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

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has been superseded.  Please start with the updated review published in August 2018, and come back to this one as needed.

Mini charity review of G.L.O. Ministries Limited (GLO), an organisation that seeks donations online and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

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

Are they responsive to feedback?

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

Is GLO registered?

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

What do they do?

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

Do they share the Gospel?[2]

What impact are they having?

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

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

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

Do they pay their directors?

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

Can you get a tax deduction?

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

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA. (It’s not offered.)

Where were your (net) donations sent?

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

Is their reporting up-to-date?

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

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

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

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

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

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

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

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

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

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

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

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

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

To whom are GLO accountable?

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

 

 

 

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

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