Morling College Ltd: mini charity review for donors

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.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 February 2018, and come back to this one as needed.

Mini charity review of Morling College Ltd (MC) 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…did not respond.

Is MC registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • Although not disclosed in the Financial Report, MC is ‘owned’ 100% by the Baptist Union of NSW. It appoints the MC board.
  • There are three other ‘Morling’ charities with the same address and email as MC:
  • MC is a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • As it appears to have the necessary provisions in its constitution, MC is entitled to omit ‘Limited/Ltd’ when it uses its company name.
  • Other registrations:
    • MC has an internet invitation to give and operates in NSW. It does not have a fundraising licence there, or in any of the other six states that have a fundraising licence regime[1].

What does MC do?

  • “Morling College is the Baptist Bible & Theological college of NSW & ACT, training pastoral and related ministries in NSW & ACT churches.”

Do they share the Gospel?

  • Not to those who haven’t already heard it.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found on the website.

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.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Even though MC’s ‘Entity subtype’ with the ACNC is ‘Advancing Religion, yes, at least per MC’s ABN record, you can.

Is their online giving secure?

  • GiveNow.com.au is used, so yes.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged on the last day, six 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 over 10 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: No
    • No outcomes are given.
    • The business name is missing.
    • Only one of the ‘Gross Income’ figures match the accounts.
  • Financial Report 2015: No.
    • There is no audit report.
    • There is no explanation why the three charities they control are not consolidated, that is, included in the MC accounts.
    • The $8.48 m grant received from Morling Foundation Limited continues to be misclassified in the Statement of Income and Comprehensive Income.
    • ‘Commitments for Capital Expenditure’ of $7.00 m are disclosed without any comment on how they are to be met.
    • There is no explanation of the $9.86 m asset ‘Construction in Progress’.
    • The accounting for reserves described in the Notes is (still) contrary to the Accounting Standards.
    • The Note on related parties does not identify the relationship between MC and those related parties.
    • $45K ‘Prior year adjustments’ are again included in both accrual and cash reports without explanation.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Working capital (current assets less current liabilities) is 30K negative.
  • The library is not capitalised, that is, all purchases are expensed.
  • No obvious concerns with the longer term financial structure.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • (No audit report is included in the Financial Report.)

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

  • Almost – the business name (Morling Vocational College) is missing.

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

  • ‘…Morling Foundation’
  • ‘The Morling Postgraduate Scholarship Fund’ (also the Morling Foundation Ltd)
  • There is no explanation to potential donors for why their money is sought when the Foundation already has $17.06 m of current assets (including $12.49 in ‘Cash and cash equivalents’)

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website, but listed under ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register.

To whom are MC accountable?

  • Not claimed on the website, but they are members of Missions Interlink, an organisation that has a set of standards with which MC must comply.
  • MC 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.

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