Operation Mobilisation Australia Ltd: mini charity review for donors

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.  Please contact me if you are facing a significant decision with this charity and an updated review would be of help.

Mini charity review of Operation Mobilisation Australia Ltd (OM) 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…didn’t respond.

Is OM registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
    • There are two other charities with the same address, phone number, email addresses and directors as OM: Om (sic) Australia Inc, and Om (sic) Overseas Aid Fund. This indicates that OM controls these charities.
      • The first is the trustee of the second[1].
      • OM seeks donations for each of these charities on its website.
      • OM has not taken advantage of the ACNC’s group reporting concessions.
  • OM is a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • As it appears to have the necessary provisions in its constitution, OM is entitled to omit ‘Limited/Ltd’ when it uses its company name.
      • But not the abbreviations ‘OM Australia’ or ‘OM’, as they do on the internet.
  • Other registrations:
    • OM has an internet invitation to give and operates in six of the seven states that have a fundraising licence regime. It doesn’t have a licence to fundraise in any of them.[2]

What does OM do?

  • On the right-hand-side here.
  • Or as the AIS 2015 puts it: ‘Recruiting, training and caring for missionaries.’

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No.
    • It appears that the ‘Field Missionaries’ are not employed by OM. ‘Employee benefits expense’ was $1.4 m, an amount that matches the Australian workforce[3]. By whom are they employed then?

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing 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 a calculation of how much was incurred on ‘recruiting, training, and caring for missionaries’.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Not to OM.
    • But yes, if you give to one of the two charities that it controls (see above).

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal 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.
    • ‘OM Australia’ is not a registered name.
    • The three business names are missing.
    • The wrong type of financial statements is specified in Section E.
    • The figure for ‘Interest’ does not match the figure in the accounts.
  • Financial Report 2015: No.
    • There is no mention of their two subsidiaries.
    • Current liabilities are four times current assets without comment by the directors or the auditor.
    • Where’s the cost of the missionaries?
    • ‘Other expenses’, that is, unidentified expenses, are 21% of the total.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Remembering that, with the exclusion of their two subsidiaries, the Report shows only half the picture:
    • They increased surplus as a percentage of income from 3% to 4%.
    • Current (short-term) liquid assets cover less than one months’ revenue.
    • Working capital (current assets less current liabilities) is strongly negative.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • Although he gave a ‘clean’ opinion[4] this should be considered in conjunction with the information under ‘Financial Report 2015’, above.

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

  • Not quite – the three business names are missing.

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

  • ‘$10 Challenge, Give to Under Supported Staff’
  • ‘Give to Refugee Crisis Appeal’
    • Six choices
  • ‘Give to Other Projects and Appeals’
    • Six projects
  • ‘Give to OM Australia’
    • ‘One-Off’ or Monthly
  • ‘Give to An OM Worker’
    • 90 ‘workers’, including the 20 serving in the Australian head office (see above).

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The Board are shown here. And under ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register.

To whom are OM accountable?

  • Not claimed on the website, but they are members of Missions Interlink, an organisation that has a set of standards with which OM must comply.
  • OM is also accountable to the ACNC.

 

 

  1. The first is an incorporated association, the second an ‘Other Unincorporated Entity’.
  2. The law in this area is not straightforward and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  3. There are 33 employees declared in the AIS 2015, but only 20 shown under ‘Head Office Team’; presumably the others are in interstate offices.
  4. To take the right amount of comfort from a ‘clean opinion’, please read here and here.

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