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Christian Surfers International: mini-charity review

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Mini-charity review of Christian Surfers International (CSI), an organisation that invites the public to donate to it, and that is connected, by directorship, to the CMA Standards C0uncil, Christian Ministry Advancement‘s ‘major new initiative, accrediting Christian organisations against a set of standards of good governance, financial oversight, and fundraising ethics.’

(Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • Yes. And their comments resulted in a few changes.

Is it registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
  • CSI is a public company, a company limited by guarantee.
    • Not, as its ABN record shows, a private company.
  • Not to be confused with the charity Christian Surfers Australia Inc., an ‘Affiliated Mission’ of CSI.
  • CSI is registered as a fundraiser in the only state in which it says, on the ACNC Register, that it operates, NSW. (Presumably it has been advised that its internet request for donations doesn’t qualify as ‘fundraising’ in any of the other six states that have a licensing regime. Not a position taken by all experts.)

What does CSI do?

  • Comprehensively described here.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No.
    • The ‘Affiliated Missions’ do though.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.
    • Some anecdotal evidence of the results of the affiliates’ work is given here.

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

  • The ACNC, due to CSIs’ turnover, does not require a Financial Report.
  • Although audited financial statements are required from the affiliates, there doesn’t seem to be a similar requirement for CSI itself.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No
    • But in the US, yes.

Is their online giving secure?

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

  • 11 staff
  • Five projects:
    • Where Most Needed’
    • ‘Travel Funds’
    • ‘Groundswell’
    • ‘Chaplaincy’
    • ‘Surfers Bible’

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (five months after their year-end)

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • Annual Information Statement 2015 (AIS 2015): Almost – no outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2016: Yes. (Being a ‘Small’ charity, no report is required. Nor has one been submitted voluntarily.)

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Not in that Report – none was required – but in the AIS 2015:
    • ‘Other Income/Receipts’ at 18% of income – which is high.
    • 61% of expenses were ‘Employee expenses/payments’.
    • A deficit for the year of 14% of income.
    • Only $3K of equity.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • There is no requirement for CSI, including in their constitution, to produce financial statements.

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

  • ‘Phone’ is blank. CSI believes that it is not compulsory to have a phone number.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The eight people here.
  • And on the ACNC Register, those eight plus Ken Neate:
    • Eric Arakawa
    • Mark Chu
    • Gillian Davis
    • Mark Edwards
      • Although this name has 15 directorships, it is likely that most do not belong to CSI’s Mark Edwards, a South African.
    • Roy Harley
    • Marcus Judge
      • Marcus is a member of ‘Standards Panel’ (or is it the ‘CMA Standards Council’?), a committee of Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd, an organisation that believes that
        • Christian organisations should be the standard-setters in terms of impeccable corporate behaviour.
          • The Panel’s mission is to ‘help build faith and trust in Christian organisations’, including by allowing organisations who are compliant with a set of standards, formed by the Council, to display the Council’s seal of approval.
    • Jonathon Mak
    • Ken Neate
    • Ruth Salcedo

To whom is CSI accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
  • And, as a company, to ASIC.
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