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‘Church Missionary Society (QLD & NSW)’: 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 a review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink. Missions Interlink is ‘the Australian network for global mission’ and a means for a Member to get income tax exemption when it might not otherwise be available[1].

‘Church Missionary Society (QLD & NSW)’ is one such Member, and an organisation that seeks donations via what appears to be its parent’s website (see below).

Charity response

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

I sent the member a draft of this review. Like last time, they did not respond.


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, and
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations

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

1.  Although the name is slightly different, it is a registered[4] charity.


2.  There is nothing to indicate that Church Missionary Society Queensland with Northern NSW (CMSQNSW) uses paid third-party (donation) collectors.


3.  The web address of the organisation that CMSQNSW uses to collect donations, Church Missionary Society – Australia Limited (CMS-A), begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above[5]]. The page where you enter personal information has no information about security.


4.  CMSQNSW’s ABN record says that it is not entitled to receive tax-deductible gifts. This does not match what is possible in the donation process. There you can select ‘Tax deductible workers and projects’ and CMSQNSW.

Nowhere in the giving process is the relationship between CMSQNSW and CMS-A explained.


5.  The use of your donations

As context here’s CMSQNSW’s objects from the constitution (the ‘Principles’ and ‘Objects’ on their webpages are those of CMS-A):

The audited account of how donations are used is CMSQNSW’s Financial Report 2019 on the ACNC Register.  Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, of QMSQNSW? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors responsible for the ‘Donations’ figure of $1.51 million last year [Financial Report 2019]? Or one of the 116 staff? [Annual Information Statement 2019]. If so, can you ring CMSQNSW’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[6][7][x].

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of CMSQNSW, and the directors, with the agreement of the auditor[8], have again prepared the type of financial statements that imply that you don’t exist.

This entitles them to avoid disclosure, among other things, of subsidiaries and related party transactions (an ACNC expectation).

Use them with this knowledge.

Here’s the accrual accounting picture of where the donations went (with last year in the second column):

Not an easy list to understand:

  • No explanation for any of the items.
    • 41% of the expenses went to CMS-A. There is no explanation for why.
      • How is this calculated?
    • What is the difference between employees and missionaries?
      What is the distinction between ‘Missionary Support to CMS – Australia’ and ‘Missionary – Federal Expenses’[9].
  • Why a mixed classification of expenses (neither completely by nature nor completely by function)? For instance, ‘Governance…’ versus ‘Insurance’.
  • Why are the last two excluded from the alphabetical order?

End of review.




  1. See here for last year’s review.
  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. The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.
  4. The ACNC’s information (in its article above) is out-of-date.
  5. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au
  6. There has been a change of auditor. Gone is Liam Murphy of PKF Hacketts, and in is Daniel Gill of Pilot Partners. Perhaps this is the reason why the audit is no longer qualified?
  7. Why are the two ‘Missionary…Expenses’ classified as ‘Grants and donations..’ in the AIS 2019?