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.
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”:
- Check the charity’s name.
- Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
- Be careful of online requests for donations.
- No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one, and
- Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.
A search of the ACNC Register gives a registered charity in the name Asian Aid Organisation (Asian Aid).
Asian Aid has the necessary provisions in its constitution to allow it to omit ‘Ltd’/’Limited’ from its name.
Asian Aid encourages fundraising events. Collecting in the street is allowed.
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 – at least not on the first page of the giving process (the page where you enter your personal information).
Asian Aid’s ABN record (via the ACNC Register) says that it is entitled to receive tax-deductible gifts, both as an organisation (a Public Benevolent Institution), and for its Asian Aid Org Ltd Developing Countries Aid Fund.
The Fund is not mentioned on the website.
It appears, from a sample, that the giving pages do not say that donations are tax-deductible.
Question 5 The use of your donations
As context, read here what Asian Aid does.
Note that ‘Asian Aid is an accredited, supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’.
The audited account of how Asian Aid donations are used is its Financial Report 2021.
This, from the Statement of Profit or Loss and Other Comprehensive Income, is how the activities translated into expenses (with last year’s figures in the second column):
So, for the largest item, 66% of the total, we are given no information. Not even the destination countries. To whom was it sent? What was it for?
Given that we pointed this out to them at the last review, this is no longer ignorance, but a clear statement by Asian Aid either that they believe that donors are not entitled to this information, or that they don’t it to understand the finances. (No, information in an annual report is not legally a substitute.)
There is nothing in the Financial Report 2021 on how Asian Aid ensures that (a) the money reaches the overseas organisation, and (b) is used for the purposes given.
These were the directors responsible for the accounts:
The website has the same board.
The directors are accountable to the members. There were 130 at 26 May 2022 [Note 15, Financial Report 2021], so that makes accountability possible.
Commitment 8.3 of the ACFID Code of Conduct requires Asian Aid to include in its annual report ‘A description of the most significant aid and development activities undertaken during the reporting period and their impact’. The ACFID gives this example:
“We drilled 20 wells which improved the lives of 1000 people in the region by providing access to clean drinking water. In turn, this lowered the incidence of water borne diseases by 50% and reduced the infant mortality rate by 75%.”
This matches the description of impact in the link in the heading above.
In each of the three countries in which it works, Asian Aid has a page headed ‘Impact’ in the Annual Report 2022. On this page, there’s information like this (for India – the others are on pages 10 and 18):
Useful, but not impact the way the Code means.
The same Code of Conduct Commitment requires ALWS to include ‘information about evaluations’ in its annual report. We could find no mention of evaluations. Nor on the website.
Asian Aid says that ‘it recognises the importance and value of listening and responding to questions, feedback and concerns.’
Not our feedback it appears: we sent them a draft of this review but got no response.
- See here for our last review. ↑
- 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?
- https://carm.org/world-religions/seventh-day-adventism/ ↑