Reach Beyond: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of Reach Beyond, an organisation that seeks donations on the internet, 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?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they, like last year, 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 has not registered the other name that it uses, Reach Beyond Australia.
  • Operating in all six states that may require registration as a fundraiser, and raising money via the internet. No licences are held[1].

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 8-9 hours a day in 30 languages, including 19 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 programs along with healthcare and community development. [Who we are].

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient public information to say.

Do they share the Gospel [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 2016].
  • However, nothing is reported yet.

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 2016 reports that Reach Beyond did not make any grants or give any donations.
    • The item ‘Support for Program Partners’, 8% of expenses, appear to be supplier payments rather than financial support.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five 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 13 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Nearly
    • Outcomes are not reported.
    • The business name is missing.
  • Financial Report 2016: Questionable.
    • 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.
      • At least 81%[3] of revenue 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. Do the directors realise that they are saying that any of these donors, both present and prospective, can request Reach Beyond to tailor a financial report to suit their needs?
      • The accounting policy for three of the four ‘Property, Plant & Equipment’ items is not disclosed.
      • In an explanation of ‘Property, Plant & Equipment’, having 50% of the total in an item called ‘Plant & Equipment’ is insufficient disclosure.
      • The following atypical items are not explained:
        • ‘Support payable’
        • ‘Receipts from Kununurra’
        • ‘Support for Program Partners’
        • ‘Missionary Support Admin Fees’
        • ‘IBF Development’
      • The Statement of Changes in Equity… is missing ‘Other Comprehensive Income’.

What was the financial situation shown by that Report?

  • Working capital – the excess of current (short-term) assets over current (short-term) liabilities – was marginally negative last year. It is has worsened this year (to 85%).
    • ‘Trade and other payables’ (creditors) has increased 44%.
  • The longer term financial structure appears sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion. To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please
    • read here and here.
    • re-read the ‘Financial Report 2016’ section above.

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

  • Except for missing the business name, yes.

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?

  • On both the ACNC Register, and on the website[4], these people:
    • Graeme Buntrock
    • Stephen Coleman
    • Peter Letchford
    • Paul Mock
    • Dale Stagg
    • John Wilson
      • There are 24 directorships in the name ‘John Wilson’. 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 Reach Beyond’s John Wilson 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.
  • The above people are answerable to the members of the company. Of whom there are 96.

To whom is Reach Beyond accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
    • Its ‘Charity Tick’ is used on the website in support of you giving to them. And rightly so, because it would be unwise to give to a charity that is unregistered. The ‘tick’ also means SBMC’s AIS is not overdue, and no compliance action has been take against it.
      • But it means no more than this.
  • SMBC is, as they claim, also in support of you giving, a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • Confirmed.
    • See the section Activities in this review for one opinion on the strength of this accountability.
  • As a company, SMBC is also accountable to ASIC.

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  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. Does the revenue item ‘Receipts from Kununurra’ $130K include any donations?
  4. I assume that John Wilson on the Register is the same person as Ian Wilson on the website.

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