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:

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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.

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

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

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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’.

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