Asia Evangelistic Fellowship International Inc, charity review

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.  Please start with the updated review published in January 2017, and come back to this one as needed.

This is a charity review, a review for those with an interest in the Australian charity Asia Evangelistic Fellowship International Inc (AEFI ).

It is structured according to the charity’s entry on the ACNC[i]Register, and its purpose is to supply some information extra to what is there, information that may be helpful in your decision about AEFI.

It is up to you to decide whether any or all of the information presented here is what you need in order to make that decision, and whether you should seek any other information, either from the charity itself or from other sources.

Ministry response

Prior to publishing this review, I sent my observations to the charity, on 13 February 2016, and invited them to comment. Their comments are included below.

Organisation of this review

  • The review is organised according to the headings in the Register entry.
    • For each heading in the register entry, first read the information under that heading.
    • Then check if that heading is included below. (Headings for which there is no comment are not included.)

Sources

REGISTRATION DETAILS

Entity Subtype

  • The second is a subtype consistent with sharing the Gospel.

CHARITY DETAILS

Legal Name

  • AEFI is a WA incorporated association. It was registered in 2009.
    • From 1980 to 2001 there was a company with an almost identical name, Asia Evangelistic Fellowship Australia Ltd. What happened in between?
      • AEFI comment: “The organisation was originally established in Singapore in 1960 with the aims of evangelism and church planting, and as new mission fields came on board the need for a parent body to guide the fields became apparent. That parent body was initially established in Singapore. When the inaugural International Director moved to Sydney he started an Australian affiliate, Asia Evangelistic Fellowship Aust Ltd, and it was incorporated in New South Wales soon after (1980) under that state’s incorporations act. In 1997, following the transfer of the new International Director (successor of the inaugural International Director) to Western Australia the parent body was incorporated under that state’s incorporations act. There have been several constitutional amendments since that time. At the same time AEF Aust Ltd was dissolved as all operations were transferred to the parent body.”
  • The relationship between AEFI here and overseas is not clear. India has its own Governing Board. Both the Canadian and New Zealand organisations direct people to the Australian website, and yet it reads (for instance) as if there is just one organisation[ii].
    • AEFI comment: “Today there are 11 mission fields in 10 countries throughout Asia under the banner of AEF International, the primary purpose of this parent organisation as per its constitution is to …”set the vision, provide the leadership, guide, co-ordinate, assist and unify the body of AEF and to pioneer and finance new work to expand the Kingdom of Christ in Asia” There are 15 objectives listed in AEF’s constitution to assist the fields achieve their aims. Whilst the legally approved name is Asia Evangelistic Fellowship International Inc, the name for communication purposes has been changed to AEF International as depicted in its website and social media. The mission fields in 10 Asian countries are required to be incorporated/registered under their own legal systems which means that whilst legally they are not bound by the constitution of AEF International, they all agreed to bind themselves to its constitutional objectives through an International Agreement and Charter, essentially a Memorandum of Understanding.”

Charity ABN

  • Tax deductibility: Your donation to AEFI will not attract a tax deduction.
    • AEFI comment: “AEF International is aware of this fact.”

Charity Street Address

  • Postal address, from the website: PO Box 16 Duncraig East, Western Australia 6023

Email

ANNUAL REPORTING

  • AIS 2015
    • This is AEFI ’s compulsory Annual Information Statement 2015 (AIS 2015).
    • It was submitted three weeks after the expiry of the (generous) seven-month period allowed.
    • It gives basic financial information. More detail is available in the Financial Report 2015 (below).
      • Surplus was $56K, assets $385K and liabilities less than 1K.
      • ‘Employee expenses’ $58k are for one full-time and one part-time employee [AIS 2015].
      • It had $378K in cash and investments
      • AEFI distributed (all overseas) 55% of its $440K revenue
        • AEFI comment: [From their comment written before the 2015 accounts were lodged, i.e. on the 2014 year]. Of this income of $602K, $287K came  from donations.  The 2013/14 income year was not typical because included in that amount was the sale of a property of which AEFI was an equal beneficiary with another non-profit organisation. AEFI’s share was $314K and this was placed in a long term investment account as per the benefactor’s wishes that it be specifically used for the development of AEFI and in particular succession planning as all of the directors and many of the field’s directors are of retirement age and AEFI is undertaking international searches for replacement leaders. The current International Director, Dr Jonathan James, receives a very small salary but his successors  (two new positions) when appointed, will reside in Asia and these retained funds will be used to meet their support costs. Dr James salary is paid by individuals and local churches who specifically requested to support him, it does not come from general donors of the mission.    Of the total donations of approx $287K, approx $85K went to staff salaries, travel and other admin expenses whilst the balance of  $202K was sent overseas to the various mission fields. Therefore, the percentage of income for the year that was sent directly to the mission fields was  $202K of $287K which is 70.38%. It should also be noted that  all donors have the option of donating to a specific ministry such as its schools and orphanages in Nepal and N E India, or to the general development of AEFI, as is demonstrated above, most opt to send their 100% of their donations directly to the  overseas fields.  Non-specific donations are used for staff, travel, conferences and admin costs etc . In the previous three years 2011 to 2013, which are more typical of average income from donations, the following percentage distributions were: 2011-Donations: $326K Direct transfer to mission fields: $213K= 65.34% 2012- Donations: $304K Direct transfer to mission fields: $171K= 56.25% 2013- Donations: $277K Direct transfer to mission fields: $145K= 52.35% and $32K of the total was raised specifically for conference cost
  • Financial Report 2015
    • Consisting only of the Balance Sheet and the Profit & Loss Statement produced by MYOB (?), plus the engagement letter from the auditor, this report is grossly deficient.
      • AEFI comment: The financial report is audited each year and meets current requirements.”
        • Reviewer response: There is no audit report. The current lodgement does not meet either ACNC or Missions Interlink requirements.
    • The ACNC requires also (a) the other two financial statements, (b) a declaration by the responsible persons, (c) Notes to the accounts, and (d) either an audit or a review.
      • AEFI comment: The financial report is audited each year and meets current requirements.”
        • Reviewer response: There is no audit report. The current lodgement does not meet either ACNC or Missions Interlink requirements.
    • AEFI is a member of Missions Interlink[iii]. One of their requirements is that members ‘have available for its members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor [Standards Statement, 4.1]. What they have lodged here falls far short of that requirement.
      • AEFI comment: The financial report is audited each year and meets current requirements.”
        • Reviewer response: There is no audit report. The current lodgement does not meet Missions Interlink’s requirements.

ABOUT THE CHARITY

  • Date Established
    • Sometime between 1976 and 1990. Here’s a history.
      • AEFI comment: “The original entity was established in Singapore in 1960 and has undergone several legal name changes since then as previously described above.”
    • And the story of the founder.
  • Statement of Faith
    • None found on the website. (Lack of a search function meant that I can’t be sure.)
    • There is one in the constitution (see Charity’s Document (sic), below.)

Who the Charity Benefits

  • Vision
    • None found
      • AEFI comment: Whilst it does not have a current written Vision statement AEF International’s vision is to Reach Asia Through National Workers, that is, equipping indigenous peoples with the skills and resources to enable them to spread the Gospel in their own countries”
  • Mission
    • None found
      • AEFI comment: “Again, whilst it does not have a current written mission statement, AEF International strives to achieve its vision through training and equipping local pastors and other church leaders in evangelising and church planting, as well as Biblical training through its degree courses, and providing primary and secondary education to impoverished and at risk children who would otherwise get no education.”
    • None found on the website.
  • Activities (What did AEFI do?)
    • From the Description of charity’s activities and outcomes in the AIS 2015
      • Money is collected from Christians and Christian churches and sent to affiliated organisations in Asia and the Pacific for the major purposes of evangelism and church planting.  The secondary purpose is to provide schooling, orphanages and other buildings as well as bible training for pastors.
  • Outcomes (What did AEFI deliver?)
      • AEFI did not respond to the request in the AIS 2015 for a description of its outcomes.
        • AEFI comment on a similar finding for the AIS 2014: “This will be addressed within the next 10 business days.”
  • Impact (How were people’s lives improved?)
    • Nothing systematic found.
      • AEFI comment on a similar finding for the AIS 2014: “This will be addressed within the next 10 business days”

Size of Charity

  • AEFI is well below the threshold for the next size (‘Large’).

Financial Year End

  • By the time the next financial report is due, the financial information in the current one will be up to 18 months out-of-date. You may therefore need to ask for more up-to-date information.

WHERE THE CHARITY OPERATES

Operating State(s)[iv]

  • As an association AEFI is a registrable Australian body. If they have understood this section, they are saying that they are conducting business outside their home state. This means that they need to register under Part 5B.2 of the Corporations Act 2001. It’s lack of an ARBN shows that hasn’t.
    • AEFI comment: The business name AEF International has now been registered with ASIC and this gives AEF International the ability to operate nationally”
      • Reviewer response: A business name is something quite separate to the requirement for an ARBN.
  • AEFI calls for donations on its website.
    • The three states in which AEFI operates require that fundraisers, with some limited exceptions, hold a fundraising licence for that state. AEFI does not have such a licence.
      • AEFI comment: “AEFI will seek legal advice on this requirement to determine what licence is needed as it is not aware of this
    • Nor does it have a licence in the other four states in which there is licensing regime. Whether or not it requires one depends, apart from exemptions, on whether the state believes that AEFI, by advertising for donations via the internet, is fundraising in their state.
      • AEFI comment: “AEFI will seek legal advice on this requirement to determine what licence is needed as it is not aware of this

CHARITY’S DOCUMENT (SIC)

  • There is no Annual Report/Review available on the ACNC Register.
    • AEFI comment before lodging its AIS 2015: “This information will be made available”
  • Nor on the AEFI website.
    • AEFI comment before lodging its AIS 2015: “This information will be made available”

RESPONSIBLE PERSONS

No. of Australian ‘responsible person’ positions[v]

Gilbert Cann                   This function was not working at the time of writing

Lindsay Casey

Raymond Dallin

Keith Ireland

Jonathan James

William Wasserman

Kevin Watts

Lorraine Wylie

  • The constitution provides for an International Council as well as a Board of Directors. No distinction is made on the Register or on the website
  • Under ‘Position’
    • There should be another office bearer, and
    • Shouldn’t the other members be either ‘Director’ or ‘Board Member’, not a mixture.
  • There are only two people profiled under ‘Our Leaders’:       James (above), and a Met Castillo.       Met is described as the President of ‘AEF International’.
    • AEFI comment:Dr Met Castillo resides in the Philippines and is the non-executive President”
  • On another site Ray Dallin is described as the Chairman of ‘Asia Evangelistic Ministries (AEF) International’, so it is not clear who leads the board.
    • AEFI comment: “Dr Ray Dallin is the Executive Chair of the AEFI Board

 

(End of review)

 

[i] Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, Australia’s national regulator of charities.

[ii] The Singaporean organisation doesn’t appear to have its own website, and the one for the Filipino site was not working. (Here’s its Facebook page though.)

[iii] A valuable membership for some– see ‘What membership means’ here.)

[iv] This is how the ACNC explains ‘operating locations’ in their application guide: ‘You need to give details about where in Australia your organisation conducts (or plans to conduct) its activities.’

[v] Because of the possibility of two (or more) directors having the same name on the register of responsible persons, it is not possible to be definitive about the number of directorships held.