Barnabas Fund (Australia) Limited: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Barnabas Fund (Australia) Limited (BFA), 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. Like last year, they did not respond.

Is BFA registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Registered as a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • BFA does not have the necessary provisions in its constitution to allow it to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ from its name.
    • BFA operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, in all eight states. And has an internet invitation to donate. However, it does not have a fundraising licence in any of the six states that have a fundraising licensing regime applicable to charities[2].

What do they do?

  • ‘What we do’ on the website is not about Australia, but the international organisation generally. For what they did in Australia in 2016, see the AIS 2016:
    • We raise funds from Christians within Australia which will be directed to Barnabas Aid International, a UK registered charity. The funds will be then directed to over 160 countries where Christians are being persecuted for their faith. We work with Church leaders in the foreign countries which are mainly Islamic to ensure Christians receive aid. Recently we have been working with the Australian Government in assisting refugees arriving from the Middle East by paying for their airfares to get to Australia.
      • Your donation for overseas projects goes through three organisations before it reaches the beneficiaries. You might therefore legitimately ask BFA why it would not be more efficient for you to send your money to at least the UK company.
  • BFA operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in the ‘Korea (Republic), United Kingdom’. If ‘operate’ includes ‘send money to’, that explains the UK, but Korea?

Does BFA share the Gospel?[3]

  • Unless it does it as part of its ‘Charitable projects Australia’ (a minor part of its work), then no it doesn’t.

What impact are they having?

  • In the link above, the ACNC explains ‘charity impact’ this way:
    • Every charity has a mission that is associated with producing a public benefit. As this mission is pursued, the changes produced in individuals and their communities can be referred to as the charity’s ‘impact’.
    • BFA’s ‘Principal Object’ is ‘to relieve poverty, suffering and distress especially among Christians who are persecuted, oppressed, discriminated against or otherwise suffering for their faith and in so doing proclaim, preach teach, and spread the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the world’ [their constitution]. But they don’t do this themselves. Contrary to the description of their largest expense, ‘Charitable projects worldwide’, BFA is not directly involved in any projects overseas – it merely collects money for ‘Barnabas Aid International. Even there, it is still one organisation removed from ‘impact’.
    • So, even though BFA, via cross directorships with the UK organisation, has a say in the selection of countries and projects, any impact from the use of your money is outside their control.
  • No evidence was found to suggest that BFA is even measuring the impact of its fundraising efforts.

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

  • The cost of raising and sending the money for projects is 23% of expenses.

Do they pay their directors?

  • This is prohibited by their constitution.
  • The expenses are not sufficiently disclosed to say if there is a directors’ fee expense.

Can you get a tax deduction?

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is not mentioned on either the first or second page of the giving process.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (but lodged six months and a half months after their year-end, about the same time as last year).
    • 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 over 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • ‘Non-current loans payable’ are $1.17 m, not zero.
    • No outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2016: No. Again this year
    • BFA produced the type of financial statements that do not have to comply fully with the Accounting Standards (special purpose statements). This is based on the directors’ belief that ‘there are no users who are dependent on its general purpose financial reports’. The corollary of this belief is that BFA is saying that any of its ‘stakeholders’, including the thousands of people from all over Australia who together contribute over $5.5 m, are able to command the preparation of a financial report tailored to their needs. This stretches credulity.
    • The charity they control, The Trustee For The Barnabas Relief Education and Development Fund, is not mentioned, let alone consolidated.
    • 11% of the revenue comes from the (unexplained) item ‘Reimbursements from BAI’. The UK company calls this item ‘operation grants’, but if they are actually reimbursements, as described by BFA, then they should be classified as a reduction of expenses, not revenue. Revenue would then be considerably overstated.
    • Despite saying in Note 1 that they depreciate buildings, they don’t. This contravenes the Accounting Standards.
      • Note 6 says that this is because it is too hard, but our first review gave them a simple solution.
    • Borrowings are $1.17 m, which is 69% of assets. They are classified as not being repayable within the next 12 months (non-current liabilities), but the repayment arrangement – ‘not due to be called within the next 12 months’ – does not justify this classification.
      • Our first review pointed out to them that the current-non-current distinction is not about what the lender says; the liability has to be classified as non-current if BFA ‘does not have an unconditional right to defer settlement of the liability for at least twelve months after the reporting period’ [AASB 101.69, www.aasb.gov.au.]
    • The disclosure of related parties, both the relationships and the transactions, is required for general purpose financial statements, and is an ACNC expectation for special purpose statements. BFA does not disclose them. For instance, the borrowings (see above) are from a related party.
      • This is the disclosure in the UK charity’s accounts:
        • A loan in the sum of A$568,000 (F280,628 when translated)(2014 – 2298,141) to Barnabas Fund (Australia) Ltd is secured on a property occupied by Barnabas Fund (Australia) Ltd. In the event of this property being sold there is an agreement that the sale proceeds will be paid to Servants Fellowship International.
        • During the year a further loan of A$600, 000 (f282,973)was advanced to Barnabas Fund (Australia) Ltd. [Note 9 b) 31.12.15 accounts].
    • ‘Resources’ are sold but there are no inventories in the Statement of Financial Position.
    • The policy for designated donations and bequests is that they are recognised as ‘prepaid income’ (Note 1), but there is no such item in the Statement of Financial Position.
    • A ‘Gain on revaluation of property’ is incorrectly classified as ‘Other income’. It thus affects the surplus when it shouldn’t.
      • It is also incorrectly described as ‘an impairment write up (sic) in Note 6.
        • And such an increase is inconsistent with the policy on impairment in Note 1.
    • It is arguable that all the expenses necessary to raise the money for the ‘Charitable projects’ should be classified as ‘Fundraising expenses’, not just $219K.
      • At a minimum, ‘Travel and deputation’ should be classified this way.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s deficit of 1% of revenue was turned into a 2% surplus.
    • This was helped by a (unexplained) 60% increase in the expense ‘Reimbursements from BAI’.
  • But it was not enough though to get ‘Cash and cash equivalents’ to anywhere near the desired three months’ ‘cash operating expenses’ ($330K versus $1.55 m).
    • Given that the policy (Directors’ Report) is to remit to the UK only after this buffer is reached, why wasn’t less remitted?
  • Long-term assets exceed long-term liabilities by only 6%.
  • If the borrowings should be reclassified as current liabilities (see above), the long-term financial structure will be greatly improved, but at the expense of the short-term position. Current liabilities would then be over three times current assets, and the going concern assumption would need to be addressed.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
  • Before deciding how much comfort to take from this finding, I suggest you
    • re-read the section ‘Financial Report 2016, above, and
    • the explanation of an audit here and here.

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

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

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

  • The drop-down menu gives a choice between ‘Barnabas General Fund’, and then many, many, projects. You can see a description of each, within 12 categories, here.
    • I would think that such a confusing array of potential projects may increase the chances of donations to ‘Barnabas General Fund’, presumably the fund which allows the charity to choose where to spend the donation.
      • 56% of the donations from Australia were classified as ‘unrestricted’ by the UK charity [UK Charity Commission].

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • BFA records $4.71 m for the expense ‘Charitable projects worldwide. This money was sent to ‘Barnabas Aid International, a UK registered charity’ [AIS 2016].
    • The latest accounts for this charity are for the year ended 30 April 2016. They show Stg2.49 m coming from BFA. At the mid-point of the year this translates to AUD$5.40 m.
    • Note 7 of the same accounts shows the ‘institutions’ to whom the UK made grants.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website, but the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’), says that it is these people:
    • John Arnold
    • Ian Clarkson
    • Colin Johnston
    • Caroline Kerslake
    • Rosemary Soohkdeo
    • Kakha Tsagareli
    • Anne Willett
    • There are 13 directorships recorded for ‘Colin Johnston’.  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 BFA’s Colin Johnston 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.  Especially if he also has a full-time job.
  • Three of the UK directors are also directors of BFA (Johnston, Kerslake and Sookhdeo).
    • Kerslake is also a director of Servants Fellowship International, the UK charity that has lent money to BFA.

To whom are BFA accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
  • And, as a company, to ASIC.
  • 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.

 

 

  1. The Trust is only ‘maintaining web site and potential credit card facilities in preparation of supporting aid projects overseas’ [AIS 2016], so currently the addition would not make a material difference to the picture.
  2. 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.
  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.

Australian Indigenous Ministries Inc: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Australian Indigenous Ministries Inc (AIM), an organisation that seeks donations online (but is no longer 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?

  • Like last year they did not respond to a draft of this review.

Is AIM registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • As a NSW incorporated association (INC9882776).
  • AIM appears to have a company that was set up (and still?) holds its property, Australian Indigenous Ministries Pty Limited.
    • This company does not have an ABN and is not registered as a charity.
  • There is also an unincorporated body with an ABN in the same name as AIM.
    • Which is also not a charity.
  • AIM should be using its full name. It is not doing so on its website.
  • If it’s ‘carrying on business’ outside NSW, as it appears to be, then it doesn’t have the required registration (an ARBN).
  • AIM operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, in New South Wales, Northern Territory, and Queensland. It is not registered to fundraise in the two that have a licensing regime. Nor in the other four[1].

What do they do?

  • Generally: see the last third of the webpage here.
  • More specifically: see this page.
  • Their answer to ‘Description of charity’s activities and outcomes’ in the AIS 2016: ‘Christian ministry with Australian Indigenous people’.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • Yes

What impact are they having?

  • Search for ‘impact’ and you will some anecdotal reports of impact, but nothing systematic.

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

  • If we define ‘impact’ as ‘Grants and donations made…’, ‘administration’ is 21% of expenses.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient disclosure in the AIS 2016 to answer this.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • ‘GoDaddy’ is used, so yes.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • There is insufficient disclosure to answer this.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (four and a half months after their year-end, about the same time as last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Except for the absence of outcomes, yes.
    • They said that they their revenue was less than $250K. This is only true if the unusually large figure reported for ‘Other income’, $264K, is correct.
  • Financial Report 2016: Yes
    • No Report is required of a ‘Small’ charity, and AIM didn’t lodge one voluntarily.
    • AIM must produce audited financial statements under their constitution, so feel free to ask them for a copy.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • No Financial Report, but from the AIS 2016:
    • ‘Total income…’: $499K
    • Of which donations were $17K
    • Zero employee expenses.
      • What happens to the money donated to ‘team members and missionaries’ (see below)?
    • Assets of $4.46 m.
      • Properties? What is the relationship to the company in the same name that was set up to hold properties (see above)?
    • Liabilities $81K

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • NA

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

  • No – it has more than two committee members.
  • Is AIM really a ‘Small’ charity?
  • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are still blank, but these are not compulsory.
  • By the name of the ‘Governing document’ (under ‘Charity’s Document’), AIM Field Practice 022015, you would think that they had not lodged their constitution. However, it is included in that document.

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

  • General Donation’
  • ‘Other’ (with a free-form box)
    • ‘Team members and missionaries’ are listed elsewhere on the site.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • The ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) says that it is only these two people:
    • Stephen Bignall
    • Trevor Leggott
    • Stephen is the Field Director and Trevor the General Director. They are only ex-officio members. The constitution requires that there be at least three other members of the committee. That there are other members is shown in the profiles of the ‘personnel’:
      • Ordinary member, Robert Alley
      • Treasurer, Neil Bootes
      • Chairman, John Keane
      • Ordinary member, Isaac Gordon
      • Ordinary member, Henry Louie

To whom are AIM accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
  • And to the New South Wales regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward 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. 

Medical Mission Aid Incorporated: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Medical Mission Aid Incorporated (MMA), 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[1].)

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

Are they responsive to feedback?

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

Is MMA registered?

  • As a charity, yes
  • MMA
    • The relationship between CMA, the organisation from which MMA was birthed, and MMA, is not clear:
      • MMA is, at least according to CMS Australia, an auxiliary of CMS Victoria.
      • MMA itself says that it is ‘associated with’ CMS.
    • MMA is a Victorian incorporated association (No. A0042669K).
    • MMA uses three names that it doesn’t have registered:
      • Medical Mission Aid.
      • MMA Op Shop
      • MMA Opportunity Shop
    • MMA operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, only in Victoria (its home state).
      • MMA has a fundraising licence in its home state, but not in any of the other five states that might require it to have a licence[3].
    • MMA operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in Kenya, Nepal, and the United Republic of Tanzania.
      • This matches the information under ‘Projects’. (Although, as we will see, the listing covers both charities.)
  • MMAOAF
    • MMAOAF is unincorporated.
    • It operates in the same states and countries as MMA.
    • It has no fundraising licences – but as MMA is the trustee, its registration would probably cover it.

What do the charities do?

  • The website generally treats the two charities as one.
    • There is only two one reference to MMAOAF:
      • DHERSEC as ‘an approved tax deductible project, funded through the MMA Overseas Aid Fund.
    • The bar on the right-hand-side of each webpage covers both charities:
      • Medical Mission Aid Inc is a not-for-profit Christian micro-charity. Our philosophy is based on the biblical teaching of God’s love and compassion in Christ, and the mandate to the church to care for the poor, sick and victims of injustice.
    • The description of the group’s activities and outcomes in the Group AIS 2016, starts ‘MMA’s constitution…’ but describes the activities of both charities.
  • That description goes on to give a good description of what the Group does (but not necessarily what it did in 2016):
    • MMAs constitution sets out six purposes which are fulfilled in the following ways: Purpose 1) MMA provides aid and relief to persons in Nepal, Tanzania and Kenya, which are all certified to be developing countries by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Purpose 2) To assist needy persons, hospitals and clinics in developing countries by supplying basic medical consumables, capital requirements, staff training and management support by providing the needy persons in the above three countries who are assisted in six hospitals in Tanzania and Kenya through funds to purchase medical supplies and to provide scholarships to train staff. Purpose 3) Through three organisations in Nepal, MMA initiates and participates in development projects which focus on education, health and small business including micro loans. Purpose 4) To provide linkages between communities. MMA raises funds for the improvement of health and education of people in developing countries through promotional programs and literature. Facebook is providing opportunities for communication between both cultures. Purpose 5) To encourage active participation and partnership by people and agencies in developing countries. MMA depends on those people and agencies to identify needs and to plan and budget for those needs. This is done through correspondence between MMA and the involved agencies. Purpose 6) MMAs members and supporters are encouraged to engage with partners through the receipt of regular letters describing the projects.
  • For the current projects see this main menu item. (There is a current project in Kenya that is not described in the ‘Overview’.)
  • But from the Financial Report 2016 (see below) we see that MMA conducts projects independently of MMAOAF.
  • It appears that the aid and development projects (see below) don’t belong to MMAOF, but to another charity:
    • Medical Mission Aid Inc. partners with the World Relief Overseas Aid Fund by acting as its agent for the delivery of aid and development projects [right-hand-side, any webpage].
      • You might ask MMA why it would not be more efficient for you to donate directly to World Relief.

Next year

  • Here is what they said would be changing in 2017 (from the Group AIS 2016):
    • Jitambue, a Swahili word meaning self-realization, is a program for youth who are at risk of sexual exploitation in the rural area of north-west Tanzania. Sexual exploitation leads to large families, teenage pregnancies, maternal mortality and morbidity and poverty. Jitambue is based on the fifth Millennium Goal: to reduce the maternal mortality rate and achieve universal access to reproductive health. Initially begun two years ago, a review of the program showed no positive outcomes. Following a Train-the-Trainer program in November 2016, MMA is hoping for outcomes that will lead to hope, health and life for many teenagers.

Do they share the Gospel [4]?

  • No – neither charity.

What impact are they having?

  • This report is still the only documented impact, on the website, to which MMA had contributed. (I also searched on ‘outcome(s)’ and ‘results’.)

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

  • The GiveNow page for MMA has a graphic showing that 97% of your donation is spent on ‘Projects’, and 3% on ‘Administration’.
    • The accounts do not support this claim: the MMA and MMAOAF expenses under ‘Administration’ in the Receipts and Payments Account (sic) are twice this percentage of donations.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient disclosure in the accounts to answer this.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes, both charities.

Is MMA’s online giving secure?

  • There is no mention of security on the first two pages of the giving process.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • This is the only information:
    • MMA
      • ‘Medical Grants’: $28K
      • ‘Sponsorship – Tanzania: $6K
      • ‘Sponsorship – Nepal’: $14K
      • ‘Nepal Psychiatrist’: $20K
      • ‘Nepal School Rebuild’: $10K
      • ‘B D Schol Project’: $17K
      • ‘Mvumi Doctor’: $4K
    • MMAOAF
      • ‘Nepal Disabled’: 64K

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (but one month late, seven months after their year-end).
    • 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 over 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • Group AIS 2016:
    • It says that the Group lodged a financial report with the state regulator. But the regulator requires a report for the association on its own.
  • Group Financial Report 2016[5]:
    • This Report is again this year, despite being reviewed by a Chartered Accountant, severely deficient.
    • As part of its ‘transitional reporting requirements’, the ACNC will accept the report that a Victorian incorporated association submits to the Victorian regulator.
    • The ACNC doesn’t say, but it seems reasonable to think that their expectation is that such a report will comply with that regulator’s requirements.
    • However, the Medical Mission_ACNC GROUP’s Financial Report 2016 does not comply with those requirements:
      • It is a report of that covers both MMA and MMAOAF, not just the association.
        • The Victorian legislation requires full information about MMAOAF to be included in the Notes, not consolidated with the figures of the trustee.
      • Note 1 says that ‘The committee has determined that the association is not a reporting entity (sic) and therefore there is no requirement to apply Accounting Standards and other mandatory professional reporting requirements.’
        • Not only is this implication untrue, but the Victorian legislation makes it clear that the Accounting Standards are very much required:
          • ‘Financial statements must contain:

income and expenditure (Income Statement) for your association’s financial year

assets and liabilities (Balance Sheet) at the end of its financial year

other documents required by accounting standards, such as a cash flow statement

notes to the account, which must include:

information required by the accounting standards

information necessary to give a true and fair view

information required by the provisions of the Act and its regulations.’

    • The Report is (again) missing two of the four required financial statements.
    • The statements are not described as consolidated financial statements.A cash statement of flows is (again) provided rather than an accrual-based statement.
    • The committee members (again) do not say why they think that MMA is not a reporting entity, and therefore subject to the lower disclosure standards of special purpose financial statements.
      • They are effectively saying that there are no users, either present or prospective, who are dependent on the standard type of financial statements, general purpose financial statements. For an organisation with760+ Supporters around Australia’, this lacks credibility.
    • The Notes (again) consist of just three accounting policy Notes, and six Notes in all, to explain the statements.
    • The review, by Chartered Accountant Mark John Unwin, is again, despite a change of auditor, not compliant with the Australian Auditing Standards:
      • He makes no reference to the need for consolidated financial statements.
      • His ‘Conclusion’ talks about ‘its cash flows’ yet there is no Cash Flow Statement included in the Report.
      • He is OK with all the deficiencies identified above.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Given the condition of the Report, no comment.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • This is a review, not an audit, something that is acceptable for a ‘Medium’ charity.
  • The auditor, Mark John Unwin, Chartered Accountant, of M.J. Unwin & Associates, issued a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • Mark is only qualified to do this review because of the ACNC’s transitional provisions for reporting by incorporated associations:  the Victorian regulator doesn’t require an audit for an association of MMA’s size. (For the size recorded by the ACNC, ‘Medium’, it requires an audit, not a review.)
    • Before you decide how much comfort to take from his finding, I suggest that you re-read the information above under ‘Financial Report 2016’.

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

  • The Group: No
    • ‘Medium’ is the size of neither charity, so the size should be ‘Small’.
  • MMA: No
    • The size should be ‘Small’.
    • Under ‘Other Name(s)’, Medical Mission Aid Inc is not another name for MMA.
    • No AIS or Financial Report was required for 2016.
    • ‘Phone’ is blank, but this is not compulsory.
  • MMAOAF
    • The size should be ‘Small’.
    • The name is MMA…, not Mma.
    • Under ‘Other Name(s)’, Medical Mission Aid Overseas Aid Fund is not another name for MMA.
    • ‘Phone’ is blank, but this is not compulsory.

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

  • None

Who are the people controlling the two charities?

To whom are the two charities accountable?

  • The ‘Missions Interlink Member’ logo is shown on each webpage. Membership, , in MMA’s name, confirmed.
    • The effectiveness of this accountability by Missions Interlink is threatened by the fact that one of the responsible persons, Pamela Thyer, is National Director of Missions Interlink, and the person who investigates complaints.
    • For one opinion on the strength of the Missions Interlink accountability, see the section ‘Activities’ in this review.
  • Both charities are accountable to the ACNC.
  • And MMA to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

  1. MMA has, under the heading ‘Resources’ in the website footer, a section ‘Giving Wisely’. This leads to the GiveNow’s advice on this subject, including a section ‘How to evaluate an organisation’. There is nothing in this review that is inconsistent with that advice.
  2. Still this way on the Register. An ACNC mistake?
  3. The law in this area is not straightforward and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  4. “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. 
  5. 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.

Pioneers of Australia Inc.: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Pioneers of Australia Inc. (PoA), 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 before publication. Like last year, they…did not respond.

Is PoA registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
    • You (still) would not know it from their entry in the ACNC Register, nor from their accounts, but the people who run PoA also run another four charities, all with the same directors, the same office, and the same email addresses:
  • You would have to read the privacy statement on the website to the finish for an explanation of the group. This confirms the connection between PoA and PMF, and adds other unspecified entities to the mix:
    • “Pioneers” refers to Pioneers of Australia Inc, Pioneers Ministries Foundation and other entities of the Pioneers consortium.
      • ‘Consortium’ is not a grouping recognised by the ACNC. It allows group reporting, but PoA has not taken advantage of this. (Nor, if the relationship is the other way around, has PMF.)
  • PoA doesn’t consolidate, that is incorporate the transactions of the others in its accounts. These other entities are not even mentioned in its Financial Report (see below).
  • Other registrations:
    • As a Victorian incorporated association (A0035283T).
    • The name that it uses for its website, Pioneers Australia, is not a registered business name. Nor is the its name without ‘Inc.”, also used on the website. (It is arguable that PoA’s enabling legislation requires the full name to be used.)
    • It has the registration necessary to operate outside its home state (ARBN 080211730).
    • PoA operates in all six states that potentially require it to register as a fundraiser, and has an invitation to give on the internet. But it has no fundraising licences[1].

What does PoA do?

  • See the ‘About’ page on their website.
    • PoA, per the ACNC Register, says it doesn’t operate overseas. This doesn’t match their statement, on the above page, that they work in partnership with local churches overseas.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • No? (What, if anything, do they do overseas?)

What impact are they having?

  • There are some stories that showing the impact of PoA work, but nothing systematic.

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

  • Although there is an item ‘Administration’, there is insufficient disclosure about the other expenses to estimate how much administration expense is included in them.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient disclosure in the accounts to answer this.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No, not per the ABN record.
    • Tax deductible giving is offered via the ‘Give’ page only because PoA is collecting for other charities:
      • Only gifts to Pioneers workers or projects approved by our Overseas Aid and Relief Fund (OARF) can receive tax deductible donations.
        • The charity that is soliciting ‘gifts to Pioneer workers’ is not disclosed.
        • Nor is the relationship between PoA’s 29 employees (AIS 2016) and these ‘workers’.
        • The Fund, formally APCM Overseas Aid and Relief Fund, belongs to Pioneer Ministries Foundation.

Is PoA’s online giving secure?

  • NA.
    • Although there is an online giving facility on the website, it appears from the breakup of their revenue in the accounts (Note 3), that none of the money given online goes to PoA.
      • Security is not mentioned.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

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

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six and a half months after their year-end, two weeks 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 over 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • ‘Donations and bequests’ doesn’t match the accounts.
    • The amount recorded for ‘Employee expenses’ includes ‘ministry’.
    • For a charity with 29 employees and operating throughout Australia, a description of its ‘activities’ as ‘employ, train and facilitate workers in Australia and overseas’, is inadequate.
    • No outcomes are given.
  • Financial Report 2016:
    • There’s no mention of PMF and the other three charities, so if PoA controls them, then, no, it doesn’t comply.
    • Even if control is by one of these other four charities, the relationship should be disclosed:
    • $1.58 m in expenses and 29 employees, but the lack of non-current assets is still unexplained.
    • 97% of revenue are ‘grants’. There is still no explanation of this item, an item that is counter-intuitive for a Christian charity that is ‘advancing religion’.
    • There is no explanation for the non-standard item ‘Employment & Ministry’ (71% of expenses).
    • We now know that last year’s unexplained ‘PI levy’ is an ‘International contribution’ ($161K). But to whom and for what?
    • Employee benefits liability is still incorrectly disclosed.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • For at least the last three years, the surplus has been less than 1K.
  • ‘Employment and ministry’ rose from 67% of revenue to 71%.
    • The relationship between this item and the standard descriptor ‘Employee benefits expense’ is not given.
  • There are no non-current assets (without explanation).
    • This suggests that part of the financial picture is missing.
  • Non-current liabilities are $46K, but the negative long-term position is more than covered by the positive working capital.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Joel Hernandez, of rdl.accountants, issued a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • Joel is only qualified to do this audit because of the ACNC’s transitional provisions for reporting by incorporated associations:  the Victorian regulator doesn’t require the audit of PoA to be performed by a registered company auditor.
    • Before you decide how much comfort to take from his finding, I suggest that you
      • Read here and here.
      • Re-read the information above under ‘Financial Report 2016’.

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

  • Not quite – ‘Date Established’ is blank.
  • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are still blank, but these are not compulsory.

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

  • NA – although there is an online giving facility on the website, it appears from the breakup of PoA’s revenue in the accounts (Note 3), that it is still the case that none of the money given online goes to them.
  • If you are happy to donate to the unregistered ‘consortium’, these are your options:
    • ‘Give to a Global Project’
      • ‘Aid & Relief Projects’
        • 10 projects with Pioneers Ministries Foundation
      • ‘Special Funding’
        • ‘Unexpected needs’
        • ‘The cost of preparing to go overseas’
        • ‘Customised giving to a particular ministry’
      • ‘Ministry Projects’
    • ‘Give to a Pioneer Worker’

Who are the people controlling PoA?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • Per the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • Graham Conway
    • Ian Fryer
    • James Gow
    • Jessica Grozsek
    • Timothy Macready
    • Timothy Meyers
    • Timothy Silberman
    • Judith Simcoe-Fitzmaurice
    • Compared to last year, the same people except that Malcolm Gill and Patrick Lok have gone.

To whom are PoA accountable?

  • Not claimed on the website, but PoA is a member of Missions Interlink, an organisation that has standards with which it must comply.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • PoA is also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward 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. 

Praxeis: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Praxeis, an organisation that seeks donations on the internet, 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?

  • Before publication, I sent them the review for comment. Like last year, they did not respond.

Is Praxeis registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • Also as a public company (a company limited by guarantee).
    • It is permitted to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
  • Although they don’t mention it, either on their website or in the Financial Report 2016, Praxeis is a ‘mission arm’ of Crossway Baptist Church Inc.
    • The church controls Praxeis but has, without explanation, chosen not to consolidate Praxeis.
  • Praxeis operates, per the ACNC Register, in five states (but not overseas). It appeals for money on its website. It still has no fundraising licences in states that have a licensing regime that is applicable to charities[1].

What do they do?

  • These are their ‘core activities’:
    • continual, passionate and persevering prayer,
      always
      sharing the good news of Jesus with lots of people,
      inviting people to the exciting and challenging journey of
      following Jesus (making disciples),
      creating simple and reproducible
      communities that live out the message of Jesus (simple Church),
      creating a movement of people that virally spread the message and
      multiply.
      These are the things we focus on and do again and again.
  • Although not mentioned under ‘About’, and therefore easy to miss, more specific information can be found under the main menu item ‘hubs’.
  • The description of ‘activities and outcomes’ in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2016 is identical to last year, so not very helpful in telling us what they did in 2016:
    • The principal activities of the company during the financial year were sharing the Christian message of Jesus Christ in order to make disciples of Jesus Christ, training Christians to plant churches throughout Australia and the world, assisting the leaders of planted churches to run and grow the church and providing ongoing ministry training, mentoring and support for church ministers and leaders.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient public information to say.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • Yes

What impact are they having?

  • There is one incidental mention of ‘impact’ on the website, and nothing in the Financial Report 2016. (There is no mention of the Crossway Annual Report.)

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

  • There is no expense item ‘administration’. All the expenses may include some administration, so there is no clear way to even estimate the figure as defined above.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The AIS 2016 reports that no grants or donations were made.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (seven months after their year-end, four days before the (extended) deadline, and four days 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 over 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • The financial statements are not general purpose financial statements, as stated here, but those where the assumption is that anybody interested in the charity can request a financial report tailored to their needs.
    • Outcomes are not reported.
    • There is an item ‘Giving and donation expense’ in the Financial Report 2016, yet nothing is reported for ‘Grants and donations made…’
    • The figure for ‘Other income…’ does not match the same figure in the Financial Report 2016.
  • Financial Report 2016: Questionable[3].
    • The directors’ belief that ‘a special purpose financial report’ is acceptable, a choice that allows them to make less than a full disclosure about Praxeis’ finances and operations, is implicitly a statement that any user is able to command the preparation of a financial report tailored to their needs. That’s all the people who they speak to around Australia and all the donors and potential donors who read the website material. Do the directors realise they are saying this?
    • The relationship between Praxeis and Crossway Baptist Church is close, and Praxeis acknowledges that the church is a related party, but the nature of the relationship is not identified.
    • The note in Note 10 (‘Other liabilities’) says that donations are received and passed on to ‘staff’. This suggests that revenue is overstated by the amount received for these staff (money received for a third party is not revenue).
    • The money yet to be paid to staff is treated in three different ways:
      • Note 10 says that the liability ‘General support’, ‘relates to staff support donations to be paid to exiting staff.’
      • The ‘Staff Support Reserve’ ‘are funds donated to the ministry from which salaries have not been paid at year end.’
      • Note 12 says that there is a contingent liability for ‘staff support donations made to ministry staff from which salaries have not been paid at year end.’
      • The relationship between the employees (19 in the AIS 2016) and workers to whom you can give is not explained.
    • 93% of the revenue is in three items the meaning of which is not explained.
    • The second largest expense (after ‘Employee benefits expense’) is the unexplained ‘Ministry expense’ (the entire charity is a ‘ministry’).
    • The ‘Provisions’ Note just repeats what is in the statement. Are these employee benefits?
      • If so, why are there more employee benefits separated in ‘Other liabilities’?
    • ‘Other comprehensive income’ is missing from the Statement of Changes in Equity.

What was the financial situation shown by that Report?

  • Revenue increased this year by 19%; however, ‘Employee benefits expense’ increased by 30% (rising from 82% of expenses to 86%).
  • This contributed to a decline in the surplus as a percentage of revenue from 11% to 7%.
  • Note 1 (i) reports that some of the cash given to ‘ministry staff’ may not have made it into the company’s bank account.
  • Gifts and donation expense is 1% of revenue.
  • The combination of term deposits and ‘Cash and cash equivalents’ represents eight months of revenue (up from seven last year).
  • For a charity with nineteen employees, and revenue of $925K, why is ‘Property, plant and equipment’ only $3K?

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Peter Shields, Chartered Accountant, of Saward Dawson, issued a ‘clean’ opinion.
  • Before deciding how much comfort to take from this
    • Read here and here to draw the right conclusions from such an opinion.
    • Re-read the ‘Financial Report 2016’ section above.
  • The potential understatement of revenue (see ‘Financial Report 2016’, above), was thought by the auditor to be ‘of such importance that it is fundamental to users’ understanding of the financial report’ [AAS 706, paragraph 6, www.auasb.gov.au], as to warrant a separate paragraph in his report (‘Completeness of Income’).

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

  • Yes

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

  • The ‘Give’ page implies that there are different purposes and different ‘workers’ that you can give to, but these are not listed anywhere on the website.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website, but from the ACNC Register:
  • Two of these directors are also directors of Crossway Baptist Church, a related party.
  • Unless Hiew Siong, the Secretary, is a member of the board, he should not be included on the Register.
  • There are 10 directorships in the name ‘James Hall’. 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 Praxeis’ James Hall 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 answerable to the members of the company. But with only six members, and directors required to be members (the constitution), there is no accountability via the membership.

To whom is Praxeis accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
    • Its ‘Charity Tick’ is used on the website in support of you giving to them. And rightly so, because it would be unwise to give to a charity that is unregistered. The ‘tick’ also means Praxeis’ AIS is not overdue, and no compliance action has been take against it.
  • Praxeis is, as they claim, also in support of you giving, a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • Confirmed.
    • See the section Activities in this review for one opinion on the strength of this accountability.
  • As a company, Praxeis is also accountable 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. 
  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.

Sydney Missionary & Bible College: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Sydney Missionary & Bible College (SMBC) as an organisation that seeks donations on the internet, 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 last year’s review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they, like last year, didn’t respond.

Is SMBC registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • As a public company, company limited by guarantee.
    • SMBC is entitled to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
    • It also has a business name under which it may operate, SMBC’s The Bridge.
  • SMBC operates, per the ACNC Register, in all six states that have a fundraising licence regime, but is still licensed in only NSW[1].
  • SMBC controls another charity, SMBC Foundation Limited.
    • There is no description of the Foundation on the website.
    • There is no explanation in the Financial Report 2016 for why SMBC doesn’t produce consolidated financial statements.
      • The Foundation is not even mentioned in the Financial Report.
    • The Foundation had revenue of $540K, a surplus of $351K and equity of $594K.

What do they do?

  • Start with what is said in its name, then
    • ‘SMBC is thoroughly evangelical and Bible-centred, interdenominational in character, strongly cross culturally mission minded and underpinned by a committment (sic – still) to learning and being transformed in the context of caring community….’

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient disclosure in the accounts to answer this.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • No

What impact are they having?

  • There is 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, on administration?

  • ‘Administration expenditure’ (sic) is 7% of expenses. But all the other expenses may contain ‘administration’ expenses, so there is no clear way to even estimate the figure as defined above.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Their ABN record says that SMBC has deductible gift recipient status.
    • Why, then, are only three of the seven funds for which it seeks donations marked as being ‘tax deductible’?

Is their online giving secure?

  • Although there is no logo or link, the page says that ‘Westpac’s Secure Portal’ is used, so I’d suggest that the giving is secure.

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?

  • Seven different funds.
    • However, it appears that not a dollar was received again this year in other than the ‘Building & Maintenance Fund’. Is that because they are collecting for another charity, SMBC Foundation Limited?

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five months after their year-end, and at the same time as 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 over 9 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Not quite – it says that general purpose financial statements were prepared whereas it was the lower standard special purpose statements.
  • Financial Report 2016: No
    • There is no explanation of why their subsidiary, SMBC Foundation Limited, is not included in the accounts. (In fact, not only is the relationship not disclosed, but this company is not mentioned.)
    • There is insufficient disclosure of the non-current borrowings. Consequently, there is a question over (a) their classification as non-current (with implications for the going concern assumption), and (b) the relationship between borrower and lender.
    • With revenue of $6.00 m, hundreds of students, operations all over Australia, and 68 staff, it is not credible for the directors to state, as they do, that “there are no users who are dependent on its general purpose financial statements”.
      • This allows them to prepare the lower standard special purpose financial statements.
      • Do they realise that they are effectively saying that all current and prospective donors, students, staff and suppliers are able to command the preparation of a report tailored to their needs?

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • The surplus as a percentage of revenue was increased from negative 8% to positive 2%.
    • Due in large part to an 81% increase in donations.
  • However, this and other changes was nowhere near enough to rectify the poor short-term financial structure. The working capital position was sufficiently dire (again) – current liabilities were 1.5 times current assets – that the directors thought it necessary to address whether the company was a going concern, that is, whether it could pay its debts as and when they were due and continue to operate for the next 12 months.
    • Their positive answer was based on
      • Assets exceeding liabilities
        • $30.24 m of buildings – presumably the SMBC campus – was the only reason that assets exceeded liabilities.
      • $750K of the $1.36 m non-current borrowings having ‘no set repayment date’.
        • Without further information, these are incorrectly classified as non-current. And a reclassification to current would mean a much higher deficit of working capital (see above).
      • The balance of those borrowings being due progressively, starting April 2018.
      • An overdraft $338K below its limit.
        • The limit was increased this year.
  • Why the interest rate on one part of the $1.36 m borrowings– the Notes do not disclose which part – is zero is not disclosed.
  • ‘Unpaid fees’ have increased 127% – to $178K – yet there is no mention of bad and doubtful debts.
  • The number of employees at the time of completing the AIS 2016, May 2017, was 68. There were only 52 at 31 December 2016.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • But he agrees with the directors’ decision to
      • Produce the lower standard special purpose financial statements
      • Not disclose the existence of the subsidiary, and
      • Classify the $750K of borrowings as non-current.
  • The auditor’s independence was threatened by his involvement in the preparation of the report he was auditing. You might ask how this was countered.

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

  • No. It is (still) missing information under ‘Other Name(s)’ and ‘Date Established’.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The directors are not mentioned on the website. From the ACNC Register they are:
    • Kirrily Brown
    • Andrew Chen
    • Geoffrey Deane
    • Jennifer Fallon
    • Mark Freeman
    • Stuart Gow
    • James Lane
    • Raymond Notley
    • Dean Rerekura
    • Scott Sanders
    • The board is accountable to the members. But there are only 11 of them – and ten of those may be the board members.

To whom is SMBC accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
    • Its ‘Charity Tick’ is used on the website in support of you giving to them. And rightly so, because it would be unwise to give to a charity that is unregistered. The ‘tick’ also means SMBC’s AIS is not overdue, and the ACNC has not taken any compliance against it.
  • SMBC is, as they claim, also in support of you giving, a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • Confirmed.
    • See the section Activities in this review for one opinion on the strength of this accountability.
  • As a company, SMBC is also accountable to ASIC.
  • It also has some other memberships, listed here. One or more of these may have some ongoing requirements of membership.

 

 

  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. 

Reach Beyond: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Reach Beyond, an organisation that seeks donations on the internet, 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?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they, like last year, did not respond.

Is Reach Beyond registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • Also as a public company (a company limited by guarantee).
    • It is permitted to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
    • Although it has registered a business name identical to its legal name, it has not registered the other name that it uses, Reach Beyond Australia.
  • Operating in all six states that may require registration as a fundraiser, and raising money via the internet. No licences are held[1].

What do they do?

  • ‘Since 2003 Reach Beyond (Australia) formerly HCJB Australia has been transmitting from far North West Australia to the Asia Pacific region through short wave radio and today broadcasts programs for 8-9 hours a day in 30 languages, including 19 South Asia languages.

Reach Beyond is part of a global community committed to reaching unreached people groups with the gospel through the use of dynamic media and high quality programs along with healthcare and community development. [Who we are].

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient public information to say.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • Yes. (Listen to a sample of the programs here.)

What impact are they having?

  • The directors recognise the importance of measuring and reporting this:
    • Since Reach Beyond relies on donations from its supporters, the provision of funds to enable the ongoing operation of the organisation will rely on consistent communication with our constituent base that brings with it evidence of the effectiveness of the programs it broadcasts [‘Strategies’, Directors’ Report, AIS 2016].
  • However, nothing is reported yet.

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

  • There is insufficient information disclosed in the accounts to even estimate this.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • ‘As a Christian mission with the primary purpose of broadcasting the Gospel, Reach Beyond does not qualify for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status from the Australian Tax Office.’ [The ‘Ways to Give’ page.]

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The AIS 2016 reports that Reach Beyond did not make any grants or give any donations.
    • The item ‘Support for Program Partners’, 8% of expenses, appear to be supplier payments rather than financial support.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five months after their year-end, two weeks later 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 over 13 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Nearly
    • Outcomes are not reported.
    • The business name is missing.
  • Financial Report 2016: Questionable.
    • The directors’ decision (with the auditor’s agreement) to produce the type of financial statements that don’t comply with all the Accounting Standards is questionable.
      • At least 81%[3] of revenue is from donations, and from the picture painted by the ACNC Register, combined with the website, there are many donors, and they are spread far and wide. And then there are the prospective donors envisaged by the public request for money. Do the directors realise that they are saying that any of these donors, both present and prospective, can request Reach Beyond to tailor a financial report to suit their needs?
      • The accounting policy for three of the four ‘Property, Plant & Equipment’ items is not disclosed.
      • In an explanation of ‘Property, Plant & Equipment’, having 50% of the total in an item called ‘Plant & Equipment’ is insufficient disclosure.
      • The following atypical items are not explained:
        • ‘Support payable’
        • ‘Receipts from Kununurra’
        • ‘Support for Program Partners’
        • ‘Missionary Support Admin Fees’
        • ‘IBF Development’
      • The Statement of Changes in Equity… is missing ‘Other Comprehensive Income’.

What was the financial situation shown by that Report?

  • Working capital – the excess of current (short-term) assets over current (short-term) liabilities – was marginally negative last year. It is has worsened this year (to 85%).
    • ‘Trade and other payables’ (creditors) has increased 44%.
  • The longer term financial structure appears sound.

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.
    • re-read the ‘Financial Report 2016’ section above.

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

  • Except for missing the business name, yes.

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

  • Although not supported by information elsewhere on the website, a message on the Donate page implies that you do:
    • To allocate your gift, when you reach the review donation page, please leave us a message.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • On both the ACNC Register, and on the website[4], these people:
    • Graeme Buntrock
    • Stephen Coleman
    • Peter Letchford
    • Paul Mock
    • Dale Stagg
    • John Wilson
      • There are 24 directorships in the name ‘John Wilson’. 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 Reach Beyond’s John Wilson 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 above people are answerable to the members of the company. Of whom there are 96.

To whom is Reach Beyond accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
    • Its ‘Charity Tick’ is used on the website in support of you giving to them. And rightly so, because it would be unwise to give to a charity that is unregistered. The ‘tick’ also means SBMC’s AIS is not overdue, and no compliance action has been take against it.
      • But it means no more than this.
  • SMBC is, as they claim, also in support of you giving, a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • Confirmed.
    • See the section Activities in this review for one opinion on the strength of this accountability.
  • As a company, SMBC is also accountable 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. 
  3. Does the revenue item ‘Receipts from Kununurra’ $130K include any donations?
  4. I assume that John Wilson on the Register is the same person as Ian Wilson on the website.

Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor Incorporated: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor Incorporated (SAUP), an organisation that seeks donations on the internet, 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 last year’s review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

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

Is SAUP registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • SAUP is a Queensland incorporated association (No. IA31696).
  • It operates, per the ACNC Register, in five states.
    • Four of the states require charities to register if they are ‘fundraising’.
      • SAUP solicits donations on the internet.
      • It has no fundraising licences[1].
  • It operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in India.

What do they do?

  • SAUP is a ‘sending office’ of Servants.
  • The page for SAUP on the Servants’ website has this description of what it does:
    • If you’re interested in Servants and you live in Australia – you’re not alone! A network of us across the country promote the work of Servants, participate in discernment, prepare folk to make the move to a slum, and to make staying there as hassle-free as possible. The Servants Australia office is located in Brisbane at Windsor Road Baptist Church, and provides the hub for a number of volunteers. Individuals with skills, experience and interest in Servant alongside the poor (sic) are in each State, and at times are available for face-to-face discussions.
  • And this is what they did in 2016 (from the AIS 2016):
    • In 2016 our key workers in India were home on furlough or addressing visa issues. This meant that in 2016 our main work was in Australia, raising awareness of issues in Asian slums, making contact with people interested in working in this environment and providing support and guidance as they considered their options. This included presenting and running information events at a number of key Australian Christian conferences and gatherings, as well as one-on-one support and relationship building with individuals considering future work in this environment. We also spent time supporting our workers as they used their time in Australia constructively and considered their future options. This activity also included maintaining a small office at Red Hill to serve as a base for our coordinator and volunteers and for storing information
      • What is the status of these ‘key workers’ given that SUAP doesn’t have any full-time employees (AIS 2016)?

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient public information to say.

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?

  • On the giving page on the website, prospective donors are told that
    • There are several ways you can contribute financially to Servants’ vision to see the urban poor and their communities transformed by Christ.  Servants offices are fully staffed by volunteers and overheads are kept to a minimum in keeping with our commitment to simplicity. Donations can be made for specific Servants project funds or in support of individual missionaries.* No administration fee is taken out of donations to Servants projects and 100% of your gift will be sent to the field [emphasis in original].
      • But in addition to nine volunteers, SAUP has an employee (AIS 2016).
      • SAUP made grants and gave donations that totalled only 17% of donations received (AIS 2016).

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No.
    • But SAUP promote a secular organisation, Global Development Group, as a means of getting a tax deduction:
      • Servants is an incorporated not-for-profit association in Queensland. We are presently not registered for Deductible Gift Recipient status therefore cannot issue tax receipts. However we partner with Global Development Group who provide tax receipts for the ‘Big Brothers and Big Sisters’ project in Cambodia, and ‘Lilok Organic Farm’ project in The Philippines. Other projects are currently in the process of obtaining tax deductibility status.
        • What does this facility cost SA?
        • Global Development Group is not a Christian organization, and would not be allowed to spread the Gospel via such projects anyway. How then can such projects meet the objects of SAUP?

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

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

  • The form for a donation via PayPal invites you to “enter name of missionary or project)”, but the names of these missionaries and projects are not given on the website.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • We can only assume that they were sent to somebody or some organisation in India, the country shown on the ACNC Register.
    • The Indian Government requires all foreign contributions to be reported.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (on the second last day, seven months after their year-end, and at the same time as 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 over 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Almost – no outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2016: NA
    • Because of its size SAUP doesn’t have to lodge a Financial Report.
    • Although SAUP 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. You could ask for it though.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Not from a Report, but the AIS 2016:
    • Almost all the $75K income came from ‘Donations and bequests’.
    • Employees took 85% of the income (or 62% of expenses).
      • This is for one part-time employee (AIS 2016).
      • The presence of an employee does not match the statement on the giving page that ‘Servants offices are fully staffed by volunteers…’.
    • The $13K ‘Grants and donations made…’ represents only 17% of income (or 12% of expenses).

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • NA

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

  • Almost:
    • The website address is for the site that covers all the offices of the network worldwide. This is the page about Australia.
    • ‘Date Established’ is blank.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The directors are not mentioned on the website. From the ACNC Register they are:
    • Jon Eastgate
    • Nathan Elmes
    • Kelly Otto
    • Ralph Reilly
    • The board is accountable to the members. The number of members is not available.

To whom is SAUP accountable?

  • Although it is an Australian association, another body, the ‘International Leadership Team (undefined), has the power to admit and the power to remove members (the constitution).
  • The page for Australia on the website claims membership of Missions Interlink. Confirmed.
    • For one view on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • As a charity, accountable to the ACNC.
  • And to the Queensland regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

 

  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. 

W.E.C. International mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of W.E.C. International (WEC), an organisation that seeks donations on its website, 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?

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

Is WEC registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • Also as a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • It is permitted to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
    • But it is not permitted to use the other two names it uses, WEC International, and WEC International Australia.
  • Still not licensed to fundraise in its home state, New South Wales, nor in other five states that the ACNC Register says it operates in[1].

What do they do?

  • The description under ‘What we do’, at least initially, is about the international organisation, not WEC. Further down the page there is a link to a description of what WEC does.
    • That page says that WEC has six teams, but only five are described:
      • ‘Mobilisation Team’, ‘Support Services Team’, ‘Member Care Team’, ‘Worldview’, and ‘Australian Leadership Team’.
  • There are three other Australian organisations under ‘Who we are’ on the website: ‘Worldview Centre’, ‘Betel’, and ‘Rainbows of Hope’.
    • ‘Worldview Centre’ is the registered charity Worldview Centre For Intercultural Studies.
      • It is “a Christ-centred discipleship community, training for cross-cultural ministry.”
    • ‘Betel’ is the registered charity Betel Australia Ltd.
      • There is no Australian website, but from the international one:
        • Betel began in Spain in the inner city barrio of San Blas, Madrid almost three decades ago when a small group of WEC International missionaries began to care for the needs of a few drug addicts and marginalized people. Today its program and communities can be found in over 100 urban areas in 24 nations.
    • ‘Rainbows of Hope’ is a United States organisation, a ministry of ‘WEC International’ (that is, the international organisation). It does not have a branch in Australia.
      • From its website:
        • We pray and aim to strengthen WEC-related communities by serving as a resource and support for those in WEC who God is using to help children in their area who are in-crisis or at-risk to become children in Christ, holistically restored, growing as vital members of their church and community.

Does WEC share the Gospel?[2]

  • It is required by the first object in the constitution:
    • to promote the speediest possible fulfilment of the command of our Lord Jesus Christ by a definite attempt to evangelise the remaining unevangelised parts of the Earth as enunciated in the Principles and Practice.
  • But as can be seen from the previous section, WEC facilitates this, rather than does it.

What impact are they having?

  • There is no evidence that this is being measured.

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

  • The impact that WEC is seeking is not clear, so any such calculation is not possible.
  • WEC state, on their website, that ‘100% of all donations go towards funding the continual work of Reaching People and Planting Churches without administrative deductions.’
    • How they fund their considerable administration expenses is not explained.
    • This statement is not reconcilable with the information in the Comprehensive Statement of Income (sic).

Do they pay their directors?

  • This is prohibited by their constitution.
  • There is no line item ‘directors’ fees’ (or similar) in the expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No.
    • But WEC recommends a secular organisation, HADA, that it says it ‘supports’ (financially?), if you want a tax deduction:
      • Donations to WEC or our workers are NOT tax deductible, although a few of our ministries are, to read more about tax deductible projects WEC is involved in, head over to http://hada.org.au
        • WEC is not mentioned on this site.
        • There is one HADA ministry mentioned on the WEC website, and that is a footnote in a news item.

Is their online giving secure?

  • ezidebit is used, so yes.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged four and a half months after their year-end, over 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 over nine months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Except for the absence of outcomes, yes.
  • Financial Report 2016: Questionable compliance.
    • In response to the review last year, WEC said that ‘All money that comets us in (sic) is given, 100%, to the intended recipient and any member who incurs living costs paid by WEC is then required to reimburse WEC, so any WEC member achieves a zero personal benefit from WEC income. Much of the income reported is the reimbursements from WEC members.’
      • Reimbursements are not revenue. Revenue is therefore greatly overstated.
    • Does not the relationship between Worldview Centre For Intercultural Studies and WEC mean that the latter should present consolidated financial statements?
      • The Centre says (Note 18 in its accounts) that it is
        • an independent company in Australia that operates within the accepted practices of the worldwide group WEC International, (not the Australian company), which has its leadership team and headquarters based in Singapore. While adhering to the ethos of WEC International the Worldview Centre is autonomous in decision making.
      • This doesn’t match what WEC says about the relationship:
        • WEC describes the Centre as one of its teams.
        • Under its ‘Related Parties’[3] Note in its accounts (Note 20), it says that
          • Members of the company are required to be members of WEC International, as are the majority of the Board. The Worldview Board of Directors is the final legal authority for the company…The WEC International Leadership Team approves the appointment of the Worldview Principal or leadership team. WEC International is the owner of the property on which the College is situated.
            • The Chairman of WEC is the Chairman of the Centre. There is also another director of WEC on the Centre’s board.
    • Although the income statement is called a Comprehensive Statement of Income sic), it is still missing ‘Other Comprehensive Income’.
      • Which omission flows through to the Statement of Changes in Equity.
    • There is insufficient disclosure for an understanding of WEC’s revenue: 1) there is no policy Note, and 2) 82% of the revenue has the description ‘Rents, Contributions and Events’.
    • The treatment of Financial Assets still doesn’t comply with the Accounting Standards.
    • There is still no explanation why a charity with revenue of $786K, and that is involved only with sending and caring for overseas missionaries, would have a $26.42 m property portfolio.
    • Ditto short-term financial assets of $2.06 m.
    • There is still no explanation for the absence of employees.
      • In response to the review last year, WEC said that
      • Each WEC member is totally self supported by their own gifts and donations or personal jobs, which is why there is no employment status for any of our workers….’
      • The Notes to the accounts do not explain the accounting policy that has been adopted because of this status. If the money received for these members is included in ‘Revenue’, then revenue is overstated.
    • There is still no explanation for why the $295K of designated funds are classified as a liability rather than reserves.
    • There is still no explanation for how the loan of $250K for 15 years to Betel Australia Ltd, a company with whom the relationship is only ‘fraternal’, is consistent with the mission.
    • An extra statement is included without explanation. It is unaudited but not marked as such.

What was the financial situation shown by that Report?

  • There is nothing obviously threatening either short-term or long-term stability.
    • This is helped by the fact that it has no paid staff.
    • The property holdings (see above) appear to be responsible for over 60% of WEC’s expenses. Is it getting sufficient return on these assets?

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
  • Before you decide how much comfort to take from this finding, read the ‘Financial Report 2016’ section above and here and here.

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

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

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

  • They are shown on the ‘Donate’ page of the website:
    • A general donation to help our Team in Australia Care, Mobilise and send workers to other countries to Reach People and plant Churches (sic),
    • A donation to a team of WEC workers overseas,
    • A donation to a WEC person you know and want to support their ministry [Donate].
    • There is no list of WEC workers from which to select.
    • For the online donation, there is no option to nominate a purpose for your donation.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • This information is not disclosed.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • There’s a page Meet our team on the website, but it doesn’t mention the Board.
  • See instead the Responsible Persons section on the Register:

To whom is WEC accountable?

  • WEC doesn’t say it on its website, but it is a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • Worldview Centre for Intercultural Studies does mention its membership.
    • About the accountability this provides: see the section Activities in this review.
  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • And to ASIC as a company.

 

 

  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.
  3. Betel and Rainbows of Hope are also discussed in this Note.
    • Betel has yet to lodge its AIS 2016 (it is over three months overdue), but in its AIS 2015 (lodged eleven months late), despite, WEC including it under ‘Who we are’ on its website, does not mention WEC. In the Note, WEC says that ‘Betel Australia Ltd’s relationship with WEC International Australia (sic) is best described as fraternal. Members of the Board do include members of WEC International Australia.’
    • Despite including Rainbows of Hope under ‘Who we are’ on its website, WEC says, in Note 20, that ‘WEC International Australia has no direct association with Rainbows of Hope.’

Youth With A Mission Sunshine Coast Inc: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Youth With A Mission Sunshine Coast Inc (YSC), an organisation that has an online donation facility, and that 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?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they, like last year, did not respond.

Is YSC registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • As a Queensland incorporated association (IA28315).
  • They are trading under two names, YWAM Waves and YWAM Sunshine Coast, that are still not registered business names.
  • YSC is not registered for fundraising in any of the seven states that have a fundraising licence regime. This includes the state in which they operate[1].

What do they do?

  • They conduct ‘DTS’ and ‘SBS’ (including ‘Titus’) courses for Christians (see the main menu), and have various ministries to non-believers.

Do they share the Gospel?[2]

  • Yes, in the ‘Outreach’ component of their ‘DTS’, and in some of their ‘YWAM Ministries’.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing found.

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?

  • Although not prohibited by their constitution, there is no evidence that they do.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Westpac’s portal is used, so yes.
    • There is a 2% charge.
  • See the Security Policy at the bottom of the giving page.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • It is now. But for two months it was overdue, and if it weren’t for the Register giving YSC three months longer to lodge than it should (see below), that would have been five months.
    • 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 one and a half years ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Like last year, no.
    • Under ‘Financial Information’
      • Only two of the figures match those in the financial statement.
      • The wrong type of financial statements is specified.
    • No outcomes are reported.
    • The description of ‘International activities’ is ‘Operating overseas including delivering programs’.
  • Financial Report 2016: Like last year, no.
    • Despite having been audited by a chartered accountant, Peter Rule,
      • Two financial statements are missing.
      • The two statements that are included are both incorrect.
      • There are no Notes to the accounts.
      • There is no responsible persons’ declaration.
      • The auditor’s letter accompanying his report is included.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Given the deficiencies of the Report, including the limited audit that was performed (see below), it would be unwise to rely on this Report as a description of the financial state of YSC[3].
  • The Report shows
    • a ‘Net Profit’ of $356K on revenue of $1.56m. That’s a high 24%.
    • $646K in the bank.
    • $362K owed to them from credit sales.
    • $153K ‘Fixed Assets’ and no liabilities.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Peter Rule, chartered accountant, of Complete Business Strategies Pty Ltd, has issued a qualified opinion.
    • Read here to see what this means compared to a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • This is Peter’s explanation of his qualification:
      • As is common for organisations of this type, it is not practicable for the Association to maintain an effective system of internal controls over receipts and payments until their initial entry in the accounting records.’ So, for 100% of everything that was given to or earnt by YSC, and for 100% of everything that was spent by YSC, the organisation has no checks to ensure that its transactions were reflected in the accounting records.
      • Why is it not possible for YSC to implement the necessary internal controls?  Other charities can.
    • With this size gap in the audit procedures, and the deficiencies described under ‘Financial Report 2016’ (see above), YSC got off lightly – a refusal to issue an opinion seems more appropriate.
    • Peter 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 information on the ACNC Register complete?

  • Not incomplete, but incorrect: the year end is still shown as 30 June when it should be 30 April.
  • ‘Phone’, ‘Email’, and ‘Website’ are blank, but are not compulsory.

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

  • None.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • They are not shown on the website.
  • The ACNC Register says that there are four directors (which is one more than the minimum required by the constitution):
    • Patricia Hensser
    • Brian Hunsburger
    • Faull John-Daniel (should be the other way round?)
    • Kerie Schaber
  • The committee is accountable to the members of the association. The number of members is not publicly available.

To whom are YSC accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • And to the regulator of Queensland incorporated associations.
  • Plus, they are members of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  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. Confidence in the Report is not helped by the presence of the expense items ‘Cash – stolen 3.021.35’ and ‘Account Corrections 775.66’.