Jews for Jesus, charity review

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.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 September 2017, and come back to this one as needed.

This is a charity review, a review for those with an interest in the Australian charity Jews for Jesus (JFJ).

It is structured according to the charity’s entry on the ACNC[i]Register, and its purpose is to supply some information extra to what is there, information that may be helpful in your decision about JFJ.

It is up to you to decide whether any or all of the information presented here is what you need in order to make that decision, and whether you should seek any other information, either from the charity itself or from other sources.

Ministry response

Prior to publishing this review, I sent my observations to the charity, on 9 May 2016, and invited them to comment. This was what they sent for publication:

            Your review seems correct.

Organisation of this review

  • The first part of this review is organised according to the headings in the Register entry. This is how to use this section of the review:
    1. For each heading in the register entry, first read the information under that heading.
    2. Then check if that heading is included below. (Headings for which there is no comment are not included. This also applies to the information in the Financial Report.)
  • There is then a more detailed comment on the Financial Report.
  • Lastly, there is a section Membership of accountability organisations.

Sources

  • ACNC Register (including links)
  • Google search on the charity’s name.
  • JFJ website.
  • Facebook, and Instagram, in the name Jews for Jesus AustralAsia, and YouTube, in the name Jews for Jesus Australia.
  • Not on LinkedIn.
  • State government fundraising licence registers.
  • No reviews of the Australian organisation on Glassdoor.

REGISTRATION DETAILS

Entity Subtype

  • A subtype consistent with sharing the Gospel.
  • The first of four objects in the constitution is “to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and promote religious ideals consistent with the Old Testament and the New Testament.”

CHARITY DETAILS

Legal Name

Other Name(s)

  • JFJ is using at least two names that are not registered. See Sources, above, and here.

Charity ABN

  • Tax deductibility: No, you cannot claim a a tax deduction for a donation to JFJ.
  • But JFJ give a way round this:
    • Are my donations tax-deductible?  Not if given to Jews for Jesus directly. but (sic) many people use the organization Steer in Melbourne, Victoria, to donate and then receive tax deductions. The system is authorized by the Australian government and provides much for missions. By notifying Steer of your intentions, you can give to Jews for Jesus in Australia with a suitable tax deduction. Visit and learn about them at Steer Australia .

Charity Street Address

  • Postal address, from the website:  PO Box 925, Sydney NSW Australia 2001

Phone

  • From the website: 1800 988 077.
    • And the bookshop: (03) 9388 0559

Website

ANNUAL REPORTING

  • AIS 2015
    • This is JFJ’s compulsory Annual Information Statement 2015 (AIS 2015).Unfortunately, the usual basic financial information is absent. This is mostly likely because JFJ has said that it is a Basic Religious Charity (see that section below).
  • Financial Report 2015
    • The Report was signed four months after year end.
    • It was then lodged eight days later.
    • The coverage of finances in this review is left until the financial report proper (see Latest financial report – detail, below). (Go straight there.)

ABOUT THE CHARITY

  • Statement of Faith
    • Why is this different from “the Doctrinal statement in the constitution?

 Date Established

Who the Charity Benefits

  • Vision and Mission
    • They exist – see the first line here – but they are not given on the website.
  • Activities (What did JFJ do?)
    • In the AIS 2015:
      • We have been working sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Australia since 1998.         This year is not different.
    • You could piece together the specifics from material under the main menu items News and events, Media, and Community.
  • Outcomes (What did JFJ deliver?)
    • JFJ did not respond to the request in the AIS 2015 for a description of its outcomes.
    • Nothing systematic found.
    • Some information can be found under the main menu items News and events, Media, and Community.
  • Impact (How were people’s lives improved?)
    • Nothing systematic found.
    • You may find something under the main menu items News and events, Media, and Community.

Size of Charity

  • JFJ is well below the threshold for the next size up, ‘Large’.

Financial Year End

  • This means that the next financial report is due by 31 December 2016 – or 31 January if the ACNC is generous again. Before that the financial information on the Register will be up to 18 months out-of-date.
    • You may therefore need to ask for more up-to-date information.

Basic Religious Charity

  • This is a mistake. Because it is an incorporated body, JFJ doesn’t qualify.

WHERE THE CHARITY OPERATES

Operating State(s)[i]

  • The reason for including these seven here is not apparent from the website – only one office is mentioned, and the “Missionaries’ live in Sydney. Maybe it’s because of the visits made by the CEO and the ‘Missionaries’? (But, why then exclude the Northern Territory?)
  • JFJ doesn’t have a fundraising licence in any of these seven states.
  • JFJ has ‘Giving’ in its main menu.
    • Apart from exemptions, whether it needs one depends on whether those states think that JFJ, by calling for donations publicly, is ‘fundraising’ in their territory.

Operates in (Countries)

  • Presumably this is because JFJ has a volunteer in New Zealand.
    • If so, Singapore should be included here, as they have a volunteer there too.

CHARITY’S DOCUMENT (SIC)

  • An Annual Report/Review can be lodged on the ACNC Register, but JFJ hasn’t done this.
  • Nor is there one on the website.

RESPONSIBLE PERSONS

No. of Australian ‘responsible person’ positions[ii]

John Lawler        This function was not working at the time of publication

Kameel Majdali

Peter Robinson

  • He doesn’t mention JFJ, but presumably Kameeel Majdali is this one.
  • He also doesn’t mention JFJ, but could Peter Robinson be this one?
  • The directors are not mentioned on the website.

(End of review of the ACNC Register information)

Latest financial report – detail[iii]

  • An unexplained decision to produce the lower-standard special purpose statements, a deficient audit report, Notes that explain little, the confusion of two performance reports, and unsigned statements – read on if you want the detail.

An independent opinion on the financial statements – the Independent Audit Report… (page 1 of the Financial Report)

  • This report is a ‘clean’ opinion (read here and here to draw the right conclusions from this).
  • However, confidence in the opinion is reduced by the fact that, although the auditor is a Registered Auditor (an ASIC registration, searchable here),
    • The report is unsigned.
    • The content deviates materially from what is required by the Australian Auditing Standards. There is, for instance, no Emphasis of Matter paragraph and he doesn’t identify the reporting framework. (The language suggests that, at least in one part, he is using a template that was superseded in 2006.)
    • He has omitted two of the four statements from the scope of his audit, plus failed to mention the extra statement that JFJ have included.
    • He signed his report two weeks before the directors signed the accounts.

The Directors’ Report (page 2 of the Financial Report)

  • This report is not required by the ACNC.
  • It is unsigned, includes only two of the nine sections expected, and includes three that are not required.

Where the directors put their name to the Report – the Directors’ Declaration – page 4 of the Financial Report

  • This is unsigned.
  • It does not comply with the ACNC Act: there is no declaration that the statements and notes satisfy the requirements of that Act.

Where the auditor says that he or she was independent of the charity – the Auditor’s Independent (sic) Declaration

  • This is not required by the ACNC.

Essential information to go with the figures – the Notes to the Financial Statements… (page 6 of the Financial Report)

  • Given that they explain the statements, these should be after the statements, not before.
  • There is just one Note, and a very deficient one at that. Thus the Notes are far from sufficient to explain the accounts.
  • 1   Statement of Significant Accounting Policies
    • No explanation is given for the choice of the lower standard special purpose financial statements.
      • Is it really the case that all those currently involved with JFJ, plus all those who might become involved as a result of JFJ’s promotions and website, can get a financial report tailored to their particular needs? (This is the implication of not producing general purpose financial statements.)
    • The Corporations Law has been followed rather the law under which JFJ is reporting, the ACNC Act.
      • The Accounting Standards listed as having been followed are not those required by either Act.
    • Accrual accounting is said to have been used, yet Note c) says that revenue is recognised ‘on a cash basis’.
    • Two of the accounting policies are not relevant, and a third should be in one of the statements.

The auditor’s resignation letter – page 8 of the Financial Report

  • This is not an inclusion required by either the Corporations Act or the ACNC Act.
  • The auditor needs ASIC’s consent to the resignation. And ASIC expects that the application be lodged before the report is signed.

What’s was left over at the end of the year – the Balance Sheet – page 9 of the Financial Report

  • The lack of any Notes makes it hard to understand the figures. For instance, why is ‘Torah / Ark’ not depreciated? What is the valuation basis of the ‘fixed assets’? Why is ‘Deposits and repayments’ classified as cash?
  • ‘Fixed assets’ is an antiquated term, and current assets invariably appear before non-current assets.

What was earned, what was consumed during the year – the Profit & Loss Statement (page 10 of the Financial Report)

  • The format is incorrect. For instance, there is a shop yet gross profit is not shown. Expenses are a mixture of the two permissible classifications. ‘Other comprehensive income’ is not shown. Revenue is not disclosed. The ‘prior period adjustment’ is not handled correctly.

Where the cash came from and where it went – the Cash flow statement… (page 11 of the Financial Report)

  • The net cash flow does not reconcile to the change in the balance in the balance sheet.

An extra statement – the Income Statement – page 13 of the Financial Report

  • No reason is given for this confusing addition.
  • It is not included in the audit.

Membership of accountability organisations claimed

  • None claimed on the website.
  • However, JFJ is a member of Missions Interlink.

(End of review)

 

[i] This is how the ACNC explains ‘operating locations’ in  their application guide: ‘You need to give details about where in Australia your organisation conducts (or plans to conduct) its activities.’

[ii] Because of the possibility of two (or more) directors having the same name on the register of responsible persons, it is not possible to be definitive about the number of directorships held.

[iii] I use the Pinnacle Financial Statements, respected in the profession as providing a very sound basis for producing compliant financial reports.  To this I add an assessment of materiality (both quantitative and qualitative), where the users being considered are donors.