Asia Evangelistic Fellowship International Inc.: charity review

This is a charity review of Asia Evangelistic Fellowship International Inc. (AEFI), an organisation that seeks donations online and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

To see the situation last year, read this review.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • Neither feedback nor complaints are invited via the website.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. Unlike last year, they…did not respond.

Is AEFI registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
    • AEFI is controlled by an entity called the (AEFI) ‘International Council’. The membership is not disclosed.
  • AEFI is a Western Australian incorporated association (A1007002D).
  • It has registered, as a business name, the name it uses on the internet, AEF International.
  • Apart from its office in Western Australia, AEFI operates, per the ACNC Register, in New South Wales and Victoria. AEFI also has an invitation to give on the internet.
    • It still does not have the registration necessary, an ARBN, to operate interstate.
    • It still does explain why it has no fundraising licences.
  • There are two countries shown on the ACNC Register additional to those to which AEFI sent money in 2017: China and Malaysia.

What does AEFI do?

  • The website and the AIS 2017 give the wrong impression. They make no distinction between AEFI and the national AEF organisations:

  • AEFI is the coordinating body for ‘the autonomous chartered national organisations and donor bases known as Asia Evangelistic Fellowship and other organsations started by/or affiliated with AEFI’ [the constitution, paragraph 6],
  • There is no other Asia Evangelistic Fellowship entity with an ABN, so it appears that AEFI acts as both this coordinating body – the ‘international office’ – and the local AEF organization.
    • Otherwise, why would AEFI be soliciting donations?

Does AEFI share the Gospel?[1]

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.

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

  • ‘Donations and bequests’ were $339K (AIS 2017). ‘Net costs’ (a list of donation destinations) totalled $251K. That’s 74% to ‘the field’. Nowhere near 90%.
    • Is the reconciliation in the definition of ‘designated’? In other words, donations to ‘General’ are excluded? But if that is the case, why assume that people who are giving to ‘General’ are not expecting their donation to go to ‘the field’? There is no explanation on the giving page that ‘General’ is for administration expenses. In fact, elsewhere, the opposite is implied:

    • Either way, the 90% claim is deceptive.
    • It would be reasonable to ask them why if would not be more efficient for you to send the money direct to the destination.

Do they pay their board members?

  • There’s nothing prohibiting this in the constitution.
  • There’s no line item in the expenses that suggests that such payments were made.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • The ABN record says no. But they accept donations for a third party:

  • GDG is a secular organisation.

Is AEFI online giving secure?

  • Despite saying in the review last year that they would put a statement about security, there still nothing said on the first page.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • For 92% of the money only a country is specified.
  • 70% goes to India (8% of the Indian total goes to an organization called ‘Destiny India’).
    • If we knew the state, we could search here to see if the money had been received.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (seven months after their year-end, two days before the (extended) deadline, and over a month 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 nine months in the past.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No.
    • The activities described are not just those of AEFI; they include AEF organisations overseas.
    • No outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2017: No.
    • Totally inadequate, as it has been for each of the four years that Reports that have required by the ACNC.
    • This is despite saying last year that a review in 2017 would ensure ‘that its financial reporting meets the requirements of all regulators.’
    • The reporting is not only well short of what the ACNC requires and, on any reasonable definition of ‘appropriate’, non-compliant with Mission Interlink’s standards, but it is also non-compliant with its own requirements (its constitution).
    • More is missing from the Report than is included:
      • Two of the four required financial statements.
      • No Responsible Persons Declaration.
      • No Notes
    • And the two statements that are included do not comply with the Accounting Standards – including basic accounting.
      • ‘Gross profit’ is not (Donations + Book Sales) less money sent overseas.
      • The ‘Futures Fund’ is not a liability:

  • The auditor is not qualified to do the audit, and the audit that he has done does not comply with the Australian Auditing Standards.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Because of the condition of the Report, no comment.

What did the auditor say about AEFI’s last financial statements?

  • The auditor (the third one in as many years), Peter Attwell of Attwell Partners, issued a ‘clean’ opinion. But given the state of the Financial Report (see above), I wouldn’t put much store in this.
    • Peter is not a registered company auditor (asic.gov.au) so is not qualified to do this audit.

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

  • Almost – a PO Box number is not a ‘Street Address’.
  • It is unwise to use a personal email address as the ‘Charity Address for Service.’

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

  • General’
  • ‘AEFI Futures Fund’
  • ‘Solid Rock Cambodia Hospital’
  • ‘Support the General work of AEFI’ – duplicating the first choice
  • ‘Support a Missionary Trainee’
  • ‘Support a Child
  • ‘Support a Community Project’
  • ‘Support a National Worker’
  • There is a brief description of these elsewhere on the website.
    • ‘Nepal Earthquake Appeal’ is no longer an option, and the information on ‘Solid Rock Cambodia Hospital’ is out-of-date.

Who are the people controlling AEFI?

  • This is the way it should be (from the constitution):

  • But this is how it is:

  • You can meet the incumbents of these three offices here.
  • Why no mention of the International Council?
  • The constitution goes on to say that the International Council appoints the International Director and the Board of Directors.
  • But the other members of the Board are not shown.
  • The ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) says that the following people are on the AEFI Board:

To whom is AEFI accountable?

  • Despite saying in response to last year’s review that ‘We are happy to state on our website that we are a member of Missions Interlink and also accountable to ACNC’, ’accountability’ is still not mentioned. Nor is Missions Interlink (other than in the newsletter (see below).
  • AEFI is accountable to the ACNC.
  • And to the Western Australian regulator of incorporated associations.
  • In its newsletter it correctly claims to be an ‘accredited member’ of Missions Interlink:

    • Missions Interlink is an organisation that has standards with which AEFI must comply.
      • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  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.
  2. Last year I did not appreciate the distinction between AEFI and the national AEF organisations.

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *