Care: At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 email@example.com.
This is a review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being the Australian Evangelical Alliance Inc‘s ‘network for global mission‘. We review these charities because their membership means that they must sign up to a set of standards, and this, at least on paper, makes them a better bet for your donations.
‘Australian Missionary Tidings’ is one such Member.
It seeks donations on its website.
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.
2. There is nothing to indicate that AMT uses either door-to-door or street collectors.
3. The web address begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above]. The ‘Donate’ page has a GeoTrust site seal, so you know that your information will be secure.
4. AMT’s ABN record says that it is not entitled to receive tax-deductible gifts. The website information is consistent with this.
5. The use of your donations
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.
AMT’s auditor, Jason Croston, is a Director in the firm SRJ Walker Wayland. This is what his professional body, Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand, has to say about the choice between the two types of reports:
With ‘158 Australian missionaries worldwide’, and $2.51 million received from hundreds of donors, it is hard to see how a special purpose report is the right choice. But that is the choice that the directors of AMT made.
And the auditor, a Chartered Accountant, agreed with them.
One of the implications of their choice is that you can ring AMT’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity. I 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:
Where the donations went
From the Financial Report 2019, there are only two expense items over 6% of the total: $158K for ‘Employee benefits expense’ (7%), and $2.05 million (83%) ‘Missionary expenses’. Just like last year, and the year before, there is no explanation of this $2.05 million. No breakup. No destinations.
From the Directors’ Report [Financial Report 2019], these are the directors responsible for that decision:
David John Ferguson
Elaine Margaret Meers
Juliette Sarka Hackett
Kenneth John Newton
Robert Sven Anker Ottosson
Terrence Baden Parsons
The introduction to the Mission Interlink standards (see above) includes this statement:
We sent the member a draft of this review. They….did not respond.
End of review.
- In return for something extremely attractive, an exemption from income tax: ↑
- See here for the last year’s 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?
- The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary. ↑
- The ACNC’s information (in its article above) is not correct for the Chrome browser; it does not have ‘https’. ↑
- This section of the Directors’ Report, often helpful, is singularly unhelpful in the case of AMT: ↑
- Enhancing Not-for-Profit Annual and Financial Reporting, March 2013, accessed from their website March 2020. ↑
- 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]. ↑
- The directors are accountable to the members. There were 70 members at 31 December 2019 [Directors’ Report]. ↑