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Australian Indigenous Ministries Inc: 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 Indigenous Ministries Inc (AIM), 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?

  • Like last year they did not respond to a draft of this review.

Is AIM registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • As a NSW incorporated association (INC9882776).
  • AIM appears to have a company that was set up (and still?) holds its property, Australian Indigenous Ministries Pty Limited.
    • This company does not have an ABN and is not registered as a charity.
  • There is also an unincorporated body with an ABN in the same name as AIM.
    • Which is also not a charity.
  • AIM should be using its full name. It is not doing so on its website.
  • If it’s ‘carrying on business’ outside NSW, as it appears to be, then it doesn’t have the required registration (an ARBN).
  • AIM operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, in New South Wales, Northern Territory, and Queensland. It is not registered to fundraise in the two that have a licensing regime. Nor in the other four[1].

What do they do?

  • Generally: see the last third of the webpage here.
  • More specifically: see this page.
  • Their answer to ‘Description of charity’s activities and outcomes’ in the AIS 2016: ‘Christian ministry with Australian Indigenous people’.

Do they share the Gospel [2]?

  • Yes

What impact are they having?

  • Search for ‘impact’ and you will some anecdotal reports of impact, but nothing systematic.

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

  • If we define ‘impact’ as ‘Grants and donations made…’, ‘administration’ is 21% of expenses.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient disclosure in the AIS 2016 to answer this.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • ‘GoDaddy’ is used, so yes.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • There is insufficient disclosure to answer this.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (four and a half months after their year-end, about the same time as last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Except for the absence of outcomes, yes.
    • They said that they their revenue was less than $250K. This is only true if the unusually large figure reported for ‘Other income’, $264K, is correct.
  • Financial Report 2016: Yes
    • No Report is required of a ‘Small’ charity, and AIM didn’t lodge one voluntarily.
    • AIM must produce audited financial statements under their constitution, so feel free to ask them for a copy.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • No Financial Report, but from the AIS 2016:
    • ‘Total income…’: $499K
    • Of which donations were $17K
    • Zero employee expenses.
      • What happens to the money donated to ‘team members and missionaries’ (see below)?
    • Assets of $4.46 m.
      • Properties? What is the relationship to the company in the same name that was set up to hold properties (see above)?
    • Liabilities $81K

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • NA

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

  • No – it has more than two committee members.
  • Is AIM really a ‘Small’ charity?
  • ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are still blank, but these are not compulsory.
  • By the name of the ‘Governing document’ (under ‘Charity’s Document’), AIM Field Practice 022015, you would think that they had not lodged their constitution. However, it is included in that document.

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

  • General Donation’
  • ‘Other’ (with a free-form box)
    • ‘Team members and missionaries’ are listed elsewhere on the site.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • The ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) says that it is only these two people:
    • Stephen Bignall
    • Trevor Leggott
    • Stephen is the Field Director and Trevor the General Director. They are only ex-officio members. The constitution requires that there be at least three other members of the committee. That there are other members is shown in the profiles of the ‘personnel’:
      • Ordinary member, Robert Alley
      • Treasurer, Neil Bootes
      • Chairman, John Keane
      • Ordinary member, Isaac Gordon
      • Ordinary member, Henry Louie

To whom are AIM accountable?

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

 

 

  1. The law in this area is not straightforward 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. 
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