Gateway Baptist Church: charity review

This is a charity review of Gateway Baptist Church (Gateway), an organisation that seeks donations online, is a ‘Associated Organisation’ of Missions Interlink, and is accredited with the CMA Standards Council (a founding member).

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’s the results for Gateway:

1: A search of the Register of charities shows two charities with that exact name, and another with ‘Ltd’ at the end:

The one we are looking for, from its website, has Queensland phone numbers. So that leaves just one, in Mansfield. But the ABN at the bottom of each webpage belongs to Gateway Baptist Church Ltd in Mackenzie. It appears that Gateway is using the name without ‘Ltd’, something it is allowed to do under certain conditions.

The Register shows that both charities in postcode 4156 are controlled by the same people. That’s confusing – to which one does your donation go? Whose accounts should you review?

Unfortunately, the giving page makes no distinction between the two. End of review?

2. NA

3. Gateway’s web address does not begin with ‘https’, and there is no ‘closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. This is not a secure way to give to Gateway. End of review?

4. It is a legitimate charity (or two), even though its ABN record confirms that, as a church, it does not have deductible gift recipient status.

Why, then, do two of the six giving options offer, without explanation, a tax deduction? And with one of them to a charity with no obvious connection to Gateway, Bloom Asia Ltd? End of review?

  1. The accounts for the Gateway that is said to own the website, Gateway Baptist Church, are not consolidated accounts. That is, they do not include the figures for the other Gateway. The directors don’t say why. They also don’t say why they have changed from general purpose to special purpose financial statements. They are saying, in effect, that all Gateway’s stakeholders, both present and prospective, can get Gateway to prepare a financial report tailored to their needs. For a charity with revenue of $5.97 m, 50 employees, and 996 volunteers (AIS 2017), this is ludicrous.

And all this from an organisation held up as a standard-setter ‘in terms of impeccable corporate behaviour’, a leading light in transparency and accountability. End of review[1].

 

 

  1. I sent the website Gateway a draft of this review. Like the last two years, they…did not respond.

 

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