name YWAM Sydney Newtown, but this is not a business name (or trading name).
    • No outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2016: Yes
    • Because of its size YWAMSH doesn’t have to lodge a Financial Report.
    • Although YWAMSH is a member of Missions Interlink, and one of their requirements is that members ‘have available for its members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor [Standards Statement, 4.1], they did not choose to lodge one with the ACNC voluntarily.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • No Report (see above), but from the AIS 2016:
    • Almost 100% of the $62K income came from ‘Donations and bequests’.
    • There were no ‘Employee expenses…’, nor ‘Grants and donations made…’.
    • They made a surplus of $29K.
    • It is not obvious how they managed to also pay off $45K of liabilities and maintain their assets.
      • The equity is therefore now positive.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • No audit report has been published. (One is required though.)

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

  • No
    • ‘Responsible Persons’ is still blank.
    • YWAMSH is, at least according to the ACNC, (still) long overdue in selecting an Entity Subtype.
    • ‘Website’ is blank, but this is not compulsory.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Despite the AIS 2015 referring to ‘Responsible Persons’, that section was blank that year and remains blank.

To whom are YWAMSH accountable?

  • Not mentioned on the website, but YWAMSH is a member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • Also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And to the New South Wales regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

 

  1. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Jews for Jesus: mini charity review

Mini charity review of Jews for Jesus (JFJ), an organisation that invites donations online, and 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.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review on 3 September 2017. They…did not respond.

Is JFJ registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • JFJ is a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • It is entitled to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ from its name. But it doesn’t have the names it is using on Facebook, and Instagram, Jews for Jesus AustralAsia, or on YouTube, Jews for Jesus Australia, registered.
  • The ACNC Register says that JFJ operates in all states except the Northern Territory. However, the reason for including other than New South Wales, its home state, is not apparent from the website.
  • It doesn’t require a licence to fundraise in the ACT, but it (still) doesn’t have a licence in any of the others[1].
  • JFJ operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Ukraine, and the United States. They have a volunteer in each of New Zealand and Singapore, but no reason could be found for the inclusion of the other countries.

What do they do?

  • JFJ is the Australian arm of the organisation described in the the website footer:
    • Jews for Jesus is an international organisation of Jewish people who believe that Jesus is the Messiah and Saviour of the world. We exist to make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide.
    • Here’s what JFJ did in 2016 (from the AIS 2016):
      • We shared the Gospel with Jewish people in country and other countries during the entire period. And through the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, many Jewish people gave their lives to the Lord and professed faith in Yeshua. Thanks be to God. Our operations, centered in Bondi Junction, continued with welcome to Jews and non-Jews alike, even with our coffee operations. And travels around the region produced more interest and deputized believers to assist us regionally.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • Yes. It’s central to what they do: the first of four objects in the constitution is “to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and promote religious ideals consistent with the Old Testament and the New Testament.”

What impact are they having?

  • A search for ‘impact’ provides a few anecdotes, but nothing systematic.

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

  • The expenses are not classified to allow this calculation.

Do they pay their directors?

  • This is not allowed by their constitution.
  • There is no line item ‘directors’ fees’ in the expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No
  • But JFJ give a way round this:
    • Are my donations tax-deductible?

Not if given to Jews for Jesus directly. but many people use the organization Steer in Melbourne, Victoria, to donate and then receive tax deductions. The system is authorized by the Australian government and provides much for missions. By notifying Steer of your intentions, you can give to Jews for Jesus in Australia with a suitable tax deduction. Visit and learn about them at Steer Australia . See a review of that organisation here.

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • They show zero for ‘Grants and donations made…’ in the AIS 2016.

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

  • None

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • It is now, but it was nearly a month overdue when it was lodged (eight months after their year-end and four months later than last year).
    • This means that the next financial report is due by 31 December 2017 – or 31 January 2018 if the ACNC is generous again. Before that the financial information on the Register will be up to 18 months out-of-date. You may therefore need to ask for more up-to-date information.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • ‘Type of financial statement’ is incorrect.
    • Most of the figures under ‘Financial Information’ do not match those in the financial statements.
  • Financial Report 2016: No
    • Like last year,
      • The cash basis appears to have been used when the law requires accrual accounting.
      • Figures that should agree between financial statements don’t agree.
      • The audit report is well short of what is required.
      • Reports that should be signed are unsigned.
      • The financial statements have material mistakes, misclassifications, and inclusions.
      • The Notes to the Financial Statements… contain only one Note, and that one is incomplete.
      • A resignation letter by the auditor, the auditor who resigned last year, is included.
      • A second income statement, with figures that don’t match the first one, is included.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Because of the condition of the Financial Report (see immediately above), no comment.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Neville J. Jones, ‘Registered Public Accountant’, has again issued a ‘clean’ opinion.  However, confidence in the opinion is reduced by the fact that, although the auditor is a Registered Auditor, again this year
    • The content deviates materially from what is required by the Australian Auditing Standards. There is, for instance, no Emphasis of Matter paragraph and he doesn’t identify the reporting framework. (The language suggests that, at least in one part, he is using a template that was superseded 11 years ago.)
    • He has omitted two of the four statements from the scope of his audit, plus failed to mention the extra statement that JFJ have included.
    • The report is unsigned.
    • He signed his report before the directors signed the accounts.
    • The financial statements have significant errors and omissions.

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

  • Yes
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but these are not compulsory.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The directors are not mentioned on the website.
  • Here they are from the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • John Lawler
    • Kameel Majdali
    • Peter Robinson
    • There are 10 directorships on the ACNC Register in the name ‘Peter Robinson’. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course no for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which JFJ’s Peter Robinson is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful or so, it would be legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.

To whom is JFJ accountable?

  • Not mentioned on the website, but they are a member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion of the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • Also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And, as a company, to ASIC.

 

 

 

  1. 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.
  2. “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. 

Intercultural Training Australia Limited: mini charity review

Mini charity review of Intercultural Training Australia Limited (ITA), an Associate member of Missions Interlink[1], ‘the Australian network for global mission’[2].

For the previous review, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review on 2 September 2017. They…did not respond.

Is ITA registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • ITA is a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • It does not appear to have the provisions in its constitution to allow it to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
    • ITA operates, per the ACNC Register, in New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria. It is registered to fundraise in the first two, but not Victoria. Perhaps it thinks it is exempt?

What do they do?

  • See here.
  • More specifically, this, from the AIS 2016, is what they say they did in 2016:
    • Conducted TESOL training courses in 3 states of Australia, in Montana USA, Cambodia and Thailand. Also ran TESOL workshops in Australia and Thailand.
      • Which, with Cambodia and Thailand reversed, is identical to the AIS 2015.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No, not unless they present the Gospel as part of the training.

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?

  • The expenses in the AIS 2016 – ITA is not required to lodge accounts, and hasn’t – are not classified to allow this calculation.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is no prohibition in the constitution, but there is no information available to check.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

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

  • None, just ‘Donations and Scholaship (sic) fund’.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • No information is available.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (three months after year end, the same as last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Except for the absence of outcomes, yes.
  • Financial Report 2015: Yes – none required
    • They could have lodged this voluntarily, but they chose not to.
    • But their Associate membership of Missions Interlink requires them to “have available for [their] members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor.”
    • And their constitution requires them to submit an audited financial report to the members.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • No Report, but in the AIS 2016:
    • A deficit of 28% of Income/Receipts, double last year).
    • Donations $1K, up from zero last year.
    • $34K ‘Employee expenses/payments’ for one part-time and three casuals.
      • An extra $2K and one casual over last year.
      • This was 36% of expenses – like last year.
    • Grants made: $1K – like last year.
    • $12K of liabilities were covered by assets of $45K.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The audit report, if there is one, is not publicly available.

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

  • Yes

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not mentioned on the website, but
  • From ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register:

To whom is ITA accountable?

 

  1. If the link is still broken from this list, try www.interculturaltraining.com.au.
  2. A search of the site on ‘give’ results in this page that invites you to donate. However, the page could not be found via the menus.

The Archbishop of Sydney’s Overseas Ministry Fund: mini charity review

Mini charity review of The Archbishop of Sydney’s Overseas Ministry Fund (ASOMF) an organisation that seeks donations online[1], and 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.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review on 18 August 2017. They…did not reply.

Is ASOMF registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • ASOMF is an unincorporated body, a trust fund, that was established by (redacted on the deed, but presumably the Archbishop of Sydney at the time) in 2000.
  • Not to be confused with the other three charities named as belonging to the Archbishop:
  • Given that Anglican Aid runs its own operations and its two trusteeships from the one office, reports on them in its Annual Report as one financial entity, and all three charities have the same directors, one wonders, again, why
    • they don’t present consolidated financial statements, especially as the canon law governing their financial reporting requires a ‘charities group status report’ for Synod using the criterion for consolidation that is in the Australian Accounting Standards, and
    • they don’t take advantage of the ACNC Act’s group reporting provisions, thus simplifying their reporting requirements to the ACNC (both Annual Information Statement (AIS) and Financial Report).
  • ASORAF operates, per the ACNC Register, only in New South Wales. As a ‘religious organisation’, it is exempt from the fundraising licence requirements in this state.
    • It is not licensed in any of the other six states that have a licensing regime, either in its name or in the name of its trustee. The ACT doesn’t require one from charities any longer, but elsewhere? 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?

  • The trust deed is very general: ‘the development of ministry by providing assistance to persons and organisations’: The website, the second last section here, is a little more specific. But the AIS is 2016 is very helpful:
    • In 2015-16 the Overseas Ministry Fund helped almost 300 students access theological education by the provision of bursaries and scholarships. We primarily assist students in Africa, and also in Asia and Cuba. Most students attended colleges and universities in their home countries, but some received assistance to travel overseas to study. In addition to core theological subjects, students are offered a wide range of subjects that have wide community benefits, including literacy training and leadership development. These skills are invaluable as students return home to lead churches in poor and underdeveloped communities. The education that the students receive benefits local communities as well as local churches. See for the current application of this.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • No

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.

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

  • Defining ‘direct’ as ‘Grants Paid’, ‘administration’ was 24% of expenses.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is no line item ‘directors’ fees’ (or similar) in the expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • ‘SecurePay’ is used, so yes.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The Notes to the Financial Statements give a description (country and purpose) of each project and the amount sent to each.

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

  • The donation form gives 20 options, under ‘I would like my donation to go to’, without saying which of the three charities they belong to. There is also a separate section ‘I would like to donate to this specific project’ (with no explanation as to why this is needed.)

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six months after year end, a week later than last year.)

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Yes
    • In response to the review last year, Anglican Aid said that they would consider taking advantage of the group reporting provisions of the ACNC Act. There has been no change.
  • Financial Report 2016: Yes
    • ASOMF’s status as a ‘Basic Religious Charity’ means that is a voluntary submission.
    • The Note on related parties
      • does not mention the third charity in the office.
      • omits five of the directors.
    • There is no explanation as to how a charity can be run without any property, plant and equipment.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Last year’s deficit of 27% of revenue was turned into a surplus of 28%, largely due, it appears, to the transfer of some projects to Anglican Aid in its own right (that is, not as trustee).
  • Almost no liabilities means a sound financial structure.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Warwick Shanks, of KPMG, gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please read here and here.

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

  • Yes
    • The trustee has not taken advantage of the ACNC’s group reporting provisions.
    • ASOMF continues to choose not to lodge, on the Register, the Annual Report that includes its activities, that is, the annual report of Anglican Aid.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Those people listed on the website.
  • A listing that matches the one on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
  • There are 10 directorships recorded for each of ‘Douglas Marr’, ‘Peter Rogers’, and ‘Robert Stewart’, and nine for ‘Emma Penzo’. Apart from the first person, all have increased by one over last year. The Register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course doesn’t include for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which ASOMF’s Douglas, Peter, Robert and Emma are not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful, it would be legitimate for you to question whether their ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened. Especially if they also have a full-time job.

To whom is ASOMF accountable?

  • The footer of the website that includes ASOMF information says that Anglican Aid, without specifying in what capacity, that is, in its own right, or as trustee of one or other of the other two charities, is a
    • ACFID MEMBER’. Membership of Anglican Aid, confirmed.
    • CMA STANDARDS COUNCIL ACCREDITED FOUNDATION MEMBER’. Membership of Anglican Aid, confirmed. (But the link on the website is broken.)
    • (member of) Micah. Membership of Anglican Aid, confirmed.
      • No accountability.
    • missions interlink ACCREDITED MEMBER’. Membership, the name of ASOMF, confirmed.
      • For one view on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
    • REGISTERED CHARITY’. Confirmed.

 

 

  1. This is the website of Anglican Aid, ASOMF’s trustee. If you roll to the bottom to the bottom of the page, you will see that this form covers three charities, one of which is ASOMF.
  2. 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. 

AccessTruth Ltd: mini charity review

Mini charity review of AccessTruth Ltd (AT) as an organisation that seeks donations online, and is an Associate 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 2 September 2017. They did not respond.

Is AT registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • AT has now incorporated. As a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • The previous incarnation, an unincorporated charity, was ‘Voluntarily Revoked’.
    • AT permits the payment of directors’ fees, so if it hadn’t registered the business name AccessTruth, it would not be able (legally) to omit ‘Limited/Ltd’ at the end of its name.
  • Their size on the ACNC Register has gone from ‘Small’ to ‘Medium’, which means AT has revenue $250K or greater. The threshold for GST registration is well under that, yet they are still not registered.
  • AT operates, per the ACNC Register, in all eight states, and it has an internet invitation to give. Six have a licensing regime relevant to registered charities, but AT has no fundraising licences. Does it believe it is exempt in all six?

What does AT do?

  • See here.
  • AT was only registered as a charity on 8 January 2017, but the Annual Information Statement 2016 (AIS 2016) of its predecessor, AccessTruth, said this again for ‘activities and outcomes’:
    • The purpose of AccessTruth is to provide clear and accessible Bible teaching resources to the community and Christian public. We achieved that purpose through our website – with video, audio, DVDs and written materials – and also through connecting with individuals and organizations that are making use of our resources.
  • Your donation is not sought so that they can provide the resources without charge, but to supplement their income from the sale of those resources. Here’s the pricing.
  • AT operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in Canada, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States. This doesn’t fit with the information above.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No

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?

  • No financial information was published by AccessTruth, and none has been due yet for AT, so it is not possible to make this calculation.

Do they pay their directors?

  • It is allowed, but there is no information available to check.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.
    • Beware though, the currency is US dollars.
    • And confidence is not helped by this message near the top: ‘PayPal securely processes donations for Anshu Goel’s Test Store.’

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

  • None

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • No information is available.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (and AccessTruth got up-to-date before they deregistered.)

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • Yes
  • Last year AccessTruth took advantage of their status as a Basic Religious Charity and didn’t submit any financial information. This year AT will have to submit a Financial Report, including either an audit or a review.
  • Whatever they do with the ACNC, their Associate membership of Missions Interlink requires them to “have available for [their] members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor.”

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • NA

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • No audit report was published by AccessTruth last year, and the ACNC doesn’t require one this year. Missions Interlink requires one though, so just ask.

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

  • Not quite – its business name is missing.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

To whom is AT accountable?

  • If ‘Geoffrey Henderson’ is Crossview Australia Limited’s Keith Henderson, then three of these directors are also three of the four directors of Crossview. Even if he isn’t, two out of four could still mean control of one charity by the other. (Crossview doesn’t address this question in their accounts.)
  • AT is accountable to Missions Interlink via its an Associate membership.
    • For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • AT is also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And, now, as a company, to ASIC.

 

 

The Australian Navigators Limited: mini charity review

Mini charity review of The Australian Navigators Limited (AN) as an organisation that seeks donations online, and is subject to the accountability 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.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • Yes, very.

Is AN registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
    • As a public company (a company limited by guarantee).
      • Although such a company has members, in the case of AN membership is only open to a ‘staff member’ (someone holding a paid or unpaid staff position).
      • It does not have the necessary provisions in its constitution to permit it to omit ‘Limited/Ltd’ at the end of its name.
  • It has registered the business name Solid Rock Ministries.
  • AN operates, per the ACNC Register, in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia. It still doesn’t have a fundraising licence in Western Australia, a state that has a licensing regime[1].
    • Apart from exemptions, whether they need a licence in Tasmania and South Australia depends on whether they deem an internet invitation to be ‘fundraising’.

What do they do?

  • See ‘Calling’ on the website:
  • It’s not about 2016 specifically (as the ACNC requires), but the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2016 says
    • We raise up generations of disciples of Jesus Christ to advance the gospel. We are active in all areas of community including the student, business and military ministry.
      • This is identical to the last two years, so not a good response to the ACNC’s request for 2016’s activities.
      • A description of each of these areas is given on the website under the menu item ‘Communities’.
        • Compare these activities to what your local evangelical church and its members are doing (or at least should be doing).
    • Here’s how ADFA describe what AN does there.
  • AN is part of The Navigators Worldwide Partnership.
  • AN operates, per the ACNC Register, overseas in Indonesia and the United States.
    • You can see which staff work in these two countries in the list of staff (also called ‘members’).

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • Yes

What impact are they having?

  • They put stories on their website to illustrate the impact of their work.  I believe the systematic measurement of impact (including scientifically) provides a better guide to impact.

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

  • The expenses are not classified to allow this estimate.

Do they pay their directors?

  • Ministry comment: No we don’t.
  • It’s not prohibited in the constitution.
  • There is no ‘Directors’ fees’ in the expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

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

  • Where Most Needed’
  • ‘Specific Person’
    • 32 named individuals/couples
  • ‘Specific Project’
    • ‘Growing Capacity’
    • ‘ISM Melbourne Ministry’
    • ‘ISM Sydney Ministry’
    • ‘Jephcott’s Car’
    • ‘Keep the Labourers Labouring’
    • ‘Military Ministry’
    • ‘Student Ministry’
      • Apart from the last two, which are two of the ‘communities’ (see above), only ‘Keep the Labourers Labouring’ is explained on the website. (It was a six-week campaign that finished last year.)

Is their online giving secure?

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • NA – no grants or donations were made.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six and a half months after year end, two weeks later than last year.)
    • The next financial report is due by 31 December 2017. Before that the financial information on the Register will be up to 18 months out-of-date. You may therefore need to ask for more up-to-date information.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • A business name (Solid Rock Ministries) is missing.
    • The ‘Description of charity’s activities and outcomes’
      • is not particularly about what was done in 2016.
      • does not mention outcomes.
    • Some of the ‘Financial Information’ again doesn’t match what is in the Financial Report 2016.
  • Financial Report 2016: No doubt the ACNC would say yes. But
    • Again this year, in the Statement of Profit or Loss and Other Comprehensive Income:
      • An unrealised gain on what appear to be ‘Available for sale’ financial assets has been, contrary to Note 1(e), included in revenue rather than Other Comprehensive Income.
      • There is an expense that is a large proportion of the total yet is unexplained. This year it is 26% for ‘Ministry Expenses & Costs’. AN is a ministry, and everything it does is an expense of ministry, so this title is unhelpful.
      • The income statement has been significantly recast from the one published last year. There is no explanation for this.
      • There is no breakup of ‘Donations Received’ (92% of revenue), so a match, even at the fundamental level of programs versus staff, is not possible.
        • 32 individuals or couples seek money on the website (either via ‘Give’ or via ‘Meet the Staff’.
          • There is no explanation of how this money will be used, nor its relationship to other income they may be receiving.
          • Ministry comment: There is no relationship to other income they may be receiving, except that we allow staff to reduce their salary to take other income, and any other factors, into account. Quite a number do and have a salary less than the maximum.  The maximum salary staff can receive is dependent on their length of service with the Navs – 1-2 years’ service 0.86 of the Australian average weekly wage (AAWW), 3-9 years the AAWW and 10 years + 1.07 of AAWW.   See next point also.
          • We are not told whether the money donated to a person (or couple) goes to AN to offset the benefits AN gives the person, or is just handed on to them.
          • Ministry comment:  It goes to offset their superannuation guarantee costs, their ministry expenses like attending our national conference, a 15% admin fee and their salary.
        • 45 individuals or couples are shown under ‘Meet the Staff’.
          • Why, when they appear to be doing the same work, do 13 staff not qualify for the ‘Give’ button?
        • The AIS 2016 gives the number of employees as 30. How does this relate to the above figures?
        • Ministry comment: Staff for the Navigators can be either paid or unpaid, full time or part time, and some may receive funds to cover ministry expenses only but not receive salary.  You can’t give to staff unless they receive a salary or funds to cover ministry expenses.  The numbers are accurate, so we have 30 employees who receive some salary.
    • The amount of interest received is shown in both the income statement and the Cash Flow Statement even though accrual accounting is used.
    • ‘Other Income’ is a revenue item in the Statement of Profit or Loss…, but is not included in the Note supporting revenue.
    • The foreign currency gain has been classified as ‘Other Comprehensive Income’ in the Statement of Profit or Loss…, but as revenue in the Note giving the breakup of revenue.
    • Again this year, in the Statement of Financial Position:
      • 87% of the $187K liabilities are in one item, the unexplained ‘Ministry Expense Account’.
      • There is no explanation for why $25K is kept in a US bank account.
      • Inventories are stated at cost rather than the required lower of cost or net realisable value.
      • There is no explanation for why a ministry with a $1.72 m turnover would hold 100% of its $807K non-cash funds buffer – if that is what it is – in a moderate to high risk asset class.
        • $807K is an 11% increase on last year.
      • The type of financial assets is not disclosed. (This is even though the types are described in Note 1.)
      • Restricted funds are not disclosed.
    • Again this year, in the Statement of Changes in Equity:
      • ‘Other comprehensive income’ is missing.
    • Again this year, in the Notes to the Financial Statements:
      • Five of the usual policy Notes are missing.
      • Neither commitments nor contingent liabilities are disclosed[3].

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • On the assumption that any adjustments required because of what is revealed above will not be large –
  • Last year’s surplus of 13% of revenue was reduced to 5%.
  • While ‘Employee Benefits Expense decreased from 69% of expenses, the unexplained ‘Ministry Expenses & Costs’ increased from 22% to 26%.
  • Short-term structure: current assets are over two times current liabilities.
  • Long-term structure: there are no non-current liabilities but $807K of ‘Financial assets’ (see above).

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Glenn McEwen, of ThomasGLC, issued a ‘clean’ opinion.
  • When assessing how much comfort to take from this
    • read the ‘Financial Report 2016’ section above, and
    • read here and here.

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

  • Not quite:
  • The business name is missing.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The people listed under ‘Board of Directors’ on the website.
  • Whether the director is a ‘Member Director’ or a ‘Non-Member Director’ is not disclosed.
  • Which is the same as the list on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
  • Members can hold directors accountable. AN include a Directors’ Report in the Financial Report 2016, but the number of members, usually available from that report, is not included.

To whom is AN accountable?

  • Not shown on the internet, but it is a member of Missions Interlink[4].
    • For one view on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • As a registered charity, AN is accountable to the ACNC.
  • And to ASIC as a company.

 

 

  1. Last year, they said ‘We are working on these.’ Perhaps they have concluded that they are exempt?
  2. “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. 
  3. I use the Pinnacle Financial Statements, respected in the profession as providing a very sound basis for producing compliant financial reports. To this I add an assessment of materiality (both quantitative and qualitative), where the users being considered are donors.
  4. Under a slightly incorrect name.

Wesleyan World Missions: mini charity review

Mini charity review of Wesleyan World Missions (WWM), an entity that seeks donations online, and is a member 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 30 August 2017. Like last year, they…did not respond.

Is WWM registered?

  • WWM is not registered as a charity.
  • It is not incorporated.
  • It is not even the holder of an ABN (that is, registered as a ‘business’ in its own right).
  • A Google search on the name leads to a website for WWM. In smaller print under the top gallery of pictures we learn that WWM is The Missions Arm of the (sic) Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia (WMCA).
  • WMCA are registered as a charity.
  • Both WMCA and WWM are still not licensed to fundraise in any of the seven states that have a licensing regime. The ACNC Register for WMCA says that they don’t operate in Tasmania, so presumably that applies to WWM too. No licence is required any longer for a charity (WMCA) in the Australian Capital Territory, and WMCA may argue that it is exempt in in Queensland because they are a ‘religious order’, and in Victoria because they can marry people. But the other states? And what effect the fact that they have an internet invitation to give?

What do WWM do?

  • There is no description on the website.
  • From the main menu, we know that they have a training centre in the Solomon Islands and that Australian Wesleyans serve overseas. (The Updates appear to be about more than just Australian activities.)
  • WMCA operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, only in Solomon Islands. But donations are also sought by WWM for two projects in Papua New Guinea.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • None of the five projects on the giving page include this.

What impact are they having?

  • There is still no indication that they are assessing their impact. (I searched for ‘outcomes’ too.)

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

  • No financial statements for WWM are available.
    • Nor are the financial statements of WMCA available on the ACNC Register. This is because, as a ‘Basic Religious Charity’, they are exempt.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • On the website: ‘Gifts are administered by the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia and are not tax deductible.’

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

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

  • From the website:
    • ‘Support David Collins’
    • ‘Soto PNG Sponsorship’
    • ‘Support Noro Building Project’
    • ‘Support the Floyds’
    • ‘General Gift’
    • Are the three individuals/families here employees?

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • They are not registered anywhere, so NA.
  • The organisation of which they are an ‘arm’, WMCA, submitted its AIS 2016 six and a half months after its year-end (three weeks earlier than last year). (No Financial Report 2016 was required.)

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • No regulator, so NA.
  • And the organisation of which they are an ‘arm’ doesn’t report.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • No Report, so NA.
  • No financial statements are available on the website.
  • And the organisation of which they are an ‘arm’ doesn’t report.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • No audit, so NA.
  • And the organisation of which they are an ‘arm’ doesn’t report.

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

  • Not a registered charity, so NA.
  • WMCA? Except for a minor omission, the trading name, yes.
    • ‘Phone’, ‘Email’, and ‘Website’ are blank, but they are not compulsory.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • No information on the WWM website.
  • As they are an ‘arm’ of WMCA, presumably it is the people listed as responsible persons of WMCA on the ACNC Register.
    • Jeffrey Adams
    • Peter Dobson (National Assistant Superintendent)
    • Rosemary Richardson (National Treasurer)
    • Rex Rigby (National Superintendent)
    • Douglas Ring (National Secretary)
    • This board is unchanged from last year.
    • There are 21 directorships on the ACNC Register in the name ‘Jeffrey Adams’, 16 for ‘Rex Rigby’, 12 for ‘Rosemary Richardson’, 12 for ‘Douglas Ring’, and nine for ‘Peter Dobson’. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course no for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which a WMCA person is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful or so, it would be legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.

To whom is WWM accountable?

  • WWM, although it is not registered as a ‘business’ in its own right, is a member of Missions Interlink.
    • This membership is mentioned on neither website.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.