The European Christian Mission (Australian Section) Incorporated, charity review

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.  Please start with the updated review published in November 2016, and come back to this one as needed.

This is a charity review, a review for those with an interest in the Australian charity The European Christian Mission (Australian Section) Incorporated (ECM).

It is structured according to the charity’s entry on the ACNC[i]Register, and its purpose is to supply some information extra to what is there, information that may be helpful in your decision about ECM.

It is up to you to decide whether any or all of the information presented here is what you need in order to make that decision, and whether you should seek any other information, either from the charity itself or from other sources.

Ministry response

Prior to publishing this review, I sent my observations to the charity, on 23 February 2016, and invited them to comment. They did not respond.

On 26 February the Director ECM Australia & NZ said he was too busy to respond further, but said that he would try to do so ‘in the next couple of weeks.’ I told him that I would publish, and he could submit a comment to the post if he wanted to.

Organisation of this review

  • The first part of this review is organised according to the headings in the Register entry. This is how to use this section of the review:
    • For each heading in the register entry, first read the information under that heading.
    • Then check if that heading is included below. (Headings for which there is no comment are not included.)
  • Then there is a section Membership of accountability organisations claimed.

Sources

  • ACNC Register (including links)
  • Google search on the charity’s name.
  • ECM website (shared with the other European Christian Mission organisations worldwide)
  • ECM on FaceBook. Not on Twitter, YouTube Vimeo, Issuu or LinkedIn. (The links in the webpage footers to Vimeo and YouTube are to the international ECM, not Australia.)
  • State government fundraising licence registers.
  • Glassdoor reviews

REGISTRATION DETAILS

Entity Subtype

  • Not a type suggestive of a charity that shares the Gospel.
  • The governing document (see Charity’s Document (sic), below), does not include either objects or purposes.

CHARITY DETAILS

Legal Name

  • ECM is an ACT incorporated association.
  • Not to be confused with ECM International, of which it is a part.

Other Name(s)

  • The trading name ‘European Christian Mission’ should be here.
  • Since it has no business name registered, ECM cannot operate under any name other than its full registered name.   That is The European Christian Mission (Australian Section) Incorporated. Not European Christian Mission, let alone ECM.
    • And it is required by its incorporating legislation to put its full name, including either ‘Inc’ or ‘Incorporated’ on ‘all official documents and publications issued by the association or on its behalf.[ii]
      • Its website does not give confidence that it is complying with this requirement; it’s financial statements definitely don’t; its FaceBook page doesn’t.

Charity ABN

  • Tax deductibility: you cannot claim a tax deduction for your donation.

Charity Street Address

  • Postal address, from the website: PO Box 15 Croydon, NSW  2132

Email

  • I have no reason to believe that this doesn’t work.

Phone

  • From the website: 02 9747 5446

Website

  • From an internet search: http://www.ecmaustralia.org.
    • Although a separate address, the one site is the portal for all the parts of European Christian Mission worldwide.

ANNUAL REPORTING

  • AIS 2014
    • This is ECM’s compulsory Annual Information Statement 2014 (AIS 2014).
    • It gives basic financial information. If you think that this is sufficient for you
      • ‘Donations and bequests’ should be at least $624K (the exact figure depending on whether there were any donations in the large amount of ‘General Income’.)
    • Based on the number of employees shown (14 full-time, no others), the ‘Employee expenses’ average $47 p.a. per employee.
  • Financial Report 2014
    • This report is grossly deficient:
      • It is missing (a) the directors’ declaration (b) two of the required financial statements, (c) the Notes to the accounts, and (d) an audit/review report.
      • I asked for the missing items, but received no response.
      • The two financial statements that comprise the Report are merely printouts from a computer program, and without comparative figures. They are therefore quitte a way short of complying with the Australian Accounting Standards.
    • The report does not contain anything that was signed by the directors, plus no audit report, so we don’t how long after the year end it was approved (or even if it was approved).
    • The two financial statements were printed six months after year end.
    • They were lodged the same day, five days before the time allowed by the ACNC.
    • Given that the constitution is a constitution for Australia and New Zealand combined, and that the website is for Australia and New Zealand combined, there needs to be an explanation of the relationship, including financial, between the two operations.

ABOUT THE CHARITY

  • Statement of Faith
    • Although ECM requires employees to comply with one, a statement of faith couldn’t be found.
    • The constitution says that its ‘doctrinal basis’ ‘shall be set forth and published from time to in the International Principles and Policies of the European Christian Mission as decided by the International Council.
      • These are not available on the website, nor do they appear to be available elsewhere on the internet.

Date Established

  • No history found. (There’s a page here on the broader ECM organisation.)

Who the Charity Benefits

  • Vision
    • None found.
  • Mission
    • None found. (Here’s the mission of all ECM worldwide.)
  • Activities (What did ECM do?)
    • ECM did not respond to the request in the AIS 2014 for a description of its activities in 2014.
    • In that section, Description of charity’s activities and outcomes it describes its standing plan:
      • By placing missionaries in Europe primarily, we fulfil our purpose of advancing Christianity. In so doing new churches are started & other ministries are developed, which builds bridges into communities.         Some of these avenues include: Relief (sic) of physical, spiritual and emotional needs; Education (sic) and training; Providing (sic) support for National (sic) churches & leadership.
  • Outcomes (What did ECM deliver?)
    • ECM did not respond to the request in the AIS 2014 for a description of its outcomes, either for 2014 or earlier.
    • None found on the website.
  • Impact (How were people’s lives improved?)
    • Nothing found.

Size of Charity

  • With a revenue of $782K, ECM easily qualifies in this, the middle, category.

Financial Year End

  • This means that the next financial report is due by 30 June 2016. Before that the financial information on the Register will be up to 18 months out-of-date.
    • You may therefore need to request more up-to-date information.

WHERE THE CHARITY OPERATES

Operating State(s)[iii]

  • The website suggests that there are operations in NSW only.
  • Given that it operates interstate, ECM, as a registrable Australian body, needs an ARBN. It has one.
  • ECM calls for donations on its website.
  • It does not hold a fundraising licence in any of the seven that have a licencing regime.
    • Apart from exemptions, the need for a licence in Vic depends on whether ECM is fundraising there, and in the other five states, on whether those states think that ECM, by calling for donations publicly, are fundraising in their State.

Operates in (Countries)

  • This list has France, New Zealand, Romania and Ukraine additional to the countries under ‘Workers’ on the website, but omits Bulgaria.
  • There is no disclosure of where Australian donations are sent, so it is not possible to check against that.

CHARITY’S DOCUMENT (SIC)

  • Although titled Principles & Policies, Australia & New Zealand Sections Inc (sic), the second page is headed Legal Constitution of the European Christian Mission (Australian & New Zealand Sections) Inc.
    • There is no Australian incorporated association of that name.
  • There is no Annual Report/Review available on the ACNC Register.
  • Nor on the ECM website.

RESPONSIBLE PERSONS

No. of Australian ‘responsible person’ positions[iv]

Romeo Dinale              This ACNC function was broken at the time of publication

Guy Freeman

Madeleine Koo

Ruth Richardson

Alan Mugridge

Peter Jones

Peter Dixon

Raymond Busuttil[v]

  • The list on the website does not include Busuttil, the National Director. The constitution, however, supports his inclusion.
  • For three of these people, the constitution shows that ‘Position’ should be changed to one of Vice-Chairperson, Secretary or Treasurer.  

(End of review of the ACNC Register information)

Membership of accountability organisations claimed

  • ECM, under Partners, says that it is an ‘Accredited Member’ of Mission Interlink. Confirmed.[vi]

(End of review)

 

 

[i] Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, Australia’s national regulator of charities.

[ii] https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/ci/fattach/get/46929/1435188079/redirect/1/filename/Associations%20practice%20manual.pdf

[iii] This is how the ACNC explains ‘operating locations’ in their application guide: ‘You need to give details about where in Australia your organisation conducts (or plans to conduct) its activities.’

[iv] Because of the possibility of two (or more) directors having the same name on the register of responsible persons, it is not possible to be definitive about the number of directorships held.

[v] This is recorded here as his ‘personal website’.

[vi] But not quite the right name, and there is only one type of member, all being ‘accredited’.

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