Mini 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. Their comments have been included below.
Is SGA registered?
- As a charity, yes.
- As a Victorian incorporated association (A0027142A).
- It’s ABN record is therefore still wrong in saying that SGA is unincorporated.
- Incorporated as The Slavic Gospel Association Inc. (emphasis mine), not as both the Australian Business Register and the ACNC continue to report.
- Ministry comment: ‘Slavic Gospel Association Inc ( since 1993)’
- It uses the names Slavic Gospel Australia, and Slavic Gospel Association, without them being registered as business names.
- It’s enabling legislation also requires the full name, and only the full name, to be used on all publications.
- SGA operates – per the ACNC Register – in all states that have licensing regime for charities that are fundraisers except Tasmania. It still has no fundraising registrations.
- If it’s ‘carrying on business’ outside Victoria, as it appears to be, then it still doesn’t have the required registration (an ARBN).
What do they do?
- From the Board members’ report (in the Financial Report 2016):
- During the financial year the principal continuing activities of the incorporated association consisted of:
● to promote the needs of the rapidly growing Church in the lands of the former Soviet Union
● raising funds to assist equipping and training Christian workers
● building Houses of Prayer for worship and outreach
● and the offering of humanitarian aid wherever possible.
- See ‘Ministry Areas’ on the right-hand side of the home page.
- SGA operates overseas – per the ACNC Register – in Belarus, Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The AIS 2016 says that its ‘international activities’ are ‘Transferring funds or goods overseas’, and the website confirms that this is the extent of their operations in these countries.
- Ministry comment: ‘Yes’
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 26% of expenses.
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.
- Ministry comment: ‘Board members are not paid.’
Can you get a tax deduction?
Is their online giving secure?
- Such giving is not offered.
- Ministry comment: ‘All donations are receipted, acknowledged with a letter. Receipts not required by supporters (to save postage) are filed into their personal folders.’
Is their reporting up-to-date?
- Yes (lodged four months after their year-end). (But again, its incomplete.)
- 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 nearly 12 months ago.
Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?
- AIS 2016: No
- The description of the type of financial statements is still incorrect.
- Most of the figures in the ‘Comprehensive Income Summary’ are incorrect.
- There are still no outcomes reported.
- Financial Report 2016: No.
- There is no audit report.
- The Board members’ declaration is unsigned.
- There are several more minor issues.
What financial situation was shown by that Report?
- The surplus as a percentage of revenue was reduced from 3% to negative 2%.
- ‘Employment expenses represented 15% of expenses.
- Current assets are 1.5 times current liabilities.
- 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?
- Last year there was only an audit report; this year the Financial Report is missing an audit report.
If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register correct/complete?
- Their name is incorrect.
- They still haven’t selected a subtype of charity.
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 Caudasko (should be ‘Chudasko’)
- Peter Dubyna
- Ralph Hewes
- Larissa Porublev
- Ministry comment: ‘Public officer’
- 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.
- Ministry comment:
- ‘Peter Dubyna – SGA Board Secretary
- Larissa Porublev – Public Officer’
- Ministry comment:
- As the membership of SGA is limited to board members, there is no accountability there.
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.
- The law in this area is not straightforward and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions. ↑
- “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. ↑
- Their trading name is missing, but this is of little consequence nowadays; ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but these are not compulsory. ↑