New Heart Baptist Church: charity review

This is a charity review of New Heart Baptist Church (NH), a review in the series ‘Members 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? [1]

  • I sent them a draft of this review. They rang, I answered their questions, then I heard no more. (The previous two years I didn’t even get the call.)

Is NH registered?

  • As a charity, yes. But still incorrectly in the name Rochedale Baptist Church t/as New Heart Baptist Church.
    • The name should match that in the ABN register, Rochedale Baptist Church. The constitution is also in the wrong name.
    • They hold the name they use, New Heart Baptist Church, as a registered business name.
  • NH is an unincorporated entity.
  • It said in the AIS 2017 that it did not intend to fundraise. With the GiveNow option being more a facility for members rather than an invitation to the public, it is likely that a fundraising licence is not required.

What do they do?

  • See the main menu items on the website.

Does they share the Gospel?[2]

  • Yes

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.

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

  • As they are not required to lodge any financial information, even in the AIS (see below), and they have chosen not to lodge this information voluntarily, nor publish anything on their website, we cannot make this calculation.

Do they pay their board members?

  • Such payments are not prohibited by the constitution.
  • There are no financial statements to check.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • Give Now is used. Security is not mentioned.

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

  • None

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six months after year end, three days later, and two and a half months later than last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • Their name is incorrect.
    • There are no outcomes.
  • Financial Report 2017: NA
    • Because they have a revenue of at least $250K their size is Medium. Ordinarily this would mean that they must lodge accounts (which have been at least reviewed). However, because they are a ‘basic religious charity’, they are exempt from reporting.
    • But their Associate membership of Missions Interlink requires them to “have available for [their] members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor.” So just ask.
    • They could have lodged this voluntarily, but they chose not to.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • NA

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • If there is an audit report, it is not made public (or even offered).

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

  • Yes
    • Despite their membership of Missions Interlink, and a page on the website (currently blank) for ‘Global Missions’, the Register says they don’t operate overseas.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • There are no financial statements to check.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Here’s who they identify as the leaders.
  • The ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register match the elders plus the Senior Pastor, but still with an extra person, Roger McKnight:

To whom is NH accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • Claimed membership of Missions Interlink is confirmed. NH is accountable, as the recipient of benefits and concessions as an Associate member, to Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  1. I agree with Randy Alcorn [Money, Possessions, & Eternity, Tyndale, 2003] when he says that ‘Any Christian leaders who resist financial accountability make themselves suspect.’ [page 425]
  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.

 

Crossway: charity review

This is a review of the organisation that has a website in the name Crossway[1].

Crossway has an online invitation to give. It’s a church so it’s most likely a charity.

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’s name
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here are the answers for Crossway:

  1. There is no charity under that name:

Roll to the bottom of the home page and you’ll see that the church is the third one in this list, Crossway Baptist Church Inc.

2.   NA

3.   Crossway’s “web address begins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. A secure way to give to Crossway.

4.   ABN Lookup says that Crossway operates two funds, gifts to which ‘may be deductible’: Crossway CRE Fund and Crossway Baptist Church Fellowship Fund. Neither of these funds are mentioned on the website.

Others are though:

’Crossway Kingdom Fund’ is the registered charity The Trustee for Crossway Kingdom Fund, and ‘Cross way LifeCare’ is the registered charity Crossway Lifecare Limited.

5.   The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2017 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. Most donors think in terms of cash, so if that’s you, you might turn first to the Statement of Cash Flows[2]. What you might now know though, is that you first should turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’.

Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, one or more of the three Crossway charities? Perhaps you are one of the 6,864 people who, on average, attended church each week (perhaps also contributing to the average weekly tithe of $114K), or one of the suppliers, employees or beneficiaries who shared in $9.39 m of cash payments?[3] If so, can you ring Crossway’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I very much doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports’[4].

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of Crossway, and the Committee members[5] of Crossway, under the ‘Basis of preparation’, say that you don’t exist[6]. End of review[7].

 

 

  1. For the previous review, see here.
  2. It would have been more helpful if the title had been preceded by ‘Consolidated’. For Crossway’s accounts are not just for itself but include the figures for the two charities that it controls, Crossway Lifecare Limited and Trustee for Crossway Kingdom Fund.
  3. Annual Report 2017, from the website.
  4. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au:
  5. One of these board members is John Peberdy. John is a director of Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd, an organisation that believes that ‘Christian organisations should be the standard-setters in terms of impeccable corporate behaviour’. The mission of their committee, the CMA Standards Council, is to ‘help build faith and trust in Christian organisations’, including by allowing organisations who are compliant with a set of standards, formed by the Council, to display the Council’s seal of approval.
  6. I sent a draft of this review to Crossway. Like the previous two years, they…did not respond.

 

SU Qld: charity review

This is a review of SU Qld, a charity that seeks donations online, and has been accredited as a ‘high quality organisation’ with the CMA Standards Council.  (See here for last year’s review.)

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’s name.
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here are the answers for SU Qld:

1.   It is a registered charity via its legal name, Scripture Union Queensland:

2.   NA

3.   SU Qld’sweb address begins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. A secure way to give to SU Qld.

Although they say, below the fold on the ‘Donate’ page, that ‘Your credit card details are never stored with us. They are sent straight to our payment processor over a highly secure connection,’ the name of the provider is not given.

Ministry comment: ‘SU QLD has a well developed risk management approach and is very aware of cyber security threats. As such we are cautious about divulging this type of information. The closed padlock icon indicates the accepted assurance of TLS protocol ( i.e.”bank-level”  security).’

4.   SU Qld does offer a tax deduction.

The ABN record, by showing that SU Qld is a deductible gift recipient both in its own right, and also only ‘in relation to a fund, authority or institution it operates’, Scripture Union Queensland Schools Ministry Fund, suggests that all donations will be tax-deductible. SU Qld gives not explain why this is not the case when you come to give online:

Ministry comment: ‘SU QLD operate a DGR fund under item 1.’

5.   The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2017 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. Most donors think in terms of cash, so if that’s you, you might turn first to the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows[1]. Unfortunately, SU Qld has exercised its right to use (the less common) indirect method of disclosing cash flows from operating activities. This means that there is no direct read of where the cash went.

The other statement that talks about flows during the period, the Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income, shows what resources were consumed during the period (the cash may be paid out later).

Expenses totaled $30.19 m. $21.30 m (71%) of this was ‘Chaplaincy expenses’. There is no explanation of what this figure includes. While we might be expected to know what a ‘chaplain’ is, we can’t be expected to know what expenses[2]result from having these people, nor the relationship between these expenses and the other major expenses (‘Administration’, ‘Ministry’, and ‘Marketing’).

The second largest expense was ‘Ministry expenses’, $4.06 m, for another 13% of the total. There is no explanation of this term, or what the figure includes. The whole entity, SU Qld, is a ‘ministry’, so the term conveys little or any information.

That’s little or no explanation of the destination of 84% of the expenses. End of review.

Ministry comment: ‘We have reviewed both the format and content of our financial reports with our auditors and are satisfied that we report as required under the accounting standards. Detailed information is also available freely on our website that describes all the activities (eg: camping and training, aka ministries) and chaplaincy programs of SU QLD and how we use the donations we receive from our supporters. The School chaplaincy snapshot, Annual report and Impact statements are three such sources. 

https://www.suqld.org.au/about/making-every-dollar-count/

https://www.suqld.org.au/services/chaplaincy/snapshot-2018/

Reviewer response: When assessing a true and fair view, words published outside the Financial Report cannot compensate for the lack of words inside. See AASB 101, paragraph 112 (www.aasb.gov.au).

 

  1. ‘Consolidated’ means that the figures of one or more other entities are included because SU Qld has control over them. The Notes to the accounts show that it is just one entity:

2.   Because ‘Christian’ charities often have workers who are not paid wages, there is no guarantee that the people working for SU Qld receive a wage.

Ministry comment: ‘We of course do pay our staff and chaplains (see Note 3 of our financial statements). Most of our chaplaincy expenses relate to wages and associated oncosts as we serve over 850 schools in Queensland (see snapshot for further information). We are also blessed, as are many charities, with hundreds of faithful volunteers who support our ministries, including camping and chaplaincy in particular.’

 

God’s Dreaming Inc: charity review

This is a charity review of God’s Dreaming Inc (GD), an organisation that seeks donations online and is an Associate member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the situation last year, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft this review. Like last year, they… did not respond.

Is GD registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • GD is a Victorian incorporated association (A0094980S).
  • It has no business names.
  • GD operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, in six states.
    • It still doesn’t have the necessary registration to conduct business interstate (an ARBN).
    • AIS 2017 says they don’t intend to fundraise, and as they probably have not considered their online invitation as fundraising, the absence of fundraising licences is understandable.

What do they do?

  • In general.
  • More specifically.
  • The ACNC Register says that GD doesn’t operate overseas.
    • Does their membership of Missions Interlink – ‘We exist to connect Australians with a passion for global mission’ – indicate that they had an intention to work overseas?

Do they share the Gospel[1]?

  • Yes

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.

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

  • The only financial information available is what’s included in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2107. And this shows all the expenses as ‘Other expenses/payments’.

Do they pay their board members?

  • The constitution is silent on paying board members.
  • From the financial information available (see above), it is not possible to tell if they pay them or not.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • At step 3 of the giving process it says that ‘Transactions are secure and encrypted’, but no support is offered for this assertion.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged three months after their year-end, one and a half months 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 nearly seven months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: Almost – no outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2017: Yes
    • Because of its size, GD does not have to lodge a Financial Report with the ACNC. And even though they are a ‘Christian’ organisation, they chose not to lodge one voluntarily.
    • However, the terms of its incorporation as an association require it to prepare a full set of financial statements, and their Associate membership of Missions Interlink requires them to “have available for [their] members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor.”  It’s not offered on the website, so just ask.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Not from the Report but from the AIS 2017: a surplus of $7K on turnover of $14K, and with liabilities of $46, equity was $12K.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • An audit is required, but if one was completed, it has not been made public.

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

  • Yes

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

  • None

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The AIS 2017 says neither grants nor donations were made.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • These people.
  • Per the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) it is Annette Simpon and Francis Clancy instead of Grace Henshaw and Viv Latham:
    • Francis Clancy
    • Roger Latham
    • Jadah Pleiter
    • Annette Simpon
    • Julie Strack
    • Sondy Ward (the CEO)
    • Karen Williams
    • John Williams
      • Is it this John Williams?
      • The name ‘John Williams’ appears on the register for 30 charities. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course doesn’t include for-profit organisations.  If after eliminating the charities for which GD’s John Williams 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 board is responsible to the members. The number of members is not disclosed.

To whom is GD accountable?

  • The claimed membership of Missions Interlink is confirmed.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • GD is also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.

 

  1. 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.

 

Tahlee Ministries: charity review

This is a charity review[1] of Tahlee Ministries, a charity that seeks donations on the internet, and is a ‘Member Organisation’ of Missions Interlink[2].

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’s name
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here are the answers for Tahlee Ministries:

1: There is no charity with exactly this name on the Register of charities. The ‘Contact Us’ page on the website (above) identifies it as Tahlee Ministries Inc[3]. But this doesn’t get us to a unique charity because there’s not one, but two charities registered that use this name:

Both charities are at the same address, so that doesn’t help identify the owner of the website. And the website doesn’t show the ABN. End of review?

It is confusing for one charity, Tahlee Bible College, to use the name of another charity. Perhaps it is a subsidiary of that other charity? The Register record of each charity suggests that this is indeed the case – all seven board members of the College are also on the board of Tahlee Ministries Incorporated. But there’s no group reporting, and Tahlee Bible College is not mentioned in the other charity’s accounts.

2. NA

3. Tahlee Ministries has a request for donations on the website but does not offer online giving. (If it did, it would need to secure its website.)

4. It doesn’t offer a tax deduction, but Tahlee Ministries Incorporated is nevertheless a legitimate charity. Tahlee Bible College offers a tax deduction but doesn’t appear to ask for donations anywhere. It too is a legitimate charity.

5. We could look at Tahlee Ministries Incorporated’s accounts to find out how the charity uses its donations, but there’s a problem. The auditor, Ashley Dorse of A J Dorse Accounting, while giving a ‘clean’ opinion on the financial statements, financial statements that are still materially deficient by the way, has again reported that the charity does not have any internal controls in place to ensure that all donations that are received make their way into the charity’s bank account. And the board[4] does not appear to be concerned about this. End of review[5].

 

 

  1. For the previous review, see here.
  2. The ‘General Director’ of Tahlee Ministries, John Anderson, is also a director of Missions Interlink, an organisaton that has an accountability regime for its members.
  3. This means that, because they don’t hold the business name that they use on the website, they are acting contrary to the business names legislation, and most likely their enabling legislation as well.
  4. From the ACNC Register: John Anderson, William Brill, Stuart Fleming, Wayne Forward, Greg Gibbins, Fraser Hannam, Grant Morrison, and Lindsay Teasdale.
  5. I sent them a draft of this review. Like the last two years, they did not respond.

 

Crossroads PM Inc: charity review

This is a charity review of Crossroads PM Inc (CPM), an organisation that seeks donations online and is a ‘Member Organisation’ of Missions Interlink[1]. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the last review, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

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

Is CPM registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • CPM is a New South Wales incorporated association.[2]
  • It holds three business names: Crossroad Bible Institute, Crossroads Prison Ministry Australia, and the one it uses on the website, Crossroads Prison Ministries Australia.
    • It says – ACNC Register – that it is also known by the names Crossroads Prison Ministries, CBI Australia, Crossroad Bible Institute, and Crossroads PM Inc.[3]
  • CPM operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, throughout Australia.
    • It still doesn’t have the necessary registration to conduct business interstate (an ARBN).
    • It said in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017 that it didn’t intend to fundraise next year, but it forgot that it has an online invitation. This would explain the lack of explanation for the absence of any fundraising licences.

What do they do?

  • See here.
  • CPM operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tonga.

Do they share the Gospel[4]?

  • Yes

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.

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

  • This is not disclosed, and the expenses are not classified to allow an estimate to be made.

Do they pay their board members?

  • The constitution is silent on paying board members.
  • From the expenses, it appears that no such payment is made.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged six months after their year-end, two days before the deadline, and three 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 six months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • Two of the figures under ‘Expenses/Payments’ are incorrect.
    • The association number is incorrect.
    • Online fundraising has not been disclosed.
    • ‘Activities’ is not particularly about 2017.
    • No outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2017: Yes
    • CPM slipped below the threshold for reporting this year.
    • However, it submitted a Report anyway.
    • Unfortunately, the ACNC does not require such Reports to comply with the law (and CPM’s doesn’t).
    • However, their membership of Missions Interlink requires them to “have available for [their] members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor.”
      • If ‘appropriate’ is defined as what professional accountants should do then, like last year, the Report is clearly ‘inappropriate’:
        • One financial statement is missing.
        • Two of the other three financial statements are materially different from what is required by the Accounting Standards.
        • Almost all the usual Notes to the accounts are missing.
      • The auditor has again used the wrong Auditing Standard.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Surplus as a percentage of revenue decreased dramatically from negative 3% to negative 27%.
    • Despite the significant decline in donations, ‘Salaries’ increased by 124%.
    • Assets now exceed liabilities by only $44K (down from $107K).

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Troy Vander Noord, Chartered Accountant, gave a ‘clean’ conclusion (it was a review, not an audit).
    • But before you decide how much comfort to take from this conclusion, please re-read the section ‘Financial Report 2017’, above.

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

  • Almost – there’s a name missing and an extra name included under ‘Other Name(s)’.

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

  • None

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • Other than all over Australia, CPM operates in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tonga. The AIS 2017 says that no $12k of grants were made for use in Australia – but this amount matches a line item called ‘South Pacific Expenses’ – and none overseas. There is no disclosure beyond this.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website, but per the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) they are:
  • The committee is three short of the number required by the constitution.
  • Although the guarantee by the members in the case of a winding up of the association is described in the Notes – an unusual inclusion for an association – the number of members is not mentioned. We cannot therefore assess the accountability from this quarter.

To whom is CPM accountable?

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

 

 

  1. Missions Interlink have an old website address for CPM.
  2. But still, over a year after the change, in its old name, CBI Australia Inc.
  3. The last one is its legal name (and therefore an incorrect inclusion), two are two of the three business names it holds, and three are unregistered.
  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.

 

Gateway Baptist Church: charity review

This is a charity review of Gateway Baptist Church (Gateway), an organisation that seeks donations online, is a ‘Associated Organisation’ of Missions Interlink, and is accredited with the CMA Standards Council (a founding member).

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’s name.
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for Gateway:

1: A search of the Register of charities shows two charities with that exact name, and another with ‘Ltd’ at the end:

The one we are looking for, from its website, has Queensland phone numbers. So that leaves just one, in Mansfield. But the ABN at the bottom of each webpage belongs to Gateway Baptist Church Ltd in Mackenzie. It appears that Gateway is using the name without ‘Ltd’, something it is allowed to do under certain conditions.

The Register shows that both charities in postcode 4156 are controlled by the same people. That’s confusing – to which one does your donation go? Whose accounts should you review?

Unfortunately, the giving page makes no distinction between the two. End of review?

2. NA

3. Gateway’s web address does not begin with ‘https’, and there is no ‘closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. This is not a secure way to give to Gateway. End of review?

4. It is a legitimate charity (or two), even though its ABN record confirms that, as a church, it does not have deductible gift recipient status.

Why, then, do two of the six giving options offer, without explanation, a tax deduction? And with one of them to a charity with no obvious connection to Gateway, Bloom Asia Ltd? End of review?

  1. The accounts for the Gateway that is said to own the website, Gateway Baptist Church, are not consolidated accounts. That is, they do not include the figures for the other Gateway. The directors don’t say why. They also don’t say why they have changed from general purpose to special purpose financial statements. They are saying, in effect, that all Gateway’s stakeholders, both present and prospective, can get Gateway to prepare a financial report tailored to their needs. For a charity with revenue of $5.97 m, 50 employees, and 996 volunteers (AIS 2017), this is ludicrous.

And all this from an organisation held up as a standard-setter ‘in terms of impeccable corporate behaviour’, a leading light in transparency and accountability. End of review[1].

 

 

  1. I sent the website Gateway a draft of this review. Like the last two years, they…did not respond.

 

Entrust Foundation: charity review

This is a charity review of Entrust Foundation, an organisation that seeks donations online, and is a ‘Member Organisation’ of Missions Interlink.

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’s name.
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for Entrust Foundation:

1: A search of the Register of charities shows not one, but two, charities with that name:

The name in brackets under the registered name is a result of the ACNC allowing – no, requiring – a charity to record on the Register any names by which it is known. The name may be registered or not. And in this case, the name is not registered to either of these charities, but to a third one, Mission Enterprises (Victoria) Limited[1].

The existence of three possible claimants for the money you give to Entrust Foundation does not inspire confidence. End of review.

 

 

Think this is too tough? Let’s continue by seeing where your money given on the above website goes, and therefore whose accounts to look at (step 5 above).

Of the three ways to give, direct deposit, online, and by cheque, only the latter one identifies the organisation to which you are giving:

So, the particular Entrust Foundation is not identified. And a fourth name is introduced, Entrust Projects. End of review[2].

 

 

  1. The first charity, Entrust Capital, has an ABN is another name, so it appears that the Register is in error. Its ABN is in the name The Trustee for Entrust Foundation. (Entrust Capital does not have an ABN, and it is neither an organisation name nor a business name with ASIC.)
  2. I sent a draft of this review to the contact email on the website. They…did not respond.

 

ACCI Relief : charity review

This is a charity review of ACCI Relief (ACCIR), an organisation that seeks donations online[1] and is a member of Missions Interlink.

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’s name.
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here are the answers for ACCIR:

1: A search of the ACNC Register leads to the registered charity, ACC International Relief Inc. That charity has ACCI Relief recorded on the Register as an ‘Other Name’. (They don’t have it registered as a business name though.)

2. NA

3. ACCIR’s “web address begins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. A secure way to give to ACCIR.

4. The ABN record for ACCIM says that a tax deduction is possible, both to itself, plus to the two funds that it operates.

5. The Financial Report 2017 shows that 91% of its expenses – $5.93 million – are for a single item, ‘Funds to international programs’. There is no explanation of this item. No breakup. No destinations. Just like last year. End of review.

 

 

  1. Also via its sister charity, Acc International Missions Ltd.

 

ACC International Missions Ltd: charity review

This is a charity review of ACC International Missions Ltd (ACCIM), an organisation that seeks donations online and is a member of Missions Interlink.

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’s name.
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here are the answers for ACCIM:

1. The website is one badged ACCI Missions & Relief. There’s no registered charity in this name. Reading further down the home page, we see the name ACC International Missions Ltd. There is one in this name.

2. NA

3. ACCIM’s “web address begins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. A secure way to give to ACCIM.

4. The ABN record for ACCIM says that no tax deduction is possible, but from 1. above we know that it is a ‘legitimate charity’. (The fact that the website is shared with another charity, ACC International Relief Inc., and they have a combined donation page, explains why there are tax-deductible giving options on the website.)

5. The Financial Report 2017 shows that 75% of its expenses – $2.24 million – go to a single item, ‘Disbursements to missionaries and projects’. There is no explanation of this item. No breakup. No destinations. Just like last year. End of review.

 

 

If you think that’s a bit tough and want to see how they fared with the other questions you should ask, read on.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • This is the only mention of ‘accountability’ of the website.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. Like the last two years, they…did not respond[1].

Is ACCIM registered?

  • As a charity, yes[2].
  • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee[3].
  • It uses the name ACCI Missions. Whereas it has the necessary provisions in its constitution to allow it to omit ‘Limited/Ltd’ on the end of its name, it does not have the registration, a business name, to allow it to trade under the name ACCI Missions.
    • It holds two business names, ACCI Missions & Relief, and Australian Christian Churches World Missions[4].
  • ACCIM operates in all six states that have a fundraising regime for charities and seeks donations online. They do not explain why they hold no fundraising licences[5].

What do they do?

  • ACCI Missions is the missionary sending and support agency of the Australian Christian Churches movemen.t
    • This is on an ‘About’ page on ACCIM’s website that starts by describing the work of the unregistered charity ‘ACCI’[6]. Further down it identifies ACCI as being composed of ACCIM and another charity, Acc International Relief Inc. (Relief)[7].
  • Per the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017:[8]
    • The principal activities of ACC International Missions Ltd during the financial year were: • To recruit, enable, support and send field workers to Australia and foreign countries to establish self-governing, self supporting and self propagating (sic) churches and preach the Gospel in Australia and other nations around the world; • To provide pastoral support, direction, vision and strategy for field workers as they prepare for ministry and minister overseas; • To work in synergy with local congregations within the Australian Christian Churches movement and assist them to fulfil the Company’s vision; and • To otherwise fulfil and follow the missionary objects of the Australian Christian Churches.

Do they share the Gospel[9]?

  • Via their missionaries, yes.

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?

  • If we define ‘direct’ as ‘Disbursements to missionaries and projects’, then ‘administration’ is 25% of expenses (up from 22% last year). Making the cost object smaller will increase this percentage, e.g. by recognizing that there is overhead in the projects in the overseas country.

Do they pay their board members?

  • This is not permitted by the ACCIM constitution.
  • The expenses are not disclosed sufficiently to allow a check.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No
    • But their website also collects for Relief, a separate charity. Donations to Relief are tax deductible.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is still not mentioned.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five months after their year-end, approximately three 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 six months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • Two names (one business, one used without registration) are missing.
    • The description of the international activities includes the work of Relief.
    • ‘Employee expenses’ includes ‘other associated costs’.
    • The states where it intends to fundraise have not been specified.
    • The activities are not specific to 2017.
    • No outcomes are given.
  • Financial Report 2017: No
    • 75% of its expenses – $2.24 million – go to a single item, ‘Disbursements to missionaries and projects’. There is no explanation of this item.
    • It is hard to see that a report that makes no mention of (a) the organization the objects of which it is required to follow, Australian Christian Churches, and (b) the organization with which it shares a business name and a website, Relief, can be judged as showing a true and fair view.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • The surplus as a percentage of revenue has increased from negative 3% to positive 1%.
  • Less than two and a quarter months of revenue is held in ‘Cash and cash equivalents’ plus ‘Financial assets’.
  • Both short-term and long-term financial structure are, based on this Report, sound.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The Statement of Profit or Loss and Other Comprehensive Income just says ‘Disbursements to missionaries and projects’ $2.24 m.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Jeffrey Tulk, for Saward Dawson, gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
  • Before you conclude on how much comfort to take from this
    • re-read the ‘Financial Report 2017’ section above, and
    • read here and here about audit opinions.

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

  • No
    • One business name, Australian Christian Churches World Missions, and the name their most use, ACCI Missions, is missing.
    • ‘Who the Charity Benefits’ is blank.
    • With the directors, which is correct, website or ACNC Register?

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

  • Many – via a visually confusing set of pages and tiles:
    • Most of the first set offer giving:

  • All of them in the second set offer giving:

Then there’s the third set:

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Again, this year, the listing under ‘Our Board of Directors’ on the website has only one name in common with the list under ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register (and even that one has a different spelling):
    • Elisa Colak
    • Alan Davies
    • Matt Heins
    • Danny Major
    • Ben Teefy
    • Catherine Thambiratnam
    • This list is unchanged from last year.
  • The board is accountable to the members. The number of members is not disclosed.

To whom are ACCIM accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
    • Its ‘Charity Tick’ is used on the in the footer (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 ACCIM’s AIS is not overdue, and the ACNC has not taken any compliance action against it.
  • ACCIM claims that it ‘is an accredited member of Missions Interlink and operates in compliance with Missions Interlink Statements and Accreditation Standards.’ Membership confirmed.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • ACCIM is also accountable for some things, as a company, to ASIC.

 

 

  1. I agree with Randy Alcorn [Money, Possessions, & Eternity, Tyndale, 2003] when he says that ‘Any Christian leaders who resist financial accountability make themselves suspect.’ [page 425]
  2. But as Acc International…(emphasis mine).
  3. Not, as the ABN record still says, an ‘Other Incorporated Entity’.
  4. The second is not shown on either the ABN record or the ACNC record.
  5. The Tasmanian list is currently unavailable, but there was no registration when it was last checked.
  6. ACCI is a business name held by the Australian Carpet Cleaning Institute Pty Ltd (www.asic.gov.au).
  7. Relief also has its own website, www.accir.org.au, a website that does not include information about ACCIM. The combination of the two ‘Acc International’ organisations has been formalised in a business name for ACCIM, ACCI Missions & Relief. See, for instance the ‘Donate’ page on the ACCIM site. Confusing.
  8. This is the same description as the last two years.
  9. 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.