Help A Child Foundation (Australia): mini-charity review

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.  Please contact me if you are facing a significant decision with this charity and an updated review would be of help.

Mini charity review of Help A Child Foundation (Australia) (HAC) as an organisation that seeks donations online. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, Ian Reeders sent this response:

“Ted,

As I don’t know who you are or what you represent, I do not give you permission to publish this review. Before you go ahead I need you to answer these questions.

1. What organisation do you represent and what is your role.

2. What is your full name and address

2. (sic) What qualifactions (sic) do you have.

4. What experience do you have.

5. Has a sponsor of ours asked you to do this review.

6. Where and how would such a review be published

7. Please give me examples, ie, web addresses of previously published reviews.

There are factual errors in your review which I do not intend to discuss until you provide more information about yourself, establish your credentials, and answer the above questions.

If you go ahead and publish it, I require you to include this response in full in whatever means you intend to publish it.”

  • I immediately answered all his questions, excepting my address.  In most cases all that was needed was a reference to the email sending him the draft review.  I have not had a response.

Is HAC registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • HAC is a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
      • It is permitted to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ from the end of its name.
    • It operates in all states but only has a fundraising licence in three of the seven states that have a licensing regime – and that doesn’t include its home state[1].
    • It uses the names Help a Child Australia, Help a Child, and Help a Child Foundation, but doesn’t have them registered. There are no other ‘Help a Child’ entities with an ABN.

What do they do?

  • There’s a list of seven things under ‘What we do?’.
    • The seven links all lead to the same page, a page where just child sponsorship and special projects are introduced.
  • ‘…activities and outcomes’ in the Annual Information Statement 2016 (AIS 2016) describes the company’s objectives instead, but the Directors’ report (in the Financial Report 2016, see below), records the ‘principal activities’ for the year as ‘to provide funding, through child sponsorship, for work aids and parts of India and Africa (sic).’
    • The ACNC Register identifies Kenya as the African country.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • It appears so:
    • We are unapologetically committed to giving children in the world’s poorest countries both the chance of a better life, and knowledge of Jesus.’
  • AndChildren are given daily Christian teaching through bible stories, prayer time, singing and social activities, and so are exposed to the love that Christ has shown all of us’.

What impact are they having?

  • There is no mention of impact, outcomes or results on the website.

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

  • If we assume that the direct cost of delivering the services described under ‘What do they do?’, above, is represented by the total for the (unexplained) ‘CARE expenses’ and the (unexplained) ‘HaCI expenses’, then ‘administration’ is 23% of expenses.
    • This is considerably more than 4% reported on the website as being retained in Australia for 2009 (the latest year reported).

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA. (Not offered.)

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

  • Child sponsorship or ‘special projects’.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes. (Three months after year end.)

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Apart from the lack of activities and outcomes, yes.
  • Financial Report 2016: Yes
    • Although they have lodged a financial report, they didn’t have to. And having done it voluntarily, there is no requirement for it to comply with the ACNC’s requirements. (And it doesn’t.)
    • 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 is arguable that a financial report that lacks two of the four financial statements required by the accounting profession is not ‘appropriate’.
      • We know from the Notes to the financial statements that a review was performed, but no audit (review) report is included.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • After a deficit of 4% of revenue last year, a surplus of 10% was recorded this year.
  • ‘Professional fees and legal fees’ were 18% of revenue.
  • Working capital (current assets less current liabilities) is positive.
  • 98% of the liability total is for the (unexplained) ‘Provision for program funds transferred’.
  • There are no long-term liabilities.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • We don’t know – no audit report was included in the Financial Report.

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

  • Yes

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not mentioned on the website.
  • From ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register:
    • Herman Linde
    • Ian Reeders
    • Lorensz, Stork
    • Helen Wanders

To whom is HAC accountable?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

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