Love International Limited: charity review

Mini-review of Love International Limited (LI)

The previous review (in black) is used as a base, with comment only if the situation has changed or extra information would be helpful.

as an organisation that (a) seeks donations online, and (b) is an associate member of Missions Interlink, an organisation that, among other things, gives Members income tax exemption[1]. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

See here for last year’s review.

Members of Missions Interlink have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

Is LI responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, on 21 June 2017, they…did not respond.
  • 2018 review: They did not respond to a draft of this review.

Is it registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • LI does not have the necessary provisions in its Articles of Association to allow it to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
      • Their website suggests that maybe they are not always complying with this.
    • LI operates – according to the ACNC Register – only in Queensland. It has a fundraising licence there.
      • The extent to which, after exemptions, it is required to have one in the other six (2018 review: five) states that have a licensing regime depends on whether those states interpret LI’s request for money on its website as fundraising.

What do they do?

  • See here on the website.
  • This ‘News’ is more specific and later than what is given in the Activities section in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2016.
  • 2018 review:
    • From the Register:
      • Our activities and outcomes helped achieve our purposes by providing education and food to the very underprivileged and needy children in Africa.
    • AIS 2017:
      • ‘Providing financial assistance for the running of Love International School, Natkiri, Mozambique’
    • The ‘News’ above is still the latest.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No information found.
    • The sixth and seventh (of eight) ‘principal objects’ in the Memorandum of Association (part of the ‘Governing document’ on the ACNC Register), are about advancing the Gospel.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing found.

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

  • LI claims that
    • …100% of your donation will go to the persons or project concerned.  We do not use your donation to fund administrative costs.  Everything is done on a voluntary basis…
    • How does this fit with the fact non-gift revenue is less than ‘Other expenses/payments’? That ‘Grants and donations made…’ are not 100% of donations and bequests received? And that ‘Grants and donations made…’ are significantly less than gifts received?
    • 2018 review: If there are no deductions from your donation, how is the charity run?

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA

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

  • None

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (four months after their year-end).
    • 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 nearly a year ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Almost – no outcomes are reported (ditto AIS 2017).
  • Financial Report 2016: Yes (ditto 2017)
    • Its small size means that LI is not required to submit a financial report to the ACNC.
    • LI declares its membership of Missions Interlink (confirmed here):
      • Love International is a member of Missions Interlink, a prominent and well respected organisation in Australia representing colleges, aid and missionary organisations.
      • This membership requires LI to ‘have available for its members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor[iii]. Last year I asked for this statement but didn’t get a reply. I didn’t bother this year.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • NA
    • The AIS 2016 [and 2017] shows no liabilities.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • NA
  • 2018 review: An audit should have been done, but it does not have to be lodged with the ACNC.

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

  • Yes
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but neither are compulsory.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • These people on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible persons’):
    • Tracey Jones
    • Donald Stewart
    • Olivia Stewart
    • Unless the members have, under clause 34 of the Articles of Association changed the composition of the board, it is (still) two members short.
    • Given that Donald and Olivia appear to be a couple, it is questionable wisdom to have a couple as directors of a charity that seeks public money when there are only three directors in total.

To whom is LI accountable?

  • To Missions Interlink.
  • Also to the ACNC, and, for some things still, ASIC (2018 review).

 

 

  1. Even though they do not meet the “in Australia” test and do not have deductible gift recipient status.

 

Tabor College Inc.: charity review

Mini charity review of Tabor College of Higher Education (TC Tabor) as an organisation that invites you, on its website, to donate to it. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

The previous review (in black) is used as a base, with comment only if the situation has changed or extra information would be helpful.

  • 2018 review: Tabor was, and still is, an associate member of Missions Interlink. (In the wrong name though – see below.)
  • Such members have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • They have not responded to the draft I sent on 17 February.
  • 2018 review: They did not respond to a draft of this review.

Is TC registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
    • But in a different name: Tabor College Inc.
      • TC does not have the name Tabor College of Higher Education registered as a business name.
    • 2018 review: Now in the right name.
  • It appears that TC controls another charity, The Trustee For Tabor College Inc Trust.
  • 2018 review: This charity still hasn’t lodged its governing document, so we can’t identify the trustee.
    • But TC hasn’t taken advantage of the ACNC’s group reporting concessions, meaning that this subsidiary (and any others) must report separately.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a South Australian incorporated association (A6378).
      • Not to be confused with the Western Australian association of the same name.
      • 2018 review: But this one has no ABN – is it Tabor’s WA campus?
    • An ARBN, allowing it to operate interstate.
    • TC operates, per the ACNC Register, in South Australia and Western Australia. It doesn’t have a fundraising licence in these two states, or in the other five that have a licensing regime[1].

What does TC do?

  • See the mission here, and the three commitments that the President thinks are reasons for a student to enrol with them.
  • 2018 review: the commitments, if still valid, are no longer shown.
  • Beside the campus in Adelaide, they have had one in Perth since 2015.
    • Is this the charity Tabor College Inc (WA)?
    • 2018 review: ‘Registration status history’ shows that this registration was ‘Voluntarily revoked’ on 1 September 2016[2].

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No – at least not to show who haven’t heard it.

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.
    • No educational outcomes given in the Annual Information Statement 2015 (AIS 2015).
    • 2018 review: Nor in the AIS 2017.

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; for instance, ‘Salaries & Wages are not classified by the function of the employee.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes
    • Also to a fund that TC runs, The House of Tabor Building Fund Inc.
      • This is not, as the name suggests, an incorporated association.
      • There is no mention of this fund on the website.
      • 2018 review: There is a current invitation to donate to the Building Fund.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Secured by Commonwealth Bank’, so yes.

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

  • None shown online.
  • 2018 review: ‘Gift Fund’ or ‘Building Fund’

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six months after year end, a day late).
  • 2018 review: two and a half weeks earlier than last year.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: No
    • Business names are missing.
    • No outcomes are reported.
    • ‘Other Income’ does not match the figure in the financial statements.
  • 2018 review: AIS 2017: the first two above continue; in addition, ‘Revenue from providing goods or services’ is incorrect.
  • Financial Report 2015: No
    • Neither the directors nor the auditor comment on what the poor results and financial position mean for the going concern assumption.
    • *Why isn’t their subsidiary included in the results?
    • *It is implausible for an organisation that has revenue of $6.43 m, $7.70 million including money from the taxpayer of $1.32 m, $1.76 million campuses in two states, 143 employees (AIS 2015), 112 staff (AIS 2017) and hundreds of students, to say that it is reasonable to produce the type of financial statements that don’t have to comply with all the Accounting Standards.
      • Not only that, but then only one of these Standards has been followed, rather than the usual subset of those required for the type of statements they have produced.
    • Balance Sheet
      • There’s an unexplained treatment of borrowing costs.
      • The valuation basis of the land and buildings is not given.
      • ‘Registration and Accreditation’ is included as an asset without explanation.
    • Income Statement
      • A ‘Transfer From Reserves’ is shown as income.
      • *There is no ‘Other Comprehensive Income’ section.
      • There’s an unexplained treatment of prior year adjustments.
    • Notes to the Financial Statements
      • Note 1 is missing most of the required Notes.
      • *There is no related parties’ disclosure.
    • Statement of Changes in Equity
      • The deficit does not match the amount shown in the Income Statement.
    • *The Statement of Cash Flows should be included as a statement, not as a Note.
    • The directors do not say why the think that PBC Tabor is not a reporting entity.
    • The audit report is deficient (see below).
    • Neither the directors nor the auditor mention the ACNC Act.
    • The name of the entity is wrong in the directors’ declaration.
    • 2018 review: Those items above marked with * are repeated in 2017.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Keeping in mind what is said in the previous section
    • A surplus of less than 1% of revenue was turned into a deficit of 3% of revenue.
    • 2018 review: the 2017 result was a 1.2% deficit. This compared to a 2.0% surplus in 2016.
    • ‘Salaries & Wages’ (actually ‘employee benefits expense’ I think) were 83% of expenses.
    • 2018 review: ‘Salaries, Wages and On Costs’ plus ‘Supervisors, Mentors, Guest & Academic Lecturers’ came to 76% of expenses.
    • For at least the last two years, working capital (current assets less current liabilities) has been negative.
    • 2018 review: 2016’s slightly negative working capital (0.95) became a positive 1.5 in 2017.
    • Non-current borrowings increased from $1.66 m to $1.91 m.
    • 2018 review: They increased again, to $2.75 million.
    • Is the going concern assumption valid?

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion[3].
    • However, he
      • makes no comment on the going concern assumption,
      • *agreed with the directors’ decision to produce the lower disclosure special purpose financial statements,
      • excludes the directors’ declaration from the scope of his audit,
      • gives contradictory information on whether he assessed TC’s accounting policies, and
      • has not included an Emphasis of Matter paragraph.
    • 2018 review: Those items above marked with * are repeated in 2017.

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

  • Almost – the business names are missing.
  • 2018 review: in addition,
    • the Financial Report is lodged as an ‘Annual Report’.
    • A page from the Australian Business Register has been lodged as the ‘Governing Document’.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website, but
  • 2018 review:
    • the people shown here.
    • Which, with a change of Laurence Gillin to Murray Gillin, matches the ACNC Register (see below).
  • From ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register:
  • 2018 review: Ursula and Maria are no longer on the Committee.

To whom is TC accountable?

 

 

  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. Which doesn’t match with what is on the ‘Overview’ page. Whichever one it was, it appears to have been backdated.
  3. To take the right amount of comfort from a ‘clean opinion’, please read here and here.

 

Right Track Services Inc: charity review

Mini-charity review of Right Track Services Inc (RTS)

The previous review (in black) is used as a base, with comment only if the situation has changed or extra information would be helpful.

as an Associate member of Missions Link, ‘the Australian network for global mission’.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • [Last year] When sent a draft of this review, they responded the next day with the following general comment, plus comments within the review…
  • 2018 review: There was no response to the draft review.

Is RTS registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a Victorian incorporated association (VIC A0049755G).
    • RTS operates, per the ACNC Register, interstate. However, it does not have the necessary ARBN registration to do this.
    • It has no fundraising licences.
      • 2018 review: As they do not solicit donations online, and said in their AIS 2017 that they did not intend to fundraise in 2018, these licences were not checked.

What do they do?

  • See here.
    • 2018 review: The website is no longer. This is what they said in their AIS 2017:
      • ‘It provided, developed and facilitated donor management software and user-specific customization primarily and principally to other not-for-profit religious entities.’
    • The ACNC Register says that they operate overseas in New Zealand and Singapore.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No – services are provided to Christ-centred organisations.

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?

  • No information is available that allows this calculation.
    • 2018 review: The AIS 2017 reports that RTS had zero expenses in 2017.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA – they do not solicit donations online.

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

  • NA

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged five months after their year-end).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: Almost – no outcomes are reported.
    • AIS 2017:
      • no outcomes are reported
      • they incorrectly say that they are a Basic Religious Charity
      • the reporting period is incorrect
      • Its statement that it operated in 2017 doesn’t fit with the absence of revenue, expenses, and staff, and
      • The incorrect period is shown for ‘reporting period’.
  • Financial Report 2015: NA – because of RTS’s size, one isn’t required.
    • However, their Associate 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.”
    • RTS lodged a Financial Report voluntarily last year, but not this year.
      • That Report consisted only of a Statement of Financial Performance.
    • 2018 review: No change

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • No Report (see above), but the ‘Financial Information’ section of the AIS 2015 shows:
    • They recorded a deficit, a deficit that was 19% of revenue.
    • There were no donations, just ‘fees’.
    • ‘Employee benefits’ for the one part-time employee (AIS 2015) were zero.
  • 2017 AIS: The section has all zeroes.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • NA (see above).

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

  • Not quite – ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank.
    • 2018 review:
      • Neither a phone number nor a website address are compulsory.
      • RTS is not a Basic Religious Charity.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website, but from ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register:
    • 2018 review: no website to check.
    • Stephen Andrews
    • Harley Beck
      • Is it this Harley Beck?
        • Ministry comment: ‘Yes’
    • Ronald Clough
      • Is it this Ronald Clough?
        • Ministry comment: ‘Possibly, if this one is/has been involved with Australian missions.’
      • 2018 review: no longer on the board.
    • Nigel Leed
    • Andrew Smith
      • There are 34 directorships recorded for this name.  The ACNC Register has only charities, so if, after eliminating the entries in the Register that don’t belong to RTS’s Andrew Smith, 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.
        • Ministry comment: ‘Andrew is a New Zealander and is therefore probably not any of the above mentioned directors.  (But I can ask him if it is important.)’
      • 2018 review: Since the revamp of the ACNC website, it is no longer possible to search the register of responsible persons.
    • James Stanhope

To whom is RTS accountable?

  • To Missions Interlink[1] via their Associate membership.
  • And, as an Australian registered charity, to the ACNC.
  • 2018 review: Also accountable to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

  1. For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

Operation Mobilisation Australia Ltd: charity review

This is review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission[1] (and a means for a Member to get income tax exemption when it might not otherwise be available[2], with a consequent accountability regime).

Operation Mobilisation Aust Ltd (OM) is one such Member, and an organisation that seeks donations from the public.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

The ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’s name
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for OM[3], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[4].

1.  There is a registered[5] charity in (almost) that name[6].

The website, though, is in the name ‘OM Australia’. This is not registered as a business name.

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above]. There is no information on the page where you enter your information about the security system used for credit card information.

4. One of the giving options is ‘Tax-Deductible Aid & Relief Projects’. This does not fit with the information accessible via a button on the ACNC Register – there it says that OM is ‘Not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts.’ There is no explanation for this conflict.

5.  The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2017 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. Most donors think in terms of cash, so if that’s you, you might turn first to the Statement of Cash Flows. What you might now know though, is that you first should turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’.

Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, of the OM? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors who together gave $2.13 million last year [Financial Report 2017]? Perhaps you are one of the suppliers who shared in the $110K of payments? [Financial Report 2017], or one of their 51 staff [AIS 2017]. If so, can you ring OM’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I very much doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports’[7].

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of OM, and the directors[8], with the agreement of the auditor, have again, on the grounds that you don’t exist, produced special purpose financial statements.

________________________________________________________

If OM is still in the running for your business –

  • The auditor, Matthew Hung, CA, of rdl.accountants, agrees with the decision that there are no users who are dependent on general purpose financial statements.
  • There are multiple giving options, but the report of resources consumed during the year, shows just these two lines, without further explanation, for over 79% of the expenses:
    • Employee benefits expense $1.85 million
    • ‘Ministry and hospitality expense $302K
    • No other expense is larger than 6% of the expenses.
  • So, there is no information to give you comfort that the money that you will give will be spent on the purpose you gave it for.
  • Current liabilities are still four times current assets, and this is still without comment by the directors or the auditor.

__________________________________________________________

Contact me if you need a more in-depth review.

 

 

  1. https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/
  2. See here for last year’s review.
    • Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.
    • Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?
    • Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?
    • Is the charity being transparent about its activities?A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering:
  3. The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.
  4. The charity is in the name Operation Mobilisation Australia Ltd.. ‘Australia’ in full, and for some reason, changed in 2000 by the addition of a full stop after ‘Ltd’.
  5. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au: http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png  
  6. The people shown under ‘People’ here.

 

Moore Theological College Council: charity review

This is review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission[1] and a means for a Member to get income tax exemption when it might not otherwise be available[2].

Moore Theological College – Centre for Global Mission is an Associate of Missions Interlink, and an organisation that seeks donations from the public.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

[3]

The ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’s name
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for Moore Theological College – Centre for Global Mission[4], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[5].

1.  There is no registered[6] charity in that name.

There are three with ‘Moore Theological College’ in their name, but Moore Theological College – Centre for Global Mission isn’t one of them:

The Missions Interlink name is a combination of two business names held by the middle charity above, Moore Theological College Council (Moore).

The website, though, is in a different name, ‘Moore College’. This is a third business name.

There is no explanation of the relationship between the three charities. Moore does not include the other two in its accounts.

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above]. The Westpac and VeriSign logos are on the page where you enter your credit card information, but VeriSign’s recognition of Moore is not offered.

4. The ‘Donate’ page says that all gifts (over $2) are tax deductible, which fits with the ‘Deductible gift recipient status’ shown on the Australian Business Register.

5.  The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2017 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. Most donors think in terms of cash, so if that’s you, you might turn first to the Statement of Cash Flows. What you might not know though, is that you first should turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’.

Here the directors say that they have produced the lower standard special purpose financial reports because ‘there are no users dependent on general purpose financial reports’. In other words, all ‘resource providers’, ‘recipients of goods and services’, and ‘parties performing a review or oversight function’[7], both present and prospective, are able to ring Moore’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions they have about the charity, For an organisation that had an income of $25.50 million (including from donors), and 102 employees (AIS 2017) [insert word or phrase of your choice].

______________________________________________________

Moore has the backing of the Anglican Church and is a major educator of the future leading lights in the Christian community, so it may well still be in the running for your business. So here is some further information for No. 5 in the ACNC’s list (above):

  • The auditor, Joseph Santangelo of Nexia Australia, agrees with the decision that there are no users who are dependent on general purpose financial statements.
  • At the time of donating, these are your options:

There is no mention of the spending of this money, that is, there is no information that gives you comfort that the money you give will be spent on the purpose you gave it for.

__________________________________________________________

Contact me if you need a more in-depth review.

 

 

  1. https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/
  2. I sent a draft of this review to Moore. In my response to the reply by Martin Sumpter, the Risk and Compliance Officer, I asked him to tell me what the Council wanted published as their response. No reply did I receive.
  3. See here for last year’s review.
    • Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.
    • Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?
    • Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?
    • Is the charity being transparent about its activities?A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering:
  4. The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.
  5. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au: http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png  

 

Power to Change: charity review

This is review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink. Missions Interlink is ‘the Australian network for global mission’ and a means for a Member to get income tax exemption when it might not otherwise be available[1].

Power to Change is an Associate of Missions Interlink, and an organisation that seeks donations from the public.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

I sent the charity a draft of this review. They did not respond.

The ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’s name
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one, and
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations

Here’s the results for Power to Change[2], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[3].

1. There is a registered[4] charity in that name.

  • However, the result of the search on Power to Change shows that Power to Change is not the only entity that uses that name. So does Foundation In Religious Education[5].

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above]. At the beginning of the page where you give the last four numbers of your bank account or credit card, you are told that the Commonwealth Bank’s BPoint is used, so your credit card information, entered on the following page, is safe.

4. There is no mention of a tax deduction anywhere, which fits with the lack of ‘Deductible gift recipient status’ on the Australian Business Register.

5.  Here’s what Power to Change say they are about:

The website expresses the priorities a little differently:

The money sought for doing their process is expressed as two destinations, ‘missionaries’ and ‘ministries’, and one method (bequests). There is a long list of missionaries[6] and 15 ministries.

For the missionaries, there is no link to these strategies. For the ministries, it is not always clear to which strategy you are contributing.

Nothing of the giving options match the ‘Global Aid’ strategy[7].

Other than those involved in ‘church movements’, the website does not have any information about the missionaries. But there does appear to be information on the ministries.

When it comes to the translation of this work into resources consumed[8], this is the only information given:

This classification is of no help in understanding the relative weight given to the strategies/ministries described above.

And there is no explanation, in the statements, of the destination of the ‘Personnel’ expenses (75% of the total).

There is no mention of foreign missionaries on the website.

As for the impact of your donation, there is no information.

__________________________________________________________

Contact me if you need a more in-depth review.

 

 

  1. See here for last year’s review.
    • Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.
    • Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?
    • Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?
    • Is the charity being transparent about its activities?A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering:
  2. The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.
  3. But explicable by the fact that Foundation In Religious Education, an unincorporated entity, is one of the four members of the ACNC Group that begins reporting from the 2018 year (due 30 June 2019). The other members are Global Aid Network Ltd, Power to Change, and Great Commission Foundation. Foundation in Religious Education is not a registered business name though. There is no explanation for the omission of the Foundation from the 2017 accounts. The Group does not report until the 2018 year (due 30 June 2019).
  4. Presumably the ‘around 150 full-time workers in four states’ (elsewhere ‘over 140 full-time workers across Australia’).
  5. Elsewhere on the website, there is a page ‘Global Aid Network’, where you are directed to a separate website. (The page calls ‘Global Aid Network’ a ‘partner’, but as we saw above, they are much more than this).
  6. The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2017 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. Most donors think in terms of cash, so if that’s you, you might turn first to the Statement of Cash Flows. What you might not know though, is that you first should turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’. Here is the confirmation that the accounts are the appropriate type for a charity of the size, reach and complexity of Power to Change, general purpose financial statements.

 

OMF International: charity review

OMF International (OMF) is a member of Missions Interlink. Mission Interlink members have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

The ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’s name
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for OMF International [1], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[2].

1. There is registered[3] charity in that name.

  • The website, however, is predominantly marked ‘OMF Australia’.
  • There are two entities with an ABN that have ‘OMF Australia’ in their name:

  • But neither of these appear to be related to OMF.

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’, but there is no closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is not secure [the ACNC article above]. However, it does not appear that money is transferred via the website.

4. The ‘Support OMF’ page says that donations are not tax deductible. This fits with the ‘Deductible gift recipient status’ shown on the Australian Business Register.

5. This is the most that’s given in the Financial Report for where the funds went:

  • How much of the first item goes to employees?
  • Who are ‘members’? To where is this money sent? If overseas, which countries?
  • Which ‘International OMF Affiliates?
  • How does OMF ensure that donations are used for the purposes for which they are given?

 

I sent OMF a draft of this review.  They…did not respond.

__________________________________________________

Contact me if you need a more in-depth review.

 

 

  1. See here for last year’s review.
  2. A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering:
    • Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.
    • Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?
    • Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?
    • Is the charity being transparent about its activities?

  3. The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.

 

NT Christian Schools: charity review

Mini-charity review of NT Christian Schools (NTCS), an organisation that is an Associate member of Missions Interlink.

The previous review is used as a base, with comment only if the situation has changed.

As a member of Missions Interlink[1], NTCS had to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • They did not respond to the draft I sent on 24 February.
  • 2018 review: I sent a draft of this review to the ‘Address for Service Email’ on the ACNC Register. When that bounced, I sent one to the ‘Email’ address on the Register. My website host later told me that it appears that NTCS has blocked me as a sender.

Is NTCS registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • It is permitted to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
  • Fundraising licences: it only operates in the Northern Territory and that state doesn’t have a fundraising licensing regime.

What does NTCS do?

  • While from the name you might think that they are a representative organization for Northern Territory Christian schools, NTCS actually owns and runs five colleges and three schools itself.
  • 2018 review: now five colleges and two schools.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • Their Statement of Faith, ‘the central document of this organisation’, says that ‘God wants us to tell people about Jesus and why He died for us’, but the use of ‘Gospel’, ‘Jesus’, and ‘Christ’ on the website suggests that this is too difficult in practice.

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.
  • 2018 review: Nothing systematic found.

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

  • Insufficient information is published to allow this calculation.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Not to NTCS itself, but to its fund Northern Territory Christian Schools Building Fund.
  • 2018 review: There is only a single reference to this fund in the 2017 Annual Report, just saying that it exists.

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA – they don’t seek donations online.

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

  • NA
  • 2018 review: Although it is not currently[2] seeking donations on the internet (or anywhere?), NTCS does take money from the public, indirectly through your duties and taxes. In 2016 (2017 not yet available) it received ‘Recurrent Government Income’ of $26.60 million plus another $1.26 million in ‘Capital Grants’. And then there are the parents and others who paid $4.69 million in ‘Fees and Charges’.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five months after their year-end).
  • 2018 review: The AIS 2017 was lodged the day before the last day allowed; the Financial Report 2017, because NTCS is a non-government school, has ‘No due date’. The ACNC is waiting on the government to provide the NTCS financial report for 2017:

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • Annual Information Statement 2015 (AIS 2015): Apart from the absence of outcomes, yes.
  • Financial Report 2015: No
    • From Section E of the AIS 2015 we know that NTCS produced the lower standard special purpose financial statements. For an organisation running eight public educational institutions all over the Northern Territory, using principally taxpayers’ money ($23.01 m of it), it is implausible that all the stakeholders, both present and prospective, have the capacity to command the preparation of a financial statements tailored to their needs.
    • Because NTCS’s schools are non-government schools, NTCS was not required to lodge a Financial Report.
    • However, their Associate 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.
  • 2018 review: From the audit report published – without the financial report – in the 2017 Annual Report, we know that the directors (see below) maintained their stance that there were no users dependent on general purpose financial statements[3]. So, if you are reading this, the directors say that you are the type of user of their financial statements that doesn’t exist.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • No report is publicly available.
  • From Section E of the AIS 2015:
    • The had a deficit of 3% of Gross Income.
    • Over 70% of Gross Income is from government grants.
    • Current assets are only 60% of current liabilities.
      • Did the auditor comment on this?
    • Long-term financial structure is sound.
  • 2018 review: Without the 2017 financial statements, we have only limited information. Limited, but helpful:
    • Unless they have had a miraculous turnaround since April this year, NTCS is in trouble. Creditors, particularly unsecured creditors, are in a risky position.
    • For all the years that are shown on the ACNC Register, NTCS was losing money. A significant amount of money. And that has just got a whole lot worse: from a deficit (excluding relatively nominal capital grants) of $2.54 million in 2016 to eight times that, $20.43 million, in 2017[4].
    • The other main thing that auditors look at, whether there are more current assets than current liabilities, is also in the red. Severely in the red. And not just recently – the shortfall has grown from $2.93 million in 2013 to $8.13 million in 2017.
    • The directors say that they will be alright though.
    • However, this the same company and the same auditor, MunLi Chee of Merit Partners, who made no mention of the troubles in 2014 when the deficit was already $2.82 million, and the negative working capital was already $3.97 million. Why not? If they were one step behind reality then, perhaps they are one step behind now? That would mean that, instead of a prominent paragraph in the audit report and an unqualified opinion, the accounts should be recast to show liquidation values.
    • If the charity is not able to keep things going despite the financial pressures, it this lot (updated for 2017) who will bear the brunt of the direct loss:

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • No audit report is available publicly.
  • The last page of the audit report is included in the Annual Report. This shows a ‘clean opinion’.
    • However, the auditor agreed with the directors’ view that special purpose financial statements are appropriate.
  • 2018 review: He gave a ‘clean opinion’, but included the following under a heading ‘Material Uncertainty Regarding Continuation as a Going Concern’:

‘We draw attention to the statement of comprehensive income (sic) in the financial report, which indicates that the Company incurred a net loss of $9,886,901 during the year ended 31 December 2017 and, as of that date, the Company’s current liabilities exceeded its current assets by $8,131,964. As stated in Note 16, the Company is dependent upon the continuation of adequate funding from the Australian and Northern Territory Governments in respect of operational and capital grants to continue as a going concern. As a result of these matters there is significant uncertainty whether the Association will continue as a going concern. Our opinion is not modified in respect of this matter.’

Even without the huge loss and the significantly negative working capital position, NTCS was dependent on Government grants. The question is: how is it going to get the very large extra amount it needs in order to get back on an even keel?

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

  • Almost – it is missing some responsible persons.
  • 2018 review: It appears so.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not directly shown on the website.
  • The ACNC Register show only two people, with only one of those matching the above list:
    • Danielle Little
    • Phoebe Van Bentum
  • 2018 review: Not shown on the website: On the ACNC Register, these people:

To whom is NTCS accountable?

  • To Missions Interlink[5] via its an Associate membership.
  • NTCS is also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And, as a company, to ASIC.

 

 

  1. Why it continues to belong to this organisation is not clear: Missions Interlink is an organisation for those with ‘an active interest in global mission’, and there is nothing on the NTCS website to indicate such an interest. In fact, how were they accepted when one of the qualifications for applying to be an associate is ‘a significant interest or involvement in cross-cultural and/or global mission’? Missions Interlink is not mentioned on the NTCS website.
  2. NT Christian Schools has a fund with deductible gift recipient status, but it is not mentioned on the website, nor in the last published accounts.
  3. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au: http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png  
  4. $10.26 million of this was due to the write-down of the building assets of a school that closed.
  5. For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

Langham Partnership (Australia) Incorporated

Langham Partnership Australia (LP) is an associate member of Missions Interlink. Mission Interlink members have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

The ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’s name
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for LP[1], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[2].

1. There is a registered[3] charity in that name, but with the addition of, quite properly, brackets around ‘Australia’ and the addition of ‘Incorporated’.

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above]. And PayPal is used, so your credit card information is secure.

4. There is no mention of a tax deduction on the ‘Donate’ page, which fits with the ‘Deductible gift recipient status’ shown on the Australian Business Register. LP is a ‘legitimate’ charity though.

5.  The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2017 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. Most donors think in terms of cash, so if that’s you, you might turn first to the Statement of Cash Flows. What you might not know though, is that you first should turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’.

Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, of the LP? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors who together gave $582K last year [Financial Report 2017]? Perhaps you are one of the suppliers who shared in the $371K of payments? [Financial Report 2017], or one of their 25 volunteers [AIS 2017]. If so, can you ring LP’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I very much doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports’[4].

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of LP, and the directors[5], with the agreement of the auditor, have again produced the lower standard special purpose financial statements. This is because they think that you don’t exist.

Even if this type of financial statements was reasonable,

  • The auditor has not produced a report that complies with his professional requirements.
  • The directors have produced financial statements that fall short of what is required.

______________________________________________________

If LP is still in the running for your business, and still on No. 5 (above) –

  • There is no explanation of the four ‘Program’ expense items, and the breakup of the amounts mostly doesn’t give the destination of the money.
  • The measures taken, if any, to ensure that the money was used for the purpose for which it was given, are not discussed.

 

LP chose not to respond to a draft of this review.

__________________________________________________________

Contact me if you need a more in-depth review.

 

 

  1. See here for last year’s review.
  2. A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering:
    • Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.
    • Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?
    • Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?
    • Is the charity being transparent about its activities?

  3. The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.
  4. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au: http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png  
  5. The people shown here. After removing the Public Officer and adding Grant Robinson, this list matches the ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register.

 

Summer Institute of Linguistics Australia: charity review

Since the last time I checked, a few months ago, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) Australia (SIL) has become an associate member of Missions Interlink.

Such members have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

The ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’s name
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for SIL:

1. There is a registered[1] charity in that name, but without the ‘(SIL)’.

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above]. But this is not relevant to your giving to SIL, for their Donate button transfers you to a separate charity, Wycliffe Bible Translators. So you have to trust that organisation, both generally and with your credit card information.

Wycliffe Bible Translators’ website is secure. For a review of that charity, see here.

For your credit card, you are told that ‘This site is secured by Trustwave for your protection’, but when you click on their logo, the message is that Trustwave doesn’t know Wycliffe Bible Translators.

The relationship between SIL and Wycliffe Bible Translators is not explained. Here’s something from SIL’s website. And here.

4. SIL says that ‘It is a Deductible Gift Recipient endorsed by ATO’. Not quite true – just the funds that it operates offer tax deductibility.

The donation page lists three funds, the Australian Business Register only two. The extra one doesn’t belong to SIL, but to a separate charity, SILA Overseas Aid & Development Fund.

5.  The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2017 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. Most donors think in terms of cash, so if that’s you, you might turn first to the Statement of Cash Flows. What you might not know though, is that you first should turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’.

Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, of the SIL? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors who gave $27K last year [Financial Report 2017]? Perhaps you are one of the suppliers who shared in the $110K of payments? [Financial Report 2017], or one of their 31 volunteers [AIS 2017]. If so, can you ring SIL’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I very much doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports’[2].

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of SIL, and the directors[3], with the agreement of the auditor[4], have again, on the grounds that you don’t exist, produced special purpose financial statements.

________________________________________________________

If SIL is still in the running for your business –

  • Although Note 1 to the financial statements says that the Financial Report ‘covers [SIL] as an individual entity’, that is, they are not consolidated statements, the income statement includes a material amount called ‘OADF donations and contributions’.
  • There is no explanation for what is easily the largest expense, ‘Operating expenses’ $91K. Nor any other the other expenses (all except Depreciation are 8% or over of the total expenses).
  • There is no information about the recipient or recipients of the $38K (16% of total expenses) sent overseas. Not even their country[5].
  • There is no information about how they ensure that the money you give is used for the purpose for which it was given.
  • At the time of donating, you have three options. None of these are shown under ‘Revenue’, and only the third under expenses in the Financial Report 2017.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Contact me if you need a fuller review.

 

 

  1. The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.
  2. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au: http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png  
  3. The people shown here. After an assumption that David Nicholls is the Kevin Nicholls, this matches the ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register.
  4. Matthew Hung, CA, of rdl.accountants.
  5. Their entry on the ACNC Register says that they operate in China and Philippines.