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Archived: Church Missionary Society Queensland With Northern NSW: mini charity review for donors

Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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.

Mini charity review of Church Missionary Society Queensland With Northern NSW (CMSQN) as an organisation that seeks donations[1]. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is CMSQN registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a Queensland incorporated association (IA18316). (Despite the lack of the usually obligatory ‘Inc’ or ‘Incorporated’ at the end of the name.)
    • CMSQN operates – according to the ACNC Register – in NSW and Queensland. But it is registered to fundraise in none of the seven states (including NSW and Queensland) that have a licensing regime.
      • The law in this area is not straightforward and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
    • If it’s ‘carrying on business’ in NSW, as it appears to be, then it doesn’t have the required registration (an ARBN).

What do they do?

  • The only information available is what they wrote in the AIS 2015:
    • CMS workers have continued to serve as co-labourers with over 100 international partners, including churches, schools, universities and Christian organisations, in more than 40 countries around the world. Our partners are involved in ministries that fit our gospel vision and purpose. Our partners have welcolmed CMS workers into their programs and ministries to share the lasting hope of Jesus Christ with people. We have continued to encourage churches and individuals in Queensland and Northern NSW to get involved in cross-cultural mission. CMS is a deductible gift recipient for provision of overseas aid in several countries, for aboriginal work in North Australia and in support of St Andrew’s Hall, the CMS training college in Victoria.
      • Apart from the sentence beginning ‘We have continued…’ this appears to be about Church Missionary Society – Australia Ltd [edited 14.11.17] not CMSQN.
      • It is almost identical to the what Church Missionary Society – South Australia Inc [edited 14.11.17] wrote in their AIS 2015.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No, not according to the above information.

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.

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

  • If ‘Missionary Support to CMS Australia’ is defined as the money that goes to achieve the impact, then 64% is administration.
    • ‘Employment expenses’ are 31% of total expenses.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Not for a donation to CMSQN.
    • Nevertheless, the giving page that they use, the one belonging to Church Missionary Society – Australia Ltd [edited 14.11.17], does offer tax-deductible giving.
    • This means that they are most likely, like Church Missionary Society NSW & ACT [edited 14.11.17], collecting donations for another charity. If these donations are included in revenue, revenue is overstated.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is not mentioned.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged two days before the last day allowed, seven months after their year-end).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now nearly 15 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: No.
    • No outcomes are given.
    • Two of the figures in the Income Statement do not match those in Financial Report.
    • The description of ‘activities’ is largely about another charity (albeit an associated one).
  • Financial Report 2015: Questionable.
    • The audit report is unsigned.
    • The directors have avoided having to comply with all the Accounting Standards by saying, without giving any reason, that CMSQN is not a reporting entity. This means that they believe that there are no users, present (including donors who gave a total of $1.79 m), or prospective, who rely on CMSQN’s financial statements.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s deficit of 5% of revenue was turned into a 12% surplus.
    • However, this surplus
      • is overstated if CMSQN has included donations collected for Church Missionary Society – Australia Ltd [edited 14.11.17], and
      • is subject to a significant uncertainty (see the discussion of the audit report below).
  • Even with a reclassification of the ‘Loans from members’ if they are, as usual, repayable on demand, short-term (current) liabilities would continue to be well covered by short-term (current) assets.
  • No obvious concern with longer term financial structure.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He was not able to give a ‘clean’ opinion, but a ‘qualified’ opinion. Read here to see the different kinds of opinions.
    • The qualification was because he said that the directors had determined that it was impracticable to establish controls to ensure that all the fundraising money that was given to CMSQN made it into the bank account. Neither directors nor the auditor explain why, if most – if not nearly all – similar charities are able to establish such controls, CMSQN isn’t.

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

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

  • Having been redirected from the CMSSA page to the ‘Give to CMS’ page, that is, to Church Missionary Society – Australia Ltd’s [edited 14.11.17] giving page, your choices are:
    • ‘General Missionary Support’
    • ‘General Tax Deductible Gift’
    • ‘A particular worker’ (with a dropdown listing all the workers)
    • ‘Other’

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the webpages, but you can see who they have listed with the ACNC here.

To whom are CMSQN accountable?

  • Although not mentioned on their webpages, they are accountable as a Member of Missions Interlink[3].
  • They are also accountable to the ACNC.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they responded, but only to say that they didn’t have time over the next few months to comment.



  1. Although CMSQN has no invitation to give on its own webpages on the Church Missionary Society – Australia Ltd [edited 14.11.17] site, the invitation to give by the ‘parent’ remains accessible on those webpages.
  2. The website shown on the register belongs to another charity, Church Missionary Society – Australia Ltd [edited 14.11.17]. CMSQN has some pages on it.
  3. For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.