Care: At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 email@example.com.
This is a review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission’ (and a means for a Member to get income tax exemption when it might not otherwise be available). ‘GFA World Inc’ is one such member.
The website linked from the Missions Interlink membership goes to a website in the name ‘GFA/GFA World’. Here they seek online donations.
Covid-19 – nothing found on the website
Given what Missions Interlink does, ‘GFA World Inc’ is probably a charity.
The charities’ regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (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 ACNC Register of charities gives a charity in that name (GFAA). (The ABN record still has the old name, Gospel for Asia (Australia) Inc.)
‘GFA’ is not a registered business name.
2. There is nothing to suggest that GFAA fundraises door-to-door or in the street.
3. The web address begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above]. In the giving process, you are told that there is a secure payment page coming up, but there is no mention of security on it.
4. The Australian Business Register (linked from GFAA’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. The website says the same. We have seen above, however, that GFAA is a ‘legitimate charity’.
5. The use of your donations
For context, what does GFAA do? Normally this is found under ‘Summary of activities’ on the ACNC Register, in the Annual Information Statement (AIS), and on the charity’s website. But for GFAA all these descriptions are about what is done overseas, and controlled by the US organisation, Gospel for Asia. Instead we must follow the money, shown in the Financial Report on the ACNC Register, the audited account of how a charity uses donations.
When you go there, however, you will find that the Report is missing two of the seven mandatory elements: an auditor’s report and a Responsible Person’s declaration. And the Notes to the Financial Statements are missing many of the required Notes.
Should you still wish to consider a donation to GFAA, read on.
Who was responsible for the Financial Report? Due to the lack of a Committee Members’ Report (not required, but often included), and a Responsible Person’s declaration (mandatory), the Financial Report is of no help with that.
If the committee membership hasn’t changed since the issue of the Report sometime between 30 June and 22 November 2019, then it should have been the people shown on the ACNC Register:
However, we know from the ‘Annual Report’ that GFAA has lodged on the ACNC Register that all the staff and volunteers left early in the year:
The Darrs were committee members, so we know that this listing on the ACNC Register has been incorrect since September 2018:
Further staff changes, that could affect the committee membership, were reported:
GFAA have never been averse to having staff on the Committee, so John Bolitho likely remains there. And likely joined by the other staff couple, the Mendozas. This would leave local (Toowoomba) Associate Pastor Nick Bewes as the only independent committee member.
Should you still wish to consider a donation to GFAA, read on.
Directors have a choice between two kinds of reports, special purpose or general purpose. The requirements of the former are less onerous than the latter.
With donors from all over Australia, professional management, and GFAA’s almost 100% reliance on donations, it is hard to see how a special purpose report is the right choice. But that is the choice that the committee members of GFAA made.
One of the implications of their choice is that you can ring GFAA’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity. I strongly doubt that they will agree. And if they don’t then the accounts presented by the committee members are not for you. In fact, they imply, by saying, in the Notes to the Financial Statements, that GFAA is not a ‘reporting entity’, that you don’t exist:
The use of your donations
If you are still prepared to consider a donation to GFAA, here is how the donations were used:
From the Statement of Cash Flows (with last year in the second column):
No further information is given on this figure (which arguably is contrary to the applicable Accounting Standard), so it’s not much help.
Resources consumed (i.e. accrual)
This, from the Statement of Comprehensive Income, is how the activities translated into expenses (with last year’s figures in the second column):
This is the explanation of ‘Donations’, $1.15 million, 80% of the total:
Only two of these six expenses match the eight giving options on the website:
‘Tools for Missionaries’
‘Empower the Poor’
‘From the Stable’
‘Where Most Needed’
In one sense this discrepancy matters little. This is because GFAA, under a heading ‘Our Stewardship Commitment, says that it can overrule your selection of a giving option at any time:
To where is the money sent? The answer is in the small print underneath Note 3 (above):
The first paragraph says that your donation goes to this church.
Donors should know that funds given to GFA don’t go directly to GFA in India. Some funds go to other nations in Asia but most goes to entities in India that have no operational presence in the country. They exist to receive funds and give them to Believers’ Church or some other BC controlled entity. I have asked various authorities if this is allowed but have not received an answer as yet.
Whether or not it’s allowed, GFAA’s disclosure in the footnote is at best deceptive, perhaps, given GFA Asia’s history, dishonest.
The second paragraph in the footnote makes no sense:
- There has been no organisation named GFA India since at least October 2016. Sometime before that date it changed its name to Ayana Charitable Trust.
- Neither GFA India nor Ayana Charitable Trust are FCRA registered organisations.
- The mention of auditing is deceptive: GFA India doesn’t receive the money.
Nothing systematic found.
Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:
We sent GFAA a draft of this review on 16 April 2020. By the time of publication, two and a half weeks later, they had not responded.
- See here for the previous review. ↑
- https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/ ↑
- 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]. ↑
- Less significant, but contributing to a lack of confidence in GFAA are two other issues:
- The charity has been incorrectly named in the Financial Report: it is not ‘Gospel for Asia (Australia) Inc. Trading As GFA World’, but ‘GFA World Inc trading as GFA World (a registered business name.)
- The use of cents in the figures reduces clarity and is something that is not done by a professional accountant.
- Charities are allowed some time to amend the Register. ↑
- Enhancing Not-for-Profit Annual and Financial Reporting, March 2013, accessed from their website March 2020. ↑
- The accounting profession says that you are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose financial reports’. [From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au]. ↑