Jews for Jesus: mini charity review

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has been superseded.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

Mini charity review of Jews for Jesus (JFJ), an organisation that invites donations online, and is exempt from Australian income tax via its membership of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review on 3 September 2017. They…did not respond.

Is JFJ registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • JFJ is a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • It is entitled to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ from its name. But it doesn’t have the names it is using on Facebook, and Instagram, Jews for Jesus AustralAsia, or on YouTube, Jews for Jesus Australia, registered.
  • The ACNC Register says that JFJ operates in all states except the Northern Territory. However, the reason for including other than New South Wales, its home state, is not apparent from the website.
  • It doesn’t require a licence to fundraise in the ACT, but it (still) doesn’t have a licence in any of the others[1].
  • JFJ operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Ukraine, and the United States. They have a volunteer in each of New Zealand and Singapore, but no reason could be found for the inclusion of the other countries.

What do they do?

  • JFJ is the Australian arm of the organisation described in the the website footer:
    • Jews for Jesus is an international organisation of Jewish people who believe that Jesus is the Messiah and Saviour of the world. We exist to make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide.
    • Here’s what JFJ did in 2016 (from the AIS 2016):
      • We shared the Gospel with Jewish people in country and other countries during the entire period. And through the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, many Jewish people gave their lives to the Lord and professed faith in Yeshua. Thanks be to God. Our operations, centered in Bondi Junction, continued with welcome to Jews and non-Jews alike, even with our coffee operations. And travels around the region produced more interest and deputized believers to assist us regionally.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • Yes. It’s central to what they do: 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.”

What impact are they having?

  • A search for ‘impact’ provides a few anecdotes, but nothing systematic.

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

  • The expenses are not classified to allow this calculation.

Do they pay their directors?

  • This is not allowed by their constitution.
  • There is no line item ‘directors’ fees’ in the expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No
  • But JFJ give a way round this:
    • Are my donations tax-deductible?

Not if given to Jews for Jesus directly. but 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 . See a review of that organisation here.

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • They show zero for ‘Grants and donations made…’ in the AIS 2016.

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

  • None

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • It is now, but it was nearly a month overdue when it was lodged (eight months after their year-end and four months later than last year).
    • This means that the next financial report is due by 31 December 2017 – or 31 January 2018 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.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • ‘Type of financial statement’ is incorrect.
    • Most of the figures under ‘Financial Information’ do not match those in the financial statements.
  • Financial Report 2016: No
    • Like last year,
      • The cash basis appears to have been used when the law requires accrual accounting.
      • Figures that should agree between financial statements don’t agree.
      • The audit report is well short of what is required.
      • Reports that should be signed are unsigned.
      • The financial statements have material mistakes, misclassifications, and inclusions.
      • The Notes to the Financial Statements… contain only one Note, and that one is incomplete.
      • A resignation letter by the auditor, the auditor who resigned last year, is included.
      • A second income statement, with figures that don’t match the first one, is included.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Because of the condition of the Financial Report (see immediately above), no comment.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Neville J. Jones, ‘Registered Public Accountant’, has again issued a ‘clean’ opinion.  However, confidence in the opinion is reduced by the fact that, although the auditor is a Registered Auditor, again this year
    • 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 11 years ago.)
    • 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.
    • The report is unsigned.
    • He signed his report before the directors signed the accounts.
    • The financial statements have significant errors and omissions.

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

  • Yes
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but these are not compulsory.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The directors are not mentioned on the website.
  • Here they are from the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • John Lawler
    • Kameel Majdali
    • Peter Robinson
    • There are 10 directorships on the ACNC Register in the name ‘Peter Robinson’. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course no for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which JFJ’s Peter Robinson is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful or so, it would be legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.

To whom is JFJ accountable?

  • Not mentioned on the website, but they are a member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion of the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • Also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And, as a company, to ASIC.

 

 

 

  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. “Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14. 

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