Presbyterian Church Of Australia Aust Presbyterian World Mission Committee: charity review

This is a charity review of Presbyterian Church Of Australia Aust Presbyterian World Mission Committee – yes, I’ve got the name right – (PWMC), an organisation that seeks donations online and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.

For the previous review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review. Like last year, they chose not to comment.

Is PWMC registered?

What do they do?

  • ‘What do we do?
    • aid and refugee work
    • audio distribution of the Bible
    • Bible translation
    • church planting
    • teaching English as a Second Language
    • Evangelism
    • IT support
    • mission aviation
    • primary/secondary education
    • short term work parties to Vanuatu
    • theological education
    • training Australian indigenous leaders
    • university lecturing
    • …and many other activities that help spread the gospel [APWM Information Leaflet, here.]
  • PWMC is a national organisation, a committee of the General Assembly of the church in Australia [The Presbyterian Church of Australia, Constitution, Procedure and Practice, paragraph 5.(a), governing document, ACNC Register]. It appears from the NSW Property Trust Act 1936, that the NSW church looks after all the affairs of the General Assembly [Chapter 12 of the above document].

Do they share the Gospel?[2]

  • Although it is only one thing in this long list, one would expect that at least some of the missionaries doing good works are also sharing the Gospel.

What impact are they having?

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

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

  • The figures for PWMC are contained within the financial statements of the Group, those of the Presbyterian Church (New South Wales) Property Trust, along with those for eight other Presbyterian organisations. So no calculation is possible.

Do they pay their board members?

  • A 481-page document and unfamiliarity with the relationship between the parts of that document meant that I didn’t check whether they can pay such fees.
  • There is insufficient disclosure of expenses to say whether anybody in the Group paid their board members, let alone PWMC (one of nine organisations in the Group).

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

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

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • They don’t have to report, their figures being included in a Group Financial Report.
    • That Report was submitted four months after the year-end, seven weeks earlier than last year.
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now over 13 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: One wasn’t required.
    • It wasn’t required because of PWMC’s membership of the Group (see above). But even without this, it wouldn’t have to submit financial statements because it is a ‘basic religious charity’. The legislators apparently thought – I’ve not been able to find the reasoning – that there was enough accountability and transparency for you in the requirements of the religious system to which these charities belonged.
  • Financial Report 2016: One wasn’t required.
  • Group AIS 2016: Yes – although I don’t think the control of nine diverse Presbyterian organisations, one of which is the national ‘Missions Committee’, is fairly described as ‘Providing administration support to Presbyterian organisations in NSW’.
  • Group Financial Report 2016: (the report that includes PWMC’s figures): No, no true and fair view.
    • To produce the type of financial statements that imply that any stakeholders, past or prospective, can request a body controlling nine charities, earning $33.92 m p.a., and with 300 staff, can expect a positive response to their request for financial statements tailored to their needs is ridiculous.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • No information on PWMC is available. You must trust the holding company. If this is not enough for you, then contact PWMC.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • Nothing is disclosed.

What did the auditor say about the last (Group) financial statements?

  • The auditor, Meredith Scott for Ernst & Young, gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
  • But
    • as it’s on the consolidated financial statements, statements where PWMC is mentioned only on the cover as one of nine other entities whose figures have been included,
    • and as it’s accepting of special purpose financial statements (above),
    • you might question how much comfort on PWMC you can take from that.

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

  • No
    • An absence of countries under ‘Operates in (Countries)’ does not match the website information.
    • Is it really the case that just two people govern this charity?
    • ‘Who the Charity Benefits’ is blank.
    • Admittedly it’s only a trading name, but it’s incorrect (under ‘Other Name(s)’

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • There’s nothing about directors or a governing body on the website.
  • ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register shows two people:
    • Peter Merrick
    • Stephen Smith
    • The governing document says that there are considerably more than two people on the Committee:

To whom is PWMC accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
    • Its ‘Charity Tick’ is used in the website footer in support of you giving to them.  And rightly so, because it would be unwise to give to a charity that is unregistered.   The ‘tick’ also means PWMC’s AIS is not overdue, and the ACNC has not taken any compliance action against it.
  • They are accountable because of their membership of Missions Interlink.
    • However, when they describe their membership, they make no mention of the accountability aspect.
      • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  1. I only checked in the name that they use on the website, the name that they told me last year was ‘the correct name’ (private email), Australian Presbyterian World Mission; ‘Fundraising’ is not mentioned on the website, so maybe their operations don’t include fundraising. But the internet invitation is fundraising. If their compliance with these laws is of concern to you, I’d ask them to explain.
  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.

African Enterprise Ltd: charity review

A charity review of African Enterprise Ltd (AEA) as an organisation that seeks donations online and is a member of Missions Interlink[1]. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

(To see the situation last year, read this review.)

Are they responsive to feedback?

I sent them a draft of this review. The Executive Director, Ben Campbell, responded the same day (just like last year), saying ‘Thank you for your commentary which continues to sharpen our focus on good reporting to our supporter community.’  Plus, he supplied some specific comments, which have been included below, and the following general comment:

The work of mission and development in Africa is dependent on the wise stewardship of resources within our care.  Following the investment AE made to connect with new supporters in 2016, in 2017 we worked on new strategies to increase our efficiencies, engagement and improving the giving ratio which has been reflected in the latest results (to be uploaded in April 2018). We would like to thank our supporters for making a tremendous difference in Africa. Their support of this evangelistic mission in partnership with churches in the cities of Africa has seen 94,000 make a decision for Christ in 2017 and over a million hear the Good News of Jesus.   Thank you. 

Is AEA registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • AEA is a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
  • It uses the names AE Australia on Facebook and Instagram, African Enterprise Australia on Facebook , Vimeo and YouTube. and African Enterprise on the website.
    • To omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ when using its name, it needs to have specific provisions in its constitution. These are absent.
    • It doesn’t have any of the above names registered as business names.
    • It has registered African Update and African Harvest.
  • AEA operates – per the ACNC Register – throughout Australia.
    • It has a fundraising licence wherever it might require one.

What do they do?

  • Contrary to what it says on the website, AEA is not directly involved in Africa:
    • ‘As a support region our core purpose is to raise the requisite resources to finance and equip the work of all our brothers and sisters in Africa who are involved in evangelising the cities of Africa in word and deed in partnership with the church. We seek to inform, inspire and engage new generations of supporters to partner with African Enterprise to pray and financially give to the Ministry’.
      • Ministry comment: ‘In terms of what we do, there is an aspect of supporting Africa directly through this office through IT administration, strategic support and via specific investment from some supporters in response to certain needs. I have also been involved in both mission in Ghana and strategic support in Zimbabwe and the Chairman is also directly supporting strategy in Africa through the International Board.’
  • The financial statements consolidate the figures for a New Zealand charity, African Enterprise New Zealand Limited, and it appears that AEA also controls the African Enterprise presence in Hong Kong, but these connections are not explained anywhere.
    • Ministry comment: With regard to Hong Kong, there is no office there, however a number of supporters there whom we visit from time to time. ‘

Do they share the Gospel?[2]

  • No (they raise money for those that do).

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found on AEA’s impact.
  • There is a regular report on ‘mission impact’ in Africa on the website. Here’s an example:

  • Nothing systematic found for the development work.
    • Ministry comment: ‘As we are a major supporter of mission in Africa, the mission impact we have here in Australia is significant as we make it possible for the missions to occur through both prayers and financial support.  We also liaise with supporters with particular interests in projects that they have a direct influence on within Africa.  We also support the visits of African team leaders to help educate supporters/people on mission impact directly.’

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

  • There is a figure for ‘Administration’, but this excludes many expenses that only indirectly benefit the African beneficiaries.
  • If we assume that the impact is represented by the amount shown for ‘Overseas projects’, then then it cost AEA $904K to send $1.21 m. This is 43% of expenses (compared to 34% last year).
    • There is no explanation for this large increase.
      • Ministry comment: There was additional investment in campaigns to drive a greater awareness of the ministry in Africa during 2016.  This investment was scaled back in 2017.
  • You might ask them why it wouldn’t be more efficient for you to send your donation direct to Africa.

Do they pay their board members?

  • This is not prohibited by the constitution.
  • Note 4 to the financial statements says that they don’t get paid.
  • There is insufficient disclosure of expenses to check.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Not to AEA itself, but to the fund it operates, African Enterprise Aid and Development Fund.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Although the web address has a ‘https’ prefix, instead of a green padlock there is a warning that ‘Your connection to this site is not fully secure’.
    • Ministry comment: ‘There should always be a locked button to give via the website. The SSL certificate is in place and supporters should have confidence that their donation remains secure.’
      • Reviewer response: As I showed Ben – no ‘locked button’:

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

  • ‘Missions’
    • ‘If you have a specific mission in mind, please add this in the ‘comments box’.’
  • ‘Aid and Development’

Is their reporting up-to-date?

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

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • AEA are still reporting the financial information of the group, not for AEA.
    • Even ignoring that, some of the financial figures given do not match those in the financial statements.
    • The activities are not those of AEA, but those of African Enterprise globally.
    • No outcomes are reported.
    • Neither the states nor the countries that are listed match those listed on the ACNC Register.
    • One business name is missing, and the other is not recorded correctly.
      • Ministry comment: ‘Thank you for drawing the various matters to my attention and I will review the items listed in the interests of seeing correct alignment.’
  • Financial Report 2016
    • There is still no related parties’ disclosure.
    • In consolidated accounts it is conventional to give summary financial information for the holding company. This is again absent.
    • ‘Unsecured interest-free loans’ are still incorrectly classified as ‘Trade and other payables’ (should be ‘Borrowings’).

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Another deficit was recorded this year (5% of revenue compared to 6% last year).
    • Ministry comment: ‘Please note that the deficit was recorded in 2016 as a result of drawing on strategic reserves, so a minimum reserve is maintained. For 2017, we have recorded a breakeven result and have not tapped into reserves.’
  • ‘Fundraising costs’ were 21% of expenses – up from 16% last year.
  • Employee benefits expenses was 24% of the total.
  • Working capital (current assets less current liabilities) is strongly positive.
  • There are minimal long-term liabilities, so long-term financial structure is sound.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • Other than overseas, this is not disclosed.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

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

  • Did AEA send money to all 14 of these countries, including Hong Kong and New Zealand?
    • Ministry comment: ‘Donations are supplied from NZ and Hong Kong for Africa, and not sent there. This information will be reviewed on the site.’
    • Despite the impression that you may get from AEA’s materials, the African Enterprise organisation in New Zealand is not part of AEA, but a separate charity, with a separate board of directors.
  • The business name that is shown is African Harvest, and one is missing.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The website shows them here.
    • It says there are ten but only shows eight. Something to do with the New Zealand charity?
      • Ministry comment: There was a recent change in directors and some of the website information needs to be updated as a result.
  • The ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’), has nine, with Benjamin Campbell and Stephen Thomas additional and John Hanne missing compared to the website list (assuming Chris Siriweera is the same person as Ananda Siriweena):

To whom is AEA accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • As a company, to ASIC.
  • Although not mentioned on the website, AEA is an Associate member of Missions Interlink. Missions Interlink has an accountability regime[1]
    • For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • Although AEA operates an overseas aid fund, they are not a member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID).

 

 

  1. Their link is to the international organization, not AEA.
  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.

Westminster Presbyterian Church Presbytery of Western Australia: a charity review

A charity review of Westminster Presbyterian Church Presbytery of Western Australia Inc (WPCWA) an organisation that appears to be the one that is listed as a member of Missions Interlink[1].

Are they responsive to feedback?

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

Is WPCWA registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • WPCWA is a Western Australian incorporated association (A1014600W)[2].
  • If its website is wpc.org.au[3], then it is using the names WPC Australia and Westminster Presbyterian Church in Australia. It holds no business names.
  • WPCWA operates – according to the ACNC Register – in Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Western Australia, plus overseas in Vanuatu.
    • It does not have the required registration (an ARBN) to carry on business outside Western Australia.
    • There is no indication that it does any fundraising, so the question of state fundraising licences does not arise.

What does it do?

  • The Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017 says that
    • We support local churches in various ministries. We screen new ministers and churches. We seek to develop new churches. We are supporting a couple of overseas missionaries.
    • ‘Local’ is not Western Australia: the first of the ‘Presbytery’s Objects in the constitution is
      • to assist congregations affiliated with the Westminster Presbyterian Church in all States and Territories except Queensland to…

Do they share the Gospel?[4]

  • No.

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?

  • No Financial Report 2017 has been lodged (see below), and it is not possible to estimate ‘administration’ from the four expenses disclosed in the AIS 2017.

Do they pay their board members?

  • Such payments are not prohibited by the constitution.
  • Insufficient financial information is provided to check.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes.
    • Despite an AGM that was held in August, the AIS was not lodged for another five months, a week before the deadline, and a month later than last year.
    • 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: Almost – no outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2017: Yes
    • Because of their size, they don’t have to lodge one.
    • 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.” No such statement has been made public.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • From the AIS 2017:
    • A surplus of $6K on revenue of $246K.
    • ‘Employee expenses’ were 93% of the total.
    • Liabilities are 87% of assets.

What did the auditor say about the financial statements?

  • If there was an audit, it is not available to the public without charge.

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

  • Almost – ‘Who the Charity Benefits’ is blank. (So is ‘Website’, but that’s not compulsory.)

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

  • NA

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • Presumably the $245K ‘Donations and requests’ (AIS 2017) came from affiliated churches.
  • There is no disclosure of where the $5K of ‘Grants and donations…’ went.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Per the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • John MacRae
    • Simon Van Bruchem
    • Ray Wilson
  • The committee is responsible to the members of the association. The number of members is not disclosed.

To whom are WPCWA accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • As an association, to the Western Australian regulator of incorporated associations.
  • If they are indeed the member referred to as Westminster Presbyterian Church of WA’, then WPCWA is accountable to Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  1. The membership is listed as being in the name ‘Westminster Presbyterian Church of WA’. The link though is to a Presbyterian church at Bull Creek. That church has asked Missions Interlink to remove that link (email from them).
  2. Not to be confused with Westminster Presbyterian Church, another Western Australian incorporated association (A08200735). (But with no ABN.)
  3. Despite WPCWA’s name, it operates in two other states.
  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.

Dignity Freedom Network Australia Ltd: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Dignity Freedom Network Australia Ltd (DFN), an organisation that seeks donations online and is an Associate member[1] of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • DFN claim to be ‘committed to accountability and transparency in all practices’.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. Like last year, they…did not respond.

Is DFN registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • DFN is a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
  • Its name:
    • They changed their name from Dalit Freedom Network Australia Ltd in October 2017[2]. There is no explanation for this change either on the website or in the Financial Report 2017[3].
    • DFN does not appear to have the provisions in its constitution necessary to permit it to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ from the end of its name.
    • It does not have any business names registered[4].
    • Because of the above, it does not have the necessary permissions to publicly use Dignity Freedom Network or Dignity Freedom Network Australia (its website), or DFN Australia and New Zealand (Facebook)[5].
  • In its AIS 2017 it said it intended to fundraise in four of the five states where, per the ACNC Register, it operates. All have a fundraising licensing regime for charities. The AIS 2017 also says that a licence is held in Victoria, but this does not agree with Victoria’s list. No licence is held in the other states. Perhaps the AIS 2017 information is a mistake, and DFN believes that it is exempt everywhere?
  • DFN, per the ACNC Register, operates overseas only in India. But this is only in the sense that this is where your money is sent.

What do they do?

  • Ignoring the fact that it combines Australia and New Zealand, the ‘Company Overview’ on Facebook gives the right picture[6]:
    • We are the Aus/NZ branch of Dignity Freedom Network, a global not-for-profit organisation that works in India to end caste based (sic) discrimination.
      Here down under we work to raise awareness and advocate for India’s oppressed, while raising funds to support our sustainable development programs.
  • What is the relationship with the New Zealand organization?
  • DFA is a ‘Public Benevolent Institution’.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No
    • DFN have not selected ‘Advancing Religion’ as an ‘Entity Subtype’.

What impact are they having?

  • There is no information on the website about impact (nor outcomes or results).

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

  • ‘Aid and development’ projects is only 37% of expenses. ‘Employee benefits expense’ is larger at 44% of expenses.
  • This seems quite different to what they claim on the website:
    • ‘14. Eighty percent of gifts received for a specific project are applied directly to that project and 20% towards administration. Eighty percent of sponsorship support is applied to the education program and 20% towards administration.’
  • The implication that the cost of administration goes up proportionally – whatever the proportion – is a licence to make a profit on administration.

Do they pay their board members?

  • The constitution does not prohibit this.
  • The financial statements do not say one way or the other.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes

Is their online giving secure?

  • The ‘Donate’ page says ‘100% Secure’, but this claim is still not supported.

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

  • It’s not clear. On the ‘Donate’ page you enter an amount etc. but there is no purpose specified. And a button underneath says ‘Sponsor a child’. But on the Home page, there is ‘Donate’, ‘Free a Child’, and ‘Free a Woman’. So, I’d say general purposes and sponsorship of either a woman or a child.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • This is not disclosed.
  • We know that they send the money to India, but without further information we can’t check the FCRA returns submitted to the Indian government.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

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

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • They don’t do the things they said they do here.
    • ‘Type of financial statement’ is incorrect.
    • Three of the five figures under ‘Gross Income’ are incorrect.
    • They are not registered as a fundraiser in Victoria.
  • Financial Report 2017: No, not a true and fair view.
    • The audit report has been omitted from the Report.
    • There is no explanation of the relationship with the New Zealand organization.
      • Is it the reason for the unexplained $24K revenue item, ‘admin & management fees received’?
    • Special purpose financial statements, the ones that do not have to comply with all the Accounting Standards, are not appropriate for an organization seeking donations from the public, operating in five states, receiving more than half a million dollars in donations, and having a professional staff of five.
      • The directors do not say why they believe the entity to be ‘not a reporting entity’.
    • 98% of what is recorded as liabilities, $47K, are ‘Project funds unpaid’. Such funds are not normally liabilities.
    • A ‘Cost of sales’ of $184K makes no sense with ‘sale of goods’ of $1K, and zero inventory.
    • There is no mention of the change of name from ‘Dalit’ to ‘Dignity’.
    • The fact that the figures are not for the usual 12 months is mentioned only in one part of one Note.
    • The is no explanation for the existence of not insignificant ‘Finance costs’ when no money is owed.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • No obvious issues.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • There is an auditor – Kar Seng Chan of KSChan & Co – but no audit report.

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

  • Almost – ‘Website’ is still blank. (The ACNC says that it is not compulsory.)

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • From ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register:
  • If the Rodwells are a couple, then with only two other directors, it would be valid for you to question the governance of this charity.

To whom is DFN accountable?

  • They say, on the website, that
    • ‘12. To demonstrate our commitment to transparency and accountability, Dalit Freedom Network Australia posts a variety of information about the organisation on our website including: our financial statements and other related material.’
      • There are still no financial statements on the website.
  • They are accountable, as a charity, to the ACNC.
  • And to ASIC as a company.
  • Their Associate membership of Missions Interlink means that they must comply with some standards.
    • For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  1. Under its old name.
  2. There is also an incorporated association named Dalit Freedom Network Australia Inc. This entity has no ABN. Is it a forerunner of the superseded company name?
  3. Perhaps it is something to do with who the Dalits are, maybe even political?
  4. Dalit Freedom Network Australia Inc has the name Dalit Freedom Network registered.
  5. The New Zealand organization, Dignity Freedom Network New Zealand, is still not a registered charity.
  6. Both the ‘About’ page on the website, and the AIS 2017, combine what DFN does with what is done overseas by the organisations to whom it sends your money.

ACC International Missions Ltd: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of ACC International Missions Ltd (ACCIM), an organisation that seeks donations online and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

(To see the situation last year, read this review.)

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • ACCIR welcomes it:
    • ACCI recognises that listening to and responding to feedback, concerns and complaints is integral to our commitment to achieving the high standards and ensures accountability to all stakeholders. Complaints or feedback can be submitted to the CEO of Operations via the below contact details or to another ACCI employee, field worker or strategic partner.
  • When sent a draft of this review, they…did not respond. [Last year: did not respond.]

Is ACCIM registered?

  • As a charity, yes. (But as Acc International…).
  • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • Not, as the ABN record still says, an ‘Other Incorporated Entity’.
    • It has the necessary provisions in its constitution to allow it to omit ‘Limited/Ltd’ on the end of its name.
  • It has two business names, ACCI Missions & Relief, and Australian Christian Churches World Missions. (The second is not shown on either the ABN record or the ACNC record.)
  • ACCIM operates in all six states that have a fundraising regime for charities, and has an invitation to give on the internet. They do not explain why they hold no fundraising licences.

What do they do?

  • ACCI Missions is the missionary sending and support agency of the Australian Christian Churches movement (link added).
    • This is on an ‘About’ page on ACCIM’s website (www.accim.org.au) that starts by describing the work of the unregistered charity ‘ACCI’. Further down it identifies ACCI as being composed of ACCIM and another charity, Acc International Relief Inc. (Relief). (Relief also has its own website, www.accir.org.au, a website that does not include information about ACCIM.)
      • The combination of the two ‘Acc International’ organisations has been formalised in a business name for ACCIM, ACCI Missions & Relief. See, for instance the ‘Donate’ page on the ACCIM site.
      • The website uses the name ACCI. However, this is a business name held by the Australian Carpet Cleaning Institute Pty Ltd (www.asic.gov.au).
  • Per the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2016, the same description as last year:
    • The principal activities of ACC International Missions Ltd during the financial year were: • To recruit, enable, support and send field workers to Australia and foreign countries to establish self-governing, self supporting and self propagating (sic) churches and preach the Gospel in Australia and other nations around the world; • To provide pastoral support, direction, vision and strategy for field workers as they prepare for ministry and minister overseas; • To work in synergy with local congregations within the Australian Christian Churches movement and assist them to fulfil the Company’s vision; and • To otherwise fulfil and follow the missionary objects of the Australian Christian Churches.

Do they share the Gospel?[1]

  • Yes

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.

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

  • If we define ‘direct’ as ‘Disbursements to missionaries and projects’, then ‘administration’ is 22% of expenses. Making the cost object smaller will increase this percentage, e.g. by recognizing that there is overhead in the projects in the overseas country.

Do they pay their board members?

  • This is not permitted by the ACCIM constitution.
  • The expenses are not disclosed sufficiently to allow a check.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No
    • But their website also collects for Relief, a separate charity, as well. Donations to Relief are tax deductible.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is not mentioned.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (four and a half 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 over 12 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Not quite no outcomes are given.
  • Financial Report 2016: Probably. But
    • It is hard to see that a report that makes no mention of (a) the organization the objects of which it is required to follow, Australian Christian Churches, and (b) the organization with which it shares a business name and a website, Relief, can be judged as showing a true and fair view.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s deficit of less than 1% of revenue was increased to 3%.
  • Less than two and a half months of revenue is held in ‘Cash and cash equivalents’ plus ‘Financial assets’.
  • Both short-term and long-term financial structure are, based on this Report, sound.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The Statement of Profit or Loss and Other Comprehensive Income just says ‘Disbursements to missionaries and projects’ $2.55 m.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Jeffrey Tulk, for Saward Dawson, gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • To take the right amount of comfort from a ‘clean opinion’, please read here and here.

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

  • No
    • One business name, Australian Christian Churches World Missions, is missing.
    • For the directors, which is correct, website or ACNC Register?

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

  • Many – via a visually confusing set of pages and tiles:
    • The first set of tiles:
      • Donate’
      • Middle East Crisis Appeal’
      • ‘OneLife Partnership’
        • A form for churches
      • Make a Tax-Deductible Donation’
        • This takes you to Relief’s website. (ACCIM does not have tax-deductible status.)
      • Event Offering’
        • This is an ‘ACCI’ event, i.e. a joint ACCIM and Relief event.
    • The second set of tiles:
      • Regular Giving’
      • Support a Missionary’
        • A list of 55 individuals/couples
        • The list includes Relief’s workers
      • Make a Single Gift’
      • Current Appeals’
        • This takes you to Relief’s website. (ACCIM does not have tax-deductible status.)

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Again this year, the listing under ‘Our Board of Directors’ on the website has only one name in common with the list under ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register:

To whom are AC accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
    • Its ‘Charity Tick’ is used on the website in support of you giving to them.  And rightly so, because it would be unwise to give to a charity that is unregistered.  The ‘tick’ also means ACCIM’s AIS is not overdue, and the ACNC has not taken any compliance action against it.
  • ACCIM claims that it ‘is an accredited member of Missions Interlink and operates in compliance with Missions Interlink Statements and Accreditation Standards.’ Membership confirmed.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • ACCIM is also accountable, as a company, to ASIC.

 

 

  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.

ACC International Relief Inc.: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of ACC International Relief Inc. (ACCIR), 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?

  • ACCIR welcomes it:
    • ACCI recognises that listening to and responding to feedback, concerns and complaints is integral to our commitment to achieving the high standards and ensures accountability to all stakeholders. Complaints or feedback can be submitted to the CEO of Operations via the below contact details or to another ACCI employee, field worker or strategic partner. 
  • I sent them a draft of this review. Like last year, they…did not respond.

Is ACCIR registered?

  • As a charity, yes. (But as Acc International…)
  • As a Victorian incorporated association (A0008672W).
  • Although it has not shown them on the ACNC Register, ACCIR has three business names: Kinnected, AOG World Relief, and AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN CHURCHES WORLD RELIEF.
  • ACCIR operates – according to the ACNC Register – throughout Australia. And has an internet invitation to give.
    • It has the necessary ARBN registration (26 077 365 434) to carry on business interstate.
    • It is not registered in three of the six states that have a fundraising licensing regime. No reason is given for this.

What do they do?

Do they share the Gospel?[1]

  • No. From the section ‘Beliefs’ on the website:
    • ACC International Relief carries out aid & development activities only. Evangelistic programs and activities are administered and funded separately through the organisation ACC International Missions.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.

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

  • If we define ‘directly incurred’ as ‘Funds to international programs’, it is 9%. Are some of their expenses borne by another organisation?

Do they pay their board members?

  • This is not prohibited by the ACCIR constitution.
  • The expenses are not disclosed in sufficient detail to check for a payment.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Per the ABN record, yes, both to ACCIR and to its two funds, World Relief Fund and ACC Relief Fund.
    • But only the World Relief Fund is mentioned on the giving pages (e.g. donate).

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is not mentioned.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged four and a half months after 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 over 12 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • ‘Other Income’ does not match the figure in the financial statements.
    • A name that does not belong to them is included under ‘Other names…’, and three are omitted.
    • There is a description of their mission under ‘activities and outcomes’ instead of the year’s activities and outcomes.
  • Financial Report 2016: Probably. But
    • It is hard to see that a report that makes no mention of (a) the organization that supplies and controls the membership, Australian Christian Churches, and (b) the organization with which it shares a business name and a website, ACC International Missions Ltd, can be judged as showing a true and fair view.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s surplus of 3% of revenue was turned into a 1/5th% deficit.
  • ‘Cash and cash equivalents’ plus ‘Financial assets’ represents only a little over one month’s revenue.
  • No obvious concerns with financial structure.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • Other than overseas, we are not told where or to whom.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Jeffrey Tulk, for Saward Dawson, gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • To take the right amount of comfort from a ‘clean opinion’, please read here and here.

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

  • No
    • ‘ACCI Relief’, under ‘Other Name(s)…’, is not a registered business name.
    • Their three business names are missing.
    • There are a couple of errors under ‘Responsible Persons’.
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank (but these are not compulsory).

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

  • ‘Partner with a project
    • 7 under ‘Africa’
    • 9 under ‘Cambodia’
    • 5 under ‘South Asia’
    • 3 under ‘South East Asia’
    • 3 under ‘Vietnam’
  • ‘Become a RAISE partner’
    • ‘RAISE: Madagascar’
    • ‘RAISE: Mozambique’
    • ‘RAISE: Sri Lanka’
    • RAISE: Vietnam’
    • ‘RAISE: Kolkata’
    • ‘RAISE: Visions Rescue’
  • ‘Current Appeals’
    • ‘Middle East Crisis Appeal’
  • ‘Give to our One Day Campaign…’
  • ‘Bequests…’

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • See the list at the bottom here.
  • The ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) has an additional person, Allan Davis and ‘Alan’ instead of ‘Alun’:
    • Ishara Davey
    • Alan Davies
    • Allan Davis
    • Karyn Ey
    • Kruithoff Ian (should be the other way round)
    • Kristy Mills
    • Terri Reid
  • The board is responsible to the members. The number of members is not disclosed.

To whom are ACCIR accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
    • ACCIR displays the ACNC’s ‘charity tick’ in the website footer.  This is used in support of you giving to them.  And rightly so, because it would be unwise to give to a charity that is unregistered.   The ‘tick’ also means ACCIM’s AIS is not overdue, and no compliance action has been take against it.
      • But it means no more than this.
  • As an association, ACCIR is accountable to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.
  • Although not claimed on their website, nor under ‘Accountability’ in the Annual Report, they are accountable as a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • Membership of the ACFID claimed. Confirmed. This means they must follow the ACFID Code of Conduct.

 

 

  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.

Wise Choices for Life Inc: mini-charity review

Mini charity review of Wise Choices for Life Inc (WCL), an organisation that seeks donations online and is an Associate member of Mission Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For last year’s review, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • WCL do not invite feedback or complaints.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. Like last year, they…did not respond.

Is WCL registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • As a Victorian incorporated association (A0056675X).
  • WCL doesn’t hold any business names yet they routinely use their name without ‘Inc’ or ‘Incorporated’.
    • It may well be that some of this use also contravenes the requirements of their enabling legislation.
  • WCL operates, per the ACNC Register, in all states.  It also has an invitation to give on the internet.
    • It still does not have the registration necessary, an ARBN, to operate interstate.
    • It still does not have a fundraising licence in its home state, or any of the other five states that have a licensing regime[1].

What do they do?

Do they share the Gospel?[2]

  • Despite their name, no, they don’t.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.

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

  • No financial information is publicly available.

Do they pay their board members?

  • Neither constitution nor a profit or loss statement is available to check.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes
    • Below is an extract from a newsletter. What is the relationship between International Needs Australia (the renamed International Needs), WCL, and tax?

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

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

  • If you wanted to use the online facility, you would need to know that the choices for your money are given in the bank transfer section later on the page:

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes. (Four months after year end, about the same time as last year.)
    • However, given that their financial year ended seven months ago, it would not be unreasonable to ask them for an update (especially if your proposed donation is large).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: Apart from the lack of outcomes, yes.
  • Financial Report 2017: NA – because of their size, they don’t have to lodge one. (They lodged one last year.)
    • 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.” No such statement has been made public.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • NA

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • NA

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • No information is disclosed.

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

  • Yes

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Per the website, the people here.
  • But the list on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) still has a Janice Smith, and now no Janice Kreltszheim:

To whom is WCL accountable?

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

 

 

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

Missions Interlink NSW: mini-charity review

Missions Interlink NSW (MIN) is of interest because one of its ‘responsible persons’ (ACNC), Judith Kay, is also a director of the organisation[1] that runs Missions Interlink, a body that, until recently[2], was the only ‘Christian’ body requiring accountability of its members.

MIN is registered as a charity. But should it be? Its ABN was cancelled from 1 October 2017, and the ACNC won’t register a charity that doesn’t have an ABN.

Missions Interlink NSW is a State branch of Missions Interlink. When I reviewed MI two years ago, I commented that ‘There is no explanation of why the Victorian branch deregistered, or why the other State branches are not registered. (Or, alternatively, why NSW is still registered.)’. So, it is no surprise that in the MIN Annual Information Statement (AIS) lodged last month, they said that in 2018

MI NSW will continue to operate the same activities but its ACNC registration will be voluntarily revoked and its reporting consolidated with AEA Inc. Mission Interlink’s registration.

It lodged its AIS 2017, for the year ended 30 June 2017, on 4 January 2018, so presumably it did not expect any revocation to take effect until after that AIS was due, on 31 January 2018.

No Financial Report 2017 had to be lodged, nor financial information included in the AIS. This is a consequence of MIN being a ‘basic religious charity’. It also doesn’t have to comply with the ACNC’s governance standards.

The ACNC Register, under ‘Responsible Persons’, says that these are the committee members of MIN:

John Ackad

Magda Ackad

John Anderson

Warwick Coghlan

Judith Kay

Margaret Love

Rhianna Miles

Philip Morris

Pamela Thyer

Kephas Wong

An update of the review of the national Missions Interlink organization is well overdue. I will speak to the person responsible.

 

 

  1. Australian Evangelical Alliance Incorporated.
  2. Now we have the CMA Standards Council.

The Bible League Incorporated: mini-charity review

Mini charity review of The Bible League Incorporated (TBL) an organisation that seeks donations online and that is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

(For the previous review, see here.)

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • Neither feedback nor complaints is mentioned on the website.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. Like last year, they did not respond[1].
    • Some changes that they have made after receiving the draft suggest that they did respond, just not to me.

Is TBL registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
    • With TBL’s website being in the name Bible League International, don’t confuse TBL with the charity Bible League International (APAC) Pty Limited, or the US Bible League organization Bible League International.
      • Bible League International (APAC) Pty Limited is indirectly related to TBL, being a wholly-owned subsidiary of the US organization. It receives revenue almost entirely from the parent, and after expenses (28% last year), distributes it in the Asia-Pacific region.
    • TBL also trades under the name Bible League Australia. They have registered this name.
    • Ten times on the website it also refers to an entity called Bible League Australia and New Zealand. This is a business name belonging to TBL. But there is no combined organization[2].
  • Other registrations:
    • As a NSW incorporated association (Y2857836). (Not, as TBL is still saying on the Australian Business Register, an ‘Other Unincorporated Entity.)
    • TBL operates – according to the ACNC Register – throughout Australia.
      • If it’s ‘carrying on business’ outside NSW, as it appears to be, then it still doesn’t have the required registration (an ARBN).
      • It is registered to fundraise in all states that have a licensing regime except for Western Australia and South Australia. Presumably it still believes that is exempt in these two states.

What do they do?

  • Not what the website or the Committee’s Report (in the Financial Report) says – that’s about the international effort. But what was again said in the AIS before they changed it recently[3]:
    • Fundraising through marketing to supply bibles.

Does they share the Gospel?[4]

  • No.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.

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

  • If we define ‘direct’ as ‘Distribution of Funds Raised’ then 52 cents of every dollar of expenses is administration. Last year it was 45 cents.
    • ‘Employment expenses’ are 31% of total expenses. Last year it was 27%.
    • No explanation is given for these significant increases.
    • It would be reasonable to ask TBL why it would not be more efficient for you to send your donation direct to the US organisation.

Do they pay their board members?

  • Such payments are not prohibited by the constitution.
  • From the (unaudited) Detailed Income and Expenditure Statement, the only item possibly relevant is Committee expenses $3K.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No
    • But if that’s critical for you, TBL say that there may be a solution:
      • However, businesses are able to gain some tax advantages by supporting the ministry through a business sponsorship.

Is their online giving secure?

  • eWay is used, so yes.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (a little over three months after their year-end, a month later than last year).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now over 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No.
    • Again, this year
      • Two of the figures in the Income Statement do not match those in the Financial Report.
      • No outcomes are given.
    • TBL is incorporated in one state, not four.
  • Financial Report 2017: No
    • The directors still don’t say why they have chosen to produce the lower disclosure special purpose financial report. But whatever their reasoning, such a report, one that assumes that all TBL’s stakeholders, both present and prospective, are capable to getting TBL to produce a report tailored for their purposes, is not, for a charity that collects $3.0 m from donors all over Australia, consistent with the required true and fair view.
    • TBL has the same directors as Bible League International New Zealand, collects money for it, and appears to keep its books. Yet the relationship is not mentioned.
    • TBL continues to produce a Report that
      • excludes ‘Other Comprehensive Income’,
      • omits some necessary Notes to the accounts,
      • includes negative depreciation without an explanation,
      • makes an incomplete or incorrect disclosure about land and buildings and financial assets,
      • uses a mixed classification of expenses,
      • includes a second profit or loss statement without explanation,
      • refers to ‘authoritative pronouncements of the Associations Incorporation Act’, and
      • provides an audit report that excludes one of the required statements from its scope.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s result of slightly over zero surplus was converted into a 1% deficit this year.
  • No obvious concerns with the financial structure.

What did the auditor say about the financial statements?

  • The auditor, WJ Piepers FCA, for berger piepers, Chartered Accountants, gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
  • Before you conclude on how much comfort you should take from this opinion, please
    • read on the meaning of ‘clean’ here and here, and
    • re-read the section ‘Financial Report 2017’. (To do the audit, WJ Piepers had to be comfortable with the directors’ decision to not produce general purpose financial statements.)

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

  • No:
    • ‘Operates in (Countries)’ is blank. Money is sent to the US and New Zealand, and the same people run both the Australian and New Zealand Bible League organisations.

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

  • The following areas for ‘My Gift to Plant Bibles’:
    • Where Most Needed’
    • ‘Ethiopia – Making a Dream Come True’
    • ‘Middle East – Planting God’s Word’
    • ‘Ethiopia – eNews’
    • ‘Philippines – eNews’
    • ‘Bibles for the Persecuted’
    • ‘Bible League Friend’
    • ‘Run4Bibles’
    • ‘New Zealand Purposes’

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • Note 1 in the Notes to the Financial Statements says that
    • The Associations (sic) origin likes in raising funds for the distribution of the Gospel as shown in the Committee’s Report[5]. The cost of distributing the Gospel is borne by The Bible League in the United States of America. It is understood between the parties The Bible League Incorporated retains sufficient funds to enable it to continue with the task of fund raising.
    • Beyond this, there is no disclosure.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • Per the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • Arie Baalbergen
    • Raymond Condon
    • Donald De Vries
    • Blayne Herr
    • Peter Knight
    • Dirk Reitsma
    • Jarrod Thompson
    • The same people are the directors of Bible League International New Zealand.
  • The directors are responsible to the members of the association. The number of members is not disclosed.

To whom are TBL accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • As an association, to the New South Wales regulator of incorporated associations.
  • Membership of Missions Interlink, an organisation that has a general accountability regime, is claimed on the website. Confirmed.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • Membership of FIA, an organisation that has a fundraising code of practice, is claimed on the website. But TBL are (still) not in the list of members.

 

 

  1. Bible League in Australia continues to maintain the highest level of financial integrity. We are committed to financial disclosure and trustworthy stewardship [From their bequest promotion brochure, https://bl.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/The_Enduring_Word_AU_Web2.pdf].
  2. The history on the website records that Bible League Australia and BiblesinAction (NZ) merged on 1 September 2012. The New Zealand charity Bible League International New Zealand was registered three months later. But there is no mention of a combined organisation under ‘Global Offices’ on the TBL website, nor in the Financial Report. TBL’s website has a button to go to the New Zealand site, and vice versa.
  3. It now says ‘Present the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ through the distribution of Scriptures to churches, individuals and homes without Bibles globally.’
  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.
  5. No, that Report says that ‘The principal activity of the association during the financial year was to present the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ through the distribution of Scriptures to churches, individuals and to homes without Bibles.’

The curious case of Whitley College

One of my review series is ‘members of Missions Interlink’. Back in early January I noticed that a ‘Whitley College’ had become an Associate member:

The link in that list led to this website:

Due to the charitable purposes of such an organization, one would therefore expect to find it on the ACNC Register. But a search drew a blank:

So, given that it would be exceptional if such an organization didn’t have an ABN, I went to ABN Lookup. Here it told me that ‘Whitley College’ was indeed a charity – although with a longer name. (That should make no difference to the ACNC Register search – it will bring up any charities with ‘Whitley College’ in the name.)

The ACNC Register can be searched using either a name or an ABN. So, using the name…I again drew a blank.

The Advice Team at the ACNC were their usual responsive self, and within a day or so I had the answer to the mystery:

Once a withholding request is submitted by a charity, the entire record is withheld in case the charity has requested a lower than appropriate level of withholding. We do this blanket hold (temporarily remove public access) for the safety of the charity, its responsible persons, and/or its beneficiaries.

That’s a drastic solution ACNC.  Thoughtful, but drastic.

You can read about withholding information here.

Given that ‘There are limited circumstances when we may withhold a charity’s information from the Register.’, and that you’ll get a refusal if ‘the public interest in displaying the information outweighs the likely adverse effect of’ the circumstance’ that the charity thinks warrants the withholding, one wonders what reason a Baptist bible college has to withhold any of its information.

The bad news for the public – but good for any charities wanting to use the withholding provision for the wrong reasons – is that, nearly a month later, the record is still not available.

PS ‘Whitley College’ is not a name that the Baptist College is registered to use: