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International Teams Ministries Australia Incorporated: charity review

Charity registration 'involuntarily revoked', effective 18 June 2021.  No ABN at 18 August 2021.

This is a charity review of International Teams Ministries Australia Incorporated (IT), an organisation that seeks donations online, and is a member of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Last year’s review is here.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • They do not, on the website, invite either feedback or complaints.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. Like last year, they…did not respond.

Is IT registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • IT is a New South Wales (NSW) incorporated association (Y2915020).
  • It operates, per the ACNC Register, in Queensland as well as its home state of New South Wales. It also has an invitation to give on the internet.
    • It still doesn’t have the registration necessary, an ARBN, to operate interstate.
    • It says that it has a fundraising licence (see below). It doesn’t say where, but it is in NSW. But it doesn’t say why it doesn’t have one in Queensland, or in the other three states that have a licensing regime applicable to charities:

  • It holds three business names in its current name:

  • And one in its former name: International Teams Australia.

What does IT do?

Does IT share the Gospel?[1]

  • Via some of its missionaries, no doubt.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found.

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

  • No figure for ‘administration’ is given, and the expenses are not classified so as to allow a figure to be calculated.

Do they pay their board members?

  • There’s nothing prohibiting this in the constitution.
  • There’s no line item in the expenses that suggests that such payments were made.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No
    • But the ‘Give’ section on the website incorporates the tax-deductible fund International Teams Australia Sydney Refugee Team (see ‘Is IT registered?’, above).

Is IT’s online giving secure?

  • Security is not mentioned.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • This is not disclosed. Even the country.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (six months after their year-end, two days before the deadline, and two weeks later than last year).
    • But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now 14 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • Group AIS 2016: No
    • ‘Employee expenses’ again only includes wages.
    • ‘Other Income’ doesn’t match the Income and Expenditure Statement.
    • No outcomes are given.
  • Group Financial Report 2016: No, the accounts do not give a true and fair view. Like last year (and, in most cases, the year before that too):
    • The Report is still missing a statement of cash flows.
    • The Report is still a ‘special purpose financial report’. This is only applicable where the organisation’s users, both present and prospective, can command the preparation of statements tailored to their needs. For an organization with an income of nearly $1 m, 306 staff, missionaries in 10 countries, and seeking donations from the public, this is implausible.
      • The directors again give no reason for their decision.
    • The name of the charity on the cover has a subheading ‘Sydney Refugee Team’, but this is not explained anywhere.
    • The statement of changes in equity is titled Income and Expenditure Statement.
    • The Income and Expenditure Statement uses a long out-of-date format, and consequently omits ‘Other Comprehensive Income’.
      • There no Notes. For instance, what is the second largest income item, the unusual ‘Global Services Funding’ ($127K).
        • This item, without explanation, is zero this year.
        • $80K for one full-time and three part-time employees?
    • In the Detailed Balance Sheet –
        • ‘Web design and development at cost’ an intangible, is misclassified.
        • The non-current ‘Provision for Web site (sic) upgrade’ is questionable as a liability.
    • The number of Notes has been increased again but is still well short of the number required.
    • The Statement by Members of the Committee is again undated.
    • There is no explanation of the status of the missionaries (they are not included as employees).
    • The person who ‘compiled’ the statements – see below – again makes the basic bookkeeping mistake of equating ‘Cost of Sales’ with ‘Gross Loss from Trading’.
    • The figures include cents, potentially confusing the communication.
    • There are unexplained ‘appropriation adjustments’.
    • What accounts for the proportionately large balance of ‘Trade creditors’?
    • And new this year –
        • A long-superseded accounting term, ‘extraordinary items’ is resurrected to describe an unexplained prior period adjustment.
        • Unidentified ‘capital gains’ have been included in the surplus.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • I do not have enough confidence in the accounts – see above – to pass comment on this. The fact that the accounts were prepared by the auditor – the inclusion of a Compilation Report tells us that – only reinforces this decision.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete/correct?

  • Group: Yes
  • IT: Not quite – the business names are missing.

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

  • ‘Where Most Needed’
  • ‘Specific Worker’
    • ‘Other Worker’ + 10 individuals/couples (including two in ‘National Office’)
  • ‘Specific Project”
    • ‘OTHER Project’
    • ‘Nea Zoi, Athens’
    • ‘RenovArte Café, Mexico’
    • ‘Rroma-Workers Network’
    • ‘StreetLight, Sydney’
    • ‘Sydney Refugee Team (tax deductible)’
    • ‘Threads of Hope, Athens’

Who are the people controlling IT?

  • The people shown on the website here.
  • The same people as are shown on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):

To whom are IT accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • Membership of Missions Interlink claimed on the website, for instance here:

    • Membership confirmed.
    • Missions Interlink is an organisation that has standards with which IT must comply.
      • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
  • Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd is the organisation that is, via the CMA Standards Council, giving a seal of approval to Christian organisations who meet “a set of standards of good governance, financial oversight, and fundraising ethics.” IT is not yet accredited.

 

 

  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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