Care: At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 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. ‘CBM Australia’ 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.
1. A search on the ACNC Register for ‘CBM Australia’ gives a charity in the that name (CBM).
2. It is possible that you will be approached by independent fundraisers identifying that they are with CBM, either at your door or in the street.
3. The web address begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above].
However, the security of your information is not mentioned on the page where you select ‘Credit card’ (privacy is not the same thing).
4. CBM’s ABN record (via the ACNC Register) says that a tax deduction is available for a donation to the three funds that it operates:
It is not until the second page of the donation process that a tax deduction is mentioned. But only for the first of the above funds. And without any opportunity to select the Fund as opposed to a non-tax-deductible donation.
5. The use of your donations
‘Our work’ on the website is mostly about CBM globally. The Directors’ Report [Financial Report 2019, ACNC Register] is more helpful:
See their Annual Report, available under ‘Documents’ on the ACNC Register.
Sharing the Gospel?
CBM is a ‘Christian’ organisation:
Elsewhere, they give a fuller explanation of what they believe it is to be ‘Christian’:
But CBM do not share the Gospel.
COVID-19 response: No general message, just an appeal for donations.
How were the donations used?
Any donation to CBM on the ‘Donate’ page is to the organisation generally, that is, not a project, not even a country. So, for a donation here, you will not be able to ask for a report that is more specific than the report that is on the ACNC Register.
The audited account of how a charity uses donations is the Financial Report on the ACNC Register.
From that report, the Financial Report 2019, here’s how CBM ‘spent’ money last year (accrual figures, with last year in the second column):
No further information is given on any of these figures.
The Directors’ Report [Financial Report 2019] says this about where your donation goes:
Funds to International Programs
- 44% of the total.
- N.B. Less attention would need to be given to percentages if CBM gave a clear idea of the impact of its work (see below).
- To where was this money sent?
- How does CBM (a) ensure that the money reaches the organisation implementing the project, and (b) is used for the purpose intended?
Program Support Costs
- 8% of the total.
- What is included in this?
- What is the distinction between this and ‘Accountability and Administration’?
Disability Inclusive Development Advisory Expenditure
- 8% of the total.
- What is this?
- How does it support field programs? (see above).
- 8% of the total.
- Given that this is done overseas, how does it relate to the programs overseas?
- 19% of the total.
- How is this item distinguished from ‘Community Education’?
Accountability and Administration
- 9% of the total.
- How is this distinguished from the administration expenses in the other items?
Note 4 [Notes to the Financial Statements] tells that 9% of the total expenses went on employees.
COVID-19 in the Financial Report 2019
The Report was signed on 28 March 2019, well after the pandemic began, yet the directors do not mention it.
From the website, these are the current directors (and, it appears, those who signed the accounts) [Directors’ Report, Financial Report 2019]:
The directors are responsible to the members. There were 25 members at 31 December 2019, so some accountability is possible.
CBM welcomes feedback.
We sent them a draft of this review. They……chose not to respond.
- Not ‘CBM Australia’. The footer shows that the website is owned by ‘CBM Australia’, but most of the information is about what the international CBM organisation does overseas. ↑ ↑
- 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 information in the footer says that it is the organisation that has the DGR status. This is not correct. ↑
- ‘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]. ↑