Slavic Gospel Association Inc: charity review

This is a charity review of Slavic Gospel Association Inc (SGA), an organisation that seeks donations 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 situation last year, read the review here.)

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review. Unlike last year, they did not respond.

Is SGA registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
    • Incorporated as The Slavic Gospel Association Inc. (emphasis mine)[1].
  • As a Victorian incorporated association (A0027142A)[2].
  • If it’s ‘carrying on business’ outside Victoria, as it appears to be, then it still doesn’t have the required registration (an ARBN).
  • It uses the names Slavic Gospel Australia, and Slavic Gospel Association, without them being registered as business names[3].
  • SGA operates – per the ACNC Register – and says it is going to fundraise, in all six states that have licensing regime for charities that are fundraisers. But it still, without explanation, has no fundraising registrations.

What do they do?

  • From the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017:
    • Funds were provided to help share the Gospel with the orphans, missionaries, pastors and Bible school students.
  • For what happens under the Slavic Gospel Association name overseas, see ‘Ministry Areas’ on the right-hand side of the home page.
  • SGA operates overseas – per the ACNC Register – in seven overseas countries. This is, presumably, where the money that was collected went.

Do they share the Gospel[4]?

  • No. (They raise money.)

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.
  • There are stories of change in the countries to which SGA sends money in the Slavic Gospel News on the website.

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

  • If we define ‘direct’ as ‘Designated gifts distributed’ (there were no undesignated gifts distributed), ‘administration’ is 33% of expenses, a significant increase on the 26% of last year.

Do they pay their board members?

  • Such payments are not prohibited by the constitution.
  • The disclosure of expenses is insufficiently detailed to allow the question to be answered.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • Such giving is not offered.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged four and a half 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 six months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • The name is (still) incorrect.
    • The description of the type of financial statements is still incorrect.
    • Interest is not shown as ‘Revenue from investments’.
    • There are still no outcomes reported.
    • What is included under ‘Annual Report’ is not an annual report as is meant by the ACNC.
  • Financial Report 2017: The regulator would probably give it a passing grade, but
    • The directors’ say that all SGA’s stakeholders, both present and prospective, can command the charity to produce a report tailored to their specific needs. For a charity seeking public donations, having three employees, collecting $385K, and operating in six states and seven overseas countries, this is questionable.
    • Can a Financial Report that doesn’t explain what the charity does give a true and fair view?
    • What about one that doesn’t say where it’s net donations go?
    • As there were last year, there are some other less critical issues.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • The surplus as a percentage of revenue was reduced again, this time dramatically (from negative 2% to negative 15%).
  • ‘Employment expenses’ represented 22% of expenses (a significant increase on last year’s 15%).
  • Current assets are now only just over 100% of current liabilities (down from 150%).
  • The long term financial structure, thanks to the ownership of unencumbered land and buildings, is 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 correct/complete?

  • No:
    • Their name is (still) incorrect.
    • There’s still a message ‘Charity to select subtype’ under ‘Entity subtype’.
    • ‘Who the Charity Benefits’ does not mention the overseas recipients of money.
    • The document labelled ‘Annual Report’ is not what the ACNC means by an annual report.
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are (still) blank, but the ACNC says that these are not compulsory.

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

  • None given on the website.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • This is not disclosed.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • On the website, as well as on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’), it’s these people:
    • Douglas Brown
    • Harry Chudasko (still misspelt on the Register))
    • Peter Dubyna
    • Ralph Hewes
    • Larissa Porublev
    • Nickolai Porublev
    • Bruce Ronalds
      • Is it this Bruce Ronalds?
    • Alexander Shevchuk
  • Unless Larissa is a committee member, not just the Public Officer, she should not be in the ACNC list.
  • As the membership of SGA is limited to board members, there is no accountability from the membership.

To whom are SGA accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • As an association, to the Victorian regulator of incorporated associations.
  • Membership of Missions Interlink claimed on the website is confirmed. Missions Interlink has a general accountability regime.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  1. Not The Slavic Gospel Association, as both the Australian Business Register and the ACNC continue to report.
  2. Not unincorporated, as the ABN record, still says.
  3. It’s enabling legislation also requires the full name, and only the full name, to be used on all publications.
  4. 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.

 

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