Summer Institute of Linguistics Australia: charity review

Since the last time I checked, a few months ago, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) Australia (SIL) has become an associate member of Missions Interlink.

Such members have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

The ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’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 SIL:

1. There is a registered[1] charity in that name, but without the ‘(SIL)’.

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above]. But this is not relevant to your giving to SIL, for their Donate button transfers you to a separate charity, Wycliffe Bible Translators. So you have to trust that organisation, both generally and with your credit card information.

Wycliffe Bible Translators’ website is secure. For a review of that charity, see here.

For your credit card, you are told that ‘This site is secured by Trustwave for your protection’, but when you click on their logo, the message is that Trustwave doesn’t know Wycliffe Bible Translators.

The relationship between SIL and Wycliffe Bible Translators is not explained. Here’s something from SIL’s website. And here.

4. SIL says that ‘It is a Deductible Gift Recipient endorsed by ATO’. Not quite true – just the funds that it operates offer tax deductibility.

The donation page lists three funds, the Australian Business Register only two. The extra one doesn’t belong to SIL, but to a separate charity, SILA Overseas Aid & Development Fund.

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 Statement of Cash Flows. What you might not know though, is that you first should turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’.

Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, of the SIL? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors who gave $27K last year [Financial Report 2017]? Perhaps you are one of the suppliers who shared in the $110K of payments? [Financial Report 2017], or one of their 31 volunteers [AIS 2017]. If so, can you ring SIL’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I very much doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports’[2].

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of SIL, and the directors[3], with the agreement of the auditor[4], have again, on the grounds that you don’t exist, produced special purpose financial statements.

________________________________________________________

If SIL is still in the running for your business –

  • Although Note 1 to the financial statements says that the Financial Report ‘covers [SIL] as an individual entity’, that is, they are not consolidated statements, the income statement includes a material amount called ‘OADF donations and contributions’.
  • There is no explanation for what is easily the largest expense, ‘Operating expenses’ $91K. Nor any other the other expenses (all except Depreciation are 8% or over of the total expenses).
  • There is no information about the recipient or recipients of the $38K (16% of total expenses) sent overseas. Not even their country[5].
  • There is no information about how they ensure that the money you give is used for the purpose for which it was given.
  • At the time of donating, you have three options. None of these are shown under ‘Revenue’, and only the third under expenses in the Financial Report 2017.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Contact me if you need a fuller review.

 

 

  1. The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.
  2. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au: http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png  
  3. The people shown here. After an assumption that David Nicholls is the Kevin Nicholls, this matches the ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register.
  4. Matthew Hung, CA, of rdl.accountants.
  5. Their entry on the ACNC Register says that they operate in China and Philippines.

 

International Mission Ministries Inc: charity review

Since the last time I checked, a few months ago, International Mission Ministries Inc has become an associate member of Missions Interlink.

Such members have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

The ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’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 International Mission Ministries Inc:

1: There is a registered[1] charity in that name.

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above]. The expected information about security for your credit card information is, however, missing.

4. No tax deduction is possible, but International Mission Ministries Inc is a ‘legitimate’ charity.

5. The charity has lodged a Financial Report, but it is non-compliant because it has not included an audit or review. (Did it have one done?)

Ministry response: ‘Although not officially required by ACNC – We do actually get an independent audit done each year which is available to all IMM board and members.  It is from this audited report that I post our finances onto the ACNC site.

Reviewer comment: Your size is Medium. You are required to include an audit or review in your Financial Report.

The Report itself is grossly deficient.

Ministry response: ‘We will be putting in the next AIS statements soon, I will endeavour to put everything in that is required.’

_______________________________________________________

If you are happy to continue to consider them for your money –

These are the expenses (largest to smallest):

  • ‘Int. CP Sponsorship’, $80K.
  • Salaries and wages, $67K.
  • ‘Short Term Teams’, $42K.
  • ‘Travel, accom & conference’, $17K
  • ‘Int. Child Sponsorship’, $15K
  • ‘Int. Community Projects’, $12K

There is no information about where the money went overseas. Not even the country[2].

Ministry comment: ‘Ted, we certainly do want to publish a true and fair report on the ACNC site and I’ll endeavour to give more details for the future.   However, please try to understand the challenges and safety issues required when working in a creative access strategy country.’

There is no information about how they ensure that the money you give is used for the purpose for which it was given[3].

 

 

 

  1. The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.
  2. Its entry on the ACNC Register says that it operates in Nepal and Philippines.
  3. These are the options on the website:‘where it is most needed’

    ‘start up funding for three years in a location where there is currently no Christian church’

    ‘Provide protection for a vulnerable child living in high risk conditions’

    ‘Provide basic human needs in orphanages and school (sic)…’

 

Across the Divide: charity review

Last month Missions Interlink announced the addition of a new associate member, Across the Divide.

Such members have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

The ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’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 Across the Divide:

1: The ACNC Register has no charity in that name. So, although Across the Divide, from the website linked from the Missions Interlink membership list, appears to be a charity, it is not one that is registered. It is not, therefore, at least according to the regulator, a legitimate charity[1].

Although it claims to have an ABN – see ‘Terms & Conditions’ here – the ABN is not in its name, but in the name of one of the two adults under ‘People’ on the website, Robert Alley. He owns the business name Across the Divide.

An individual cannot register as a charity.

__________________________________________________________

For the sake of completeness, we’ll review the remaining things the regulator suggests you consider:

2. NA

3. The Across the Divideweb address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC page above]. Other than this there is no information about security for your credit card information. PayPal is also an option though.

4. NA

5. If you give via the facility on the website, this is the explanation of how your money will be used:

Whilst participants pay to cover cost of trips, there are many associated costs in what we do and sometimes financial pressure if trips fall through.

The ‘Give’ page also has a link to a gofundme project, a new trailer. However, this money will go to Jenni Alley, not the charity. (Jenni is the wife of the person who owns the business name.)

I sent this review to the address given to me by Jenni Alley, but they did not respond.

 

 

  1. For the ACNC to imply that any charity not registered with it is not legitimate, is incorrect. As the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.

 

Traverse: a charity review

I review Christian charities, particularly those who have voluntarily submitted themselves to the standards of a Christ-led organisation they have joined to represent their interests. Missions Interlink is one of two such organisations.

Missions Interlink recently announced the addition of a new associate member, Traverse.

Most members seek your donation, making the charity regulator’s suggested questions before you give relevant. Traverse has no website request for your money though[1].

Mission Interlink members have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

From the description of what they do, Traverse is a charity. However, the ACNC Register has no charity in that name. It is not, then, at least according to the regulator, a legitimate charity[2].

Not only that, but this entity does not even have an ABN. And another Christian entity, Malyon College, trades under the same name.

There is a business name ‘Traverse Australia’, held by M.D KUBE & P.M KUBE (a partnership). It has an ABN.

The Kubes are the people behind the website.

But a partnership cannot be registered as a charity.

So, although Traverse, from the website linked from the Missions Interlink membership list, appears to be a charity it is not one that is registered. And will not be able to be registered while it is a partnership.

 

 

  1. I sent them my initial draft of this review. The only thing they commented on was my answer to the ACNC question about online security for donations: ‘The Traverse website says that donations are ‘gratefully accepted’ but has no online giving facility.’ They removed the sentence about donations. In the subsequent interchange, they requested that I not publish the review.
  2. For the ACNC to imply that any charity not registered with it is not legitimate, is incorrect. As the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.

 

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.

PeaceWise: charity review

This is a review[1] of PeaceWise, one of the 10 organisations that have been accredited with the CMA Standards Council[2].

From its entry in the Council’s ‘Give Confidently’ directory, it is likely a charity:

The Australian charities regulator, 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 are the answers for PeaceWise:

  1. There is a charity that has put PeaceWise on the charities Register as a name by which it is known by:

By the ABN we can confirm that Peacewise Ltd is the charity that is allowed to use the CMA Standards Council seal[3].

Because it has neither registered PeaceWise as a business name, nor changed its constitution to prohibit the payment of directors’ fees, PeaceWise Limited is still not permitted to trade without ‘Ltd’/’Limited’ on the end of its name.

2. NA

3. PeaceWise’s ‘Donate’ pagebegins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. A secure way to give to PeaceWise. (The page has a ‘Comodo Secure’ icon, but there is no link.)

4. The ABN record says that no tax deduction is available for a donation to PeaceWise. PeaceWise is nevertheless a legitimate charity.

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 Statement of Cash Flows. What you might now know though, is that you first should turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’.

Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, of the PeaceWise? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors who together gave $122K last year [Financial Report 2017]? Perhaps you are one of the suppliers who shared in the $415K of payments? [Financial Report 2017], or one of their 10 volunteers [AIS 2017][4]. If so, can you ring PeaceWise’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I very much doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports[5].

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of PeaceWise, and the directors[6], with the agreement of the auditor, have again produced special purpose financial statements, a decision[7] that implies[8] that you don’t exist:

Quite apart from the very questionable application of the Accounting Standards, a special purpose report cannot, by definition, satisfy the CMA Standards Council’s Principle 8, ‘Transparency and Accountability’:

End of review[9].

 

 

  1. For the previous review, see here.
  2. It achieved this by meeting the Council’s ‘Principles and Standards of Responsible Stewardship’, and therefore is able to be promoted as a ‘high quality organisation’.
  3. The name on the ACNC Register is incorrect. It is ‘PeaceWise Ltd’, not ‘Peacewise Ltd’. From prior correspondence, I know that PeaceWise is very careful about its name.
  4. All this spread over operations throughout Australia and overseas in New Zealand [ACNC Register].
  5. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au:
  6. The people shown here. Probably without the Secretary and the Minute Secretary though. After that adjustment, the this matches the ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register:

  7. Last year they said they would review this decision, so if they did as they said they would, then this is a considered, not a careless, decision.
  8. They have again omitted to say why they have made this decision.
  9. I sent a draft of this review to the charity. This was their response: ‘Thank you for your email. We have noted your view of PeaceWise. Please, note that Geoff Bateman resigned from the PeaceWise Board. ‘

 

Missionary Ventures Inc.: charity review

Mini-charity review of Missionary Ventures Inc. (MV), an organisation that seeks donations online and is a member 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.

Are they responsive to feedback?[1]

  • One of MV’s ‘core ideologies’ is that it ‘accepts nothing less than absolute accountability’.
  • Neither feedback nor complaints are mentioned on the website.
  • I sent them a draft of this review[1]. Unlike last year, they did not respond.

Is MV registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • MV is a Victorian incorporated association (No. A0035777A).
  • The name it uses on Facebook and its website (Missionary Ventures Australia), is registered. Not so the name on its other Facebook site.
  • MV operates, per the ACNC Register, only in Victoria. It says in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017 that it doesn’t fundraise, but that ignores the fact that they have an online invitation.

What do they do?

  • See here.
  • For the current suite of programs, see here.
  • MV operates, per the ACNC Register, in Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vanuatu.
    • Presumably this is where they go on ‘team trips’.
    • All these countries except Cambodia have MV ‘field associates and partners’.
  • This is what they did in 2017 (AIS 2017):
    • During the year we sent out 14 mission teams from Australian churches and schools (132 individuals in total) to engage in Activities in the Asia/ Pacific region. These teams helped encourage and support indigenous communities and churches in the Asia Pacific region. In doing so, these teams also provided the opportunity for individual participants to grow in their faith commitment . As an organisation we alsohelped to facilitate the distribution of 42 motorcycles to indigenous pastors and field worker engaged in disciple making. Throughout the year we also assisted with some aid support in Vanuatu and Fiji .

Do they share the Gospel[2]?

  • Only incidentally by people on the trips to Christian organisations.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.
  • There’s probably some anecdotal evidence under ‘News’ on the website, and on their Facebook page.

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

  • There is an expense called ‘Admin’, but it excludes ‘Rent’, ‘Compensation’, and ‘Other expenses’, expenses that are, at least in part, customarily included in ‘Administration’.

Do they pay their board members?

  • Such payments are not prohibited by the constitution.
  • The figure for ‘Compensation’ in the expenses is classified as ‘Employee expenses/payments’ in the AIS 2017.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • Although security is not mentioned on the first page, the second page goes to an invitation to use PayPal, so yes.

Is MV’s reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (four months after their year-end, two weeks later than last year).
    • 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 seven months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • Five of the 14 figures in the ‘Income Statement Summary’ do not match those in the ‘Statement of Profit or Loss’.
    • No outcomes are given.
  • Financial Report 2017[3]: Yes
    • Because of its size (‘Small’), MV is not required to submit a Financial Report.  It has, however, chosen to submit one anyway.
    • Because it was a voluntary submission, the Report does not need to comply with the ACNC’s requirements.
    • But it does need to comply with the requirements of its own constitution. Which it doesn’t.
    • Nor does it comply with the requirements of its Missions Interlink membership.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • The surplus as a percentage of ‘Income’ was reduced from 10% positive to 4% negative.
  • Both short-term and long-term financial structure, based on the Statement of Financial Position submitted, are sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • Nothing – the review report is missing the second page.

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

  • No
    • ‘Who the Charity Benefits’ is blank.
    • MV also operates in the Northern Territory.
    • Is the ‘Responsible Persons’ section up-to-date?

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

  • See the drop-down box here.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • This is not disclosed.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • On the website, these people.
  • On the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) there is also Don Marshall, but no June Steward:
    • Matthew Gosbell
    • Rowan Jeffery
    • Don Marshall
    • Kevin Palmer
    • Phil Plowman
    • John Williams
    • There are 30 directorships recorded for the name ‘John Williams’.  And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and of course doesn’t include for-profit organisations.  Therefore, if after eliminating the charities for which MV’s John Williams is not a director, you are left with the total being more than a handful, it would be legitimate for you to question whether his ability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.  Especially if he has a full-time job.
  • The Board is responsible to the membership. The number of members is not disclosed.

To whom are MV accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
    • The website displays the ACNC’s ‘Charity Tick’. The tick means that MV is a registered charity, its AIS is not overdue, and no compliance action has been take against it.
  • MV is also accountable to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.
  • Although not mentioned on the website, it is also accountable as a Member of Missions Interlink.

 

  1. I agree with Randy Alcorn [Money, Possessions, & Eternity, Tyndale, 2003] when he says that ‘Any Christian leaders who resist financial accountability make themselves suspect.’ [page 425].
  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.
  3. I use the Pinnacle Financial Statements, respected in the profession as providing a very sound basis for producing compliant financial reports. To this I add an assessment of materiality (both quantitative and qualitative), where the users being considered are donors.

 

Intercultural Training Australia Limited: charity review

This is a review[1] of one of Missions Interlink’s ‘Associate Organisations’, Intercultural Training Australia Limited (ITA).

Given that Missions Interlink is ‘the Australian network for global mission’, ITA is most likely a charity.

The Australian charities regulator, 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 are the answers for ITA:

1.  It is a registered charity.

Ministry comment: ‘not for taxation purposes, we are a registered as an Educational Institution.’

2.  NA

3.  Although there is no obvious request for donations on the website, a search of the site on ‘give’ results in this page that couldn’t be anything else but an invitation. However, the PayPal button leads to a message that ‘This recipient is currently unable to receive money.’

Ministry comment: ‘we don’t ever receive any donations from the public.’    

4.   It doesn’t offer a tax deduction, but ITA is, as we have seen, is a legitimate charity.

Ministry comment: ‘we are not a deductible gift recipient for tax purposes’

5.   We could look at ITA’s accounts to find out how the charity uses its donations, but there’s a problem.  The auditor, James Buckman[2], gave a qualified audit opinion because the company does not have the procedures to ensure that all donations that are received make their way into the charity’s bank account.  And the board[3][iii] does not appear to be concerned about this.

Ministry comment: The board noted it but as we don’t receive any donations or other funds by cash we have asked the auditor to adjust that note/qualification for next year’

‘End of review[4].

 

 

  1. For the previous review, see here.
  2. Who claims no membership of a professional accounting body.Ministry comment: ‘he is retired and has resigned his membership from all professional bodies, he does have an accounting qualification and was previously a member of  CPA  and has been approved by the office of fair trading in Qld to conduct our audit’
  3. [iii] Not shown on the website, but from the ACNC Register:Ashley HoodKim Hood

    Rosemary Laing

    Jennifer Latham

    Derek McComber

    Christine Neale

    Kaye Oakley

  4. I sent them a draft of this review. They sent the comments that have been included above.

 

The Council for Christian Education in Schools: charity review

Two more organisations were recently accredited by the CMA Standards Council[1]. This is a review of one of them, The Council for Christian Education in Schools[2].

With a name like this, it’s most likely a charity.

The Australian charities regulator, 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 The Council for Christian Education in Schools (The Council):

1: A search of the Register of charities shows that The Council is a registered charity:

The names in brackets are the names that The Council has said are its ‘Other Name(s)’. The CMA Standards Council says that they trade only under the first two:

Both are registered business names. (There are two others that they have omitted from the list on the Register: Access Ministries Training Institute and Link Up Market[3]).

2. NA

3. ACCESS Ministries web address begins with ‘https’, and there is a ‘closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. Likewise for Korus Connect. For each of them, then, a secure way to give. (Neither site mentions security on the giving page though.)

4. ABN Lookup says that you can get a tax deduction for a donation to The Council. However, such a tax deduction is not mentioned in the giving process on either website.

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 Statement of Cash Flows. What you might not know though, is that you first should turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’.

Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, The Council or one of its arms? Perhaps you are one of the 247 employees or 550 volunteers [AIS 2017], or one of the people who contributed to the $9.87 m of revenue [Financial Report 2017]. If so, can you ring The Council’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I very much doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports[4].

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of The Council[5], and its directors[6], with the agreement of its auditors[7], under the ‘Basis of preparation’, say that you don’t exist[8]. End of review[9].

(And this from an organisation held up as a standard-setter ‘in terms of impeccable corporate behaviour’, a leading light in transparency and accountability.)

 

 

  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 theie seal of approval.
  2. To see the situation last year, read this review.
  3. And Korus Connect is duplicated.
  4. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au:
  5. The title of Financial Report 2017 says that The Council trades only as Access Ministries. Is this because Korus Connect is a later addition?
  6. Not shown on the website, but from the Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):

    Stephen Dickins

    Karina Gurbin

    James Hall

    John Peberdy

    Peter Rawlings

    Jorg Selhorst

    Paul Turnbull

    John Peberdy is a director of the company responsible for the CMA Standards Council, Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd.

  7. Grant Thornton, with M A Cunningham signing.
  8. I sent The Council a draft of this review. Like the last two years, they…did not respond.

 

SIM: charity review

This is a review of the organisation that has a website in the name SIM.

On that site there’s a request for donations and a way to do without leaving the site.

SIM’s tagline is ‘Serving in Mission’, so it’s most likely a charity.

The Australian charities regulator, 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 are the answers for SIM:

  1. There is no charity under that name on the ACNC Register. But rolling through the 70 entries that come up for ‘Sim’, one finds one with ‘Australia’ on the end of ‘SIM’. Plus, two others that, because of their name and the fact that they are in the same suburb, look related to the first one:

The website footer confirms that the website belongs to SIM Australia at Penhurst[1]. (Although SIM is registered to omit ‘Ltd’/’Limited’ from the end of its name, it is still not registered to drop the ‘Australia’.)

2. NA

3. SIM Australia’sweb address begins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. A secure way to give to the charity.

4. ABN Lookup says that SIM Australia cannot give you a tax deduction. But this doesn’t fit with the information on one of the giving options:

Presumably this is explained by the fact that SIM Australia also collects for one or both of the ‘SIM’ charities mentioned above:

5. The giving page doesn’t give the name of the charity to which you are giving if you give to this ‘simaid’. We should be able to tell from inspecting the accounts of each ‘Simaid’ charity, but despite these accounts of the Trust being due by 31 March 2018, they have yet to be lodged, nearly four months later[2]:

End of review[3].

 

 

  1. For last year’s review, see here.
  2. Last year, they lodged accounts, but they were the wrong ones.
  3. I sent a draft of this review to the charity. Like last year, they did not respond.