Sydney Diocesan Secretariat breaks the mould for the CMA Standards Council

Although its ’Give Confidently Directory’[1] has yet to be updated, in mid-December the CMA Standards Council announced its accreditation of two new ‘partners’[2]:

This brings the number of ‘partners’ to 12[3].

Sydney Diocesan Secretariat[4] (SDS), a Basic Religious Charity, is unique in this group of charities in at least two ways:

  1. It is the first partner that has no need of what is touted as the biggest advantage of accreditation: a listing in the ‘Give Confidently Directory’, a listing that is designed to encourage you to give either your time or money (particularly the latter) to that charity rather than one that is not in the list[5].
  2. It is the first charity accredited that is not a ‘Foundation Partner’.

Accreditation

The mission of the CMA Standards Council (CMASC) is ‘to help build faith and trust in Christian organisations, be they churches, charities, schools or otherwise, to enable them to achieve more effective outcomes’ (emphasis in original). Most of the benefits, and the main practical benefit of accreditation[6], have to do with the ability to raise money (and secondarily, labour) from the public:

SDS, however, needs neither:

It has a sizeable income [‘SDS Annual Financial Report, their website], but not a dollar from donors:

And neither an invitation to give nor volunteer on the website.

Not a ‘Foundation Partner’

The Council does not explain why Sydney Diocesan Services is a ‘Partner’ whereas each of the other ‘partners’ are a ‘Foundation Partner’. There is no distinction in the fees, nor in the ‘Accreditation Terms’. In fact, nowhere on the website is the distinction explained.

A Fair Exchange?

It appears that SDS doesn’t need to tout for business:

So, it is paying $4,785 p.a. for the right to display the Standards Council’s seal to show these customers[7] that it is committed to ‘maintaining best practice standards of governance’.

Whether that’s a good deal remains to be seen.

 

 

 

  1. A defined term: http://www.cmasc.net.au/terms.
  2. http://www.cmasc.net.au/get-accredited-2/accreditation-overview.
  3. The scheme has been operating since November 2017.
  4. The website address on the ACNC Register is out-of-date.
  5. Eternity, December 2018, page 12:
  6. This is seen by the Council as the principal advantage of the seal that ‘partners’ are allowed to display:
  7. That this is the audience intended is shown by the location of the fact of their accreditation under the heading ‘Our services’:

 

Transform4Life: charity review

This is review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission[1].

Transform4Life’ is one such Member[2], and an organisation that allows donations online.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-20.png

‘Transform4Life’ chose not to respond to a draft of this review.

’The charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’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 ‘Transform4Life’[3], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[4].

1.  A search on the ACNC Register of charities reveals a charity in that name – almost. ‘Almost’ because there is ‘Inc’ at the end of the name (meaning that ‘Transform4Life’ is an incorporated association, not an unincorporated one as is implied by the name on the website). For Transform4Life Inc to use the name this way, they should have it registered, and they (still) don’t. (Nor do they have ‘T4L’ registered. And wouldn’t be able to register it as it is held by another entity.)

2. NA

3. The website is not secure.

4. The Australian Business Register (linked from Transform4Life Inc’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts.

5. This is Transform4Life’s mission:

Your giving is not able to be directed to one or other of these areas.

2018

Transform4Life Inc provide no information on their 2018 activities and outcomes.

The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2018 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. But you should first turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’ (or similar).

For Transform4Life Inc, this tells us that they think that they are not a reporting entity. Whether or not this reasonable, the conclusion they draw from this isn’t. They say that it means that they don’t have to ‘apply accounting concepts or standards in the preparation and presentation of these statements’. Even though this is accepted by the auditor, Brian Bay, it is not true.

However, because Transform4Life Inc use cash accounting, there should be little effect on their calculation of where the donations went:

There is no further information on the major items here, including any assurance that the money sent overseas (one or more of five countries) was used for the purpose for which it was given.

No information is given on the impact of the charity’s activities.

 

Please contact me if you need a more in-depth review.

 

 

  1. https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/
  2. http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-21.png
  3. See here for last year’s review.
  4. Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].

 

Mukti Australia: charity review

This is review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission[1].

Mukti Australia’ is one such Member, and an organisation that allows donations online.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-20.png

Mukti Australia chose not to respond to a draft of this review.

The charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’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 ‘Mukti Australia’[2], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[3].

1.  A search on the ACNC Register of charities gives three results:

If we go by the website that is linked from the Missions Interlink membership, it is the first one, Mukti Australia Inc. (Mukti).

Mukti is a member of an ACNC Reporting Group. This is the second entry above. There is one other member, The Trustee For Mukti Australia Overseas Aid Fund (the Fund) (the third one above).

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above].

A note at the beginning of the giving page says that ‘All payments are processed securely through our PCI-DSS-compliant international payment gateway provider’, but there is no link to allow verification of this.

4. The Australian Business Register (linked from Mukti’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. Likewise, for the Fund.

5. This is Mukti’s mission:

This is how they do it.

You can’t give to these directly; rather, you give to the work in one or other of India, Sri Lanka, or Australia (administration).

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. But you should first 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, of the Mukti[4]? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors who gave $883K last year [Financial Report 2017]? Or you are one of the 108 staff (AIS 2017)? If so, can you ring Mukti’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports[5]’.

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of Mukti, and the directors[6], with the agreement of the auditor[7], have declared that you don’t exist:

The directors don’t say for whom they have prepared the statements, saying only that ‘These special purpose financial statements have been prepared to meet the reporting requirements of the Act.’ (But if they should be preparing general purpose financial statements, then those requirements have not been met.)

If Mukti is still in the running for your donation (or business), here’s what they said about how your donations were used:

  1. Cash: Payments to suppliers and employees $1.025,516
    1. This is 100% of the cash outflows for operating activities, and, for Mukti this year, almost 100% of all cash outflows.
  2. Accrual (expenses):

‘Employee benefits expense’ $277K (27% of expenses)

‘Overseas project distributions’ $554K (54% of expenses).

There is no information on the destination of these distributions. Nor on the relationship between them and (a) the three countries in which Mukti works, (b) the four areas in which it works, and (c) the four giving options.

There is no information on how Mukti (a) ensures that the money gets to the overseas organisation it is meant to, and (b) that it is spent on the program or programs for which it was sent.

There is no information on the impact of the charity’s activities.

 

Please contact me if you need a more in-depth review.

 

 

  1. https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/ 
  2. See here for my last review.
  3. Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].
  4. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au:http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png
  5. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au
  6. The people shown under ‘People’ here.
  7. Geoffrey B Johnson, Chartered Accountant, Rucker DWC Pty Ltd.

 

YWAM Byron Bay: charity review

This is review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission[1] (and a means for a Member to get income tax exemption when it might not otherwise be available[2], with a consequent accountability regime).

YWAM Byron Bay’ is one such Member, and an organisation that invites donations in the ‘Pay’ menu.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-20.png

‘YWAM Byron Bay’ chose not to respond to a draft of this review.

The charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’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 ‘YWAM Byron Bay’[3], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[4].

1.   A search on the ACNC Register of charities gives no results. The website linked from Missions Interlink is also in the name ‘YWAM Byron Bay’. The ‘Contact Us’ page has the details of another organisation:

There is no explanation for this switch.

But it does give the clue that perhaps the charity is in the name ‘Youth With A Mission Byron Bay’. It is (hereafter YWAMBB).

One shouldn’t have to go through these hoops to check on an organisation that’s seeking your money.

YWAMBB has not registered ‘YWAM Byron Bay’.

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above].

It is not until the third page of the giving process that you are told that PayPal is used. There’s a link there to an explanation of PayPal’s security.

4. The Australian Business Register (linked from YWAMBB’s ACNC Register record), says that YWAMBB is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts, but only for a fund that it operates, ‘Youth With A Mission Byron Bay Building and Maintenance Fund’.

There is no mention of this fund on the website.

5. The mission is not described on the website. Via the main menu you can see what YWAMBB do: a thing called DTS, things for ‘Secondary Schools’, and, under ‘About’, various other activities they call ‘Ministries’.

No report of 2017 activities and outcomes is available because the AIS 2017 has still not been lodged, eight months after their year-end (it is two months overdue).

No Financial Report for 2017 is available because it is also overdue.

There is no information on outcomes, results or impact on the website.

 

 

 

  1. https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/ 
  2. http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-21.png
  3. See here for last year’s review.
  4. Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].

 

World Hope International Ltd: charity review

This is review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission[1].

World Hope International Ltd’ is one such member, an Associate, and an organisation that invites donations in the ‘Pay’ menu.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-20.png

World Hope International Ltd chose not to respond to a draft of this review.

The charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’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 World Hope International Ltd’, with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[2].

1.  A search on the ACNC Register of charities reveals a charity with that name (World Hope hereafter).

The website drops the ‘Ltd’ though. World Hope is allowed to do this because it has the necessary provisions in its constitution.

2.  NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above].

There is mention of security on the giving page.

4. The Australian Business Register (linked from World Hope’s ACNC Register record), says that World Hope is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts.

5. There is no mission given on the website. Nor in the Annual Report.

This is how they describe what they do:

World Hope International is a Christian relief and development organisation working with vulnerable and exploited communities to alleviate poverty, suffering, and injustice.

Which translates into this list on the website:

  • Anti-Trafficking & Gender-Based Violence
  • Clean Water & Sanitation
  • Education
  • Emergency Response
  • Health & Nutrition
  • Social Ventures

No activities for 2018 are reported in the AIS 2018, but there is report on the second to fifth of these, plus ‘Rural Development’ and ‘Agriculture’, in the Annual Report (on the ACNC Register).

The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2018 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. 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, of the World Hope[3][vii]? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors who gave $119K last year [Financial Report 2018]? If so, can you ring World Hope’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? Doubtful. 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 World Hope, and the directors[5][ix], with the approval of the auditor[6], have again declared that you don’t exist:

Instead, the directors chose accounting policies ‘appropriate to meet the needs of the members of the Company’.

If World Hope is still in the running for your business, here’s what they told the members about how your donations were used:

  1. Cash: Payments to suppliers $219,909.84
    1. This is 100% of the cash outflows for operating activities, and, for World Hope this year, 100% of all cash outflows.
  2. Accrual (expenses): Project Payments:

This listing does not match the six types of activities given on the website (see above).

There is no information given – anywhere – on what steps, if any, are taken to ensure that these monies get to their intended destination and are then used for their intended purpose.

This is the only comment on the impact of the activities:

 

 

Please contact me if you need a more in-depth review.

 

 

  1. https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/ 
  2. Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].
  3. [vii] From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au: http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png  
  4. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au
  5. [ix] The people shown under ‘People’ here.
  6. Jason O’Connor CA, Registered Company Auditor.

 

Hope From Above: charity review

This is review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission[1].

Hope from Above’ is one such member, an Associate, and an organisation that allows donations online.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-20.png

The charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’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 ‘Hope From Above’[2], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[3].

1.    A search on the ACNC Register of charities reveals a charity in that name – almost. ‘Almost’ because there is ‘Inc’ at the end of the name (meaning that Hope From Above’ is an incorporated association, not an unincorporated one as is implied by the name on the website). For Hope From Above to use the name this way, they should have it registered, and they (still) don’t.

Ministry comment: “As for using the “Inc.” after the organisations name, I think to remember that in logo’s and advertising texts the “Inc” is not required for not-for-profit organisations like ours. We have started an enquiry with the ACNC to clarify on this matter and they estimate a reply within 7 days.”

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above].

There is information on the secure service used for processing credit card donations, Stripe.

4. The Australian Business Register (linked from Hope From Above’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. However, it is a ‘legitimate’ charity.

5. This is Hope From Above’s purpose (‘mission’):

More specifically, they work in three areas:

For more detail, see here.

Your giving is not able to be directed to one or other of these areas.

2018

For the information about 2018’s activities and outcomes that should be in the AIS, see the Annual Report on the Register.

The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2018 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. But you should first 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, of the Hope From Above[4][vii]? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors who gave $301K last year [Financial Report 2018]? Or you are one of the 25 staff (AIS 2018)? If so, can you ring Hope From Above’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? Doubtful. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports[5]’.

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of Hope From Above, and the directors[6], with the approval of the auditor[7], have declared that you don’t exist:

Instead, the directors chose to follow only those accounting policies required by the ACNC for special purpose financial statements plus the accounting policies ‘appropriate to meet the needs of the members’.

If Hope From Above is still in the running for your business, here’s what they told the members about how your donations were used:

  1. Cash: Payments to suppliers and employees $270,882
    1. This is 100% of the cash outflows for operating activities, and, for Hope From Above this year, 99% of all cash outflows.
  2. Accrual (expenses):

There is no comment on the relationship between the work they do and the fact that the majority of the expenses are for employing people.

There is no information offered on the $65K ‘Project Expense’.

Hope From Above works in six overseas countries. There is no information on the relationship between these countries and the three ‘areas’ in which they work (see above).

There is no information on the impact of the charity’s activities.

Ministry comment: “May I respectfully point out that our reporting meets the applicable requirements and has been approved by the membership.”

 

 

Please contact me if you need a more in-depth review.

 

 

 

  1. https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/ 
  2. See here for last year’s review.
  3. Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].
  4. [vii] From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au: http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png  
  5. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au
  6. The people shown under ‘People’ here.
  7. Jeffrey Tulk, Partner, Saward Dawson. [Opinion: I can’t see how it’s is right for the auditor’s logo to be on the cover of a charity’s Financial Report (or any page(s) other than the audit report). (Especially if more prominent than the name of the charity, the owner of the report.) The charity should have more pride in something that belongs to it, and both parties should want to avoid any impression that the Report belongs to any organisation other than the charity.]

 

FamilyVoice Australia: seeking dollars but falling short when we go seeking information

Somehow I got on the mailing list of FamilyVoice Australia’, and their most recent message from the National Director, with the subject ‘Government gets it wrong AGAIN!’, finished with this request:

So I did as the charity regulator (the ACNC) suggests we do. In their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, they give “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’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 ‘FamilyVoice Australia’[1], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[2].

  1. A search on the ACNC Register of charities gives the result Familyvoice Australia Inc (FamilyVoice). Although the name has a couple of significant differences, this is the charity that made the request.

The first difference is that there is doubt over whether the name on the Register is correct. The name that comes up when you follow the link on the Register to check the ABN,

is ‘Family Voice…’, with the words separated. You might not think this significant, but the organisation itself did, going to the trouble, at least according to this government record, of changing the name from ‘FamilyVoice…’ to ‘Family Voice’. In 2014.

The second difference is that neither the email I received nor the website (linked from the ACNC Register) discloses that the charity is an incorporated association. This disclosure is required by the charity’s enabling legislation[3]:

This is the only exception[4]:

FamilyVoice do not explain why they have shortened the name everywhere. (Even in the one place where would expect to find the legal name, in the footer, it is absent.)

  1. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above]. And there’s a link to information about the security of the information that you enter when donating.

4. The Australian Business Register (linked from FamilyVoice’s ACNC Register record), says that FamilyVoice is not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. It is, however, a ‘legitimate’ charity.

5. This is the closest to a ‘mission’ that I could find on the website:

At the bottom of the same page, there’s a fuller description:

For a ‘Christian’ organisation, it is disappointing (although not surprising) that Christ is not mentioned once, Jesus only nine times (and two of those are in giving requests, and two are incidental), and the gospel only once (and then as the ‘social gospel’).

Activities

The AIS asks for a report of 2017’s activities and outcomes but none is given, just a repetition of the information above. But there is a good description of what they did in 2017 in the Annual Report (available on the Register).

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. But you should first 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, of FamilyVoice[5][vii]? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors who gave $871K last year [Financial Report 2017]? Or you are one of the 97 staff (AIS 2017)? If so, can you ring FamilyVoice’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports[6]. I know I am.

The ACNC Register is therefore not the right place for us – we only have access to the published accounts of FamilyVoice, and the directors[7][ix], with the agreement of the auditor[8], have declared that we don’t exist:

Even if I agreed with what they were doing[9], the carelessness with the name and then the arrogance of this decision means that I would not be donating.

Continuing with the ACNC’s questions, the picture only gets worse.

  1. They got a qualified audit report:

It is not common. This is because the issue can be overcome.

  1. For the spending of your money, they effectively say ‘trust me’: 84% of revenue[10] went on one line item, ‘Administrative expenses’, without any further explanation.
  2. There is no information on the outcomes, results or impact achieved with the donations received.

 

 

  1. On checking my database of review, I found that I had previously reviewed them, back in 2015.
  2. Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?

    Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?

    Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].

  3. https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/LZ/C/A/ASSOCIATIONS%20INCORPORATION%20ACT%201985.aspx
  4. https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/LZ/C/R/ASSOCIATIONS%20INCORPORATION%20REGULATIONS%202008.aspx
  5. [vii] From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au: http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png  
  6. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au.
  7. [ix] The people shown under ‘People’ here.
  8. Graeme Rodda, for Moore Stephens.
  9. “The principal weapon of our warfare against the powers and principalities of this world is not counter principles or propositions or political platforms or “Christian” legislation or electing the “right” political officials. It is Truth…” [Sweet, Leonard. Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ, Chapter 7, Thomas Nelson, Kindle Edition.
  10. 75% of which is from donations.

 

Africa Inland Mission Ltd: charity review

This is review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission[1]’ (and a means for a Member to get income tax exemption when it might not otherwise be available[2], with a consequent accountability regime).

Africa Inland Mission International (Australia) Inc’ is one such Member, and an organisation that seeks donations from the public.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-20.png

This particular charity did respond to a draft of this review, saying ‘Thanks for your updated review. We are considering your comments and will address any required changes in the new year.’

The charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’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 ‘Africa Inland Mission International (Australia) Inc’[3] (AIM), with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[4].

1.   A search on the name on the ACNC Register of charities leads to a charity with the name Africa Inland Mission Ltd.  Presumably this is because this charity has the Missions Interlink name as one the four names under ‘Also known by’.

One, ‘AIM International’ is a trading name, but AIM holds no business names. As it does not have provisions in its constitution[5] that would allow it to drop the ‘Ltd/Limited’ from its name, it is therefore not entitled to trade under the name it uses, ‘Africa Inland Mission’.

2.   NA

3.   The “web address begins with ‘https’” and there is a “closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the first ACNC article above].  The first giving page says ‘Secure donations by PayPal, but there is no link to a description of this security.

4.   The Australian Business Register (linked from AIM’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts.  AIM is, however, a ‘legitimate’ charity.

5.    Objectives

The ‘Mission’ on the website is for the worldwide collection of organisations, but there’s this description about Australia in the Annual Report 2018 [on the ACNC Register]:

Africa Inland Mission (AIM) in Australia partners in the role of empowering the world-wide Christian church in its responsibility to teach and make disciples of Christ according to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19-20.

Activities (from the AIS 2018):

cid:image009.png@01D48E4B.6163F860

The Annual Report 2018 shows that all these figures (except for #3, which is not reported) were significantly less than in 2017.  There is no explanation given for this. 

These are the ‘funds’ to which you can give:

cid:image010.jpg@01D48E4B.6163F860

The disclosure, in the Financial Report, of where the money went, does not mention any projects, and it has to be assumed that ‘Worker Support’ above is ‘Missionary staffing and other costs’:

cid:image011.jpg@01D48E4B.6163F860

The very large increase in ‘Missionary staffing and other costs’ is due to a change in accounting policy.  However, (a) there has been no retrospective application as is required by the Accounting Standards; and (b) there is no explanation for the lack of a corresponding change in Payables. 

The AIS 2018 shows the last three items above as ‘Employee expenses’, a classification that doesn’t match the Accounting Standards.  Plus there is no explanation for how having 23 employees (AIS 2018) generates a zero balance for the last two years for employee entitlements.

There is no mention of the impact of AIM’s work – that is, the Australian workers – on the website or in the Annual Report 2018. 

________________________________________________________

For more a more in-depth review, please contact me.

 

 

 

  1.  https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-21.png
  2.  See here for last year’s review.
  3.  Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?

    Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].

  4.  https://www.acnc.gov.au/tools/guides/guide-using-template-constitution-companies-limited-guarantee:

 

AFES: charity review

This is review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission[1] (and a means for a Member to get income tax exemption when it might not otherwise be available[2], with a consequent accountability regime).

Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students’ (AFES) is one such Member, and an organisation that seeks donations from the public.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-20.png

AFES did not respond to a draft of this review.

The charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’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 ‘Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students’[3] (AFES), with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[4].

1.  A search on the name ‘Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students’ on the ACNC Register of charities leads to a charity with that name.

The Register says that the charity is ‘Also known as’ ‘AFES’. They still haven’t registered this as a business name.

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’” and there is a “closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the first ACNC article above]. There is no information about the security of the information you are entering, on either the first or the second page of the giving process.

4. The Australian Business Register (linked from AFES’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. AFES is, however, a ‘legitimate’ charity.

5. Activities (from the website):

Once you know a name of a person or a campus, perhaps confirmed from the list of groups on the website, you can select it as a destination for your donation:

Or you can donate to ‘Where most needed’.

$11.29 million was donated in 2017.

Campuses are not mentioned when it comes to accounting for the spending of this money.

92% of the expenses that are not directly covered by revenue (‘Conferences and Events’) are shown as ‘Employee Benefits’[5]. There is no further information given on this figure.

Outcomes/impact

The only reference to these on the website is this one:

There are no reports, ad hoc or systematic, of outcomes or impact on the website.

________________________________________________________

For more a more in-depth review, please contact me.

  1. https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/

http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-21.png

2.

3.  See here for last year’s review.

4.  Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.

Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?

Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?

Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].

5.  There is also an undisclosed amount of spending on ‘Employees’ included in the $820K of ‘Other payments to suppliers and employees’.

The ACNC and the promotion of the charities it regulates, including the case of ‘Food Ladder’

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), the national regulator of charities, under ‘ACNC news’, has a series ‘Getting to Know’. Here it promotes particular charities. This is the introduction used: ‘With more than 56,000 charities in Australia, there are thousands of fantastic stories about the impact charities have on their local community.’

A regulator promoting those that it regulates didn’t sit right with me. Here, from the OECD publication, Governance of Regulators[1], is some support for my disquiet:

I asked the ACNC about their decision:

They said that they would be publishing the criteria but declined to respond to the bigger question publicly.

Leaving aside the wisdom of their practice in promoting charities, one would expect that one of the selection criteria would be that the charity is compliant with the regulator’s requirements.

‘Registered charity’ Food Ladder’ was recently promoted:

The ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”. #1 is ‘Check the charity’s name.’

A search on the name ‘Food Ladder’ on the ACNC Register of charities gives a surprising result – no results:

This is because, even though the ACNC says that the charity they were promoting, Fair Business, was ‘commonly known as Food Ladder’, Fair Business, without comment by the ACNC, has omitted to include the name ‘Food Ladder’ in the section ‘Also known as’.

A bigger issue with the name though, is that, again without comment by the ACNC, it is wrong on the ACNC Register. The legal name, the name required by the ACNC, is ‘Food Ladder’, not ‘Fair Business’. And it has been that way since December 2014:

This name is also meant to match that shown in Food Ladder’s governing document but the charity, again without comment by the ACNC, has not lodged one. (They have something under ‘Governing Document’, but this is their ‘Certificate of Registration on Change in Name[2].)

Other ‘Food Ladder’ entities

The name on the Register is also meant to match the name on ASIC’s register. A search on this shows that it does, but also reveals another current ‘Food Ladder’ company:

This company is mentioned only once on the website (here), and then only just its name. Yet it is a ‘wholly owned subsidiary’ (Financial Report 2017):

There’s also a ‘Food Ladder’ company in India. This company is not mentioned in the Financial Report.

Food Ladder does not say in the Financial Report whether it is reporting as an individual entity or a group, but it acknowledges that ‘Food Ladder International Pty Limited’ is a related entity[3].

So, all in all, neither Food Ladder nor the ACNC score well on ‘Name’, the first of the things that the ACNC suggest you check before giving.

Name aside, if you like the look at what Food Ladder is doing, let me know if you want a review on the ACNC’s other criteria.

  1.  From Chapter 5 of the OECD’s Governance of Regulators (https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/governance/the-governance-of-regulators_9789264209015-en).
  2. This was lodged three years after the change.
  3. There is no comment on the fact that 62% of Food Ladder’s current assets is money owing by the subsidiary.