Global Interaction Inc: mini charity review for donors

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.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

Mini charity review of Global Interaction Inc (GI) as an organisation that seeks donations online. (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?

When sent a draft of this review, they said that, because I had been unwilling, with my first review, to extend the publication date by two plus months to allow it to be considered at their next board meeting, that “We therefore (sic) unwilling to participate in your “review”

Is GI registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
    • The directors are also the directors of the charity Service Fellowship International Inc. There is no explanation of this connection.
    • Although not disclosed anywhere, GI is an ‘affiliated body’ of the Baptist Union of Australia. Although, as an affiliate, GI has its own board, the members are appointed by Union organisations. So, it is effectively controlled by the Union.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a South Australian incorporated association (A361).
    • GI’s head office is in Victoria, and it has offices in four other states. It doesn’t have registration necessary to carry on business interstate (an ARBN).
    • GI operates in six of the seven states that have a fundraising licence regime. And seeks donations on the internet. It doesn’t have any fundraising licences[1].
    • It is using the name Global Interaction, but this is not registered in Australia.

What do they do?

  • Generally:
    • Global Interaction partners with Australian Baptists to see growing, vibrant faith communities emerge among least-reached people groups.
  • Specifically:
    • We are committed to serving you and your church by:
      • Sharing expertise to help you develop dynamic and focused mission strategies, locally and globally
      • Providing excellent resources for you to grow in understanding and passion for global mission
      • Creating spaces to explore calling, including: Global Xposure mission exposure experiences, Unearthed young adult networks, Events to engage with cross-cultural staff
      • Providing opportunities to serve among least-reached people groups
      • Equipping, training and supporting cross-cultural workers

Do they share the Gospel?

  • Via their missionaries, yes.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.
    • The last Annual Report on the website is for 2013.

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

  • If we define ‘direct’ as ‘Cross-cultural missions’, then it cost $2.79 m to deliver $2.41 m.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • The ABN register says no.
    • This is contradicted in the ‘Give’ section of the website. In the FAQs it says
      • This depends on which cross-cultural worker or project you support. Contact the cross-cultural worker or Global Interaction for more detailed information.
        • There is no explanation on the website for how this is possible.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is not mentioned on the first two pages of the donation process.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (one and a half months before the deadline, four and a half months after their year-end).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now over ten months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: No
    • No outcomes are given.
    • None of the ‘Expenses/Payments’ figures match the accounts.
  • Financial Report 2015: Questionable
    • The directors, with the agreement of the auditor, have elected to prepare special purpose rather than general purpose financial statements. This choice, a choice that means that not all the Accounting Standards have to be followed, is only correct if no user, present or prospective, is dependent on standard financial statements to make decisions. For an organisation that operates in seven states, collected $3.72 m in donations, had 56 ‘cross-cultural workers’, and calls for donations on its website, this is stretching plausibility.
      • The directors do not give a reason for their choice.
    • ‘Employee expenses’ are $2.95 m in the AIS 2015. This is for 67 employees (AIS 2015). ‘Employee benefits’ are $2.16 m in the Notes, with the explanation ‘Benefits paid to employees in Australia (excluding outback Australia missionaries’). Are there a many non-outback employees in Australia as this? Where are the benefits to those who are outback?
    • If donations continue to be recognised on receipt (Note 1.e), why are cash donations $636K greater than donations revenue?
    • The relationship to Service Fellowship International Inc (SFI) is (still) not disclosed.
      • It was strong enough for GI to forgive a $563K loan to SFI last year.
      • The same directors serve on both boards. Who controls whom, or are both controlled by the same organisation, the Baptist denomination?
        • The question of consolidation is not addressed. In either company’s accounts.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • The deficit as a percentage of revenue was decreased from 26% to 12%.
  • No obvious concerns with the financial structure.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion. But
    • in continuing with the engagement, he again implicitly agreed with the directors’ decision to produce special purpose rather than general purpose financial statements (see above).
    • 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?

  • Almost – ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank.

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

  • The choices via the tiles
    • ‘Where most needed’
      • ‘Not tax deductible’
      • ‘Tax deductible’
    • ‘Cross-cultural worker’
      • Choice of 56
    • ‘People Group’
      • Choice of nine
    • ‘Project’
      • Choice of 67
  • An extra choice via the menu:
    • ‘Give to the Dare to Believe Appeal’
      • ‘Not tax deductible’
      • ‘Tax deductible’
      • ‘Other’

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • These people shown on the website. And listed under ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register.

To whom are GI accountable?

  • The memberships shown here:
    • Christian Management Association’s governance symbol. Now superseded.
    • Missions Interlink, an organisation that has standards with which members must comply[2]. Membership confirmed.
    • Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) ‘Organisational Member’. No such membership found.
  • Plus GI is also accountable to the ACNC.

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

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