Care: At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 ‘Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Members’. ACFID ‘is the peak body for Australian non government organisations (NGOs) involved in international development and humanitarian action.’ It requires Members to adhere to a Code of Conduct. ‘Habitat for Humanity Australia’ is one such Member.
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, and
- Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.
1. A search on the ACNC Register shows that ‘Habitat for Humanity Australia’ is a registered charity (Habitat).
It is a member of an ACNC Group. This group includes two other charities, Habitat for Humanity AS THE OPERATOR OF A PBI (sic), and Habitat For (sic) Humanity Australia Overseas Aid Fund.
2. There is nothing to suggest that Habitat raises funds door-to-door or in public places.
3. The web address begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above].
On the page where you enter your personal information it says that ‘This webpage is secured by reCAPTCHA.’ This, however, is a Google service to protect the Habitat website from spam and abuse. So, nothing about the security of your information.
4. Habitat’s ABN record (via the ACNC Register record) says that it is entitled to receive tax-deductible gifts as a Public Benevolent Institution.
Tax deductibility is not mentioned on the giving page.
5. The use of your donations
As context, read here what Habitat does.
The audited account of how donations are used is the Financial Report 2019. For a group, this is a Financial Report that has ‘the combined financial information for all member charities of [the] group.’
Habitat has lodged a report on the Register page for the Group, but it is a Report that shows no signs of having incorporated anything other than Habitat’s transactions. There is no mention of the other two charities in the group.
The Group Annual Information Statement (AIS) says that the Group Financial Report is ‘consolidated with more than one entity’, and its financial figures match those in the Financial Report, so perhaps Habitat has merely omitted the written disclosures required for a consolidated Report? And the auditor has missed this. We will assume so.
From the Statement of Cash Flows (with last year in the second column):
No further information is given on this figure. So, we don’t have enough information to understand further where the cash went.
Resources consumed (i.e. accrual)
This, from the Statement of Profit or Loss and Other Comprehensive Income, is how the activities translated into expenses (with last year’s figures in the second column):
None of the items are defined.
Where do the employee benefits of the 14.4 full time equivalent employees (AIS 2019) fit into this listing?
Where overseas is not disclosed. Nor is the name of the organisation to which the money was sent. So, again we don’t have enough information to understand what happened to the donations received.
There is nothing in the Financial Report 2019 on how Habitat ensures that (a) the money reaches the overseas organisation, and (b) it is used for the purposes given.
These were the directors who were responsible for the accounts:
It’s a page labelled ‘Our Impact’, but it is, as they say there, ‘reporting on our activities, operations and performance’, not ‘impact’ as defined by the industry.
Habitat welcomes feedback.
I sent a draft of this review to them on 26 March 2020. Up to the time of publication, 21 April 2020, they had not responded.
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?
The need is supported by paragraphs 85 and 112 of the Accounting Standard Presentation of Financial Statements [www.aasb.gov.au]. ↑