Uniting Church in Australia – Geraldton Parish: 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The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has since been superseded.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 Uniting Church in Australia – Geraldton Parish (UCG) as an organisation that seeks donations online. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they…did not respond.

Is UCG registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • But not incorporated.
  • Trading under the name Lighthouse Church, but this name is not registered (or at least, not to them).
  • UCG does not have a fundraising licence in the state in which it operates[1].
  • It controls another charity, Lighthouse Church Community Services (LCCS).
    • This charity has reported separately – UCG have not taken advantage of the ACNC’s group reporting concession.

What does UCG do?

  • Their latest newsletter will give you a good idea.
  • LCCS is not mentioned on the website, but here’s how they described their 2015 activities (AIS 2015):
    • To provide practical and compassionate assistance, financial and other support to people affected by illness, homelessness, unemployment, disability, poverty or other distress in need of care or emergency assistance in the local community.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • Yes
  • LCCS: since their constitution says that they are a Deductible Gift Recipient, probably not.

What impact are they having?

  • No information found (for either charity).

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

  • No financial information is published, so it is not possible to make this calculation.
  • UCCS: The information presented does not allow this calculation.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No, not with either charity. (This is despite the LCCS constitution saying that LCCS is a Deductible Gift Recipient.)

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA – not offered

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

  • ‘Please indicate clearly the purpose of your deposit. (Tithe, Missions, Specific Gift etc)’
    • UCCS not specifically mentioned.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six months after their year-end, a day after the last day for submission).
  • UCCS: the same.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: With the small exception of the inclusion of a name that is not registered, yes.
    • They took advantage of their status as a Basic Religious Charity and didn’t submit any financial information.
      • Their subsidiary, because its Subtype is not ‘Advancing Religion’, is not a basic religious charity.
    • UCCS: Except for the omission of their business name, their AIS complies.
  • Financial Report 2015: Yes. (None was required).
    • Whatever they do with the ACNC, their Associate membership of Missions Interlink requires them to “have available for [their] members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor.” So just ask.
    • UCCS: None required.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • NA
  • UCCS: Income $273, Net surplus/deficit $223, Total assets $1,362, Total liabilities $0.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • NA (Both charities)

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

  • No
    • There are only two names under ‘Responsible Persons’. It is highly unlikely that would be only two people on the Parish Council.
  • UCCS: No
    • There are at least five names missing under ‘Responsible Persons’, and
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • Two of them are listed under ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register:
  • UCCS: Only Garth De Kock shown. At least five names missing.

To whom is UCG accountable?

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. For one opinion on the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.