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Archived: Hands at Work In Africa (Australia) Limited: mini 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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.

Mini charity review of Hands at Work In Africa (Australia) Limited (HAW) an organisation that has two online invitations to donate (here and here), and is exempt from Australian income tax via its membership of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • I sent them a draft of this review on 26 August 2017. Like last year, they…did not respond.

Is HAW registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • HAW is a company limited by guarantee.
    • It does not have the necessary provisions in its constitution to allow it to omit ‘Ltd/Limited’ at the end of its name.
  • HAW operates, per the ACNC Register, in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. It holds a fundraising licence in all three of these states.
    • Apart from exemptions, whether it needs such a licence in the other three states that have a licensing regime depends on whether those states think that HAW, by calling for donations via the internet, is ‘fundraising’ in their territory.

What do they do?

  • From HAW’s webpages on the international site:
    • We are a group of Christians who help the local church in Africa to effectively care for the orphaned and vulnerable. We do this by supporting local Christian leaders, increasing the community’s capacity to provide care in an effective and holistic manner. Our ministry is to all those in need, regardless of race, class or religion.
  • This is how they described their ‘activities and outcomes’ in the AIS 2016:
    • The activities of the organisation have continue to develop and build the capacity of indigenous community organisations in developing countries including by undertaking in partnership with in-country partners, specific community development projects in Zambia, Nigeria, DRC, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa, and ancillary fundraising activities to sustain those objectives.
  • So it appears from this that HAW is primarily, if not completely, a fundraiser for overseas partners.
    • Why it cost 12% of the expenses is not obvious.
  • There is no description on the webpages of the partners and projects that are supported.

Do they share the Gospel [1]?

  • No
    • Nor, judging by the tax deductibility of donations, do the recipients of the money.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing found.

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

  • Based on the summary financial information in the AIS 2016, 12% of your donations are not sent overseas.

Do they pay their directors?

  • There is insufficient disclosure to say.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes

Is their online giving secure?

  • Online giving is via GiveNow, and they don’t mention security.

Where were the (net) donations sent?

  • There is insufficient disclosure to even say not only where the money was sent, but whether it went through other Hands at Work organisations overseas, or direct to HAW partners.

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

  • None

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (seven months after year end, the day before the last day, and at the same time as last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: Not quite: no outcomes are reported, and their trading name is missing.
  • Financial Report 2016: Yes.
    • Because of its size HAW doesn’t have to lodge a Financial Report.
    • Although it is a member of Missions Interlink, and one of their requirements is that members ‘have available for its members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor [Standards Statement, 4.1], WT did not choose to repeat what they did last year, and lodge one with the ACNC voluntarily.
    • Last year, HAW received a qualified audit opinion.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • NA

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • No audit report is available.

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

  • Yes
    • A trading name is missing, but trading names are of little import anymore.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The webpages do not mention the board.
  • Per the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) the directors are:
  • Is the Shane Lepp this one?
  • Unless the board has reduced the number of directors required, the current board is one short.

To whom is HAW accountable?

  • None claimed. HAW is, however, a member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion of the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • Also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And, as a company, to ASIC.



  1. “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.