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Hope Myanmar Partnership Australia Incorporated: 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 Hope Myanmar Partnership Australia Incorporated (HMP) 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 HMP registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • HMP is a New South Wales incorporated association (INC9884719)
  • Not registered for GST, but is well under the revenue at which it has to register.
  • It uses the name Hope Myanmar Partnership (website, Facebook, and Vimeo) but to continue to use it legally it needs to register it as a business name.
  • HMP operates, per the ACNC Register, in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria.
    • If ‘operating’ for HMP means carrying on business, then it does not have the necessary registration (as a registrable Australian body).
    • HMP’s New South Wales fundraising licence expired on 15 May 2015. Nor is it registered in the other states in which it operates.
      • Or in the other five states that require charities to register.
        • Apart from exemptions, whether it needs such a licence depends on whether a state thinks that HMP, by calling for donations publicly, is ‘fundraising’ in their territory.

What do they do?

  • The clearest statement is the one included in the 2016 AGM Minutes (see ‘Charity’s Documents’ on the ACNC Register):
    • HMP Australia exists to support the work of Lincoln and Leah Bill and Restoration Bible Institute (RBI) in Yangon, Myanmar.
  • Slightly more fully, from the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2017:
    • The Australian side of Hope Myanmar Partnership raises funds and communicates with supporters so that Lincoln and Leah have funds to do their important work and donors have information about where their money is going. The information is communicated via mail chimp emails to over 300 supporters.
  • Here, also from the AIS 2017, is how the money is used:
    • HMP continued the main activities it has historically undertaken. Namely the provision of money for the running of Restoration Bible Institute, Blossom Preschool, a boarding house in Mindon, a starlight (lite version) like service for children in a Yangon hospital, and emergency relief. Lincoln and Leah added to their responsibilities the housing and care of displaced children due to civil war. The funds raised are used at the discretion of Lincoln and Leah, a local Burmese couple from the Chin tribe for the aforementioned activities.
    • For a fuller description, see the website.
  • ‘Operates in (Countries)’ on the ACNC Register lists only Myanmar.

Do they share the Gospel [1]?

  • No
    • But the money they send is used by people who do.

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?

  • If we define ‘direct’ as the money sent overseas, and define the beneficiaries as Lincoln and Leah (not the locals they are helping), then ‘administration’ is 5% of expenses.

Do they pay their directors?

  • It appears not.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • PayPal is used, so yes. (However, the PayPal button currently leads to a message that ‘This recipient is currently unable to receive money.’)

Where were the (net) donations sent?

  • The Profit & Loss just says, ‘Cash Ministry’ under ‘Operating Expenses’. HMP’s Facebook though records money being sent to Lincoln and Leah in Myanmar.
  • There is no audit to give at least some comfort that the money reached the stated recipients.

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

  • The facility was not operating at the time of the review.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (two months after their year- end, three months earlier than last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017: No
    • The money sent overseas is recorded as ‘Other expenses/payments’ rather than as ‘Grants and donations…’.
    • No outcomes are reported.
  • Financial Report 2017: Yes. But only because ACNC didn’t require a Report.
    • Although not required to submit a financial report to the ACNC (because of its size), HMP chose, unlike last year, to submit one.
    • The ACNC does not require voluntary submissions to comply with its requirements.
    • But as a member of Missions Interlink, HMP is required to ‘have available for its members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor [Standards Statement, 4.1].
    • HMP identifies its accounting method as ‘cash’ (AIS 2017). If ‘appropriate’ has any reference to what professional accountant’s normally do, then HMP’s Report is, even for the cash basis, deficient: it consists only of a single page, an incomplete Profit & Loss.
    • And there is no audit report.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Given the issues above, no comment.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • No audit report is available.
  • An audit is required by the constitution, but the 2016 AGM doesn’t mention one.

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

  • Yes
    • The two trading names are missing, but trading names are of little import any longer.
    • ‘Phone’ is blank, but is not compulsory.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • From the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’)
    • David Calderwood
    • Erica Matthews
    • Andrew Orenstein
  • Gary Bennetts was, per the ‘Annual Report’ on the ACNC Register, elected on 30 November 2016. Is he still a member?
  • Even if he was, HMP would still be, like last year, in breach of its rules in not having at least five committee members.

To whom is HMP accountable?

  • Not mentioned on the website, but HMP is 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 to the New South Wales regulator of incorporated associations.

 

 

  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. 
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