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‘ADRA Australia’: charity review

Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.  Use the ‘Search charity names’ box to see if there is a later review.  If the latest review has a message like this, you are welcome to make your case for an updated review via email to ted@businessbythebook.com.au.

This is a review in the series ‘Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Members’. ACFID ‘is the peak body for Australian non government organisations (NGOs) involved in international development and humanitarian action.’ It requires Members to adhere to a Code of Conduct. ‘ADRA Australia’ is one such Member.


The name in the ACFID membership list links to the website for ‘ADRA’, which is the short name for ‘The Adventist Development and Relief Agency’. ‘ADRA’ isthe official humanitarian agency of the Seventh-day Adventist Church[1].ADRA Australia’ seeks donations from the public.

The ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’s name.
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one, and
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for ‘ADRA Australia’, with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[2]

 1.  There’s no charity registered in the name ‘ADRA Australia’. ‘ADRA’ gives this result:

This is because these two charities have ‘ADRA’ as part of one of their ‘Also known as’ names.

A search of the business names register shows that neither ‘ADRA Australia’ nor ‘ADRA’ belong ‘The Adventist Development and Relief Agency’. They are therefore trading – for example, the website, Facebook, and donations.com.au – without the required registration.

There is a charity registered under the full name, Adventist Development and Relief Agency Ltd(ADRA).

It is questionable whether ADRA has the necessary provisions in its constitution to allow it to drop ‘Ltd’/’Limited’ from the end of its name.


2.   ADRA door knocks for donations and fundraises in public places. It uses volunteers, not professionals, to do this.


3.  The web address begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above].

But there is no mention of the security of your information on the giving pages.


ADRA’s ABN record says that it is entitled to receive tax-deductible gifts, both as an organisation (a Public Benevolent Institution), and for its ADRA Australia Overseas Aid Fund.

The Fund is not mentioned on the giving pages[4].


5.  The use of your donations

The audited account of how donations are used is the Financial Report 2019.  

The ACNC Register, in the place where the date of lodgement goes, the ACNC has written ‘Overdue’[5].

We know from the small print on page 16 of the 2018 – 2019 Annual Report (page 16) that the financial report exists, and is available by request. The Report includes a ‘Financial Summary’, but as the auditor rightly points (page 18), ‘Reading the summary financial summary…is not a substitute for reading the audited financial report.’ So, we can go no further with the ACNC’s fifth question.

Charity response

While ADRA doesn’t say that it welcomes feedback, it at least gives an address to which it can be sent. On the same page it also says that it is ‘committed to accountability and transparency’.

I sent a draft of this review to them on 23 March 2020. They…didn’t respond.


  1. A controversial religion. The Church itself says that it is Christian, and most secular sources (for instance this Wikipedia article) would say the same. But not so all Christians, particularly learned apologists.

  2. A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering:

    • Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.
    • Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?
    • Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?
    • Is the charity being transparent about its activities?

  3. And only once on the website. Here they also say that they have a ‘Necessitous Persons Fund’, but the ABN record does not support this.

  4. The ACNC contradicts itself by what it says at the top of ADRA’s Register entry: ‘Charity reporting is up-to-date’.