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This is a review of the organisation ‘Dickson Baptist Church, principally for those who are existing donors, or who are considering donating.
I sent a draft of this review to the church on 14 May 2019. They did not respond.
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”:
- 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.
- Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.
1. A search on the name ‘Dickson Baptist Church’ on the ACNC Register of charities leads to a registered charity in the name Baptist Memorial Church (Dickson Baptist). This is because the Church has recorded, on the Register, Dickson Baptist Church as another name by which it is known.
2. One would not expect a church to use third party collectors, and there is nothing to indicate that Dickson Baptist does.
3. The web address does not begin with ‘https’, and there is no “closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is not secure [the first ACNC article above]. But this matters not, for the Church does not offer an online giving facility.
4. The Australian Business Register (linked from Dickson Baptist’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. It is, however, a legitimate charity.
From the Constitution [Governing Document, ACNC Register]:
On the website:
Nothing on the website.
From the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2018:
Sharing the Gospel?
Dickson Baptist operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, only at 133 Cowper Street Dickson in the ACT.
No overseas countries are listed; whether this is correct depends on whether Dickson Baptist sends money overseas, something that cannot be seen from the ACNC Register information (see below).
How the mission and activities translated into dollars spent
Dickson Baptist’s size for reporting purposes, ‘Small’, means that it does not need to lodge a Financial Report. It’s status as a Basic Religious Charity means that it also doesn’t need to provide financial information in the AIS 2018. And it has done neither.
The people who are responsible for that decision (and all decisions) are the ‘Pastors and the Elders of the Church’ [Constitution, page 3]. They are not identified on the website.
So, if you are considering membership, you will need to ask the church for the last (audited) accounts if you want to see what they do with your (God’s) money.
Nothing systematic on outcomes or impact was found.
- 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]. ↑
- Dickson Baptist does not have Dickson Baptist Church registered as a business name. ↑
- “Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14. ↑
- Dickson Baptist have, incorrectly, only put the Pastor’s name, Matthew Glowacki, on the ACNC Register. ↑