MAF Australia: charity review

Two more organisations were recently accredited by the CMA Standards Council[1]. This is a review of one of them, MAF Australia.

An ABN search shows that it ‘is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)’.

The ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’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 MAF Australia:

1: The ACNC Register shows two charities that use the name ‘MAF Australia’:

A bit confusing.

Names in brackets are the names that a charity says are its ‘Other Name(s)’. In this case, the name MAF Australia cannot in any way belong formally to MAF Assist. But MAF Assist is controlled by MAF Australia, and doesn’t have its own website, so there’s obviously a strong connection. And a Google site search of MAF Australia’s site shows why MAF Australia might be another name by which MAF Assist is known:

2. NA

3. MAF Australia’s ‘Donate’ page – not the other pages – ‘begins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar” on that page.  Although security is not mentioned on the page, this should be a secure way to give to MAF Australia.

4. ABN Lookup says that you cannot get a tax deduction for a donation to MAF Australia. However, its website collects for its subsidiaries too, and, as we saw above, you can get a deduction for a donation to MAF Assist.

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 Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows…[2]. This shows that just two items accounted for 100% of the cash outflows for ‘operating activities’:

There is no information given on who received the ‘distribution payments’[3]. And the other statement on how donations were used is no more helpful:

And this from an organisation held up as a leading light in transparency and accountability. End of review[4]

 

 

  1. Their mission is to ‘help build faith and trust in Christian organisations’, including by allowing organisations who are compliant with a set of standards, created by them, to display their seal of approval.
  2. ‘Consolidated’ means that the figures of one or more other entities are included because MAF Australia has control over them. Note 15 shows that this is two entities:
  3. Apart from $15K for the purchase of ‘property, plant and equipment and intangibles’, the remaining cash, $1.66 m, is shown as a financing activity, ‘Increase’(decrease) in other payables’. This is the Note on that item:The applicable Accounting Standard [AASB 107, paragraph 6] defines ‘Financing activities’ as ‘activities that result in changes in the size and composition of the contributed equity and borrowings of the entity.’ A gift (whether done while the person was alive – inter vivos – or through their last will and testament, does neither of these things. It is just a donation like any other.

    Second, why has the change been included as a cash flow? The cash was received in 2016, and the change in classification of the gift in 2017, apart from the minor part of the gift that had to be returned, did not involve the payment of cash.

  4. I sent the charity a draft of this review. Like last year, they didn’t respond.

Missionary Ventures Inc.: charity review

Mini-charity review of Missionary Ventures Inc. (MV), 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?[1]

  • One of MV’s ‘core ideologies’ is that it ‘accepts nothing less than absolute accountability’.
  • Neither feedback nor complaints are mentioned on the website.
  • I sent them a draft of this review[1]. Unlike last year, they did not respond.

Is MV registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • MV is a Victorian incorporated association (No. A0035777A).
  • The name it uses on Facebook and its website (Missionary Ventures Australia), is registered. Not so the name on its other Facebook site.
  • MV operates, per the ACNC Register, only in Victoria. It says in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017 that it doesn’t fundraise, but that ignores the fact that they have an online invitation.

What do they do?

  • See here.
  • For the current suite of programs, see here.
  • MV operates, per the ACNC Register, in Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vanuatu.
    • Presumably this is where they go on ‘team trips’.
    • All these countries except Cambodia have MV ‘field associates and partners’.
  • This is what they did in 2017 (AIS 2017):
    • During the year we sent out 14 mission teams from Australian churches and schools (132 individuals in total) to engage in Activities in the Asia/ Pacific region. These teams helped encourage and support indigenous communities and churches in the Asia Pacific region. In doing so, these teams also provided the opportunity for individual participants to grow in their faith commitment . As an organisation we alsohelped to facilitate the distribution of 42 motorcycles to indigenous pastors and field worker engaged in disciple making. Throughout the year we also assisted with some aid support in Vanuatu and Fiji .

Do they share the Gospel[2]?

  • Only incidentally by people on the trips to Christian organisations.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.
  • There’s probably some anecdotal evidence under ‘News’ on the website, and on their Facebook page.

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

  • There is an expense called ‘Admin’, but it excludes ‘Rent’, ‘Compensation’, and ‘Other expenses’, expenses that are, at least in part, customarily included in ‘Administration’.

Do they pay their board members?

  • Such payments are not prohibited by the constitution.
  • The figure for ‘Compensation’ in the expenses is classified as ‘Employee expenses/payments’ in the AIS 2017.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • Although security is not mentioned on the first page, the second page goes to an invitation to use PayPal, so yes.

Is MV’s reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (four months after their year-end, two weeks later than last year).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now over seven months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • Five of the 14 figures in the ‘Income Statement Summary’ do not match those in the ‘Statement of Profit or Loss’.
    • No outcomes are given.
  • Financial Report 2017[3]: Yes
    • Because of its size (‘Small’), MV is not required to submit a Financial Report.  It has, however, chosen to submit one anyway.
    • Because it was a voluntary submission, the Report does not need to comply with the ACNC’s requirements.
    • But it does need to comply with the requirements of its own constitution. Which it doesn’t.
    • Nor does it comply with the requirements of its Missions Interlink membership.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • The surplus as a percentage of ‘Income’ was reduced from 10% positive to 4% negative.
  • Both short-term and long-term financial structure, based on the Statement of Financial Position submitted, are sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • Nothing – the review report is missing the second page.

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

  • No
    • ‘Who the Charity Benefits’ is blank.
    • MV also operates in the Northern Territory.
    • Is the ‘Responsible Persons’ section up-to-date?

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

  • See the drop-down box here.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • This is not disclosed.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • On the website, these people.
  • On the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) there is also Don Marshall, but no June Steward:
    • Matthew Gosbell
    • Rowan Jeffery
    • Don Marshall
    • Kevin Palmer
    • Phil Plowman
    • John Williams
    • There are 30 directorships recorded for the name ‘John Williams’.  And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course doesn’t include for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which MV’s John Williams is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful, it would be legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.  Especially if he has a full-time job.
  • The Board is responsible to the membership. The number of members is not disclosed.

To whom are MV accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
    • The website displays the ACNC’s ‘Charity Tick’. The tick means that MV is a registered charity, its AIS is not overdue, and no compliance action has been take against it.
  • MV is also accountable to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.
  • Although not mentioned on the website, it is also accountable as a Member of Missions Interlink.

 

  1. I agree with Randy Alcorn [Money, Possessions, & Eternity, Tyndale, 2003] when he says that ‘Any Christian leaders who resist financial accountability make themselves suspect.’ [page 425].
  2. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14.
  3. I use the Pinnacle Financial Statements, respected in the profession as providing a very sound basis for producing compliant financial reports. To this I add an assessment of materiality (both quantitative and qualitative), where the users being considered are donors.

 

Intercultural Training Australia Limited: charity review

This is a review[1] of one of Missions Interlink’s ‘Associate Organisations’, Intercultural Training Australia Limited (ITA).

Given that Missions Interlink is ‘the Australian network for global mission’, ITA is most likely a charity.

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’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 are the answers for ITA:

1.  It is a registered charity.

Ministry comment: ‘not for taxation purposes, we are a registered as an Educational Institution.’

2.  NA

3.  Although there is no obvious request for donations on the website, a search of the site on ‘give’ results in this page that couldn’t be anything else but an invitation. However, the PayPal button leads to a message that ‘This recipient is currently unable to receive money.’

Ministry comment: ‘we don’t ever receive any donations from the public.’    

4.   It doesn’t offer a tax deduction, but ITA is, as we have seen, is a legitimate charity.

Ministry comment: ‘we are not a deductible gift recipient for tax purposes’

5.   We could look at ITA’s accounts to find out how the charity uses its donations, but there’s a problem.  The auditor, James Buckman[2], gave a qualified audit opinion because the company does not have the procedures to ensure that all donations that are received make their way into the charity’s bank account.  And the board[3][iii] does not appear to be concerned about this.

Ministry comment: The board noted it but as we don’t receive any donations or other funds by cash we have asked the auditor to adjust that note/qualification for next year’

‘End of review[4].

 

 

  1. For the previous review, see here.
  2. Who claims no membership of a professional accounting body.Ministry comment: ‘he is retired and has resigned his membership from all professional bodies, he does have an accounting qualification and was previously a member of  CPA  and has been approved by the office of fair trading in Qld to conduct our audit’
  3. [iii] Not shown on the website, but from the ACNC Register:Ashley HoodKim Hood

    Rosemary Laing

    Jennifer Latham

    Derek McComber

    Christine Neale

    Kaye Oakley

  4. I sent them a draft of this review. They sent the comments that have been included above.

 

SIM: charity review

This is a review of the organisation that has a website in the name SIM.

On that site there’s a request for donations and a way to do without leaving the site.

SIM’s tagline is ‘Serving in Mission’, so it’s most likely a charity.

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’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 are the answers for SIM:

  1. There is no charity under that name on the ACNC Register. But rolling through the 70 entries that come up for ‘Sim’, one finds one with ‘Australia’ on the end of ‘SIM’. Plus, two others that, because of their name and the fact that they are in the same suburb, look related to the first one:

The website footer confirms that the website belongs to SIM Australia at Penhurst[1]. (Although SIM is registered to omit ‘Ltd’/’Limited’ from the end of its name, it is still not registered to drop the ‘Australia’.)

2. NA

3. SIM Australia’sweb address begins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. A secure way to give to the charity.

4. ABN Lookup says that SIM Australia cannot give you a tax deduction. But this doesn’t fit with the information on one of the giving options:

Presumably this is explained by the fact that SIM Australia also collects for one or both of the ‘SIM’ charities mentioned above:

5. The giving page doesn’t give the name of the charity to which you are giving if you give to this ‘simaid’. We should be able to tell from inspecting the accounts of each ‘Simaid’ charity, but despite these accounts of the Trust being due by 31 March 2018, they have yet to be lodged, nearly four months later[2]:

End of review[3].

 

 

  1. For last year’s review, see here.
  2. Last year, they lodged accounts, but they were the wrong ones.
  3. I sent a draft of this review to the charity. Like last year, they did not respond.

 

GLO Ministries: charity review

This is a review of the organisation that has a website in the name GLO Ministries.

GLO Ministries has an online invitation to give. It’s got ‘ministries’ in its name, so it’s most likely a charity.

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’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 are the answers for GLO Ministries:

  1. There is no charity under that name on the ACNC Register:

A search on ABN Lookup gives a strong possibility, G.L.O. Ministries Limited:

This leads to a charity in the same name. Although none of the information under ‘Charity Details’ on the Register matchs the information on the GLO Ministries’ website, both street addresses are in Riverstone NSW. So, although the spelling is wrong[1], and there is no ‘Ltd/’Limited’ on the end of the name on the website, we have a match[2]. (As G.L.O. Ministries Limited doesn’t have the necessary provisions in its constitution, it is not entitled to omit ‘Limited/Ltd’ when it uses its company name.)

2. NA

3. G.L.O. Ministries Limited make a request for donations on their website, but you cannot give via the website.

4. G.L.O. Ministries Limited gives a tax deduction for a donation to one of its two funds, ‘GLO School of Team Ministries Building Fund’. (They have another DGR fund, but it is not mentioned. And charity itself is not, as they say in a note on the giving page, ‘a Deductible Gift Recipient endorsed by ATO’.)

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 should first 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, G.L.O. Ministries Limited? Perhaps you are a student, or a prospective student at the GLO College of Ministries, or one of the ‘almost 200 people worldwide’ who are ‘partnering with’ the charity [Directors’ Report, Financial Report 2017], or one of its 22 volunteers [AIS 2017], or one of the donors who collectively gave $692K? If so, can you ring G.L.O. Ministries Limited’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’[3].

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of G.L.O. Ministries Limited, and the directors[4] of the charity, under the ‘Basis of preparation’, say that the accounts are a ‘special purpose report’ (not a general purpose one). This means that they think that you don’t exist[5]. End of review[6].

 

 

  1. The ‘Historical Details’ page on their ABN record shows that they changed their name back to G.L.O. Ministries Limited in 2002 (from GLO Ministries Ltd). Why is the website still in the old name, all these years later?
  2. For the previous review, see here.
  3. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au:
  4. Not shown on the website, but from the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):Malcolm ArnoldAndrew Cowell

    Allan Driver

    Kenneth Harding

    John Quilliam

    David Scott

    Craig Stokes

    Oskars Stubis

  5. This implies that the directors have made a decision the charity is not a reporting entity. Not only should they make this explicit, but they should say why they believe this.
  6. I sent a draft of this review to the charity. They…did not respond.

 

New Heart Baptist Church: charity review

This is a charity review of New Heart Baptist Church (NH), a review in the series ‘Members 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? [1]

  • I sent them a draft of this review. They rang, I answered their questions, then I heard no more. (The previous two years I didn’t even get the call.)

Is NH registered?

  • As a charity, yes. But still incorrectly in the name Rochedale Baptist Church t/as New Heart Baptist Church.
    • The name should match that in the ABN register, Rochedale Baptist Church. The constitution is also in the wrong name.
    • They hold the name they use, New Heart Baptist Church, as a registered business name.
  • NH is an unincorporated entity.
  • It said in the AIS 2017 that it did not intend to fundraise. With the GiveNow option being more a facility for members rather than an invitation to the public, it is likely that a fundraising licence is not required.

What do they do?

  • See the main menu items on the website.

Does they share the Gospel?[2]

  • 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?

  • As they are not required to lodge any financial information, even in the AIS (see below), and they have chosen not to lodge this information voluntarily, nor publish anything on their website, we cannot make this calculation.

Do they pay their board members?

  • Such payments are not prohibited by the constitution.
  • There are no financial statements to check.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • Give Now is used. Security is not mentioned.

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

  • None

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six months after year end, three days later, and two and a half months later than last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • Their name is incorrect.
    • There are no outcomes.
  • Financial Report 2017: NA
    • Because they have a revenue of at least $250K their size is Medium. Ordinarily this would mean that they must lodge accounts (which have been at least reviewed). However, because they are a ‘basic religious charity’, they are exempt from reporting.
    • But 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.
    • They could have lodged this voluntarily, but they chose not to.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • NA

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • If there is an audit report, it is not made public (or even offered).

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

  • Yes
    • Despite their membership of Missions Interlink, and a page on the website (currently blank) for ‘Global Missions’, the Register says they don’t operate overseas.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • There are no financial statements to check.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Here’s who they identify as the leaders.
  • The ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register match the elders plus the Senior Pastor, but still with an extra person, Roger McKnight:

To whom is NH accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • Claimed membership of Missions Interlink is confirmed. NH is accountable, as the recipient of benefits and concessions as an Associate member, to Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  1. I agree with Randy Alcorn [Money, Possessions, & Eternity, Tyndale, 2003] when he says that ‘Any Christian leaders who resist financial accountability make themselves suspect.’ [page 425]
  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.

 

Crossway: charity review

This is a review of the organisation that has a website in the name Crossway[1].

Crossway has an online invitation to give. It’s a church so it’s most likely a charity.

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’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 are the answers for Crossway:

  1. There is no charity under that name:

Roll to the bottom of the home page and you’ll see that the church is the third one in this list, Crossway Baptist Church Inc.

2.   NA

3.   Crossway’s “web address begins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. A secure way to give to Crossway.

4.   ABN Lookup says that Crossway operates two funds, gifts to which ‘may be deductible’: Crossway CRE Fund and Crossway Baptist Church Fellowship Fund. Neither of these funds are mentioned on the website.

Others are though:

’Crossway Kingdom Fund’ is the registered charity The Trustee for Crossway Kingdom Fund, and ‘Cross way LifeCare’ is the registered charity Crossway Lifecare Limited.

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[2]. 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, one or more of the three Crossway charities? Perhaps you are one of the 6,864 people who, on average, attended church each week (perhaps also contributing to the average weekly tithe of $114K), or one of the suppliers, employees or beneficiaries who shared in $9.39 m of cash payments?[3] If so, can you ring Crossway’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 Crossway, and the Committee members[5] of Crossway, under the ‘Basis of preparation’, say that you don’t exist[6]. End of review[7].

 

 

  1. For the previous review, see here.
  2. It would have been more helpful if the title had been preceded by ‘Consolidated’. For Crossway’s accounts are not just for itself but include the figures for the two charities that it controls, Crossway Lifecare Limited and Trustee for Crossway Kingdom Fund.
  3. Annual Report 2017, from the website.
  4. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au:
  5. One of these board members is John Peberdy. John is a director of Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd, an organisation that believes that ‘Christian organisations should be the standard-setters in terms of impeccable corporate behaviour’. The mission of their committee, the CMA Standards Council, is to ‘help build faith and trust in Christian organisations’, including by allowing organisations who are compliant with a set of standards, formed by the Council, to display the Council’s seal of approval.
  6. I sent a draft of this review to Crossway. Like the previous two years, they…did not respond.

 

God’s Dreaming Inc: charity review

This is a charity review of God’s Dreaming Inc (GD), an organisation that seeks donations online and is an Associate member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the situation last year, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

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

Is GD registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • GD is a Victorian incorporated association (A0094980S).
  • It has no business names.
  • GD operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, in six states.
    • It still doesn’t have the necessary registration to conduct business interstate (an ARBN).
    • AIS 2017 says they don’t intend to fundraise, and as they probably have not considered their online invitation as fundraising, the absence of fundraising licences is understandable.

What do they do?

  • In general.
  • More specifically.
  • The ACNC Register says that GD doesn’t operate overseas.
    • Does their membership of Missions Interlink – ‘We exist to connect Australians with a passion for global mission’ – indicate that they had an intention to work overseas?

Do they share the Gospel[1]?

  • 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?

  • The only financial information available is what’s included in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2107. And this shows all the expenses as ‘Other expenses/payments’.

Do they pay their board members?

  • The constitution is silent on paying board members.
  • From the financial information available (see above), it is not possible to tell if they pay them or not.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • At step 3 of the giving process it says that ‘Transactions are secure and encrypted’, but no support is offered for this assertion.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged three months after their year-end, one and a half months 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 nearly seven months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: Almost – no outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2017: Yes
    • Because of its size, GD does not have to lodge a Financial Report with the ACNC. And even though they are a ‘Christian’ organisation, they chose not to lodge one voluntarily.
    • However, the terms of its incorporation as an association require it to prepare a full set of financial statements, and 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.”  It’s not offered on the website, so just ask.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Not from the Report but from the AIS 2017: a surplus of $7K on turnover of $14K, and with liabilities of $46, equity was $12K.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • An audit is required, but if one was completed, it has not been made public.

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

  • Yes

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

  • None

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The AIS 2017 says neither grants nor donations were made.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • These people.
  • Per the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) it is Annette Simpon and Francis Clancy instead of Grace Henshaw and Viv Latham:
    • Francis Clancy
    • Roger Latham
    • Jadah Pleiter
    • Annette Simpon
    • Julie Strack
    • Sondy Ward (the CEO)
    • Karen Williams
    • John Williams
      • Is it this John Williams?
      • The name ‘John Williams’ appears on the register for 30 charities. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course doesn’t include for-profit organisations.  If after eliminating the charities for which GD’s John Williams is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful, it would be legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.
  • The board is responsible to the members. The number of members is not disclosed.

To whom is GD accountable?

  • The claimed membership of Missions Interlink is confirmed.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • GD is also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.

 

  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.

 

Tahlee Ministries: charity review

This is a charity review[1] of Tahlee Ministries, a charity that seeks donations on the internet, and is a ‘Member Organisation’ of Missions Interlink[2].

The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’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 are the answers for Tahlee Ministries:

1: There is no charity with exactly this name on the Register of charities. The ‘Contact Us’ page on the website (above) identifies it as Tahlee Ministries Inc[3]. But this doesn’t get us to a unique charity because there’s not one, but two charities registered that use this name:

Both charities are at the same address, so that doesn’t help identify the owner of the website. And the website doesn’t show the ABN. End of review?

It is confusing for one charity, Tahlee Bible College, to use the name of another charity. Perhaps it is a subsidiary of that other charity? The Register record of each charity suggests that this is indeed the case – all seven board members of the College are also on the board of Tahlee Ministries Incorporated. But there’s no group reporting, and Tahlee Bible College is not mentioned in the other charity’s accounts.

2. NA

3. Tahlee Ministries has a request for donations on the website but does not offer online giving. (If it did, it would need to secure its website.)

4. It doesn’t offer a tax deduction, but Tahlee Ministries Incorporated is nevertheless a legitimate charity. Tahlee Bible College offers a tax deduction but doesn’t appear to ask for donations anywhere. It too is a legitimate charity.

5. We could look at Tahlee Ministries Incorporated’s accounts to find out how the charity uses its donations, but there’s a problem. The auditor, Ashley Dorse of A J Dorse Accounting, while giving a ‘clean’ opinion on the financial statements, financial statements that are still materially deficient by the way, has again reported that the charity does not have any internal controls in place to ensure that all donations that are received make their way into the charity’s bank account. And the board[4] does not appear to be concerned about this. End of review[5].

 

 

  1. For the previous review, see here.
  2. The ‘General Director’ of Tahlee Ministries, John Anderson, is also a director of Missions Interlink, an organisaton that has an accountability regime for its members.
  3. This means that, because they don’t hold the business name that they use on the website, they are acting contrary to the business names legislation, and most likely their enabling legislation as well.
  4. From the ACNC Register: John Anderson, William Brill, Stuart Fleming, Wayne Forward, Greg Gibbins, Fraser Hannam, Grant Morrison, and Lindsay Teasdale.
  5. I sent them a draft of this review. Like the last two years, they did not respond.

 

Crossroads PM Inc: charity review

This is a charity review of Crossroads PM Inc (CPM), an organisation that seeks donations online and is a ‘Member Organisation’ of Missions Interlink[1]. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the last review, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

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

Is CPM registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • CPM is a New South Wales incorporated association.[2]
  • It holds three business names: Crossroad Bible Institute, Crossroads Prison Ministry Australia, and the one it uses on the website, Crossroads Prison Ministries Australia.
    • It says – ACNC Register – that it is also known by the names Crossroads Prison Ministries, CBI Australia, Crossroad Bible Institute, and Crossroads PM Inc.[3]
  • CPM operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, throughout Australia.
    • It still doesn’t have the necessary registration to conduct business interstate (an ARBN).
    • It said in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017 that it didn’t intend to fundraise next year, but it forgot that it has an online invitation. This would explain the lack of explanation for the absence of any fundraising licences.

What do they do?

  • See here.
  • CPM operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tonga.

Do they share the Gospel[4]?

  • 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?

  • This is not disclosed, and the expenses are not classified to allow an estimate to be made.

Do they pay their board members?

  • The constitution is silent on paying board members.
  • From the expenses, it appears that no such payment is made.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged six months after their year-end, two days before the deadline, and three weeks later than last year).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now over six months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • Two of the figures under ‘Expenses/Payments’ are incorrect.
    • The association number is incorrect.
    • Online fundraising has not been disclosed.
    • ‘Activities’ is not particularly about 2017.
    • No outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2017: Yes
    • CPM slipped below the threshold for reporting this year.
    • However, it submitted a Report anyway.
    • Unfortunately, the ACNC does not require such Reports to comply with the law (and CPM’s doesn’t).
    • However, their 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.”
      • If ‘appropriate’ is defined as what professional accountants should do then, like last year, the Report is clearly ‘inappropriate’:
        • One financial statement is missing.
        • Two of the other three financial statements are materially different from what is required by the Accounting Standards.
        • Almost all the usual Notes to the accounts are missing.
      • The auditor has again used the wrong Auditing Standard.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Surplus as a percentage of revenue decreased dramatically from negative 3% to negative 27%.
    • Despite the significant decline in donations, ‘Salaries’ increased by 124%.
    • Assets now exceed liabilities by only $44K (down from $107K).

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Troy Vander Noord, Chartered Accountant, gave a ‘clean’ conclusion (it was a review, not an audit).
    • But before you decide how much comfort to take from this conclusion, please re-read the section ‘Financial Report 2017’, above.

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

  • Almost – there’s a name missing and an extra name included under ‘Other Name(s)’.

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

  • None

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • Other than all over Australia, CPM operates in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tonga. The AIS 2017 says that no $12k of grants were made for use in Australia – but this amount matches a line item called ‘South Pacific Expenses’ – and none overseas. There is no disclosure beyond this.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website, but per the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) they are:
  • The committee is three short of the number required by the constitution.
  • Although the guarantee by the members in the case of a winding up of the association is described in the Notes – an unusual inclusion for an association – the number of members is not mentioned. We cannot therefore assess the accountability from this quarter.

To whom is CPM accountable?

  • Not claimed, but CPM is a member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • CPM is also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And to the New South Wales regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

  1. Missions Interlink have an old website address for CPM.
  2. But still, over a year after the change, in its old name, CBI Australia Inc.
  3. The last one is its legal name (and therefore an incorrect inclusion), two are two of the three business names it holds, and three are unregistered.
  4. 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.