This is a review of the organisation ‘Capital Healing Rooms’. It was prompted by their response to a social media post inviting contact from charities seeking a five figure plus monthly donation, charities ‘willing to undergo reasonable scrutiny, and be open to change.’ (This donation was subsequently given to ‘Capital Healing Rooms’.)
After reading the review, Martyn Ritchard of Capital Healing Rooms suggested a meeting. This meeting resulted in a number of changes to the draft and the comments by the charity you see interspersed below.
Capital Healing Rooms is an organisation that seeks donations online. 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”:
- Check the charity’s name.
- Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
- Be careful of online requests for donations.
- No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
- Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.
1. A search on the name ‘Capital Healing Rooms’ on the ACNC Register of charities leads to a registered charity in the name Capital Healing Rooms Inc. The bottom of Capital Healing Room’s home page shows this is the same organisation.
2. Nothing on the website indicates that Capital Healing Rooms uses professional third-party collectors.
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]. The ‘Donate’ page has a prominent message that ‘CREDIT CARD DONATIONS ARE SECURE AND ENCRYPTED BY STRIPE OR PAYPAL’, supported by the applicable logos of stripe and PayPal.
4. The Australian Business Register (linked from Capital Healing Room’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. This is because it has been granted the status of a ‘public benevolent institution’.
5. The use of your donations
Although nowhere mentioned specifically, the religion, Christianity, is clear from the ‘What we believe’ page. More specifically the charismatic Protestant persuasion.
The need for a para-church organisation like Capital Healing Rooms is supported by that fact that it is in its 16th year, is financially supported by three local churches, draws its current prayer team comes from 12 of them.
A good idea of what they do is gained from the ‘Donate’ page:
Sharing the Gospel?
There’s nothing explicit saying that they do, but given that they are a Christian prayer service, one would expect the Gospel to be shared when it is appropriate. This testimony and this post support this conclusion.
Ministry response: ‘The gospel is shared ‘instrinsically’ in what we do as we pray for guests who come to receive healing. We also share the gospel when appropriate with those who come for food hampers. We have seen many salvations at the Healing Rooms as guests are powerfully touched by the love of God.’
Capital Healing Rooms operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, only in the ACT.
None offered online.
Ministry response: ‘Anyone can donate via our website using Stripe or Paypal (their choice) or by direct debit to our bank account details of which are on the Donate page. https://www.capitalhealingrooms.org.au/donate.’
A Financial Report was lodged last year, but not this year (it’s not compulsory). From the Financial Report 2017:
There is no explanation anywhere for why, when donations are tax-deductible (see above), some donations are classified as ‘Non DGR’.
Ministry response: ‘Donations ‘classified’ as Non DGR are those either given anonymously or from those who don’t wish to have a receipt for tax purposes. It is an internal differentiation only in our accounting system but will be simplified in the next financial year and future years.’
Donations in 2018 totaled $182K (from the AIS 2018).
Ministry response: ‘The definition of fundraising was not clearly understood. However, by nature of us operating totally on donations and having 2 ‘public’ appeals per year (Winter and Christmas) we do ‘fundraise’ so this will be corrected on our 2019 Annual Information Statement.’
There is no Financial Report available on the Register this year (it was voluntary), and 2017’s Report has no cash flow statement.
Ministry response: ‘Financial Statements are available on request from stakeholders and will be provided in future years on ACNC website.’
Resources consumed (i.e. accrual)
The only information available for 2018 is from the AIS 2018:
In 2017, these were the expenses that made double figures:
Specific purpose gifts 40,588.77
FB Allowance – Office 16,039.92
Long Service Leave Expense -10,464.19
The Board (Committee)
The ACNC Register, under ‘Responsible People’, says that four people are responsible for Capital Healing Rooms’ decisions (including reporting):
Is it this Robert Holland?
Ministry response: ‘Yes’
The number of members is not disclosed anywhere, so we don’t know if there is any accountability from the membership. The minimum number of members for a general meeting is five.
Ministry response: ‘The current membership is 7. There is no field on the ACNC portal to show members.’
Although the members have to endorse the Board’s selection of new Board members, it is the Board that decides who becomes a member, and the Board who expels members.
To measure impact one needs a theory of change. Although Capital Healing Rooms is not explicit about it, their ‘What we believe’ page shows that they believe that, by God working through them by his Holy Spirit, people can be cured of what ails them.
Although there is no explicit study of impact, the many testimonies of their clients that they have posted is strong evidence of impact.
Please contact me if you need a more in-depth review.
- 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?
- As associations may either be incorporated or unincorporated, Capital Healing Room’s enabling legislation provides that it must use its full name when dealing with the public: It appears that the charity may not be completely following this requirement.
Ministry response: ‘Changes have been made to our website, receipts & invoices and will be changed on our letterhead etc when reprinted.’ ↑
- The ACT government lists Capital Healing Rooms as one of its ‘emergency relief providers’: ↑
- ‘When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett says this about sharing the Gospel: ‘A host of contextual issues determine the best manner and the appropriate time to present the gospel verbally, particularly in militant Muslim or Hindu settings. But without such a presentation, it is not possible for people to be personally transformed in all their relationships, which is what poverty alleviation is all about [Kindle Locations 1262-1264, Moody Publishers]. ↑
- Two of Responsible Persons on the Register, Martyn Ritchard and Roslynne Ritchard, are also the ‘Australia contact’ for this church in Cambodia. ↑
- Presumably the DGR donations are kept in the Gift Fund that the Constitution requires (clause 30).Ministry response: ‘Correct’ ↑
- In the AIS 2018 they say that they do not intend to fundraise in the 2019 year, but, given their past activities, I doubt whether this is correct.Ministry response: ‘See our note in the body of the review.’ ↑
- This is a financial statement that would be required, along with three others, if Capital Healing Rooms increased in size to $250K revenue, or earlier if it used an auditor that was a member of one of the three professional accounting bodies.Ministry response: ‘Understood – revenue still below this threshold.’ ↑
- Rounding to the nearest dollar is usual and would benefit the reader.Ministry response: ‘Noted for future years.’ ↑
- Presumably this stands for ‘fringe benefits’.Ministry response: ‘Correct’ ↑
- Yes, this is a negative figure. Was it meant to be charged against the liability?Ministry response: ‘Yes it was charged against the liability and incorrectly allocated in the accounts.’ ↑
- And, from the AIS 2018, the only employees. (Even if both were not full-time, the disclosed Full-time equivalent staff of zero must be a blip in the ANCN’s system.)Ministry response: ‘The hard copy of the report filed on the ACNC portal shows full time employees = 2 so this must be an error on their portal.’ ↑