W.E.C. International mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of W.E.C. International (WEC), an organisation that seeks donations on its website, 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 previous review, see here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

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

Is WEC registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • Also as a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • It is permitted to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
    • But it is not permitted to use the other two names it uses, WEC International, and WEC International Australia.
  • Still not licensed to fundraise in its home state, New South Wales, nor in other five states that the ACNC Register says it operates in[1].

What do they do?

  • The description under ‘What we do’, at least initially, is about the international organisation, not WEC. Further down the page there is a link to a description of what WEC does.
    • That page says that WEC has six teams, but only five are described:
      • ‘Mobilisation Team’, ‘Support Services Team’, ‘Member Care Team’, ‘Worldview’, and ‘Australian Leadership Team’.
  • There are three other Australian organisations under ‘Who we are’ on the website: ‘Worldview Centre’, ‘Betel’, and ‘Rainbows of Hope’.
    • ‘Worldview Centre’ is the registered charity Worldview Centre For Intercultural Studies.
      • It is “a Christ-centred discipleship community, training for cross-cultural ministry.”
    • ‘Betel’ is the registered charity Betel Australia Ltd.
      • There is no Australian website, but from the international one:
        • Betel began in Spain in the inner city barrio of San Blas, Madrid almost three decades ago when a small group of WEC International missionaries began to care for the needs of a few drug addicts and marginalized people. Today its program and communities can be found in over 100 urban areas in 24 nations.
    • ‘Rainbows of Hope’ is a United States organisation, a ministry of ‘WEC International’ (that is, the international organisation). It does not have a branch in Australia.
      • From its website:
        • We pray and aim to strengthen WEC-related communities by serving as a resource and support for those in WEC who God is using to help children in their area who are in-crisis or at-risk to become children in Christ, holistically restored, growing as vital members of their church and community.

Does WEC share the Gospel?[2]

  • It is required by the first object in the constitution:
    • to promote the speediest possible fulfilment of the command of our Lord Jesus Christ by a definite attempt to evangelise the remaining unevangelised parts of the Earth as enunciated in the Principles and Practice.
  • But as can be seen from the previous section, WEC facilitates this, rather than does it.

What impact are they having?

  • There is no evidence that this is being measured.

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

  • The impact that WEC is seeking is not clear, so any such calculation is not possible.
  • WEC state, on their website, that ‘100% of all donations go towards funding the continual work of Reaching People and Planting Churches without administrative deductions.’
    • How they fund their considerable administration expenses is not explained.
    • This statement is not reconcilable with the information in the Comprehensive Statement of Income (sic).

Do they pay their directors?

  • This is prohibited by their constitution.
  • There is no line item ‘directors’ fees’ (or similar) in the expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No.
    • But WEC recommends a secular organisation, HADA, that it says it ‘supports’ (financially?), if you want a tax deduction:
      • Donations to WEC or our workers are NOT tax deductible, although a few of our ministries are, to read more about tax deductible projects WEC is involved in, head over to http://hada.org.au
        • WEC is not mentioned on this site.
        • There is one HADA ministry mentioned on the WEC website, and that is a footnote in a news item.

Is their online giving secure?

  • ezidebit is used, so yes.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged four and a half months after their year-end, over 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 over nine months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Except for the absence of outcomes, yes.
  • Financial Report 2016: Questionable compliance.
    • In response to the review last year, WEC said that ‘All money that comets us in (sic) is given, 100%, to the intended recipient and any member who incurs living costs paid by WEC is then required to reimburse WEC, so any WEC member achieves a zero personal benefit from WEC income. Much of the income reported is the reimbursements from WEC members.’
      • Reimbursements are not revenue. Revenue is therefore greatly overstated.
    • Does not the relationship between Worldview Centre For Intercultural Studies and WEC mean that the latter should present consolidated financial statements?
      • The Centre says (Note 18 in its accounts) that it is
        • an independent company in Australia that operates within the accepted practices of the worldwide group WEC International, (not the Australian company), which has its leadership team and headquarters based in Singapore. While adhering to the ethos of WEC International the Worldview Centre is autonomous in decision making.
      • This doesn’t match what WEC says about the relationship:
        • WEC describes the Centre as one of its teams.
        • Under its ‘Related Parties’[3] Note in its accounts (Note 20), it says that
          • Members of the company are required to be members of WEC International, as are the majority of the Board. The Worldview Board of Directors is the final legal authority for the company…The WEC International Leadership Team approves the appointment of the Worldview Principal or leadership team. WEC International is the owner of the property on which the College is situated.
            • The Chairman of WEC is the Chairman of the Centre. There is also another director of WEC on the Centre’s board.
    • Although the income statement is called a Comprehensive Statement of Income sic), it is still missing ‘Other Comprehensive Income’.
      • Which omission flows through to the Statement of Changes in Equity.
    • There is insufficient disclosure for an understanding of WEC’s revenue: 1) there is no policy Note, and 2) 82% of the revenue has the description ‘Rents, Contributions and Events’.
    • The treatment of Financial Assets still doesn’t comply with the Accounting Standards.
    • There is still no explanation why a charity with revenue of $786K, and that is involved only with sending and caring for overseas missionaries, would have a $26.42 m property portfolio.
    • Ditto short-term financial assets of $2.06 m.
    • There is still no explanation for the absence of employees.
      • In response to the review last year, WEC said that
      • Each WEC member is totally self supported by their own gifts and donations or personal jobs, which is why there is no employment status for any of our workers….’
      • The Notes to the accounts do not explain the accounting policy that has been adopted because of this status. If the money received for these members is included in ‘Revenue’, then revenue is overstated.
    • There is still no explanation for why the $295K of designated funds are classified as a liability rather than reserves.
    • There is still no explanation for how the loan of $250K for 15 years to Betel Australia Ltd, a company with whom the relationship is only ‘fraternal’, is consistent with the mission.
    • An extra statement is included without explanation. It is unaudited but not marked as such.

What was the financial situation shown by that Report?

  • There is nothing obviously threatening either short-term or long-term stability.
    • This is helped by the fact that it has no paid staff.
    • The property holdings (see above) appear to be responsible for over 60% of WEC’s expenses. Is it getting sufficient return on these assets?

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
  • Before you decide how much comfort to take from this finding, read the ‘Financial Report 2016’ section above and here and here.

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

  • Yes.
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but these are not compulsory.

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

  • They are shown on the ‘Donate’ page of the website:
    • A general donation to help our Team in Australia Care, Mobilise and send workers to other countries to Reach People and plant Churches (sic),
    • A donation to a team of WEC workers overseas,
    • A donation to a WEC person you know and want to support their ministry [Donate].
    • There is no list of WEC workers from which to select.
    • For the online donation, there is no option to nominate a purpose for your donation.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • This information is not disclosed.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • There’s a page Meet our team on the website, but it doesn’t mention the Board.
  • See instead the Responsible Persons section on the Register:

To whom is WEC accountable?

  • WEC doesn’t say it on its website, but it is a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • Worldview Centre for Intercultural Studies does mention its membership.
    • About the accountability this provides: see the section Activities in this review.
  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • And to ASIC as a company.

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward – for instance, is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
  2. “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.
  3. Betel and Rainbows of Hope are also discussed in this Note.
    • Betel has yet to lodge its AIS 2016 (it is over three months overdue), but in its AIS 2015 (lodged eleven months late), despite, WEC including it under ‘Who we are’ on its website, does not mention WEC. In the Note, WEC says that ‘Betel Australia Ltd’s relationship with WEC International Australia (sic) is best described as fraternal. Members of the Board do include members of WEC International Australia.’
    • Despite including Rainbows of Hope under ‘Who we are’ on its website, WEC says, in Note 20, that ‘WEC International Australia has no direct association with Rainbows of Hope.’

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