The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory: charity review

This is a review of The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory, one of the ‘Member Organisations’ of Missions Interlink, and an organisation that seeks your donation online.

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, says that the first thing you should do is to ‘Check the organisation’s name’ by searching for it on the ACNC Register.

Here’s the result:

This shows that the organisation asking for your donation is actually two organisations, two separate charities, run from the same place.

The website linked from the Missions Interlink membership list is labelled, in the top left-hand corner, in small writing (this snip is less than half the width of the website):

So, one website for the two charities.

This might be OK if there was separate information on the activities of each charity on the website. But the ‘About Us’ section mentions neither ‘General work’ nor ‘Social work’.

So, what’s the difference?

A Google search of the entire site, site:salvos.org ‘general work’, gives only 12 references. Most of those are the same, an explanation in the Annual Report. Here it is from the latest one:

Churches do ‘social work’, so what’s the distinction being made here? In the absence of an explanation on the website the information on the ACNC Register should answer that question.

The two charities

There is nothing on the Register that tells us what The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory General Work does. The Financial Report should give us the answer in figures, but they say that they are a ‘Small’ charity so don’t have to report. ‘Small’? The Salvos’ ‘church work’ throughout New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland has revenue less than $250K?

A section in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017 should give us a summary of the information in the accounts, but because ‘General Work’ says that it is a ‘Basic Religious Charity’, even that is blank.

The constitution (or similar) should give us what they were formed to do, but, in contravention of the ACNC’s requirements, it hasn’t been lodged.

2017’s ‘activities and outcomes’ should have been described in the AIS 2017, but there they have described the ‘Social Work’ charity:

So, no help from the Register entry for ‘General Work’. Turning to the entry for The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory Social Work, we see that the directors think that they too are a ‘Small’ charity. Implausible. And that the Register shows this charity also to be a ‘Basic Religious Charity’, an entry that is, because ‘Social Work’ is a ‘public benevolent institution’, clearly a mistake. The result of these classifications is that there is no financial information for donors.

With the two charities operating from the same address, and having the same ‘Charity Address for Service’, one would expect that either one controls the other or they are both controlled by another organisation. Additional evidence would be if they had the same ‘responsible persons’, but a comparison is not possible because ‘Social Work’ has, contrary to the ACNC’s requirements, left that section of the Register blank.

Conclusion

If you find where the Salvos are being accountable for the money you give on this site, please let me know. All I know at the moment is that it is not where you usually find it[1].

 

 

  1. I sent them a draft of this review. They did not respond.

Youth for Christ Australia: charity review

This is a review of Youth for Christ Australia, one of the ‘Associate Organisations’ of Missions Interlink, and an organisation that seeks your donation online.

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, says that the first thing you should do is to ‘Check the organisation’s name’ by searching for it on the ACNC Register.

Here’s the result:

This looks like two organisations at the same address. Which is the one we want? If there was a business name registered, that would tell us, but nobody has Youth for Christ Australia registered. OK, so maybe the website points to one or other of the charities? Yes, it does, but only indirectly, and then to both equally: the address and phone number given under ‘Contact us’ are the same address and phone number for the two charities above.

One website for two charities (but in neither of their names).

This might be OK – apart for the name thing – if there was separate information on the activities of each charity on the website, and it was clear to which charity you were giving. But the website, including the page where you do your giving, makes no distinction between the charities.

This is in stark contrast to the information that has been lodged for each charity. There is no group reporting, so each charity has a Financial Report of its own, reporting its own transactions and balances. Although the ‘responsible persons’ for each charity are the same[1], there is no hint either that one charity controls the other, or that a third organisation controls them both.

This situation is unchanged from when I reviewed Youth for Christ Australia in February 2017. At that time, they commented that ‘we are undergoing both structural and strategic changes at present’. It appears that, 16 months later, these changes have not translated into an ability to get over the first hurdle for an organisation that wants the public’s money.

Ministry comment:

“Thank you for forwarding this draft. 

YFC Australia Ltd is a Religious Institute and YfC Australia Inc is a PBI. As I stated last year we are undergoing structural changes assisted by our consultants, this takes time as we work through all of the hoops, we are still in progress. In the next weeks YFC Australia Inc will be migrating to YFC Care Ltd. YFC Care Ltd is our care arm that provides PBI services and projects such as counselling, juvenile justice care , indigenous programs and after school programs for youth. 

Re your comment below: “It appears that, 16 months later, these changes have not translated into an ability to get over the first hurdle for an organisation that wants the public’s money.”

I don’t think this is a fair and just statement. Christian ministries such as YFC and many others are working very hard to make sure we operate with the utmost integrity and accountability with minimal resources. Each year I attend the CMA Conference with others on our board and we take very seriously our responsibility to ensure we are operating in alignment with accountability requirements. It takes time and resources to get all of our operations running smoothly and according to best practice, and that is our ultimate goal. 

To reword your statement with more fairness: YFC are still in transition and are seeking to align organisationally with best practice in all areas.”

Reviewer response:

As I said to YFC, we’ll let the reader decide whether, 16+ months is a reasonable time for a charity that continues to ask the public for donations to explain (a) the relationship between the name in which they seek that money and the two charities that they run, and (b) the relationship between the two charities.

 

 

  1. Here they are:James Flynn

    Russell Foxe

    Stephen Grocott

    Tim Lithgow

    Cindy McGarvie

    Peter Bain

    Christopher Richards

    Anneka Rowe

    Elizabeth Schilpzand

 

Jews for Jesus: charity review

This is a charity review of Jews for Jesus, an organisation that invites donations online, and is exempt from Australian income tax via its membership of Missions Interlink.

Last year, in a repeat of the previous year, Jews for Jesus submitted a Financial Report to the ACNC that was well short of what was required, and therefore a poor basis for assessing the use of your money.

Last year I sent them a copy of my draft review. They did not respond.

This year, Jesus for Jesus has again submitted a Report that is similarly lacking[1].

End of review.

 

 

  1. For instance, there is no audit report, two of the required financial statements are missing, there are no Notes to the accounts, and the Directors’ Declaration is unsigned.

 

Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd: charity review

This is a charity review of Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd (CMA), an organisation that seeks donations online. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

CMA is also the organisation that is, via the CMA Standards Council, giving a seal of approval to Christian organisations who meet[1]a set of standards of good governance, financial oversight, and fundraising ethics.”[2]

For the previous review, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • CMA provides a forum for Christian leaders to receive feedback, but there’s no invitation to submit feedback on itself.
  • Principle 8.7 of the CMA Standards Council’s ‘Nine Principles of Ministry Accountability’, compulsory for its ‘accredited partners’, says that

    • But CMA doesn’t appear to have such a mechanism itself.
  • CMA has much on its website about accountability for Christian leaders and ‘Christian’ organisations, but nothing about its own accountability.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. Like last year, they…did not respond.

Is it registered?

  • But the one that it uses most, ‘CMA’ is not registered. (And ASIC says that it is not available.)
  • CMA is a member of the EA Foundation ‘family’, an affiliate.
  • CMA is a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • It appears to have the provisions in its constitution to enable it to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
  • The ACNC Register says that CMS operates throughout Australia, ‘Grants and donations’ is easily its largest source of revenue, and it seeks donations via its website. It doesn’t explain why it has no fundraising licences.

What does CMA do?

Do they share the Gospel[3] [2]

No. It’s not part of their mission.

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?

  • The expenses are not classified to allow this calculation.

Do they pay their directors?

  • This is not permitted by the constitution.
  • There is insufficient disclosure to say.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • Yes

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

  • None

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The AIS 2017 reports that CMS did not make any grants or give any donations.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six months after their year-end, on the last day they were due, and 10 days later than last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • Annual Information Statement 2017 (AIS 2017): N0
    • ‘Revenue from providing goods or services’ is incorrect.
    • Outcomes’ are not reported.
    • One business name and ‘CMA’ are still missing
  • Financial Report 2017: No
    • The directors say that ‘there are no users dependent on general purpose financial statements’, implying that any of CMA’s stakeholders, both present and prospective, who require financial information to make a decision, are able to command the preparation of statements tailored to their needs. With a professional management, operations in all states, hundreds of subscribers, others who attend events who are not subscribers, a public invitation to donate, and a high-profile initiative to give a seal of approval to Christian organisations that meet a set of standards, this is implausible[4].
    • With a significant deficit for the year, negative working capital and the value of software ($26K) now being greater than the remaining equity ($22K), one would expect a comment on threat to the going concern assumption.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • The surplus as a percentage of revenue declined from 4% to negative 10%.
    • The increase in revenue (5%) was not enough to compensate for the increase in ‘Employee benefits expense, 15%, and the loss made on ‘Events’.
  • There are no non-current liabilities, so how did the ‘’Finance costs’ arise?
    • And where are they in the Statement of Cash Flows?
  • Working capital (current assets less current liabilities) has dropped sufficiently this year that it is now negative.
  • There are no long-term liabilities. Even so, equity is now only $22K.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Peter Shields, for Saward Dawson[5] Chartered Accountants, issued a ‘clean’ opinion[6].
    • To do this he had to agree with the directors that there are no users, past or prospective, who are dependent on the type of accounts that are produced when users are not able to command the preparation of statements tailored to their needs.
    • He made no comment on the directors’ silence on the going concern assumption.

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

  • Not quite – two names for the organisation are missing.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Which does not match the ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register:
    • Jame Lewis
    • Karen Naylor
    • Cheryl Osment
    • Robert Rawson
    • Stephen Slade
    • John Peberdy
      • There are 11 directorships (down from 14 last year) recorded for the name ‘John Peberdy’. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and no for-profit organisations. Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which John is not a director, you are left with his 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. But there are only five members, and as it is likely that some or all of the directors are members, there’s no accountability there.

To whom is CMA accountable?

  • To the ACNC as a charity, and still for some things, to ASIC as a company.

 

 

 

  1. Although it is not, as it says here, in pilot mode any longer.
  2. Here are the first nine organisations accredited. See www.tedsherwood.com for a review of all bar the last one.
  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.
  4. Remembering that this is an organisation that has a department that is setting the standards for the accountability and transparency of Christian charities,
    • The figures for ‘Trade and other payables’ and ‘Other liabilities’, without explanation, do not match the figures for those items reported last year.
    • Comprehensive income is not shown in the Statement of Changes in Equity.
    • The expenses are a mixed classification.
    • Two lines plus interest is not a helpful disclosure of ‘Cash flows from operating activities’.
    • The description ‘Plant and equipment’ is not helpful as a description of ‘Property, plant and equipment’.
    • 7% of expenses in ‘Other expenses’ is perhaps too large to be unexplained.
    • The audit fee is still undisclosed.

  5. Although far from an uncommon practice, I have always wondered about the appropriateness of featuring the logo of the auditor on the cover of a report that belongs to the charity.
  6. To take the right amount of comfort from a ‘clean opinion’, please read here and here.

 

The Church Missionary Society – South Australia Inc: charity review

This is a charity review of The Church Missionary Society – South Australia Inc (CMSSA), 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.)

For last year’s review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • CMSSA do not seek feedback generally, but they do provide a way to complain or give feedback about privacy.
  • CMSSA only invites complaints about its ‘safe ministry and professional standards’.
  • Accountability is not mentioned on the website.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. Just like the previous two years, they…did not respond.

Is CMSSA registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Even though the short name for CMSSA in its constitution is ‘the branch’ – because it is a branch member of Church Missionary Society – Australia Limited (CMS-A) – the constitution also says that it is autonomous.
  • CMSSA is a South Australian incorporated association (A1032).
  • It trades under two other names, CMS SANT and CMS SA/NT. Neither these nor any other name is registered. It should therefore be using its full name in public (including ‘Inc/Incorporated’ on the end) at all times
    • Not as it does on Facebook, or on its webpages.
  • CMSSA operates, per the ACNC Register, in South Australia and the Northern Territory.
    • If still doesn’t have the registration required to do business out of South Australia (an ARBN).
    • It says, in the AIS 2017, that it intends to fundraise, and it has an online invitation to give. However, it is not registered to fundraise in South Australia (there is no licensing regime in the Northern Territory), nor anywhere else[1]. Is it because it thinks that it is exempt?

What do they do?

  • The information under ‘What we do’ is not about CMSSA specifically, but about CMS generally (represented by CMS-A)
  • There is one sentence in the AIS 2017 that is about CMSSA rather than CMS-Australia:
    • CMS SANT raises financial and prayer support for this work and encourages churches and individuals in SA & NT to grow in their understanding of and involvement with cross-cultural mission.
    • But this is not particular to 2017. For that see the Annual Report (on the Register).
  • The Annual Report [page 4] says that CMSSA has 19 adult missionaries in ‘over 10 countries’. The Register says zero countries.

Does CMSSA share the Gospel[2]

Via one or two of their missionaries, yes.

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.

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

  • If the unexplained ‘CMS-A Quota’, an amount that matches ‘Grants and donations made for use outside Australia’ in the AIS 2017, is defined as the money that goes to achieve the impact, then 33% is administration (down from 39% last year).
    • We don’t know how much administration is in the ‘CMS-A Quota’ figure though.

Do they pay their board members?

  • The constitution does not prohibit this.
  • There is no line item in the FY2017 Income Expenditure (sic) Statement and FY2018 Budget suggesting that directors are paid.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Not for a donation to CMSSA.
    • Nevertheless, the giving page that they use, the one belonging to CMS-Australia, does offer tax-deductible giving.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is still not mentioned.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The amount for the line item ‘CMS-A Quota’ in the FY2017 Income Expenditure (sic) Statement and FY2018 Budget is the same as ‘Grants and donations made for use outside Australia’. ‘CMS-A’ is most likely CMS – Australia. Beyond that we don’t know the destination of the money.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six 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 over 11 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: Like last year, no.
    • Most of the figures in the Income Statement don’t match those in Financial Report.
    • The description of ‘activities’ is largely about another charity (albeit an associated one).
    • No outcomes are given.
    • Is ‘No’ the right answer to ‘Financial report submitted to a state/territory regulator?’
    • Two of the four questions in ‘Reporting to state or territory regulators’ are unanswered.
  • Financial Report 2017: Like last year, no.
    • For 2017, the ACNC accepts the financial report CMSSA submitted to the state regulator as meeting its requirements.
    • The state regulator’s requirements are that ‘the accounts present fairly the results of the operations of the association for the financial year and the state of affairs of the association at the end of the financial year’ [section 35(2), Associations Incorporation Act 1985].
    • The committee of CMSSA have declared that the accounts meet this requirement. This is why they don’t:
      • By including monies collected for another charity, revenue is overstated by 40%.
      • Two of the four financial statements normally included are missing.
      • There are no Notes to the accounts.
      • One six-line ‘Concise Asset Statement’ is included in lieu of the required statement of financial position.
      • The FY2017 Income Expenditure (sic) Statement and FY2018 Budget does not comply with the Accounting Standards’ requirements for an income statement.
      • The auditor did not, as he says he did, follow the Australian Auditing Standards.
      • The directors don’t say, but the AIS 2017 and the auditor report that the financial statements are special purpose rather than the general purpose financial statements. For an organisation operating in 10 overseas countries, soliciting money online, and having 58 staff, this is not plausible.
      • Its relationship with CMS-Australia – the organization that collects its online donations and receives its money for missionaries – is not explained.
      • The relationship between the missionaries that it has sent overseas, employees, and CMS-Australia, is not disclosed.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • With the accounts departing so far from what is required, I say ‘No comment’.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Jeffrey T Byerley, CPA, issued a ‘clean’ opinion. This is a travesty when compared to the standards he should be following. See the section ‘Financial Report 2017’, above, for why.
    • Jeffrey is only qualified to do this audit because of the ACNC’s transitional provisions for reporting by incorporated associations:  the South Australian regulator doesn’t require the audit of CMSSA to be performed by a registered company auditor.

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

  • Almost – ‘Operates in (Countries)’ is blank.

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

  • Having been redirected from the CMSSA page to the ‘Give to CMS’ page, that is, to CMS – Australia’s giving page, your choices are:
    • ‘General Missionary Support’
    • ‘General Tax Deductible (sic) Gift’
    • ‘A particular worker’ (with a dropdown listing all the workers)

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the webpages, but the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) says it is these people:
    • Benjamin Harrington
    • Philippa Harris
    • Robert Haynes
    • Andrew Jackson
    • Christopher Jolliffe
    • Barry Lock
    • Naomi Noakes
    • Tamra Purton
  • The Board is responsible to the membership. The number of members is not disclosed.

To whom are CMSSA accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • And to the South Australian regulator of incorporated associations.
  • Although not mentioned on their webpages, 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.

 

 

  1. With no registration in Tasmania being assumed because the search facility was not available.
  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.

 

Living Child Inc.: charity review

This is a charity review of Living Child Inc. (LC), an organisation seeks donations online and is a member of Mission Interlink. . (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • Feedback is not sought nor are complaints invited on the website.
  • There is no direct statement about their accountability on the website, but there is this from a blog post in 2013:

  • I sent them a draft of this review. Like last year, they responded within a week. Their comments, where appropriate, have been included below.]

Is LC registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • As a Western Australian incorporated association (A1016829Y).
  • LC has a fundraising licence (21738) in its home state (the only state in which, per the ACNC Register, it operates).
    • LC may need a licence in the other five states that have a licensing regime if a state thought that an internet invitation was ‘fundraising’.
  • Not registered for GST, but ‘Gross income’ is under the threshold for compulsory registration.

What do they do?

  • They are working towards this vision, in this way (see the second heading), in these places.
  • And this is how it all came together in 2017:
    • Established a base for Living Child Inc. in Wewak, East Sepik Province: an office with Australian volunteer community development coordinators. They provide support, facilitate outreach activities, networking with Provincial, District government agencies & other NGOs, liaising with hospital staff/managers to reinstate maternal health services to Angoram District, supervising the completion of the maternity building and supply of medical equipment, overseeing refurbishment of a staff house for a PNG midwife to move into, assisting remote village leaders to reestablish health services, infrastructure & clean drinking water in their villages, supervising distribution of clean birth kits & data collection from health volunteers in Keram LLG. Creating and distributing health education materials – story books translated into local language and visual teaching resources for the illiterate. Maternal Health

Our work is concentrated in the Angoram District of East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea.This year: 16 Community Health Workers [CHWs] were trained at Angoram District Hospital using the GHAWA Maternal Newborn Health [MNH] course. They had not had training for over 20 yrs. Topics covered: Addressing barriers to women attending antenatal care and supervised delivery, Quality Antenatal Care and clinical physical assessment, Problems in pregnancy, Emergency Obstetric care, Essential Newborn Care & breastfeeding. LC Volunteer helpers provided a vital link to the community, explaining voluntary work of LC, giving health awareness talks in the market about Family Planning, Nutrition & Hygiene. A lesson in personal hygiene was given to teenage girls attending High School. 36 Village Birth Attendants [VBAs] received ‘train the trainer’ training over 4 days in the remote village of Yamen. 150 Portable solar lights were distributed to VBAs & 3 larger solar units for Health Centres were donated. A community feedback workshop was held in the village. Over 100 people participated, men and women, from all areas of Keram LLG. 158 contraceptive implants were inserted. Women came from distant villages. 3 CHWs were certified to insert them. 250 implants were left with them. LC has now linked Marie Stopes with Angoram District Health Administration to set up services in Feb 2018. The ongoing presence of Community Development Volunteers, Jim & Robyn Nottingham, has enabled LC to facilitate the appointment of a senior PNG Midwife to move to Angoram in early 2018 to reinstate MNH services for the District. LC partnered with local government to refurbish a staff house for this midwife. New medical equipment was purchased by LC for the new Angoram Maternity Unit. 2 portable obstetric ultrasounds, 1 oxygen concentrator, ECG machine, obstetric suction, patient observation & oxygen saturation units have been donated to Wewak & Angoram Maternity units. 10 obstetric delivery beds with mattresses have been distributed to Wewak Provincial Maternity, Angoram District Maternity & 3 remote Health Centres. LC set up a streamlined supply of clean birth kits. A volunteer based in Angoram has kits and new data sheets. VBAs from remotevillages can collect from her when needed. 4 Storybooks written and illustrated by Robyn Nottingham have been translated into Tok Pisin. Stories cover the importance of nutrition in pregnancy, Family Planning, what to expect when pregnant and what happens during labour & birth. Cultural issues and taboos are addressed in apositive manner to bring health for women and families. Funding is needed for printing. Robyn has completed 80 culturally appropriate illustrations of pregnancy, birth, family planning, positions in labour to be used as visual aids for training. Funding is needed for printing. [Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017].

Do they share the Gospel[1]?

  • There is no evidence that they do.
    • ‘Gospel’, ‘Christ’ and ‘Jesus’ do not appear on the website. This is consistent with objects in the constitution that do not mention Christianity. ‘Advancing religion’ is not one of their subtypes of charity on the ACNC Register.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.
  • Some anecdotal evidence in this early 2016 blog post.

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

  • Is this promise below, made in a blog post in 2013, still valid in 2018?

    • Ministry comment: ‘Yes. All our staff are volunteers.’
  • The Profit and Loss Statement is not classified to allow the promise to be checked, nor ‘administration’ expense to be reliably estimated.

Do they pay their directors?

  • It appears not.
    • Ministry comment: ‘No. All are volunteers.’

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No
    • Ministry comment: ‘Currently working on our PBI application’.

Is their online giving secure?

  • They don’t offer online giving themselves, but direct donors to GiveNow.com.au.

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

  • None offered on the donation page.
    • Ministry comment: ‘When donors have donated to a specific cause we’ve honoured that. All the money raised through our High Tea in 2017 was for renovating the house for a midwife and that was used for that purpose. Some groups have specified that the money is to be used to purchase medical equipment or training resources and we’ve honoured that. Here is a link to our page where projects are highlighted to donate towards http://www.livingchildinc.org.au/our-projects.html.’

Where were the (net) donations sent?

  • The AIS 2017 says that LC made $23K of ‘Grant and donations’ to be used outside Australia. There is no information on the recipients.
  • Ministry comment: ‘Purchased new medical equipment for the maternity building at Angoram Hospital. Paid for all renovations of the house for a PNG midwife.’

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged nearly seven months after their year-end, a week later than last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017:
    • There is a detailed description of achievements, but are these what the ACNC means by ‘outcomes’?
    • ‘Online’ is not selected as a place where fundraising will take place.
  • Financial Report 2017: Yes – but only because one wasn’t required.
    • As a ‘Small’ charity, LC is not required to submit a Financial Report.
    • But it submitted one anyway.
    • A voluntarily submitted report does not have to comply with the ACNC’s requirements.
    • But as an Associate member of Missions Interlink, it must:
      • have available for [their] members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor.”
    • If the minimum standard for ‘appropriate’ is the minimum required by LC’s enabling legislation, then it has complied with the Missions Interlink requirement:

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Last year cash spent exceeded cash received by 48%; this year they underspent by 61%.
  • The description for ‘Our Team’ is ‘All are Volunteers’. Sara David is the first photo. This may fit with the fact that she was paid an ‘Honorarium’ of $2000 ($200 last year), but it doesn’t fit with her receipt of $3K ‘Consultancy fees ($8K last year).
  • The bank balance is 75% of the cash received.
  • There are no other assets, and no liabilities.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Geoffrey Carslake, for Shreeve & Carslake, issued a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • He missed that LC had omitted the Notes to the accounts, and he didn’t say that cash accounting had been used.

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

  • Not quite – ‘Who the Charity Benefits’ has more than LC’s beneficiaries listed.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Seven of the people in ‘our team’ are identified as board members.
  • The CEO, Sara David, is also listed as a board member on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons):

To whom is LC accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • To the Western Australian associations regulator.
  • To Missions Interlink via their Associate membership.
    • For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  1. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14. 

 

Reach Beyond: charity review

This is a charity review of Reach Beyond, 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.)

For the previous review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review. For the third successive year, they…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 still has not registered the other name that it uses, Reach Beyond Australia.
  • Reach Beyond operates, per the ACNC Register, all over Australia. And has an online invitation to give. No reason is given for the fact that it is registered to fundraise only in Victoria.

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 9 hours a day in 31 languages, including 20 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 (sic) programs along with healthcare and community development.’ [Who we are].
  • The ‘healthcare and community development’ is delivered over the radio.

Do they pay their directors?

  • This is not permitted by the constitution.
  • Presumably then, ‘Board expenses’ in the accounts does not include any fees.

Do they share the Gospel[1] [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 2017].
  • However, nothing systematic could be found.

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 2017 reports that Reach Beyond did not make any grants or give any donations.
    • The item ‘Support for Program Partners’, 6% of expenses, appears to be supplier payments rather than financial support.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (four and a half months after their year-end, three 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 9 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • Several of the figures under ‘Financial Information’ do not match those in the accounts.
    • ‘Online’ should be included as a place where fundraising is intended.
    • Outcomes are not reported.
  • Financial Report 2017: Questionable. Like last year
    • 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.
      • 80% of income (AIS 2017) 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. Plus the 58 staff, and all the suppliers. Do the directors realise that they are saying that any of these stakeholders, both present and prospective, can request Reach Beyond to tailor a financial report to suit their needs?
      • An understanding of the charity’s revenue and expense is frustrated by the way the items are classified (a classification that is contrary to the Accounting Standards).
      • In a breakup of ‘Property, Plant & Equipment’, having 100% of the plant and equipment in an item called ‘Plant & Equipment’, without explanation, is insufficient disclosure[2].

What was the financial situation shown by that Report?

  • The surplus as a percentage of income has increased from negative 8% last year to positive 2% this year.
  • Working capital – the excess of current (short-term) assets over current (short-term) liabilities – has improved from negative (0.8) last year to positive (1.2) this year.
  • The longer term financial structure appears sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Matthew Hung, CA, of rdl.accountants, gave a ‘clean’ opinion. To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please
    • read here and here.
    • re-read the ‘Financial Report 2017’ section above.

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

  • No
    • ‘Others’ is not helpful as an answer to ‘Who the Charity Benefits’.
    • ‘Financial Year End’ should be 31/08.

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?

To whom is Reach Beyond accountable?

  • This appears at the bottom of the page where they ask for donations:

  • Missions Interlink membership confirmed.
    • See the section Activities in this review for one opinion on the strength of this accountability.
  • The second logo is the ACNC’s ‘Charity Tick’. It is used to show that Reach Beyond is registered. Rightly so, because it would be unwise to give to a charity that is unregistered.
    • Beyond registration, the ‘tick’ only means that the charity’s AIS is not overdue, and that no compliance action has been take against it.
  • As a company, Reach Beyond is still accountable to ASIC for some things.

 

  1. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord? [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14.
  2. Also:
    • The accounting policy for three of the four ‘Property, Plant & Equipment’ items is not disclosed.
    • The following significant revenue items are not explained:
      • ‘Farm receipts’
      • ‘Klassen Tour’ (new this year)
    • The following significant expense items are not explained:
      • ‘Partnership support’
      • ‘Missionary Medical Costs’ (and why it is negative this year)
    • If ‘Share the Cost Programs’ is a reimbursement, shouldn’t it be deducted from the expenses?
    • The Statement of Changes in Equity… is missing ‘Other Comprehensive Income’.

 

Youth With A Mission – Tasmania Inc: charity review

This is a charity review of Youth With A Mission – Tasmania Inc (YWAMT) an organisation that seeks donations online[1], and is exempt from Australian income tax via its 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.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • The box for comments on the ‘Give’ form says ‘Notes/feedback’.
  • They don’t mention their own accountability on the website they share.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. For the third year running, they… didn’t respond.

Is YWAMT registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • YWAMT is a Tasmanian incorporated association (No. 01883C)[2].
    • Not an ‘Other Incorporated Entity’ as they still show on their ABN record.
  • No registered business names, so YWAMT therefore cannot legally trade under any other name than its legal name.
    • Despite this, it appears to be a department of Southlands YWAM on this website, it is called Southlands Tasmania by YWAM Australia, and YWAM Southlands Tasmania on one of its Facebook pages.
  • YWAMT operates, per the ACNC Register, only in Tasmania. But it has an online invitation to give. It doesn’t explain why it no fundraising licences.

What do they do?

  • See their page on the shared website.
  • The ACNC Register says that they do not operate overseas.

Do they share the Gospel[3]?

  • It is a ‘foundational value’ of theirs, so one would expect so.
  • But from the description of what they did in 2017 (AISA 2017), and the fact that donors can get a tax deduction for their donation, perhaps they don’t.

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 financial statement that gives this information has not been included in the Financial Report, and the summary in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017 is not structured to allow even an estimate to be made.

Do they pay their directors?

  • Same answer as immediately above.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes

Is their online giving secure?

  • The potential donor is told to ‘…use the secure form below to process your Credit Card or PayPal payment. However, there is no support for the statement that giving is secure.

Where were the (net) donations sent?

  • The AIS 2017 says that no grants or donations were made.

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

  • From the website:
    • General Donation (Tasmania)
    • ‘School Building & Maintenance Fund (Tasmania) [AU Tax Deductible]
    • ‘School Fees (Tasmania)
    • ‘Seminar / Outreach (Tasmania)
    • ‘Staff Donation / Payment (Tasmania) [AU Tax Deductible]
    • ‘Other – Please Specify Below’
  • What makes some tax-deductible, others not?

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five and a half months after year end, a month earlier than last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • The description of their activities is almost identical to last year’s.
    • The accounting method was ‘Cash’, yet a balance sheet was provided.
    • The Annual Report is just an audit report.
    • The audit report is not included in the Financial Report.
    • No outcomes are reported.
    • They have an online invitation to give but say that they are not intending to fundraise.
    • The declaration of zero employees is contradicted by the presence of ‘Employee expenses’ in another section.
  • Financial Report 2017: Yes, but only because YWMT’s size has dropped below the threshold for a Medium charity.
    • This report is still grossly deficient. It is missing
      • three of the four financial statements
      • the Notes to the accounts
      • a directors’ declaration, and
      • an audit report.
        • An audit appears to have been performed, but it is not included in the Financial Report. Instead, it is attached separately in the place where an Annual Report can be attached.
        • Its condition is as woeful as that of the Financial Report – see below.
    • The only thing that is included in the Financial Report, a ‘Balance Sheet’, is not in the proper form and shows much questionable accounting.
    • Apart the ACNC’s requirements, the Report falls far short of (a) YWAMT’s own requirements in the constitution, and (b) Mission Interlink’s requirements.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Given the issues above, no comment.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • Despite the parlous state of the Financial Report, and a ‘limitation of scope’, the auditor, Rendell W. Ridge, of Max Peck and Associates, gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
  • Even without this clearly unsupportable view, the material and frequent divergence of his report from the Auditing Standards means that no reliance should be placed on it.

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

  • No
    • The selection of a subtype – under ‘Entity Subtype’ – is long overdue (30 June 2015), but are the ACNC just taking a very long time to fix a system error?
      • The current subtype, ‘Public benevolent institution’ does not seem consistent with the primary purpose in the constitution:
        • To advance the Christian Faith (sic) in all parts of Australia and the rest of the World (sic) by such means as the committee of the Association may determine…
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but neither are compulsory.
      • The phone number on the website is 03 6265 2108.
      • The website linked from the Missions Interlink list of members is a website in the name of an unregistered Youth With A Mission organisation covering YWAMT and two other Youth With A Mission charities.
    • ‘Who the Charity Benefits’ is blank.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The directors are not shown on the website.
  • From the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • Timothy Coates
    • Tracey Coates
    • Matthew Colwell
    • Raymond Lind
    • Shiree Lind
    • Robert Lucerne
    • Amy Thompson

To whom is YWAMT accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • And to the Tasmanian regulator of incorporated associations.
  • Not mentioned on the website, but YWAMT is a member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion of the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

  1. On the website that is linked in the Missions Interlink membership list.
  2. The official name is slightly different to the one on the ABN register/ACNC Register, and both are slightly different to the one in the constitution.
  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. 

 

The Wesleyan Methodist Church in Australia: charity review

This is a charity review of The Wesleyan Methodist Church in Australia (WMC), an entity that seeks donations online, and, in the name Wesleyan World Missions (WWM), 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?

  • There is no invitation on the website to give feedback or make a complaint.
  • Their own accountability is not mentioned on the website.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. For the third year in a row, they…did not respond.

Is WWM registered?

  • No. WWM is one of the four ‘Departments’ (see under ‘Ministries’ here) of WMC.
  • WMC is registered as a charity.
    • They appear to be trading under the name Wesleyan World Missions (for instance, Facebook, Missions Interlink), but they still don’t have WWM registered as a business name.
  • WMC is an unincorporated body.
  • WMC appears to control at least three other organisations:

  • WMC operates, per the ACNC Register in all states except Tasmania.
  • And has an online invitation to give. But it still not licensed to fundraise anywhere. It may argue that it is exempt in Queensland because it is a ‘religious order’ (which, given that they are a representative and administrative body, is questionable), and in Victoria because they can marry people (which is questionable for the same reason). But the other states?

What do WMC do?

  • See ‘About’ and ‘Missions’ in the main menu.
  • WMC operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, only in Solomon Islands. Why is Papua New Guinea still not included?

Do they share the Gospel[1]?

  • 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?

  • Because WMC is a ‘Small’ charity, it is exempt from lodging a Financial Report. Even if it were the next size up, ‘Medium’, which it would be if it consolidated its subsidiaries, it would still be exempt. This is because it is a ‘Basic Religious Charity’.
    • This status also makes it exempt from completing the ‘Financial Information’ section in the AIS 2017.
  • It could have supplied both the Report and the AIS information voluntarily but chose not to.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient public information to say.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • Stripe and PayPal are used, so yes.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • This is not disclosed.

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

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (two days before the deadline, seven months after their year-end).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: Not quite: they do intend to fundraise, and there are no outcomes reported.
  • Financial Report 2017:
    • As a ‘Small’ charity, WMC does not have to submit a Financial Report.
      • Even if it had consolidated its subsidiaries (see above), because size is based on the revenue of the ‘registered entity’, its size would not have changed[2].
    • The ACNC says that ‘providing an AFR is optional but encouraged’. This encouragement was not enough for WMC.
    • However, WMC’s membership of Missions Interlink requires them to “have available for [their] members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor.”  So just ask.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • NA.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • There should have been an audit, but if there was one it hasn’t been made public.

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

  • No
    • ‘Who the Charity Benefits’ is blank.
    • Papua New Guinea is missing from the list of countries.
    • ‘Phone’, ‘Email’, and ‘Website’ are still blank (but are not compulsory).

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The ‘National Leadership’ are these four people.
  • Which, with the addition of Jeffrey Adams, is the list on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • Jeffrey Adams
    • Peter Dobson
    • Rosemary Richardson
    • Rex Rigby
    • Douglas Ring
    • This list has not changed for the last three years.
    • There are 20 directorships on the ACNC Register in the name ‘Jeffrey Adams’, 14 for ‘Rex Rigby’, 11 for ‘Rosemary Richardson’, 12 for ‘Douglas Ring’, and nine for ‘Peter Dobson’. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course no for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which a WMC person is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful or so, it would be legitimate for you to question whether their ability to discharge their fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.

To whom is WMC accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • Although not mentioned on the WMC website, WWM, although not a separate business, is a member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  1. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14. 
  2. Section 205-25, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012.

 

One Foundation International Incorporated: charity review

This is a charity review of One Foundation International Incorporated (OFI), an Associate member of Missions Link[1], and an organisation that asks you, online, to donate to it. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • There is no invitation on the website to submit feedback or a complaint.
  • Neither accountability nor transparency are not mentioned on the website.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. Their comments have been incorporated below.

Is OFI registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
    • OFI changed its name this year (April 2018) from International Gospel Centre Incorporated.
  • Incorporated as a South Australian incorporated association (A12906).
  • OFI doesn’t hold any business names.
  • OFI says, on the ACNC Register, that it operates in all eight states.
    • It still doesn’t have the necessary ASIC registration (an ARBN).
    • It has a fundraising licence in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. Unable to check Tasmania. Perhaps it has assessed that one is not required in Queensland?
      • Other than in Western Australia, the licences are in the old name.

What do they do?

  • See here. Then here.
  • But they don’t do this – see at the end here.
    • ‘We do this by partnering with “on the ground” organisations around the world and equipping and empowering these organisations.
    • The three partners are:
      • ‘IGC Foundation South East Asia Philippines’
        • No link provided.
        • Your donations go to another organization, Cebu Missionary Foundation.
          • No website, but this appears to be the organization (see slide 2).
          • 84% of the ‘Overseas Mission Distributions’ went to this organization.
      • ‘ABC Children’s Aid Uganda’
        • No link provided, and none could be found.
      • ‘Grace Ministries Zambia’
      • Ministry comment: ‘Websites are being developed independently of ONE Foundation that will be linked to us through our website. As part of our partnership agreements, moving forward, there will be transparency obligations.

Do they share the Gospel?[2]

  • No
    • ‘Advancing Religion’ is no longer an ‘Entity Subtype’ for OFI. It is now simply a PBI.
    • The ‘Purpose’ of OFI in the new constitution does not mention Christianity, Christ, Jesus, or the gospel.
    • Do the partners share the Gospel?

What impact are they having?

  • Still nothing to be found on the website.
    • Ministry comment: ‘We are working with an external consultant to provide meaningful impact statements for new and current supporters.’

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

  • Deducting ‘Donations and voluntary distributions’ from ‘Total Local Ministry and Administration’, ‘administration’ is 37% of the expenses.
    • This is a large increase on last year’s 27%.
      • Ministry comment: ‘Over the last 18 months, we have implemented a change strategy that has incurred additional costs. We do have funds set aside, specifically donated to help us reach out further into the lives of many.’

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is nothing prohibiting this in the constitution.
  • There is no expense that looks like such a payment.
    • Ministry comment: ‘All Directors give their time voluntarily with no compensation given.’

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes

Is their online giving secure?

  • No online giving is available.
    • Ministry comment: ‘This will change on our website. All donations have audit trails so secure as far as Australian Banking rules allow.’

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

  • None
    • Ministry comment: ‘Donors specifically state where their donations are to go either through sponsorship or instructions.’

Where were the (net) donations sent?

  • Other the name of the recipient for the Philippines, for the other two expense line items the Financial Report only gives the name of the country.
    • Ministry comment: ‘Don’t know why it’s not specified but will be changed.’
  • Note 1(a) says that IGC (now OFI) ‘ensures that funds are received and expended for designated purposes.’ How this is done is not disclosed.
    • Ministry comment: ‘Our current missional structure is based on child sponsorship. Donors state, through other non sponsorship giving, where they require the money to go.’

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged seven months after their year-end, one day before the deadline, a week later than last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • The activities described are those of its partners, not OFI.
    • No outcomes reported.
    • Zero is reported as the number of volunteers. This does not agree with the website.
    • The amount for ‘Donations and voluntary distributiosn (sic)’ has not been included as ‘Grants and donations made for use in Australia’.
    • ‘Workers compensation’ has been included in ‘Employee expenses’.
    • The association number is missing.
    • The ‘NSW Fundraising No.’ is incorrect.
      • Ministry comment: ‘Thank you, take this on notice Ted.’
  • Financial Report 2017:  No
    • Neither the Statement by the Executive Committee nor the audit report are signed.
    • There is no explanation of the new revenue item Partnership fees.
      • The website says that the ‘partners’ are the overseas organisations to which your donations are sent.
    • Like last year
      • The choice of special purpose financial statements over normal statements, a choice that allows less than full compliance with the Accounting Standards, is, given the size and complexity of the charity, questionable.
        • The directors say that the financial statements ‘do not purport to be general purpose financial statements’, but they do not say what they are.
        • The directors don’t say why they didn’t produce general purpose financial statements.
      • The Statement of Comprehensive Income does not comply with the Accounting Standards.
      • Nor does the Statement of Changes in Equity.
      • There is no disclosure of related parties (an ACNC expectation).
        • Ministry comment: ‘I will address with our “Auditors” for all above.’
      • There is no explanation for how an office is run without any non-current assets (including, for instance, office equipment)?
        • Ministry comment: ‘We are supported, non financially, through the loving support of our Chairman.’
      • The distinction between direct and indirect income is not explained. Why would donations be direct but legacies – another form of donation – indirect?
      • The name on the largest ‘mission distribution’, ‘Cebu Missionary Foundation (Philippines)’ does not match the name of the partner elsewhere in the OFI material. (The name is nowhere on the website.)
        • Ministry comment: ‘This is the bank account name that Philippines money is sent too.’
      • Many of the Notes one would expect to see are missing.
      • The explanation for ‘Apostolic Ministry Expenses’ is confusing[3] and not supported by the information on the website.
        • If money is received on behalf of another ministry, it should not be included in revenue. For instance, is it the money that is talked about by Cliff and Helen Beard on their site?
          • Ministry comment: ‘This is a hangover of the past and has now been removed. Monies deposited were direct debit and only depositer are able to cancel.’

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Last year’s deficit of 7% of income was repeated this year.
  • Minimal liabilities – either current or non-current.
  • No non-current assets.
  • Salaries and wages nearly doubled this year; they are $85K (for two part-time employees [AIS 2017]).
    • Ministry comment: ‘Now have a 4 day a week GM to help impact the lives of many needy children and communities. Increase from a 4 day per week admin manager.’

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • It was a review, not an audit. Which because of OFI’s size, permissible.
  • The reviewer, Mark LeCornu, of MRL Group Pty Ltd, ‘Chartered Accountants’, gave a clean conclusion:
    • ‘Based on our review, which is not an audit, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the financial report…does not satisfy the requirements of (the ACNC Act)’[4].

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

  • Yes

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Per the website, the people shown here.
    • The fourth is the Public Officer. Such an officer is not a member of the board by virture of that office.
  • The same people are shown on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’), with Barry Scholz shown twice[5].

To whom is OFI accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • Also to the South Australian regulator of incorporated associations.
  • Not mentioned on the website, but OFI is accountable to Missions Interlink via its Associate membership.
    • For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

  1. In the old name, and no link to their website.
  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. Transactions described as Apostolic Ministry income and expenditure are made in various forms and include donations received, remuneration payments and benefits to a significant promoter of IGC. These payments are directly funded by donations in support of the Apostolic work of IGC together with direct ministry income that IGC derives from the Apostolic ministry within the organisation.’
  4. As he says in his report, ‘A review…consists of making enquiries, primarily of persons responsible for financial and accounting matters, and applying analytical and other review procedures. A review is substantially less in scope than an audit…and consequently does not enable us to obtain assurance that we would become aware of all significant matters that might be identified in an audit.’
  5. Barry’s first entry is as ‘Secretary’, yet the website shows Steve Buck as the Secretary.