International Support Aid Australia: mini charity review for donors

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.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 International Support Aid Australia (ISA), 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 responded the same day: “Thank you for providing us with your review. I will pass this on to the Chair of our board.” I heard nothing more – but given that this 19 day period includes Christmas-New Year I will amend the review to include his/her comments should I receive them this week.

Is ISA registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
      • It is permitted to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
    • Raises funds in its home state, Victoria, but does have hold a fundraising licence there[1].
    • Business name, Care4Kids Uganda.

What does ISA do?

  • These things, in Jinja, Uganda.

Does ISA share the Gospel?

  • No

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing found.

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

  • Although ‘Grants..’ in the AIS 2016 is zero, the Income Statement shows ‘Project expenses’ $86K. If we assume that this was the money sent to Uganda, and define this money as ‘direct’ costs, then it cost them $13K to send $86K.
    • That’s 13% on administration.
    • It would be reasonable to ask them why if would not be more efficient for you to send the money direct to the destination.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is ISA online giving secure?

  • Although the ‘Donate’ page says that you can donate by credit card online, there is no page for it. And no other online giving is offered.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five 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 nine months in the past.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • No outcomes are reported.
    • ‘Grants’ have been omitted.
    • ‘Donations’ excludes fundraising income.
  • Financial Report 2016: See below.
    • ISA’s size means that it doesn’t have to lodge a Report with the ACNC.
    • However, it lodged one anyway. This is perhaps because, as a member of Missions Interlink, ISA is required to
      • ‘have available for its members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor [Standards Statement, 4.1].
    • The Report lodged is grossly deficient (again):
      • One of the four required financial statement is missing.
      • There is no Responsible Persons Declaration.
      • There is no audit report. (Was an audit performed?)
      • There is only one Note with any information (and that’s not the all-important Note 1.)
      • The Income Statement is missing a required section.
      • The AIS 2016 says they use the cash basis, but the financial statements are not consistent with this basis.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • The surplus as a percentage of income was decreased from 6% last year to negative 5% this year.
    • The increase in ‘Fundraising’ did not completely compensate for the very large fall in ‘Donations’. (The difference between the two is not explained.)
  • Nowhere is there any information about who received the money sent overseas, nor what controls there were to ensure that it was spent on the intended purpose.
  • There is no explanation for the existence of ‘Payroll expenses’ when there are no employees.
  • There is no explanation for how an office is run without any property, plant and equipment.
  • There is no explanation for how (significant) income is derived from ‘Administration’.
  • No obvious concerns with the financial structure (but see the comments under ‘Financial Report 2016’, above).

What did the auditor say about ISA’s last financial statements?

  • NA. (No audit report.)

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

  • Yes

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

  • NA. (No online giving offered.)

Who are the people controlling ISA?

  • The people shown here.
  • Or with the addition of Richard Dickens, per the listing under ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register?

To whom is ISA accountable?

  • Not claimed on the website, but ISA is a member of Missions Interlink.
    • Missions Interlink is an organisation that has standards[2] with which ISA must comply.
  • ISA 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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