Reach Beyond: charity review

This is a charity review of Reach Beyond, 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?

  • I sent them a draft of this review. For the third successive year, they…did not respond.

Is Reach Beyond registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • Also, as a public company (a company limited by guarantee).
    • It is permitted to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
    • Although it has registered a business name identical to its legal name, it still has not registered the other name that it uses, Reach Beyond Australia.
  • Reach Beyond operates, per the ACNC Register, all over Australia. And has an online invitation to give. No reason is given for the fact that it is registered to fundraise only in Victoria.

What do they do?

  • ‘Since 2003 Reach Beyond (Australia) formerly HCJB Australia has been transmitting from far North West Australia to the Asia Pacific region through short wave radio and today broadcasts programs for 9 hours a day in 31 languages, including 20 South Asia languages.  Reach Beyond is part of a global community committed to reaching unreached people groups with the gospel through the use of dynamic media and high quality (sic) programs along with healthcare and community development.’ [Who we are].
  • The ‘healthcare and community development’ is delivered over the radio.

Do they pay their directors?

  • This is not permitted by the constitution.
  • Presumably then, ‘Board expenses’ in the accounts does not include any fees.

Do they share the Gospel[1] [2]?

  • Yes (listen to a sample of the programs here).

What impact are they having?

  • The directors recognise the importance of measuring and reporting this:
    • Since Reach Beyond relies on donations from its supporters, the provision of funds to enable the ongoing operation of the organisation will rely on consistent communication with our constituent base that brings with it evidence of the effectiveness of the programs it broadcasts [‘Strategies’, Directors’ Report, AIS 2017].
  • However, nothing systematic could be found.

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

  • There is insufficient information disclosed in the accounts to even estimate this.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • ‘As a Christian mission with the primary purpose of broadcasting the Gospel, Reach Beyond does not qualify for Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status from the Australian Tax Office.’ [The ‘Ways to Give’ page.]

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The AIS 2017 reports that Reach Beyond did not make any grants or give any donations.
    • The item ‘Support for Program Partners’, 6% of expenses, appears to be supplier payments rather than financial support.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (four and a half months after their year-end, three weeks earlier 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 9 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • Several of the figures under ‘Financial Information’ do not match those in the accounts.
    • ‘Online’ should be included as a place where fundraising is intended.
    • Outcomes are not reported.
  • Financial Report 2017: Questionable. Like last year
    • The directors’ decision (with the auditor’s agreement) to produce the type of financial statements that don’t comply with all the Accounting Standards is questionable.
      • 80% of income (AIS 2017) is from donations, and from the picture painted by the ACNC Register, combined with the website, there are many donors, and they are spread far and wide. And then there are the prospective donors envisaged by the public request for money. Plus the 58 staff, and all the suppliers. Do the directors realise that they are saying that any of these stakeholders, both present and prospective, can request Reach Beyond to tailor a financial report to suit their needs?
      • An understanding of the charity’s revenue and expense is frustrated by the way the items are classified (a classification that is contrary to the Accounting Standards).
      • In a breakup of ‘Property, Plant & Equipment’, having 100% of the plant and equipment in an item called ‘Plant & Equipment’, without explanation, is insufficient disclosure[2].

What was the financial situation shown by that Report?

  • The surplus as a percentage of income has increased from negative 8% last year to positive 2% this year.
  • Working capital – the excess of current (short-term) assets over current (short-term) liabilities – has improved from negative (0.8) last year to positive (1.2) this year.
  • The longer term financial structure appears sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Matthew Hung, CA, of rdl.accountants, gave a ‘clean’ opinion. To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please
    • read here and here.
    • re-read the ‘Financial Report 2017’ section above.

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

  • No
    • ‘Others’ is not helpful as an answer to ‘Who the Charity Benefits’.
    • ‘Financial Year End’ should be 31/08.

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

  • Although not supported by information elsewhere on the website, a message on the Donate page implies that you do:
    • To allocate your gift, when you reach the review donation page, please leave us a message.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

To whom is Reach Beyond accountable?

  • This appears at the bottom of the page where they ask for donations:

  • Missions Interlink membership confirmed.
    • See the section Activities in this review for one opinion on the strength of this accountability.
  • The second logo is the ACNC’s ‘Charity Tick’. It is used to show that Reach Beyond is registered. Rightly so, because it would be unwise to give to a charity that is unregistered.
    • Beyond registration, the ‘tick’ only means that the charity’s AIS is not overdue, and that no compliance action has been take against it.
  • As a company, Reach Beyond is still accountable to ASIC for some things.

 

  1. 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.
  2. Also:
    • The accounting policy for three of the four ‘Property, Plant & Equipment’ items is not disclosed.
    • The following significant revenue items are not explained:
      • ‘Farm receipts’
      • ‘Klassen Tour’ (new this year)
    • The following significant expense items are not explained:
      • ‘Partnership support’
      • ‘Missionary Medical Costs’ (and why it is negative this year)
    • If ‘Share the Cost Programs’ is a reimbursement, shouldn’t it be deducted from the expenses?
    • The Statement of Changes in Equity… is missing ‘Other Comprehensive Income’.

 

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