The Australian charities regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, says that the first thing you should do is to ‘Check the organisation’s name’ by searching for it on the ACNC Register.
Here’s the result:
This shows that the organisation asking for your donation is actually two organisations, two separate charities, run from the same place.
The website linked from the Missions Interlink membership list is labelled, in the top left-hand corner, in small writing (this snip is less than half the width of the website):
So, one website for the two charities.
This might be OK if there was separate information on the activities of each charity on the website. But the ‘About Us’ section mentions neither ‘General work’ nor ‘Social work’.
So, what’s the difference?
A Google search of the entire site, site:salvos.org ‘general work’, gives only 12 references. Most of those are the same, an explanation in the Annual Report. Here it is from the latest one:
Churches do ‘social work’, so what’s the distinction being made here? In the absence of an explanation on the website the information on the ACNC Register should answer that question.
The two charities
There is nothing on the Register that tells us what The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory General Work does. The Financial Report should give us the answer in figures, but they say that they are a ‘Small’ charity so don’t have to report. ‘Small’? The Salvos’ ‘church work’ throughout New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland has revenue less than $250K?
A section in the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017 should give us a summary of the information in the accounts, but because ‘General Work’ says that it is a ‘Basic Religious Charity’, even that is blank.
The constitution (or similar) should give us what they were formed to do, but, in contravention of the ACNC’s requirements, it hasn’t been lodged.
2017’s ‘activities and outcomes’ should have been described in the AIS 2017, but there they have described the ‘Social Work’ charity:
So, no help from the Register entry for ‘General Work’. Turning to the entry for The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory Social Work, we see that the directors think that they too are a ‘Small’ charity. Implausible. And that the Register shows this charity also to be a ‘Basic Religious Charity’, an entry that is, because ‘Social Work’ is a ‘public benevolent institution’, clearly a mistake. The result of these classifications is that there is no financial information for donors.
With the two charities operating from the same address, and having the same ‘Charity Address for Service’, one would expect that either one controls the other or they are both controlled by another organisation. Additional evidence would be if they had the same ‘responsible persons’, but a comparison is not possible because ‘Social Work’ has, contrary to the ACNC’s requirements, left that section of the Register blank.
If you find where the Salvos are being accountable for the money you give on this site, please let me know. All I know at the moment is that it is not where you usually find it.
- I sent them a draft of this review. They did not respond. ↑