The Leprosy Mission Australia: mini charity review

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.  Please contact me if you are facing a significant decision with this charity and an updated review would be of help.

Mini charity review of The Leprosy Mission Australia (TLM) as an organisation that seeks donations via the internet. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

See here for the previous review.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, on 22 June 2017, they…did not respond.

Is TLM registered?

  • As a charity, yes. (See the ‘charity tick’ in the website footer.)
  • TLM is a public company, a company limited by guarantee[1].
    • It is entitled to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
  • A fundraising licence is held in each of the seven states that have a licensing regime.

What do they do?

  • The website content on this is not about Australia particularly, but here, from the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2016[2], is what they did last year:
    • Raising funds for overseas aid by
      • Increasing the number of people supporting the The (sic) Leprosy Mission Australia (TLMA)
      • Encouraging a Vibrant Prayer Ministry
      • Developing a Partnership Programme with Churches and Christian Schools
        • Recruiting Volunteer Ambassadors promoting TLMA in the Community
        • Recruiting and enhancing a Key Donor I Bequest program
        • Resourcing and Empowering Implementing Countries
      • Maintaining Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) Australian Aid accreditation and appropriate funding to our needs for specific projects.
      • During 2016 TLMA partnered with 15 Development projects in Timer (sic) Leste, Nepal, India, Thailand, Nigeria, Myanmar & Papua New Guinea. These projects have a total value of almost AUD$2.04 m (DFAT Grant $1.04 million and TLMA funds $1 million).
      • The following projects were supported with AusAID and TLMA funds:
        • Timor Leste: Better Health Project, Capacity Building Project & Disability Awareness Project
        • Nepal: Participatory Action for Community Empowerment and Development PACED) Project & RECLAIM Eastern Region Project (sic)
      • The following projects were supported with TLMA funds only:
        • India: Disability Rights through NGO Networking Kothara Community Hospital & Philadelphia Leprosy Hospital Salur.
        • Nepal: Self Care & Education Programs
        • Thailand : Rehabilitation Programs in urban and rural communities.

Do they share the Gospel [3]?

  • No, they raise money.
    • Even though The Leprosy Mission was founded to bring to leprosy sufferers ‘the consolation of the Gospel’, the material on the website does not say or even suggest that the work nowadays includes sharing the Gospel.

What impact are they having?

  • The main menu item ‘Your Impact’ leads to nine people’s stories and some project descriptions, but nothing systematic.
  • The Annual Report says that one evaluation was conducted in 2016. The changes in the beneficiaries that had been sought must be implied from the discussion of the findings – which is general only. There is no link to the report.
  • Last year there were three evaluations. One of the reports mentions the assessment of impact.

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

  • Defining direct as ‘Grants and donations made…’ (from the AIS 2016), and assuming the figures there have been extracted correctly from the financial statements (the Statement of Comprehensive Income is incomplete[4]), then ‘administration’ is 48% of the expenses.
    • But if ‘impact’ is defined as what is spent directly on the overseas beneficiaries, then there are administrative expenses after the money arrives, and the ‘administration’ percentage is even higher.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes

Is their online giving secure?

  • SecurePay is used, so yes.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged four months after their year-end, a month 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 a year ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: Except for the absence of outcomes, yes.
  • Financial Report 2015: No
    • It is missing more than it contains. (I have little doubt that TLM produced a complete Financial Report and that the presence of many black pages in the ACNC copy is just a publication error.)

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • There is insufficient information in the Report to comment on this.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • An audit report is most likely one of the many black pages in the Annual Report.

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

  • Yes.
    • Myanmar is missing from ‘Operates in (Countries).

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

  • None.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

To whom are they accountable?

  • Missions Interlink. From the Annual Report (but not on the website):
    • MISSIONS INTERLINK The Leprosy Mission Australia is a compliant[5] Member of Missions Interlink, the Australian network for global mission.
      • Membership confirmed.
      • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • ACFID. From the website footer:
    • The Leprosy Mission Australia is a member of the Australian Council for International Development and is a signatory to the ACFID Code of Conduct. The Code requires members to meet high standards of corporate governance, public accountability, and financial management. The Leprosy Mission Australia is committed to full adherence to the ACFID Code of Conduct….
    • They are also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And, as a company, to ASIC.

 

 

  1. Not, as the ABN record (still) says, an ‘Other incorporated entity’.
  2. With slight changes to the presentation to make it easier to read.
  3. “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. 
  4. If the percentage analysis of that statement is included in the Directors’ Report like last year, it is unavailable this year because there are black pages in the ‘Audited Financial Statements’ where the Directors Report might be.
  5. I think they mean ‘conforming’, not ‘compliant’.

1 Response

  1. Lionel Sardar 29/08/2018 / 1:45 pm

    The Leprosy Mission in India has (or used to have) a very substantial property on 5 Amrita Shergill Marg, New Delhi. It is probably worth tens of millions of Dollars, being on one of the most expensive roads in New Delhi, probably 3 km from, “Rashtrapati Bhavan” When I saw the lavish building, I thought what a waste of money. They can relocate and use 80% of the proceeds to directly help leprosy sufferers. Now that I know they do not actively share the gospel, I understand why – it seems they are just like any other charity, without a ‘Christian’ or gospel-motivated compassion about them. As a Christian, I think there are so many other truly needy organizations whom I can help.

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