MAF Australia: charity review

Two more organisations were recently accredited by the CMA Standards Council[1]. This is a review of one of them, MAF Australia.

An ABN search shows that it ‘is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)’.

The ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’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 MAF Australia:

1: The ACNC Register shows two charities that use the name ‘MAF Australia’:

A bit confusing.

Names in brackets are the names that a charity says are its ‘Other Name(s)’. In this case, the name MAF Australia cannot in any way belong formally to MAF Assist. But MAF Assist is controlled by MAF Australia, and doesn’t have its own website, so there’s obviously a strong connection. And a Google site search of MAF Australia’s site shows why MAF Australia might be another name by which MAF Assist is known:

2. NA

3. MAF Australia’s ‘Donate’ page – not the other pages – ‘begins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar” on that page.  Although security is not mentioned on the page, this should be a secure way to give to MAF Australia.

4. ABN Lookup says that you cannot get a tax deduction for a donation to MAF Australia. However, its website collects for its subsidiaries too, and, as we saw above, you can get a deduction for a donation to MAF Assist.

5.  The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2017 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. Most donors think in terms of cash, so if that’s you, you might turn first to the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows…[2]. This shows that just two items accounted for 100% of the cash outflows for ‘operating activities’:

There is no information given on who received the ‘distribution payments’[3]. And the other statement on how donations were used is no more helpful:

And this from an organisation held up as a leading light in transparency and accountability. End of review[4]

 

 

  1. Their mission is to ‘help build faith and trust in Christian organisations’, including by allowing organisations who are compliant with a set of standards, created by them, to display their seal of approval.
  2. ‘Consolidated’ means that the figures of one or more other entities are included because MAF Australia has control over them. Note 15 shows that this is two entities:
  3. Apart from $15K for the purchase of ‘property, plant and equipment and intangibles’, the remaining cash, $1.66 m, is shown as a financing activity, ‘Increase’(decrease) in other payables’. This is the Note on that item:The applicable Accounting Standard [AASB 107, paragraph 6] defines ‘Financing activities’ as ‘activities that result in changes in the size and composition of the contributed equity and borrowings of the entity.’ A gift (whether done while the person was alive – inter vivos – or through their last will and testament, does neither of these things. It is just a donation like any other.

    Second, why has the change been included as a cash flow? The cash was received in 2016, and the change in classification of the gift in 2017, apart from the minor part of the gift that had to be returned, did not involve the payment of cash.

  4. I sent the charity a draft of this review. Like last year, they didn’t respond.

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