Hope From Above: charity review

This is review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission[1].

Hope from Above’ is one such member, an Associate, and an organisation that allows donations online.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-20.png

The charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’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 ‘Hope From Above’[2], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[3].

1.    A search on the ACNC Register of charities reveals a charity in that name – almost. ‘Almost’ because there is ‘Inc’ at the end of the name (meaning that Hope From Above’ is an incorporated association, not an unincorporated one as is implied by the name on the website). For Hope From Above to use the name this way, they should have it registered, and they (still) don’t.

Ministry comment: “As for using the “Inc.” after the organisations name, I think to remember that in logo’s and advertising texts the “Inc” is not required for not-for-profit organisations like ours. We have started an enquiry with the ACNC to clarify on this matter and they estimate a reply within 7 days.”

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above].

There is information on the secure service used for processing credit card donations, Stripe.

4. The Australian Business Register (linked from Hope From Above’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. However, it is a ‘legitimate’ charity.

5. This is Hope From Above’s purpose (‘mission’):

More specifically, they work in three areas:

For more detail, see here.

Your giving is not able to be directed to one or other of these areas.

2018

For the information about 2018’s activities and outcomes that should be in the AIS, see the Annual Report on the Register.

The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2018 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. But you should first turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’.

Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, of the Hope From Above[4][vii]? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors who gave $301K last year [Financial Report 2018]? Or you are one of the 25 staff (AIS 2018)? If so, can you ring Hope From Above’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? Doubtful. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports[5]’.

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of Hope From Above, and the directors[6], with the approval of the auditor[7], have declared that you don’t exist:

Instead, the directors chose to follow only those accounting policies required by the ACNC for special purpose financial statements plus the accounting policies ‘appropriate to meet the needs of the members’.

If Hope From Above is still in the running for your business, here’s what they told the members about how your donations were used:

  1. Cash: Payments to suppliers and employees $270,882
    1. This is 100% of the cash outflows for operating activities, and, for Hope From Above this year, 99% of all cash outflows.
  2. Accrual (expenses):

There is no comment on the relationship between the work they do and the fact that the majority of the expenses are for employing people.

There is no information offered on the $65K ‘Project Expense’.

Hope From Above works in six overseas countries. There is no information on the relationship between these countries and the three ‘areas’ in which they work (see above).

There is no information on the impact of the charity’s activities.

Ministry comment: “May I respectfully point out that our reporting meets the applicable requirements and has been approved by the membership.”

 

 

Please contact me if you need a more in-depth review.

 

 

 

  1. https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/ 
  2. See here for last year’s review.
  3. Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].
  4. [vii] From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au: http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png  
  5. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au
  6. The people shown under ‘People’ here.
  7. Jeffrey Tulk, Partner, Saward Dawson. [Opinion: I can’t see how it’s is right for the auditor’s logo to be on the cover of a charity’s Financial Report (or any page(s) other than the audit report). (Especially if more prominent than the name of the charity, the owner of the report.) The charity should have more pride in something that belongs to it, and both parties should want to avoid any impression that the Report belongs to any organisation other than the charity.]

 

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