Youth for Christ Australia: charity review

This is a review of Youth for Christ Australia, one of the ‘Associate Organisations’ of Missions Interlink, and an organisation that seeks your donation online.

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 looks like two organisations at the same address. Which is the one we want? If there was a business name registered, that would tell us, but nobody has Youth for Christ Australia registered. OK, so maybe the website points to one or other of the charities? Yes, it does, but only indirectly, and then to both equally: the address and phone number given under ‘Contact us’ are the same address and phone number for the two charities above.

One website for two charities (but in neither of their names).

This might be OK – apart for the name thing – if there was separate information on the activities of each charity on the website, and it was clear to which charity you were giving. But the website, including the page where you do your giving, makes no distinction between the charities.

This is in stark contrast to the information that has been lodged for each charity. There is no group reporting, so each charity has a Financial Report of its own, reporting its own transactions and balances. Although the ‘responsible persons’ for each charity are the same[1], there is no hint either that one charity controls the other, or that a third organisation controls them both.

This situation is unchanged from when I reviewed Youth for Christ Australia in February 2017. At that time, they commented that ‘we are undergoing both structural and strategic changes at present’. It appears that, 16 months later, these changes have not translated into an ability to get over the first hurdle for an organisation that wants the public’s money.

Ministry comment:

“Thank you for forwarding this draft. 

YFC Australia Ltd is a Religious Institute and YfC Australia Inc is a PBI. As I stated last year we are undergoing structural changes assisted by our consultants, this takes time as we work through all of the hoops, we are still in progress. In the next weeks YFC Australia Inc will be migrating to YFC Care Ltd. YFC Care Ltd is our care arm that provides PBI services and projects such as counselling, juvenile justice care , indigenous programs and after school programs for youth. 

Re your comment below: “It appears that, 16 months later, these changes have not translated into an ability to get over the first hurdle for an organisation that wants the public’s money.”

I don’t think this is a fair and just statement. Christian ministries such as YFC and many others are working very hard to make sure we operate with the utmost integrity and accountability with minimal resources. Each year I attend the CMA Conference with others on our board and we take very seriously our responsibility to ensure we are operating in alignment with accountability requirements. It takes time and resources to get all of our operations running smoothly and according to best practice, and that is our ultimate goal. 

To reword your statement with more fairness: YFC are still in transition and are seeking to align organisationally with best practice in all areas.”

Reviewer response:

As I said to YFC, we’ll let the reader decide whether, 16+ months is a reasonable time for a charity that continues to ask the public for donations to explain (a) the relationship between the name in which they seek that money and the two charities that they run, and (b) the relationship between the two charities.

 

 

  1. Here they are:James Flynn

    Russell Foxe

    Stephen Grocott

    Tim Lithgow

    Cindy McGarvie

    Peter Bain

    Christopher Richards

    Anneka Rowe

    Elizabeth Schilpzand

 

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