Care: At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. ‘Australian Marist Solidarity Limited’ is one such Member:
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.
Here’s the results [Footnote 1 deleted 22.09.2020] for ‘Australian Marist Solidarity Limited’, with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?
1. A search on the ACNC Register for ‘Australian Marist Solidarity Limited’ gives a charity in the that name (AMS).
2. There is nothing in AMS’s material to suggest that they use either door-to-door or street collectors.
3. The web address [does not begin]
begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is [not] secure [the ACNC article above]. However, [T]the security of your information is not mentioned on the donation page. [amended 22.09.2020].
4. AMS’s ABN record (via the ACNC Register) says that a tax deduction is available for a donation both to it as an organisation and to a fund that it runs, Australian Marist Solidarity International Aid Fund.
Although the Fund is not mentioned on the website, the donation page says that all donations are tax deductible.
5. The use of your donations
For the context, see here.
AMS do not share the Gospel.
The audited account of how a charity uses donations is the Financial Report on the ACNC Register.
Directors have a choice between two kinds of reports, special purpose or general purpose. The requirements of the former are less onerous than the latter. The directors of AMS at the time (see below), decided on special purpose. The auditor, Simon Green, for Levert Audit Pty Ltd, agreed with this decision.
With professional management, activities in many overseas countries, grants from both international and local funders, and $1.59 million in donations, [Annual Information Statement 2019], the evidence is against AMS being one of the exceptions. But that is the choice that the directors made.
One of the implications of their choice is that you can ring AMS’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity. We strongly doubt that they will agree. And if they don’t then the accounts presented by the directors are not for you. In fact, they say (in the Notes to the Financial Statements) that you don’t exist:
The Directors’ Report [Financial Report 2019] shows that these were the people responsible for the Financial Report:
The website says that the current directors are the above list minus Robinson and Ward. Compared to the ACNC Register, though, it is out-of-date: Chan Norman (reversed?) and Rebecca Bromhead have been added to bring the number back up to 12.
The directors are responsible to the members. Although there are only seven members, they have the power to remove the directors.
AMS welcomes feedback:
We sent them a draft of this review. They did not respond.
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. ‘When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett says this about sharing the Gospel: ‘A host of contextual issues determine the best manner and the appropriate time to present the gospel verbally, particularly in militant Muslim or Hindu settings. But without such a presentation, it is not possible for people to be personally transformed in all their relationships, which is what poverty alleviation is all about [Kindle Locations 1262-1264, Moody Publishers]. ↑
4. Enhancing Not-for-Profit Annual and Financial Reporting, March 2013, accessed from their website March 2020. ↑
5. The accounting profession says that you are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose financial reports’, the other kind of report. [From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au]. ↑
6. This is a strong argument that is contrary to paragraph 112 of Australian Accounting Standard AASB 101. This paragraph requires the Notes to ‘provide information that is not presented elsewhere in the financial statements, but is relevant to an understanding of any of them.’ ↑