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Australian and Asian Missions Association Incorporated: mini-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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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.

Mini-charity review of Australian and Asian Missions Association Incorporated (AAMA), an organisation that seeks donations online (but is no longer a member of Missions Interlink). (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

(To see the situation last year, read this review.)

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review. They phoned. At the end of that call they accepted an offer of an extension of time in which to send comments. I did not hear from them again.

Is AAM registered?

  • As a charity, yes[2].
  • As a NSW incorporated association (number Y0660434).
  • AAMA operates as AAMA. It still doesn’t have it registered as a business name[4].
  • But it recently registered the name Christ for India Australia (see Financial Report 2016, below).
  • It operates in Australian, per the ACNC Register, in only its home state, New South Wales. It holds a fundraising licence in that state.
    • Apart from exemptions, whether it needs a licence in the other five states that have a licensing regime for charities depends on whether those states think that AAMA, by calling for donations publicly, are ‘fundraising’ in their State.

What do they do?

  • Generally.
  • Last year (from the AIS 2016):
    • Flood and disaster relief was provided to victims in north-west Myanmar. Children in Myanmar and in South India were sponsored for housing, clothing and education. Clean water projects in Myanmar were funded and installed and maintained. Training seminars were conducted in several countries, with trainers from Australia. In-service training was provided at AAMA summit in Singapore for country field workers August 2015. Pre- and post-natal maternity care, and delivery, was provided for the urban poor in Philippines.
  • AAMA operates overseas, per the ACNC Register, in China, India, Myanmar, Philippines, South Sudan, and Thailand.
    • ‘Where we work’ on the website does not include China.
    • Selecting one of the five countries on that page adds ‘Other locations’ to the list.
      • These locations are still unspecified becausethe security of our partners could be compromised’. This, however, is no reason for not naming the country or countries.

Do they pay their directors?

  • Going on the Profit & Loss Statement, no.

Do they share the Gospel [5]?

  • From what is said under ‘What do they do’, it appears that the Gospel, if it is shared, is done so only incidentally to the good works.
    • Although they have selected ‘Advancing Religion’ as their an ‘Entity Subtype on the ACNC Register, the constitution doesn’t mention religion until the last of six objects (but not Christianity).

What impact are they having?

  • A search on ‘impact’, ‘results’, and ‘outcomes’ on the website gave no results.

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

  • If we define ‘direct’ as ‘Grants and donations…’ (AIS 2016), administration is 4.4% of expenses.
    • AAMA is ‘owned’ by Southside Christian Fellowship Incorporated, has no employees, and is run from the Fellowship’s premises. How much of the cost of running AAM is subsidised by the Fellowship?

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • AAMA say, in the website footer, that ‘Donations $2 & over are tax deductible in Australia’. But this doesn’t match its own statement at the top of the ‘Projects’ page:
    • Many relief & development projects undertaken by AAMA in partnership with indigenous leaders, qualify for tax deductibility.
  • More importantly, it doesn’t the match the information on the government’s ABN Lookup. There’s only a deduction if you donate to AAMA’s fund, Australian and Asian Missions Association.
    • There is no mention of the fund on the website.
    • Presumably this is the ‘Public Fund’ in the financial statements.

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA – no online donation operating at present.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The Profit & Loss Statement gives the names, country by country, of the recipients of grants.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged six months after their year-end, a month later 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 16 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No.
    • The ‘Other name(s)…’ shown is neither a trading name nor a business name[6]; their business name is missing.
    • Two of the four ‘Revenue/receipts’ figures are incorrect.
    • No outcomes are given.
  • Financial Report 2016: NA
    • Last year, AAMA was a ‘Medium’ charity, with a revenue of $412K. For a reason that is nowhere revealed, this year’s revenue is dramatically less at $94K.
      • Last year, AAMA had to submit financial statements that complied with the Accounting Standards, with either a review or an audit of those statements.
    • This year, because of the size change to ‘Small’, AAMA is not required to submit a Financial Report.
      • It has, however, chosen to submit one anyway.
        • Because it was a voluntary submission, the Report does not need to comply with the ACNC’s requirements. (And it doesn’t.)
    • As a Tier 2 New South Wales incorporated association, AAMA is required to produce financial statements that include:
      • an income and expenditure statement that sets out appropriately classified individual sources of income and individual expenses incurred in the operation of the association
      • a balance sheet at the end of the financial year, that sets out current and non-current assets and liabilities
      • a separate income and expenditure statement and balance sheet for each trust for which the association is the trustee, and
      • details of any mortgages, charges and other securities affecting any property owned by the association.
        • The accounts that AAMA have lodged satisfy the above requirements.
    • Although AAMA’s enabling legislation doesn’t require an audit, its constitution (paragraph 28) does. The Financial Report 2016 includes an audit.
    • So, the accounts are acceptable to both the ACNC and the NSW regulator. But these requirements do not, in this case, ensure that you get the information that the accounting profession thinks that you should get to decide about AAMA. And because AAMA have chosen an auditor who is a member of one of the three professional accounting bodies (he is a Fellow of CPA Australia), you should have got that information. But you didn’t – the Financial Report is again grossly deficient:
      • Two of the four required financial statements are missing.
      • There are no Notes to the financial statements.
        • So, there is no disclosure of the relationship between AAMA and
          • Southside Christian Fellowship. AAMA is the ‘Missions’ arm of the Fellowship – see ‘Missions’ under ‘Ministries’ in the main menu.
          • Glory Reborn. AAMA ‘auspices’ this US organisation[7].
          • A US organisation called Christ for India Incorporated. AAMA say that they ‘partner’ with this organisation, but the recent registration of the business name Christ for India Australia by AAM, and the fact that the two AAM responsible persons are listed as the contact people for an Australian organisation Christ for India, Inc, suggests something closer.
        • There is no explanation for the dramatic change in revenue from last year.
      • There is no directors’ declaration.
        • The auditor should not have signed without one.
      • Neither of the two financial statements included are complaint with the Accounting Standards.
      • There are no figures for last year.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Given the above issues, no comment.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, C A Mitchell, of Mitchell & Associates, CPAs, gave a ‘clean’ opinion.
    • Given the state of the accounts (see ‘Financial Report 2016’, above), I wouldn’t give much weight to this opinion[8].

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

  • No
    • Their business name is missing.
    • Is there really only one couple on the board (see below)?
    • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank, but these are not compulsory.

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

  • Child Sponsorship’
    • There is a PayPal ‘Subscribe’ button below the text about India, but the AAMA page it leads to has an error message.
  • ‘Field Worker Sponsorship’
  • ‘Tax Deductibe (sic) Donations’
    • There’s only a contact form for this option, but under ‘Projects’ in the main menu:
      • Relief – four projects
      • Development – nine projects

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website, but from the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
  • The constitution requires two other office-bearers, a Secretary and a Treasurer, and three other members. AAMA is therefore still five short.
  • AAMA knows that this listing is incorrect (it says so in its AIS 2015), yet still has not corrected it.

To whom are AAM accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
  • And to the New South Wales regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

  1. The correct name is Australian & Asian Missions Association Inc.
  2. The two responsible persons listed on the ACNC Register for AAMA are two of the five responsible persons listed for the Fellowship.
  3. As the names ‘AAMAA’ and ‘AAMA Pty Ltd’ are in use, an application for ‘AAMA’ is unlikely to be approved.
  4. 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. 
  5. They have a trading name that should be here, but trading names are of little consequence for charities any longer. (Besides, it is, without ‘Inc’, identical to their legal name.)
  6. There is no mention of this relationship on the Glory Reborn website.
  7. Even without these issues, it pays to understand a ‘clean opinion’. Read here and here.
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