Pioneers of Australia Inc.: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Pioneers of Australia Inc. (PoA), 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?

  • I sent them a draft of this review before publication. Like last year, they…did not respond.

Is PoA registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
    • You (still) would not know it from their entry in the ACNC Register, nor from their accounts, but the people who run PoA also run another four charities, all with the same directors, the same office, and the same email addresses:
  • You would have to read the privacy statement on the website to the finish for an explanation of the group. This confirms the connection between PoA and PMF, and adds other unspecified entities to the mix:
    • “Pioneers” refers to Pioneers of Australia Inc, Pioneers Ministries Foundation and other entities of the Pioneers consortium.
      • ‘Consortium’ is not a grouping recognised by the ACNC. It allows group reporting, but PoA has not taken advantage of this. (Nor, if the relationship is the other way around, has PMF.)
  • PoA doesn’t consolidate, that is incorporate the transactions of the others in its accounts. These other entities are not even mentioned in its Financial Report (see below).
  • Other registrations:
    • As a Victorian incorporated association (A0035283T).
    • The name that it uses for its website, Pioneers Australia, is not a registered business name. Nor is the its name without ‘Inc.”, also used on the website. (It is arguable that PoA’s enabling legislation requires the full name to be used.)
    • It has the registration necessary to operate outside its home state (ARBN 080211730).
    • PoA operates in all six states that potentially require it to register as a fundraiser, and has an invitation to give on the internet. But it has no fundraising licences[1].

What does PoA do?

  • See the ‘About’ page on their website.
    • PoA, per the ACNC Register, says it doesn’t operate overseas. This doesn’t match their statement, on the above page, that they work in partnership with local churches overseas.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • No? (What, if anything, do they do overseas?)

What impact are they having?

  • There are some stories that showing the impact of PoA work, but nothing systematic.

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

  • Although there is an item ‘Administration’, there is insufficient disclosure about the other expenses to estimate how much administration expense is included in them.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient disclosure in the accounts to answer this.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No, not per the ABN record.
    • Tax deductible giving is offered via the ‘Give’ page only because PoA is collecting for other charities:
      • Only gifts to Pioneers workers or projects approved by our Overseas Aid and Relief Fund (OARF) can receive tax deductible donations.
        • The charity that is soliciting ‘gifts to Pioneer workers’ is not disclosed.
        • Nor is the relationship between PoA’s 29 employees (AIS 2016) and these ‘workers’.
        • The Fund, formally APCM Overseas Aid and Relief Fund, belongs to Pioneer Ministries Foundation.

Is PoA’s online giving secure?

  • NA.
    • Although there is an online giving facility on the website, it appears from the breakup of their revenue in the accounts (Note 3), that none of the money given online goes to PoA.
      • Security is not mentioned.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • They show zero for ‘Grants and donations made…’ in the AIS 2016.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six and a half months after their year-end, two weeks earlier 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 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • ‘Donations and bequests’ doesn’t match the accounts.
    • The amount recorded for ‘Employee expenses’ includes ‘ministry’.
    • For a charity with 29 employees and operating throughout Australia, a description of its ‘activities’ as ‘employ, train and facilitate workers in Australia and overseas’, is inadequate.
    • No outcomes are given.
  • Financial Report 2016:
    • There’s no mention of PMF and the other three charities, so if PoA controls them, then, no, it doesn’t comply.
    • Even if control is by one of these other four charities, the relationship should be disclosed:
    • $1.58 m in expenses and 29 employees, but the lack of non-current assets is still unexplained.
    • 97% of revenue are ‘grants’. There is still no explanation of this item, an item that is counter-intuitive for a Christian charity that is ‘advancing religion’.
    • There is no explanation for the non-standard item ‘Employment & Ministry’ (71% of expenses).
    • We now know that last year’s unexplained ‘PI levy’ is an ‘International contribution’ ($161K). But to whom and for what?
    • Employee benefits liability is still incorrectly disclosed.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • For at least the last three years, the surplus has been less than 1K.
  • ‘Employment and ministry’ rose from 67% of revenue to 71%.
    • The relationship between this item and the standard descriptor ‘Employee benefits expense’ is not given.
  • There are no non-current assets (without explanation).
    • This suggests that part of the financial picture is missing.
  • Non-current liabilities are $46K, but the negative long-term position is more than covered by the positive working capital.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Joel Hernandez, of rdl.accountants, issued a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • Joel is only qualified to do this audit because of the ACNC’s transitional provisions for reporting by incorporated associations:  the Victorian regulator doesn’t require the audit of PoA to be performed by a registered company auditor.
    • Before you decide how much comfort to take from his finding, I suggest that you
      • Read here and here.
      • Re-read the information above under ‘Financial Report 2016’.

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

  • Not quite – ‘Date Established’ is blank.
  • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are still blank, but these are not compulsory.

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

  • NA – although there is an online giving facility on the website, it appears from the breakup of PoA’s revenue in the accounts (Note 3), that it is still the case that none of the money given online goes to them.
  • If you are happy to donate to the unregistered ‘consortium’, these are your options:
    • ‘Give to a Global Project’
      • ‘Aid & Relief Projects’
        • 10 projects with Pioneers Ministries Foundation
      • ‘Special Funding’
        • ‘Unexpected needs’
        • ‘The cost of preparing to go overseas’
        • ‘Customised giving to a particular ministry’
      • ‘Ministry Projects’
    • ‘Give to a Pioneer Worker’

Who are the people controlling PoA?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • Per the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • Graham Conway
    • Ian Fryer
    • James Gow
    • Jessica Grozsek
    • Timothy Macready
    • Timothy Meyers
    • Timothy Silberman
    • Judith Simcoe-Fitzmaurice
    • Compared to last year, the same people except that Malcolm Gill and Patrick Lok have gone.

To whom are PoA accountable?

  • Not claimed on the website, but PoA is a member of Missions Interlink, an organisation that has standards with which it must comply.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • PoA is also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. “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. 

Praxeis: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Praxeis, an organisation that seeks donations on the internet, and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • Before publication, I sent them the review for comment. Like last year, they did not respond.

Is Praxeis registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • Also as a public company (a company limited by guarantee).
    • It is permitted to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
  • Although they don’t mention it, either on their website or in the Financial Report 2016, Praxeis is a ‘mission arm’ of Crossway Baptist Church Inc.
    • The church controls Praxeis but has, without explanation, chosen not to consolidate Praxeis.
  • Praxeis operates, per the ACNC Register, in five states (but not overseas). It appeals for money on its website. It still has no fundraising licences in states that have a licensing regime that is applicable to charities[1].

What do they do?

  • These are their ‘core activities’:
    • continual, passionate and persevering prayer,
      always
      sharing the good news of Jesus with lots of people,
      inviting people to the exciting and challenging journey of
      following Jesus (making disciples),
      creating simple and reproducible
      communities that live out the message of Jesus (simple Church),
      creating a movement of people that virally spread the message and
      multiply.
      These are the things we focus on and do again and again.
  • Although not mentioned under ‘About’, and therefore easy to miss, more specific information can be found under the main menu item ‘hubs’.
  • The description of ‘activities and outcomes’ in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2016 is identical to last year, so not very helpful in telling us what they did in 2016:
    • The principal activities of the company during the financial year were sharing the Christian message of Jesus Christ in order to make disciples of Jesus Christ, training Christians to plant churches throughout Australia and the world, assisting the leaders of planted churches to run and grow the church and providing ongoing ministry training, mentoring and support for church ministers and leaders.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient public information to say.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • Yes

What impact are they having?

  • There is one incidental mention of ‘impact’ on the website, and nothing in the Financial Report 2016. (There is no mention of the Crossway Annual Report.)

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

  • There is no expense item ‘administration’. All the expenses may include some administration, so there is no clear way to even estimate the figure as defined above.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The AIS 2016 reports that no grants or donations were made.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (seven months after their year-end, four days before the (extended) deadline, and four days earlier 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 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • The financial statements are not general purpose financial statements, as stated here, but those where the assumption is that anybody interested in the charity can request a financial report tailored to their needs.
    • Outcomes are not reported.
    • There is an item ‘Giving and donation expense’ in the Financial Report 2016, yet nothing is reported for ‘Grants and donations made…’
    • The figure for ‘Other income…’ does not match the same figure in the Financial Report 2016.
  • Financial Report 2016: Questionable[3].
    • The directors’ belief that ‘a special purpose financial report’ is acceptable, a choice that allows them to make less than a full disclosure about Praxeis’ finances and operations, is implicitly a statement that any user is able to command the preparation of a financial report tailored to their needs. That’s all the people who they speak to around Australia and all the donors and potential donors who read the website material. Do the directors realise they are saying this?
    • The relationship between Praxeis and Crossway Baptist Church is close, and Praxeis acknowledges that the church is a related party, but the nature of the relationship is not identified.
    • The note in Note 10 (‘Other liabilities’) says that donations are received and passed on to ‘staff’. This suggests that revenue is overstated by the amount received for these staff (money received for a third party is not revenue).
    • The money yet to be paid to staff is treated in three different ways:
      • Note 10 says that the liability ‘General support’, ‘relates to staff support donations to be paid to exiting staff.’
      • The ‘Staff Support Reserve’ ‘are funds donated to the ministry from which salaries have not been paid at year end.’
      • Note 12 says that there is a contingent liability for ‘staff support donations made to ministry staff from which salaries have not been paid at year end.’
      • The relationship between the employees (19 in the AIS 2016) and workers to whom you can give is not explained.
    • 93% of the revenue is in three items the meaning of which is not explained.
    • The second largest expense (after ‘Employee benefits expense’) is the unexplained ‘Ministry expense’ (the entire charity is a ‘ministry’).
    • The ‘Provisions’ Note just repeats what is in the statement. Are these employee benefits?
      • If so, why are there more employee benefits separated in ‘Other liabilities’?
    • ‘Other comprehensive income’ is missing from the Statement of Changes in Equity.

What was the financial situation shown by that Report?

  • Revenue increased this year by 19%; however, ‘Employee benefits expense’ increased by 30% (rising from 82% of expenses to 86%).
  • This contributed to a decline in the surplus as a percentage of revenue from 11% to 7%.
  • Note 1 (i) reports that some of the cash given to ‘ministry staff’ may not have made it into the company’s bank account.
  • Gifts and donation expense is 1% of revenue.
  • The combination of term deposits and ‘Cash and cash equivalents’ represents eight months of revenue (up from seven last year).
  • For a charity with nineteen employees, and revenue of $925K, why is ‘Property, plant and equipment’ only $3K?

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Peter Shields, Chartered Accountant, of Saward Dawson, issued a ‘clean’ opinion.
  • Before deciding how much comfort to take from this
    • Read here and here to draw the right conclusions from such an opinion.
    • Re-read the ‘Financial Report 2016’ section above.
  • The potential understatement of revenue (see ‘Financial Report 2016’, above), was thought by the auditor to be ‘of such importance that it is fundamental to users’ understanding of the financial report’ [AAS 706, paragraph 6, www.auasb.gov.au], as to warrant a separate paragraph in his report (‘Completeness of Income’).

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

  • Yes

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

  • The ‘Give’ page implies that there are different purposes and different ‘workers’ that you can give to, but these are not listed anywhere on the website.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website, but from the ACNC Register:
  • Two of these directors are also directors of Crossway Baptist Church, a related party.
  • Unless Hiew Siong, the Secretary, is a member of the board, he should not be included on the Register.
  • There are 10 directorships in the name ‘James Hall’. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course doesn’t include for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which Praxeis’ James Hall is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful, it would be legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.
  • The directors are answerable to the members of the company. But with only six members, and directors required to be members (the constitution), there is no accountability via the membership.

To whom is Praxeis accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
    • Its ‘Charity Tick’ is used on the website in support of you giving to them. And rightly so, because it would be unwise to give to a charity that is unregistered. The ‘tick’ also means Praxeis’ AIS is not overdue, and no compliance action has been take against it.
  • Praxeis is, as they claim, also in support of you giving, a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • Confirmed.
    • See the section Activities in this review for one opinion on the strength of this accountability.
  • As a company, Praxeis is also accountable to ASIC.

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. “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. 
  3. I use the Pinnacle Financial Statements, respected in the profession as providing a very sound basis for producing compliant financial reports. To this I add an assessment of materiality (both quantitative and qualitative), where the users being considered are donors.

Sydney Missionary & Bible College: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Sydney Missionary & Bible College (SMBC) as an organisation that seeks donations on the internet, and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For last year’s review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they, like last year, didn’t respond.

Is SMBC registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • As a public company, company limited by guarantee.
    • SMBC is entitled to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
    • It also has a business name under which it may operate, SMBC’s The Bridge.
  • SMBC operates, per the ACNC Register, in all six states that have a fundraising licence regime, but is still licensed in only NSW[1].
  • SMBC controls another charity, SMBC Foundation Limited.
    • There is no description of the Foundation on the website.
    • There is no explanation in the Financial Report 2016 for why SMBC doesn’t produce consolidated financial statements.
      • The Foundation is not even mentioned in the Financial Report.
    • The Foundation had revenue of $540K, a surplus of $351K and equity of $594K.

What do they do?

  • Start with what is said in its name, then
    • ‘SMBC is thoroughly evangelical and Bible-centred, interdenominational in character, strongly cross culturally mission minded and underpinned by a committment (sic – still) to learning and being transformed in the context of caring community….’

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient disclosure in the accounts to answer this.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • No

What impact are they having?

  • There is no indication that they are assessing their impact. (I searched for ‘outcomes’ too.)

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

  • ‘Administration expenditure’ (sic) is 7% of expenses. But all the other expenses may contain ‘administration’ expenses, so there is no clear way to even estimate the figure as defined above.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Their ABN record says that SMBC has deductible gift recipient status.
    • Why, then, are only three of the seven funds for which it seeks donations marked as being ‘tax deductible’?

Is their online giving secure?

  • Although there is no logo or link, the page says that ‘Westpac’s Secure Portal’ is used, so I’d suggest that the giving is secure.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • They show zero for ‘Grants and donations made…’ in the AIS 2016.

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

  • Seven different funds.
    • However, it appears that not a dollar was received again this year in other than the ‘Building & Maintenance Fund’. Is that because they are collecting for another charity, SMBC Foundation Limited?

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five months after their year-end, and at the same time as 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 9 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Not quite – it says that general purpose financial statements were prepared whereas it was the lower standard special purpose statements.
  • Financial Report 2016: No
    • There is no explanation of why their subsidiary, SMBC Foundation Limited, is not included in the accounts. (In fact, not only is the relationship not disclosed, but this company is not mentioned.)
    • There is insufficient disclosure of the non-current borrowings. Consequently, there is a question over (a) their classification as non-current (with implications for the going concern assumption), and (b) the relationship between borrower and lender.
    • With revenue of $6.00 m, hundreds of students, operations all over Australia, and 68 staff, it is not credible for the directors to state, as they do, that “there are no users who are dependent on its general purpose financial statements”.
      • This allows them to prepare the lower standard special purpose financial statements.
      • Do they realise that they are effectively saying that all current and prospective donors, students, staff and suppliers are able to command the preparation of a report tailored to their needs?

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • The surplus as a percentage of revenue was increased from negative 8% to positive 2%.
    • Due in large part to an 81% increase in donations.
  • However, this and other changes was nowhere near enough to rectify the poor short-term financial structure. The working capital position was sufficiently dire (again) – current liabilities were 1.5 times current assets – that the directors thought it necessary to address whether the company was a going concern, that is, whether it could pay its debts as and when they were due and continue to operate for the next 12 months.
    • Their positive answer was based on
      • Assets exceeding liabilities
        • $30.24 m of buildings – presumably the SMBC campus – was the only reason that assets exceeded liabilities.
      • $750K of the $1.36 m non-current borrowings having ‘no set repayment date’.
        • Without further information, these are incorrectly classified as non-current. And a reclassification to current would mean a much higher deficit of working capital (see above).
      • The balance of those borrowings being due progressively, starting April 2018.
      • An overdraft $338K below its limit.
        • The limit was increased this year.
  • Why the interest rate on one part of the $1.36 m borrowings– the Notes do not disclose which part – is zero is not disclosed.
  • ‘Unpaid fees’ have increased 127% – to $178K – yet there is no mention of bad and doubtful debts.
  • The number of employees at the time of completing the AIS 2016, May 2017, was 68. There were only 52 at 31 December 2016.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • But he agrees with the directors’ decision to
      • Produce the lower standard special purpose financial statements
      • Not disclose the existence of the subsidiary, and
      • Classify the $750K of borrowings as non-current.
  • The auditor’s independence was threatened by his involvement in the preparation of the report he was auditing. You might ask how this was countered.

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

  • No. It is (still) missing information under ‘Other Name(s)’ and ‘Date Established’.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The directors are not mentioned on the website. From the ACNC Register they are:
    • Kirrily Brown
    • Andrew Chen
    • Geoffrey Deane
    • Jennifer Fallon
    • Mark Freeman
    • Stuart Gow
    • James Lane
    • Raymond Notley
    • Dean Rerekura
    • Scott Sanders
    • The board is accountable to the members. But there are only 11 of them – and ten of those may be the board members.

To whom is SMBC accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
    • Its ‘Charity Tick’ is used on the website in support of you giving to them. And rightly so, because it would be unwise to give to a charity that is unregistered. The ‘tick’ also means SMBC’s AIS is not overdue, and the ACNC has not taken any compliance against it.
  • SMBC is, as they claim, also in support of you giving, a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • Confirmed.
    • See the section Activities in this review for one opinion on the strength of this accountability.
  • As a company, SMBC is also accountable to ASIC.
  • It also has some other memberships, listed here. One or more of these may have some ongoing requirements of membership.

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. “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. 

Reach Beyond: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Reach Beyond, an organisation that seeks donations on the internet, and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they, like last year, did not respond.

Is Reach Beyond registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • Also as a public company (a company limited by guarantee).
    • It is permitted to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
    • Although it has registered a business name identical to its legal name, it has not registered the other name that it uses, Reach Beyond Australia.
  • Operating in all six states that may require registration as a fundraiser, and raising money via the internet. No licences are held[1].

What do they do?

  • ‘Since 2003 Reach Beyond (Australia) formerly HCJB Australia has been transmitting from far North West Australia to the Asia Pacific region through short wave radio and today broadcasts programs for 8-9 hours a day in 30 languages, including 19 South Asia languages.

Reach Beyond is part of a global community committed to reaching unreached people groups with the gospel through the use of dynamic media and high quality programs along with healthcare and community development. [Who we are].

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient public information to say.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • Yes. (Listen to a sample of the programs here.)

What impact are they having?

  • The directors recognise the importance of measuring and reporting this:
    • Since Reach Beyond relies on donations from its supporters, the provision of funds to enable the ongoing operation of the organisation will rely on consistent communication with our constituent base that brings with it evidence of the effectiveness of the programs it broadcasts [‘Strategies’, Directors’ Report, AIS 2016].
  • However, nothing is reported yet.

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

  • There is insufficient information disclosed in the accounts to even estimate this.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • ‘As a Christian mission with the primary purpose of broadcasting the Gospel, Reach Beyond does not qualify for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status from the Australian Tax Office.’ [The ‘Ways to Give’ page.]

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The AIS 2016 reports that Reach Beyond did not make any grants or give any donations.
    • The item ‘Support for Program Partners’, 8% of expenses, appear to be supplier payments rather than financial support.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five months after their year-end, two weeks 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 13 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Nearly
    • Outcomes are not reported.
    • The business name is missing.
  • Financial Report 2016: Questionable.
    • The directors’ decision (with the auditor’s agreement) to produce the type of financial statements that don’t comply with all the Accounting Standards is questionable.
      • At least 81%[3] of revenue is from donations, and from the picture painted by the ACNC Register, combined with the website, there are many donors, and they are spread far and wide. And then there are the prospective donors envisaged by the public request for money. Do the directors realise that they are saying that any of these donors, both present and prospective, can request Reach Beyond to tailor a financial report to suit their needs?
      • The accounting policy for three of the four ‘Property, Plant & Equipment’ items is not disclosed.
      • In an explanation of ‘Property, Plant & Equipment’, having 50% of the total in an item called ‘Plant & Equipment’ is insufficient disclosure.
      • The following atypical items are not explained:
        • ‘Support payable’
        • ‘Receipts from Kununurra’
        • ‘Support for Program Partners’
        • ‘Missionary Support Admin Fees’
        • ‘IBF Development’
      • The Statement of Changes in Equity… is missing ‘Other Comprehensive Income’.

What was the financial situation shown by that Report?

  • Working capital – the excess of current (short-term) assets over current (short-term) liabilities – was marginally negative last year. It is has worsened this year (to 85%).
    • ‘Trade and other payables’ (creditors) has increased 44%.
  • The longer term financial structure appears sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion. To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please
    • read here and here.
    • re-read the ‘Financial Report 2016’ section above.

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

  • Except for missing the business name, yes.

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

  • Although not supported by information elsewhere on the website, a message on the Donate page implies that you do:
    • To allocate your gift, when you reach the review donation page, please leave us a message.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • On both the ACNC Register, and on the website[4], these people:
    • Graeme Buntrock
    • Stephen Coleman
    • Peter Letchford
    • Paul Mock
    • Dale Stagg
    • John Wilson
      • There are 24 directorships in the name ‘John Wilson’. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course doesn’t include for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which Reach Beyond’s John Wilson is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful, it would be legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.
  • The above people are answerable to the members of the company. Of whom there are 96.

To whom is Reach Beyond accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
    • Its ‘Charity Tick’ is used on the website in support of you giving to them. And rightly so, because it would be unwise to give to a charity that is unregistered. The ‘tick’ also means SBMC’s AIS is not overdue, and no compliance action has been take against it.
      • But it means no more than this.
  • SMBC is, as they claim, also in support of you giving, a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • Confirmed.
    • See the section Activities in this review for one opinion on the strength of this accountability.
  • As a company, SMBC is also accountable to ASIC.

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. 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. 
  3. Does the revenue item ‘Receipts from Kununurra’ $130K include any donations?
  4. I assume that John Wilson on the Register is the same person as Ian Wilson on the website.

Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor Incorporated: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor Incorporated (SAUP), an organisation that seeks donations on the internet, and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For last year’s review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they…did not respond.

Is SAUP registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • SAUP is a Queensland incorporated association (No. IA31696).
  • It operates, per the ACNC Register, in five states.
    • Four of the states require charities to register if they are ‘fundraising’.
      • SAUP solicits donations on the internet.
      • It has no fundraising licences[1].
  • It operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in India.

What do they do?

  • SAUP is a ‘sending office’ of Servants.
  • The page for SAUP on the Servants’ website has this description of what it does:
    • If you’re interested in Servants and you live in Australia – you’re not alone! A network of us across the country promote the work of Servants, participate in discernment, prepare folk to make the move to a slum, and to make staying there as hassle-free as possible. The Servants Australia office is located in Brisbane at Windsor Road Baptist Church, and provides the hub for a number of volunteers. Individuals with skills, experience and interest in Servant alongside the poor (sic) are in each State, and at times are available for face-to-face discussions.
  • And this is what they did in 2016 (from the AIS 2016):
    • In 2016 our key workers in India were home on furlough or addressing visa issues. This meant that in 2016 our main work was in Australia, raising awareness of issues in Asian slums, making contact with people interested in working in this environment and providing support and guidance as they considered their options. This included presenting and running information events at a number of key Australian Christian conferences and gatherings, as well as one-on-one support and relationship building with individuals considering future work in this environment. We also spent time supporting our workers as they used their time in Australia constructively and considered their future options. This activity also included maintaining a small office at Red Hill to serve as a base for our coordinator and volunteers and for storing information
      • What is the status of these ‘key workers’ given that SUAP doesn’t have any full-time employees (AIS 2016)?

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient public information to say.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • No

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.

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

  • On the giving page on the website, prospective donors are told that
    • There are several ways you can contribute financially to Servants’ vision to see the urban poor and their communities transformed by Christ.  Servants offices are fully staffed by volunteers and overheads are kept to a minimum in keeping with our commitment to simplicity. Donations can be made for specific Servants project funds or in support of individual missionaries.* No administration fee is taken out of donations to Servants projects and 100% of your gift will be sent to the field [emphasis in original].
      • But in addition to nine volunteers, SAUP has an employee (AIS 2016).
      • SAUP made grants and gave donations that totalled only 17% of donations received (AIS 2016).

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No.
    • But SAUP promote a secular organisation, Global Development Group, as a means of getting a tax deduction:
      • Servants is an incorporated not-for-profit association in Queensland. We are presently not registered for Deductible Gift Recipient status therefore cannot issue tax receipts. However we partner with Global Development Group who provide tax receipts for the ‘Big Brothers and Big Sisters’ project in Cambodia, and ‘Lilok Organic Farm’ project in The Philippines. Other projects are currently in the process of obtaining tax deductibility status.
        • What does this facility cost SA?
        • Global Development Group is not a Christian organization, and would not be allowed to spread the Gospel via such projects anyway. How then can such projects meet the objects of SAUP?

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

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

  • The form for a donation via PayPal invites you to “enter name of missionary or project)”, but the names of these missionaries and projects are not given on the website.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • We can only assume that they were sent to somebody or some organisation in India, the country shown on the ACNC Register.
    • The Indian Government requires all foreign contributions to be reported.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (on the second last day, seven months after their year-end, and at the same time as 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 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Almost – no outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2016: NA
    • Because of its size SAUP doesn’t have to lodge a Financial Report.
    • Although SAUP is a member of Missions Interlink, and 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], they did not choose to lodge one with the ACNC voluntarily. You could ask for it though.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Not from a Report, but the AIS 2016:
    • Almost all the $75K income came from ‘Donations and bequests’.
    • Employees took 85% of the income (or 62% of expenses).
      • This is for one part-time employee (AIS 2016).
      • The presence of an employee does not match the statement on the giving page that ‘Servants offices are fully staffed by volunteers…’.
    • The $13K ‘Grants and donations made…’ represents only 17% of income (or 12% of expenses).

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • NA

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

  • Almost:
    • The website address is for the site that covers all the offices of the network worldwide. This is the page about Australia.
    • ‘Date Established’ is blank.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The directors are not mentioned on the website. From the ACNC Register they are:
    • Jon Eastgate
    • Nathan Elmes
    • Kelly Otto
    • Ralph Reilly
    • The board is accountable to the members. The number of members is not available.

To whom is SAUP accountable?

  • Although it is an Australian association, another body, the ‘International Leadership Team (undefined), has the power to admit and the power to remove members (the constitution).
  • The page for Australia on the website claims membership of Missions Interlink. Confirmed.
    • For one view on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • As a charity, accountable to the ACNC.
  • And to the Queensland regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. “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. 

W.E.C. International mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of W.E.C. International (WEC), an organisation that seeks donations on its website, and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they did not respond.

Is WEC registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • Also as a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • It is permitted to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
    • But it is not permitted to use the other two names it uses, WEC International, and WEC International Australia.
  • Still not licensed to fundraise in its home state, New South Wales, nor in other five states that the ACNC Register says it operates in[1].

What do they do?

  • The description under ‘What we do’, at least initially, is about the international organisation, not WEC. Further down the page there is a link to a description of what WEC does.
    • That page says that WEC has six teams, but only five are described:
      • ‘Mobilisation Team’, ‘Support Services Team’, ‘Member Care Team’, ‘Worldview’, and ‘Australian Leadership Team’.
  • There are three other Australian organisations under ‘Who we are’ on the website: ‘Worldview Centre’, ‘Betel’, and ‘Rainbows of Hope’.
    • ‘Worldview Centre’ is the registered charity Worldview Centre For Intercultural Studies.
      • It is “a Christ-centred discipleship community, training for cross-cultural ministry.”
    • ‘Betel’ is the registered charity Betel Australia Ltd.
      • There is no Australian website, but from the international one:
        • Betel began in Spain in the inner city barrio of San Blas, Madrid almost three decades ago when a small group of WEC International missionaries began to care for the needs of a few drug addicts and marginalized people. Today its program and communities can be found in over 100 urban areas in 24 nations.
    • ‘Rainbows of Hope’ is a United States organisation, a ministry of ‘WEC International’ (that is, the international organisation). It does not have a branch in Australia.
      • From its website:
        • We pray and aim to strengthen WEC-related communities by serving as a resource and support for those in WEC who God is using to help children in their area who are in-crisis or at-risk to become children in Christ, holistically restored, growing as vital members of their church and community.

Does WEC share the Gospel?[2]

  • It is required by the first object in the constitution:
    • to promote the speediest possible fulfilment of the command of our Lord Jesus Christ by a definite attempt to evangelise the remaining unevangelised parts of the Earth as enunciated in the Principles and Practice.
  • But as can be seen from the previous section, WEC facilitates this, rather than does it.

What impact are they having?

  • There is no evidence that this is being measured.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, administration?

  • The impact that WEC is seeking is not clear, so any such calculation is not possible.
  • WEC state, on their website, that ‘100% of all donations go towards funding the continual work of Reaching People and Planting Churches without administrative deductions.’
    • How they fund their considerable administration expenses is not explained.
    • This statement is not reconcilable with the information in the Comprehensive Statement of Income (sic).

Do they pay their directors?

  • This is prohibited by their constitution.
  • There is no line item ‘directors’ fees’ (or similar) in the expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No.
    • But WEC recommends a secular organisation, HADA, that it says it ‘supports’ (financially?), if you want a tax deduction:
      • Donations to WEC or our workers are NOT tax deductible, although a few of our ministries are, to read more about tax deductible projects WEC is involved in, head over to http://hada.org.au
        • WEC is not mentioned on this site.
        • There is one HADA ministry mentioned on the WEC website, and that is a footnote in a news item.

Is their online giving secure?

  • ezidebit is used, so yes.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged four and a half months after their year-end, over a month earlier 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 ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Except for the absence of outcomes, yes.
  • Financial Report 2016: Questionable compliance.
    • In response to the review last year, WEC said that ‘All money that comets us in (sic) is given, 100%, to the intended recipient and any member who incurs living costs paid by WEC is then required to reimburse WEC, so any WEC member achieves a zero personal benefit from WEC income. Much of the income reported is the reimbursements from WEC members.’
      • Reimbursements are not revenue. Revenue is therefore greatly overstated.
    • Does not the relationship between Worldview Centre For Intercultural Studies and WEC mean that the latter should present consolidated financial statements?
      • The Centre says (Note 18 in its accounts) that it is
        • an independent company in Australia that operates within the accepted practices of the worldwide group WEC International, (not the Australian company), which has its leadership team and headquarters based in Singapore. While adhering to the ethos of WEC International the Worldview Centre is autonomous in decision making.
      • This doesn’t match what WEC says about the relationship:
        • WEC describes the Centre as one of its teams.
        • Under its ‘Related Parties’[3] Note in its accounts (Note 20), it says that
          • Members of the company are required to be members of WEC International, as are the majority of the Board. The Worldview Board of Directors is the final legal authority for the company…The WEC International Leadership Team approves the appointment of the Worldview Principal or leadership team. WEC International is the owner of the property on which the College is situated.
            • The Chairman of WEC is the Chairman of the Centre. There is also another director of WEC on the Centre’s board.
    • Although the income statement is called a Comprehensive Statement of Income sic), it is still missing ‘Other Comprehensive Income’.
      • Which omission flows through to the Statement of Changes in Equity.
    • There is insufficient disclosure for an understanding of WEC’s revenue: 1) there is no policy Note, and 2) 82% of the revenue has the description ‘Rents, Contributions and Events’.
    • The treatment of Financial Assets still doesn’t comply with the Accounting Standards.
    • There is still no explanation why a charity with revenue of $786K, and that is involved only with sending and caring for overseas missionaries, would have a $26.42 m property portfolio.
    • Ditto short-term financial assets of $2.06 m.
    • There is still no explanation for the absence of employees.
      • In response to the review last year, WEC said that
      • Each WEC member is totally self supported by their own gifts and donations or personal jobs, which is why there is no employment status for any of our workers….’
      • The Notes to the accounts do not explain the accounting policy that has been adopted because of this status. If the money received for these members is included in ‘Revenue’, then revenue is overstated.
    • There is still no explanation for why the $295K of designated funds are classified as a liability rather than reserves.
    • There is still no explanation for how the loan of $250K for 15 years to Betel Australia Ltd, a company with whom the relationship is only ‘fraternal’, is consistent with the mission.
    • An extra statement is included without explanation. It is unaudited but not marked as such.

What was the financial situation shown by that Report?

  • There is nothing obviously threatening either short-term or long-term stability.
    • This is helped by the fact that it has no paid staff.
    • The property holdings (see above) appear to be responsible for over 60% of WEC’s expenses. Is it getting sufficient return on these assets?

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
  • Before you decide how much comfort to take from this finding, read the ‘Financial Report 2016’ section above and here and here.

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

  • Yes.
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but these are not compulsory.

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

  • They are shown on the ‘Donate’ page of the website:
    • A general donation to help our Team in Australia Care, Mobilise and send workers to other countries to Reach People and plant Churches (sic),
    • A donation to a team of WEC workers overseas,
    • A donation to a WEC person you know and want to support their ministry [Donate].
    • There is no list of WEC workers from which to select.
    • For the online donation, there is no option to nominate a purpose for your donation.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • This information is not disclosed.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • There’s a page Meet our team on the website, but it doesn’t mention the Board.
  • See instead the Responsible Persons section on the Register:

To whom is WEC accountable?

  • WEC doesn’t say it on its website, but it is a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • Worldview Centre for Intercultural Studies does mention its membership.
    • About the accountability this provides: see the section Activities in this review.
  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • And to ASIC as a company.

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – for instance, is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. “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.
  3. Betel and Rainbows of Hope are also discussed in this Note.
    • Betel has yet to lodge its AIS 2016 (it is over three months overdue), but in its AIS 2015 (lodged eleven months late), despite, WEC including it under ‘Who we are’ on its website, does not mention WEC. In the Note, WEC says that ‘Betel Australia Ltd’s relationship with WEC International Australia (sic) is best described as fraternal. Members of the Board do include members of WEC International Australia.’
    • Despite including Rainbows of Hope under ‘Who we are’ on its website, WEC says, in Note 20, that ‘WEC International Australia has no direct association with Rainbows of Hope.’

Youth With A Mission Sunshine Coast Inc: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Youth With A Mission Sunshine Coast Inc (YSC), an organisation that has an online donation facility, and that is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they, like last year, did not respond.

Is YSC registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • As a Queensland incorporated association (IA28315).
  • They are trading under two names, YWAM Waves and YWAM Sunshine Coast, that are still not registered business names.
  • YSC is not registered for fundraising in any of the seven states that have a fundraising licence regime. This includes the state in which they operate[1].

What do they do?

  • They conduct ‘DTS’ and ‘SBS’ (including ‘Titus’) courses for Christians (see the main menu), and have various ministries to non-believers.

Do they share the Gospel?[2]

  • Yes, in the ‘Outreach’ component of their ‘DTS’, and in some of their ‘YWAM Ministries’.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing found.

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

  • The expenses are not classified to allow this calculation.

Do they pay their directors?

  • Although not prohibited by their constitution, there is no evidence that they do.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Westpac’s portal is used, so yes.
    • There is a 2% charge.
  • See the Security Policy at the bottom of the giving page.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • It is now. But for two months it was overdue, and if it weren’t for the Register giving YSC three months longer to lodge than it should (see below), that would have been five months.
    • 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 nearly one and a half years ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Like last year, no.
    • Under ‘Financial Information’
      • Only two of the figures match those in the financial statement.
      • The wrong type of financial statements is specified.
    • No outcomes are reported.
    • The description of ‘International activities’ is ‘Operating overseas including delivering programs’.
  • Financial Report 2016: Like last year, no.
    • Despite having been audited by a chartered accountant, Peter Rule,
      • Two financial statements are missing.
      • The two statements that are included are both incorrect.
      • There are no Notes to the accounts.
      • There is no responsible persons’ declaration.
      • The auditor’s letter accompanying his report is included.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Given the deficiencies of the Report, including the limited audit that was performed (see below), it would be unwise to rely on this Report as a description of the financial state of YSC[3].
  • The Report shows
    • a ‘Net Profit’ of $356K on revenue of $1.56m. That’s a high 24%.
    • $646K in the bank.
    • $362K owed to them from credit sales.
    • $153K ‘Fixed Assets’ and no liabilities.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Peter Rule, chartered accountant, of Complete Business Strategies Pty Ltd, has issued a qualified opinion.
    • Read here to see what this means compared to a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • This is Peter’s explanation of his qualification:
      • As is common for organisations of this type, it is not practicable for the Association to maintain an effective system of internal controls over receipts and payments until their initial entry in the accounting records.’ So, for 100% of everything that was given to or earnt by YSC, and for 100% of everything that was spent by YSC, the organisation has no checks to ensure that its transactions were reflected in the accounting records.
      • Why is it not possible for YSC to implement the necessary internal controls?  Other charities can.
    • With this size gap in the audit procedures, and the deficiencies described under ‘Financial Report 2016’ (see above), YSC got off lightly – a refusal to issue an opinion seems more appropriate.
    • Peter is only qualified to do this audit because of the ACNC’s transitional provisions for reporting by incorporated associations:  the NSW regulator doesn’t require the audit of LP to be performed by a registered company auditor.

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

  • Not incomplete, but incorrect: the year end is still shown as 30 June when it should be 30 April.
  • ‘Phone’, ‘Email’, and ‘Website’ are blank, but are not compulsory.

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

  • None.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • They are not shown on the website.
  • The ACNC Register says that there are four directors (which is one more than the minimum required by the constitution):
    • Patricia Hensser
    • Brian Hunsburger
    • Faull John-Daniel (should be the other way round?)
    • Kerie Schaber
  • The committee is accountable to the members of the association. The number of members is not publicly available.

To whom are YSC accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • And to the regulator of Queensland incorporated associations.
  • Plus, they are members of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. 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.
  3. Confidence in the Report is not helped by the presence of the expense items ‘Cash – stolen 3.021.35’ and ‘Account Corrections 775.66’.

Langham Partnership (Australia) Incorporated: mini charity review

Mini charity review of Langham Partnership (Australia) Incorporated (LP), an organisation that seeks donations online, and claims membership of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review on 4 September 2017. The CEO, Gillean Smiley, sent a written response on 12 September. Her introduction to her specific comments, with my response, is included in the Appendix. Her specific comments (and my response) are included where relevant below. (I sent her my proposed responses so that she could, if necessary, modify her comments. She has chosen to leave her comments as they are.)

Is LP registered?

  • As a charity, yes
  • LP is a NSW incorporated association (INC9876767).
    • LP, in not using its full name on the internet, is possibly contravening section 41 of its enabling legislation.
      • Ministry response: “The full name is used on the internet. For example, the “Contact Us” page states

  • Reviewer comment: This is not the full name of LP. ‘Inc’ or ‘Incorporated’ is required on the end.
  • It operates, per the ACNC Register, in all eight states.
    • If it is doing business interstate, then it still doesn’t have the required registration (an ARBN).
    • It still doesn’t have a licence to fundraise in its home state, nor in the other five where one might be required[1].
      • Ministry response: LPA agrees with your footnote acknowledging the legal ambiguities regarding interstate licencing, and the existence of legal advice that indicates we are not required to be licenced in other states. Your comment is somewhat misleading that LPA “still doesn’t have a licence to fundraise in its home state”: LPA was granted a licence to fundraise in NSW, that was valid for approx. 7 years. The expiry of that licence was not communicated to LPA, (possibly due the departure of the former sole contact and the change in contact details over the 7 years). However immediate steps were taken to renew the licence on discovery of this fact. LPA is grateful to Mr Sherwood for raising the issue.”
        • Reviewer comment:
          • My statement that LP “still doesn’t have a licence to fundraise in its home state” is still true.
          • The licence expired over two years ago.
          • It does not seem fair to say that the expiry ‘was not communicated to LP’. Even if it is the case that the regulator had an obligation to tell LP that its licence was about to expire, or had expired, it is most likely the licensee’s responsibility to maintain an up-to-date contact address.

What do they do?

  • The answer to this on the website is not particularly about LP, but their AIS 2016 (even though it is almost the same as 2015) appears to be:
    • ‘Langham Partnership Australia equips pastors and leaders in the Majority World. We achieved this through funding and facilitating Biblical preaching training internationally, helping provide literature to Majority World Bible colleges and individuals, assisting the development of indigenous printing and publishing capacity and supporting two doctoral scholars from other countries who are studying in Australia.’
      • Ministry response: Langham Partnership Australia (LPA) queries any concerns regarding having an Annual Information Statement (AIS) that is consistent from year to year? Further, LPA queries what information is required beyond the tab in the website entitled “What We Do”, to answer the question “What do we do?”
        • Reviewer comment:
          • The ACNC intends for charities to describe what they did in that year. One would therefore expect at least some variation from what was said the previous year.
          • Answering the questions on the AIS is quite separate to putting something on a website.
  • LP operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in 23 countries. Langham Partnership internationally maybe, but LP?
    • Ministry response: “Langham Partnership Australia (LPA) is able to demonstrate its involvement with and activity in many more countries than the minimum listed on the ACNC Register. We do not claim to have sole responsibility for operation in those countries, but we are an integral part of activities. In many of the countries listed on the ACNC Register, we have facilitated Preaching Training programs though (sic) our volunteer network. In others, we have funded distribution of literature, and we continue to support/work with scholars from 8 countries who have spent at least some part of their time studying in Australia. We have not claimed to operate in all countries in which Langham Partnership operate internationally (over 80), although as key members of the international council and full members of the Partnership, we might be able to do so. LPA queries what evidence would be required to demonstrate our operations in the number of countries identified?”
      • Reviewer comment: See the Annual Information Statement Guide 2016 for what qualifies a country to be included in ‘Operates in (Countries)’.

Do they share the Gospel?[2]

  • No. (It is not required by their objects.)

What impact are they having?

  • They did not respond to the regulator’s request for outcomes in the AIS 2016.
    • Ministry response: “Langham Partnership Australia (LPA) requests evidence that it did not respond to any request from the regulator. Further, LPA requests evidence that ACNC was in any way unhappy with the outcomes provided”
      • Reviewer comment:
        • Every question in the AIS is a request from the ACNC for information. One of those questions asks for LP’s outcomes.
        • I have not suggested that the ACNC made a judgment about LP’s outcomes.
  • They say that ‘Everyday, we hear stories of congregations and communities being changed, new ministries being started and indigenous leaders catching the vision and running with it’, but no examples are given.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, administration?

  • If the totals for the three programs (‘Literature’, ‘Preaching’, and ‘Scholars’) contain no indirect costs, the answer is 69%. That is, approximately seven out of each $10 is spent on ‘administration’.
    • The absolute total spent on the three programs declined 49% over the previous year.
      • Ministry response: Langham Partnership Australia (LPA) requests a consistent definition used across all charities reviewed, of what constitutes “Administration”. “Administration” is not a term that reflects whether or not a cost is directly attributable to a program. For example, costs incurred preparing materials for an overseas Preaching Program was accounted as Administrative -Stationery and Printing, rather than Preaching costs. Policy decisions within LPA and Langham Partnership internationally has made significant changes to what is counted as “Overhead” and what is direct cost for a program. Further, changes have been made to the accounting of funds spent inside Australia on Programs, and of funds forwarded to overseas operations. Again, the figures quoted do not reflect whether funds spent in Australia on (for example) salary include any allocation for program delivery. Therefore it is impossible to make a blanket calculation on the percentage split between Program and Overhead costs, without more information than that which is being used by Mr Sherwood. LPA calculates a 54% Program/46% Overhead split for the period in question.”
        • Reviewer comment:
          • I provide a link to the ACNC’s explanation of ‘administration’, the explanation that I use.
          • I say ‘If the totals…’, then ‘administration’ is $X. This is a conditional calculation. Change the conditions, change the answer.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is no prohibition on this in their constitution.
  • There is no line item ‘directors’ fees’ (or similar) in the expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No.

Is their online giving secure?

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • Each project is listed in the Income Statement. In the majority of cases, the information is not specific enough though to know to whom the money was sent.
    • Ministry response: “The Income Statement neither purports nor intends to reflect the expenditure of the money. It describes the amount raised for a project. The Expenditure Statement is the source for describing how the money was spent.
  • Reviewer comment: I have not suggested that the Income Statement says anything about the expenditure of the donations other than implying, quite reasonably, that the projects for which donations were received would be the projects on which those donations would be spent.

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

  • On the first page, it says that “If you would like to donate to a specific programme,  please indicate the name of the project/programme name with your donation.” But these are not listed.
    • Ministry response: “Listing LPA Projects would limit donors to being able to choose only those projects listed. The page described is not the source of information regarding projects – the source is email news, newsletters, presentations and the web based sources. Donors have freedom to identify ANY project of which they have learned, through the space available for a free text entry.”
      • Reviewer response: The desire to allow a donor to select any project does not, as other charities show, necessitate there being no options. In fact LP themselves overcome the limitation they suggest in their own form for donors using a credit card.
  • The page that opens after selecting ‘credit card’ has the following options:
    • Where most needed’
    • ‘Langham Literature’
    • ‘Langham Preaching’
    • ‘Langham Scholars’
    • ‘Other Projects’ – Please specify (No options given)
      • Ministry response: Please see above for why listing the options is in fact a limiting mechanism.”

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six and a half months after their year-end, three months earlier than last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • ‘Type of financial statement’ is incorrect.
    • No outcomes are reported.
    • The figure for ‘Employee expenses’ doesn’t match the information in the Income Statement.
  • Financial Report 2016: No. Once again
    • It is missing two of the four required financial statements.
    • The Income Statement is in a format long since superseded.
    • There is only one accounting policy described, and most of the other required Notes are missing.
    • The directors say that LP ‘is not a reporting entity’, and therefore doesn’t have to comply with all the Accounting Standards, but they don’t say why.
    • They are effectively saying that they don’t have any users, present or prospective, who rely on their financial statements.
    • The cover has
    • the name and contact details of the auditor, not LP.
    • an attempt to make the Report confidential to the members of LP.
      • Ministry response: “LPA requests evidence that any of the above allegations are valid or correct. As repeatedly requested throughout this document, this includes any evidence that LPA reporting was in any way insufficient or unsatisfactory for to (sic) any stakeholder or regulator.”
        • Reviewer comment:
          • The ACNC website plus the help of any accountant who is a member of one of the three professional bodies will show that my comments are valid. If it is found that I have made a mistake I am happy to change the review.
          • I have not based my comments on whether stakeholders or regulators are satisfied that LP’s reporting complies with their requirements. (With the regulators, the acceptance of a Report normally does not guarantee that the Report complies with their requirements.)

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Although the loss as a percentage of revenue was reduced from 49% to 28%, successive losses means that there is now less equity than last year’s loss.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • Despite the issues with the Financial Report – see above – the auditor, Alison E. Lacey, Chartered Accountant, issued a ‘clean’ opinion[3].
    • Alison is only qualified to do this audit because of the ACNC’s transitional provisions for reporting by incorporated associations: the NSW regulator doesn’t require the audit of LP to be performed by a registered company auditor.

If a charity, is their page on the ACNC Register complete?

  • Not quite. LP is, at least according to the ACNC, (still) long overdue in selecting an Entity Subtype.
    • Ministry response: The ACNC register includes the followong information, which has been present since 2014 (as noted in the attached snapshot). LPA queries in what way ACNC claims that LPA is overdue in selecting the entity sub type “Advancing Religion” in 2014?”

Reviewer comment: My comment is an accurate reflection of what it says at the top on the right-hand side of LP’s record on the ACNC Register.

  • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are still blank, but these are not compulsory.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Said, on the website, to be these people.
    • A Public Officer is not automatically a member of a committee of an association.
  • The list on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) has the above people, plus Gillean Smiley (twice), and Trevor Cork again:
    • Paul Barker
    • Graham Collins
    • Trevor Cork
    • Trevor Cork
    • Jill McGilvray
    • Grant Robinson
    • Gillean Smiley
    • Gillean Smiley
    • David Tsai
      • Ministry response: “There is no claim that the CEO is present as a Director: the ACNC records her presence as “Other”, which is all that is required. There are several persons listed twice. The ACNC website only allos people to be removed by stating on which date they ceased to be Responsible Officers. AS the relevant people have not ceased to be Responible Officers, it is jusdged better to leave them on twice than attempt to remove them with an inaccurate statement. It is assumed that any sensible reader of this information will reaalise the entry has been duplicated, and there are not two people wiith the same name.”

      • Reviewer comment:
        • I have not suggested that the CEO was listed because she was a director – in fact I suggest the opposite.
        • If she is not a director then she shouldn’t be included on the Register.
        • There are only two responsible persons listed twice.
        • An incorrect entry is not the only reason that a name may appear twice: some charities consider that if a person holds two offices then they should be included twice.
        • I suspect that the ACNC would be happy for LP to enter any date if it were the way to remove a duplication.
  • There is no provision in the constitution for the CEO to be a director. Is she there as an elected member?
  • The committee is responsible to the members. We don’t know the size of the membership.
    • Ministry response: “Membership of LPA is clearly detailed in the Constitution. LPA queries where the regulator or any other entity requires details concerning members, including numbers?
      • Reviewer comment: I have not suggested that there is any legal requirement to disclose the number of members.

To whom are LP accountable?

  • Membership of Missions Interlink claimed. However, they no longer appear on the list of members.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • Also accountable to the ACNC[4].
  • And to the New South Wales regulator of incorporated associations.
    • Ministry response: “LPA queries evidence that any other entity to which it is accountable has expressed any concern or dssatisfaction (sic) with its performance in any respect?
      • Reviewer comment: I have not suggested that a regulator has expressed concern or dissatisfaction. All I do is list those entities to which LP has accountability.

 

 

 

Appendix: Ministry Response

“Langham Partnership (Australia) expresses its deep concern with the publishing of any of the information included in this “review”. We note that

  • The “review” was not requested or authorised
    • Reviewer comment: Neither request nor authorisation is required for somebody to review a product or service for the benefit of future consumers.
  • There is nothing contained in the “review” (other than inaccuracies or misinterpretations) that is not otherwise fully and freely available to the public.
    • Reviewer comment:
      • As will be seen in the review above, LP has not identified any ‘inaccuracies or misinterpretations’.
      • The review adds to the information that is available to the public by (a) gathering it in one place, (b) organising it in answer to the questions that should be asked by a donor, and (c) providing links to explanatory material.
  • LPA is unaware of any qualification or expertise that would enable Mr Sherwood to undertake a professional and comprehensive review or to publish any “findings” from a review in a credible fashion.
    • Reviewer comment: I can appreciate how LPA may be unaware of these things.
  • Having briefly explored the front page of Mr Sherwood’s site, not only are these questions unanswered, but I can find no “reviewed” charity that has actually responded to Mr Sherwood’s claims. The conclusion could be drawn that these credible and well respected charities may not wish to waste time responding to allegations that are poorly informed and inaccurate.
    • Reviewer comment:
      • There are ten reviews on the first page. Three show responses, and another is preparing a response. I would not be surprised if this response rate (40%) applies to the entire database of reviews.
      • LP offer my support for their claims (a) that what I have written in the reviews on the first page are ‘allegations’, and (b) that the statements and questions in these review are ‘poorly informed and inaccurate.’ LP’s conclusion is not even supported by the material I present about them.
  • Given that LPA has responded, we do not authorise or permit Mr Sherwood to publish any of his findings without including LPA’s full and unedited response. Further, LPA reserves the right to seek redress should anything be published that is inaccurate or in any way unfairly detrimental to LPA’s reputation.
    • Reviewer comment:
      • Although I do not need LP’s authorisation or permission to publish a review of publicly available information, it is my practice – as is evident from the published reviews – to seek the response of the charity before publication, and then to publish that response in full. This would have been no different with LP.
      • I will not be seeking redress from LPA for the damage done to my reputation.
  • LPA regrets the unnecessarily aggressive, confrontational and on occasion offensive tone and language used by Mr Sherwood, which undermines what may otherwise have been seen as a positive attempt to review and evaluate the performance of Christian ministries.”
    • Reviewer comment: I leave it to the reader to judge both my behaviour and that of LP.

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising, for instance – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. “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.
  3. To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please read here and here.
  4. LP have, since the review was drafted, relinquished their membership of Missions Interlink. This means that they no longer have an exemption from income tax via such a membership.

World Team Australia Incorporated: mini charity review

Mini charity review of World Team Australia Incorporated (WT), an organisation that seeks donations online[1]. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review on 6 September 2017. Like last year, they…. did not respond.

Is WT registered?

  • As a charity, yes
  • WT is a Victorian incorporated association (No. A0030511U).
  • WT still has no business names. (A trading name, which is what WT has, does not, despite its name, allow WT to do business under that name.) Registration is therefore required to continue to us the name World Team (its website), and World Team Australia (Facebook).
  • WT operates, per the ACNC Register, in Victoria (its home state), New South Wales and Queensland.
    • It still doesn’t have an ARBN, a registration required if it is doing business interstate.
    • It still doesn’t have any fundraising licences[2].
  • WT operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in Indonesia and Philippines. Papua is still missing from this list (see the AIS 2016).

What do they do?

  • The About page in the Australian site is not particularly about WT but about World Team as an international group.
  • From the Description of charity’s activities and outcomes in the AIS 2016:
    • Our main aim is to share the Gospel of Jesus with people by planting churches. Missionaries in Philippines offer English as second language training & computer training and train fishermen to dive safely. Our missionaries also work with locals to preserve the coral reefs. They also commence (plant) churches. In Papua we operate a HIV Clinic in Wamena, provide lecturers to a Bible College in Mamit.
  • ‘International activities’ in the AIS confirms that WT itself operates overseas:
    • Operating overseas including delivering programs

Do they share the Gospel?[3]

  • From the constitution, supported by the information immediately above, it’s not clear that they do this themselves.

What impact are they having

  • Nothing systematic found.
    • WT did not respond, once again, to the request in the AIS for a description of its outcomes.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, administration?

  • There’s no Financial Report, but using the summary figures in the AIS 2016, and defining ‘direct’ as ‘Grants and donations made…’, ‘administration’ is 54% of the expenses.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is no prohibition on this in their constitution.
  • There is insufficient financial information disclosed to check for such payments.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

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

  • ‘World Team Missionaries’
    • No online option
  • ‘World Team Ministry Fund’
    • The link leads back to itself.
  • ‘Priority Projects’
    • ‘Micro-enterprise/Missionary Training (Africa)’
    • ‘Abra Advance Training Center’
    • ‘Oroko Bible Translation (Cameroon)’
    • ‘Missionary Care’
    • ‘Rain Forest (sic) International School Youth Hostel’
    • ‘Papua Translation and Literacy Project’
    • ‘Mission: Mobilization’
    • ‘Technology’
    • ‘Tribal Ministry (Suriname)’
    • ‘Church Planting (France)’
    • Each of these ten options has a link to a further page. No giving options are shown on those pages.
  • ‘Innovative Giving’
    • The page from the link includes the statement ‘If you from Australia and would like to make a tax-deductible gift, please go here. This takes you to the Australian giving page (see above), but there is no tax-deductible option there.

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • No information on this is available.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five months after their year-end, three weeks earlier than last year).
    • This means that the next financial report is due by 31 March 2017. Before that the financial information on the Register will be up to 18 months out-of-date. You may therefore need to ask for more up-to-date information.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Almost – no outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2016: Yes
    • Because of its size WT doesn’t have to lodge a Financial Report.
    • WT did not choose to repeat what they did last year, and lodge one with the ACNC voluntarily.
    • It was, until recently, a member of Missions Interlink. 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 financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • No Report (see above), but from the AIS 2016:
    • WT states in its AIS that they used the cash ‘accounting method’.
    • 87% of the $180K receipts came from ‘Donations and bequests’.
    • ‘Grants and donations made…’ totalled 50% of money spent.
    • The one employee cost 49% of receipts / 40% of payments (there was a large deficit).
      • Are the missionaries not employees?
    • The deficit was 23% of income. This left less than twice this amount in equity.
    • Because the cash method was used, liabilities (and assets if more than cash) must have been calculated outside the accounting system.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • No audit report has been published. (One is required though.)

If a charity, is their page on the ACNC Register complete?

  • No
    • ‘Responsible Persons’ has only two names.
    • ‘Date Established’ is blank.
    • WT is, at least according to the ACNC, (still) long overdue in selecting an Entity Subtype.
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but they are not compulsory.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The page on the website for ‘Leadership’ is blank.
  • From the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’), these are the leaders:
    • Anthony Lyon (the employee?)
    • Ian Parker
    • This is seven less than the number required by the constitution.

To whom are WT accountable?

  • Accountable to the ACNC.
  • And to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

  1. If Mission Interlink’s list of members is accurate, WT recently gave up its membership. This means the loss of the income tax exemption provided via that membership.
  2. The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  3. 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.

G.L.O. Ministries Limited: mini charity review

Mini charity review of G.L.O. Ministries Limited (GLO), 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?

  • I sent them a draft of this review on 6 September 2017. Like last year, they…did not respond.

Is GLO registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • The company’s name is G.L.O. Ministries Limited, not as it uses it, GLO Ministries Limited.
    • And, as it doesn’t have the necessary provisions in its constitution, it is not entitled to omit ‘Limited/Ltd’ when it uses its company name. See, for instance, the website.
  • GLO has a registered business name, GLO College of Ministries, for its bible college.
    • But no registration in the name it uses on Facebook for the college, CrossConnect.
  • GLO operates, per the ACNC Register, in all states except the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. It still doesn’t have any fundraising licences where they might be required[1].

What do they do?

  • Generally.
  • For what they did in 2016, see the comprehensive report in the Directors’ Report in the Financial Report (see below).
  • GLO operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in nine countries.
    • It is not clear how this relates to their statement that they are ‘partnering with mission workers in over 20 countries’.
    • Gifts were sent to ten countries, eight of which are in the list on the Register.

Do they share the Gospel?[2]

What impact are they having?

  • The only thing found was some anecdotal evidence in GLO’s magazine, Spearhead. But the latest issue is (still) Spring 2014.

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

  • Defining ‘direct’ as the expense ‘Overseas ministries and humanitarian aid’, ‘administration’ is 71% of expenses. And this figure doesn’t include any ‘Employee expenses’.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is no prohibition on this in their constitution.
  • There is insufficient financial information disclosed to check for such payments.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Contrary to what GLO says at the bottom of its giving page, GLO itself does not have deductible gift recipient (DGR) status. However, you can claim a tax deduction for a donation on this page if you restrict your donation to one of its two building funds, GLO School of Team Ministries Building Fund and Gospel Literature Outreach Training Centre Building Fund. No information is given on these two funds though.

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA. (It’s not offered.)

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The Directors’ Report (in the Financial Report 2016) says that ‘Gifts were distributed to workers and projects in Afghanistan, Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Romania’.
    • This list is missing Japan and has the additions of China and Pakistan compared to the one the one prepared at around the same time for the AIS 2016.
  • No more specific information on the destination of donors’ funds is available.
  • GLO continues to claim that it ‘passes on 100% of every gift to the ministry. GLO Ministries trusts the Lord to provide for our overhead costs…
    • This is not borne out by the figures: ‘Donations’ were $413K, yet ‘Overseas ministries and humanitarian aid’ expense was on $312K.
  • In the same note, GLO also claims that ‘our administrative costs are covered through general donations and Course Funds’.
    • This is also not borne out by the figures: even if we assume that ‘general donations’ were 100% of ‘Donations’, and therefore none were sent overseas, ‘Donations’ plus ‘Course fees’ gives a total well short of the $758K incurred on ‘Administration’.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged three months after their year-end, a month earlier 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 eight months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No:
    • ‘Administration and occupancy expenses ($349K) are reported as ‘Grants and donations made for use in Australia’.
    • ‘Other Income’ is overstated.
    • Only some of the ‘home office’ staff raise their own financial support, so how can GLO show zero for employees and zero for ‘Employee expenses’ in the AIS 2016?
    • No outcomes are given.
      • The reader is referred to the ‘annual report’. But there isn’t one.
    • The business name is missing.
  • Financial Report 2016: Questionable.
    • Again this year
      • The directors do not say why they have chosen to prepare the lower standard special purpose financial statements. By this choice, they are saying, in effect, that anyone wanting information about GLO can command the preparation of a report tailored to their needs. For a charity operating in six states and 21 countries, with a turnover of $853K, owning at least two properties, operating a bible college, and seeking donations on the internet, this is stretching credulity.
      • There is no explanation for the fact that GLO reports zero employees. It doesn’t fit with, for instance, the existence of ‘home office’ staff who are not self-supporting.
      • There is no information on the two tax-deductible funds.
    • GLO does not comment on the validity of the going concern assumption.
    • Also
      • Again, the auditor includes a disclaimer about accounting policies from a superseded Auditing Standard.
      • GLO continue to include the statement, on the cover page of the Financial Report, a document that they must lodge on a public register, that the report is not be used by the public ‘unless accompanied with additional information concerning the company or the company’s financial position.’
      • The Directors’ Report is included twice.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s deficit of 3% revenue was dramatically increased, to 26%.
  • Is it correct that they have a turnover of $853 K, operate in six states, and have more than one property yet not a single employee?
  • Despite the sale of property, the relationship between short-term assets and short-term liabilities (working capital) decreased from 22% positive to 8% negative.
  • There are no long-term liabilities, so with $5.80 m of land and buildings, long-term structure is sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, S.J. Hutcheon, of StewartBrown, issued a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • His report again includes these two contradictory statements:
      • No opinion is expressed as to whether the accounting policies used, as described in Note 3 to the financial statements are appropriate to meet the needs of the members’, and
      • An audit also includes evaluating the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates made by the Directors…
    • In reaching this opinion, he implicitly agreed with the directors’ decision to produce special purpose rather than general purpose financial statements (see above).
    • As well as the above, these articles (here and here) will help you take the right amount of comfort from this opinion.

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

  • No. Still.
    • GLO is overdue, since 2015, in selecting an ‘Entity Subtype’.
    • The business name is missing.
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but neither are compulsory.

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

  • “Support a Mission Worker
    Partner together with God’s labourers serving in the field by giving a one-off gift or ongoing support. At present we need more support for mission workers in India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal and the Philippines.
  • Donate to a Ministry Project
    We are involved in exciting mission projects in countries like Afghanistan, Nepal, Philippines and Mongolia that all need extra financial support.
  • Give to a Building Project (Australia)
    Help provide new facilities and improve existing ministry facilities. Donations to GLO building projects in Australia are tax deductible…
  • Sponsor a Scholarship Student
    GLO Ministries is equipping new workers from Fiji, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and South Korea.”

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website, but here’s the list from the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • Allan Driver
    • Kenneth Harding
    • John Quilliam
    • David Scott
    • Craig Stokes
      • There are 10 directorships in the name ‘David Scott’. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course doesn’t include for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which GLO’s David is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful, it would be legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.
    • The directors are accountable to the members. At 31 December 2016 there were 49 of them [Directors’ Report].

To whom are GLO accountable?

  • Although not claimed on their website, they are accountable as a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • They are also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And, as a company, to ASIC.

 

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – for instance, is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. “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.