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Church Missionary Society – Australia Limited: 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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.

This is review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission[1].

Church Missionary Society – Australia’ is one such Member, and an organisation that seeks donations online.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:


This Member did not respond to a draft of this review.

The charities’ regulator, 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”:

  1. Check the charity’s name.
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for ‘Church Missionary Society – Australia’[2], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[3].

1. A search on the ACNC Register of charities gives a charity, in a slightly different name, Church Missionary Society – Australia Limited (CMS-A).

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’ and there is a closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above].

On the giving page there is no mention of the security of your information.

The fact that CMS-A is soliciting donations does not fit with the fact that its branches who raise the money, not CMS-A:

4. The Australian Business Register (linked from CMS-A’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. But two funds that it runs are:

5. The audited account of how donations are used is the Financial Report 2018 on the ACNC Register. Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, of CMS-A[4][vii]? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the people who gave $7.69 million via your state Branch or $2.60 million in tax-deductible donations last year [Financial Report 2018]. Or one of CMS-A’s 202 missionaries? [Financial Report 2018]. If so, can you ring CMS-A’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I very much doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports[5].

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of CMS-A, and the directors, with the agreement of the auditor[6], in preparing special purpose statements, say that you don’t exist:

So, the financial statements have not been drawn up to suit you. Why, then, would you rely on them?


The question of the impact of your donations is not addressed anywhere. (There is no Annual Report.)


Please contact me if you need a more in-depth review.



  1. https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-21.png
  2. See here for my last review.
  3. 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? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].
  4. [vii] From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au: http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png  
  5. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au
  6. Stephen Fisher of Nexia Sydney Audit & Assurance.