Open Doors Australia Inc.: mini charity review for donors

Mini charity review of Open Doors Australia Inc. (ODA) 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 ODA registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a NSW incorporated association (Y0226403).
    • It has the necessary registration to carry on business outside NSW (ARBN 164 482 731).
    • ODA operates in all seven states that have a fundraising licence regime. It is exempt in NSW, but has no licence in the others[1].
    • It is using the name Open Doors, but this is not registered in Australia.

What do they do?

  • No description found.
    • The website is about Open Doors internationally, not ODA.
    • The AIS 2015 is meant to be about the local organisation, but it too appears to be about the international presence.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • If they are a fundraising (including promotion and advocacy) organisation, and I think they are, then no they don’t share the Gospel.

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.

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

  • If we define ‘direct’ as ‘Grants and donations…’ in the AIS 2015, then it cost $2.08 m to deliver $3.20 m.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is not mentioned on the first two pages of the donation process.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (one day before the deadline, 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 ten months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: Not quite – no outcomes are given.
  • Financial Report 2015: No
    • The directors say that ODA is not a reporting entity. But it is implausible that none of ODA’s 9,000 supporters, plus other users, present or prospective, are dependent on normal (general purpose) financial statements to make decisions.
      • The directors still don’t give a reason for their decision.
    • Clearly the bulk of the $5.28 m of expenses didn’t go to serving persecuted Christians in Australia, but nowhere is it disclosed to whom the money was sent.
    • The Income Statement still includes the equity balance and omits ‘Other comprehensive income’.
      • The result of trading in ‘books and tapes’ is still incorrectly shown.
    • Many of the usual Notes are missing.
    • The Balance Sheet shows $1.07 m of ‘commitments’, but these are nowhere described.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • The surplus as a percentage of ‘Support and Revenue’, i.e. income, was increased from 3% to 8%.
  • No obvious concerns with the financial structure.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion. But
    • in continuing with the engagement, he again implicitly agreed with the directors’ decision to produce special purpose rather than general purpose financial statements (see above).
    • To take the right amount of comfort from a ‘clean opinion’, please read here and here.

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

  • Almost – ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank.

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

  • ‘Make a Donation’
    • ‘Worldwide Ministry – Where most needed’
    • ‘India – Women’s Training Seminars’
    • ‘Iraq Appeal’
    • ‘Blackout – Open Doors Youth’
    • ‘Other (Specify below)’
    • ‘Walk to Water’
  • ‘Gifts of Hope’
  • ‘Web Store’
  • ‘Give Beyond Your Generation’ (bequests)

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website, but the ACNC Register lists them under ‘Responsible Persons’:
    • Mark Bennett
    • Michael K Gore
    • Robert Guy
    • Darryn Keneally
    • Ken Pridmore
    • Robert Reeve
      • ‘Robert Reeve’ sits on eight (8) charity boards. Other not-for-profits, and of course businesses, are not included on the Register. If these positions are all held by ODA’s Robert Reeve, and if he is a part-time director, you can reasonably ask if he has the time to do justice to all those positions.

To whom are ODA accountable?

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