Care: At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a review in the series ‘Organisations accredited by the CMA Standards Council’. The CMA Standards Council is ‘a ministry of Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd’, with a mission “to help build faith and trust in Christian organisations, be they churches, charities, schools or otherwise, to enable them to achieve more effective outcomes. ‘Korus Connect’ is one of these accredited organisations.
‘Korus Connect’ is an organisation that seeks donations online. The charities’ regulator, 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 organisation’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 for ‘Korus Connect’ brings up the charity The Council for Christian Education in Schools. This is because it has ‘Korus Connect’ as a name by which it is also known.
2. Nothing on the Register or the website indicates that Korus Connect uses door-to-door or street collectors.
4. The ABN record says that a tax deduction is available for a donation to Korus Connect. The ‘Donate’ page is consistent with this, showing only tax-deductible options.
5. The use of your donations
Context – what Korus does
(There is much overlap with what the local church should be like and should be doing.)
It leads to the six ‘initiatives’ described further down the same page:
- ‘School Chaplaincy’
- ‘Community Connectors’
- ‘Korus Solutions’
- ‘Education & Training’
- ‘Whole Conference’
- ‘Special Religious Instruction’
Three of these have giving options:
- ‘…towards area of greatest need’
- ‘…for Christian SRI programs’
- ‘…towards School Chaplaincy initiatives’
- ‘…towards the funding of an SRI volunteer’
- ‘…towards Community Connector initiatives’
There is no explanation of
- Why a volunteer would be paid.
Sharing the Gospel?
How your donations were used
This is their promise for the use of your money:
The text following this does not explain the promise.
Korus’ accreditation with the CMA Standards Council (see at the beginning) may allow you to request a report on your giving:
The audited account of money matters is the Financial Report 2019 on the ACNC Register.
The Report belongs to Korus, not Saward Dawson, their auditor, yet the auditor’s logo appears on the cover. This may be of advantage to Korus (credibility?) but does not do anything for the perception of auditor independence.
When looking at the figures, there is a disagreement about which you should be aware.
Local Chaplaincy Support Groups
From a Note in the Financial Report, we know that the role of these groups (there is still no description of these groups on the website) includes fundraising:
So, Korus is saying that it is not Korus money until it is banked. (This allows them to avoid having to institute internal controls over the money prior to that time.) If it is not their money, then whose is it? The Support Group is part of Korus, so as soon as the money is received by the Support Group, it is Korus money.
The auditor, although not directly saying that the directors are wrong, says that the directors are wrong:
So, even though the fundraising banked by the Support Groups totalled 10% of all revenue ($852K), the auditor, Peter Shields of Saward Dawson, did not think that this deficiency in controls was sufficient to warrant a modified opinion.
The use of your donations
We could show you the expenses section in the Statement of Profit or Loss and Other Comprehensive Income, but that would not be helpful: it is an unordered list of 18 items, neither classified (as required) by either nature or function. Instead, here are the expenses that are over $100K (out of the $9.01 million total):
Employee benefits expense $8.39 million
Depreciation and amortisation expense $150K
IT licences and support $107K
Fundraising expenses $102K
‘Employee benefits expenses’ is over 92% of the expenses. It is not possible from the Financial Report (or the 2019 Annual Impact Report [ACNC Register] to see how this relates to
(a) the money received for SRI instructors, chaplains, and Community Connectors (the giving options above),
(b) the 464 volunteers [Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2019],
(c) the $7.28 million ‘Chaplaincy contributions’ revenue, and
(d) the $7.41 million ‘Revenue from providing services’ [AIS 2019].
Directors responsible for the Financial Report
Korus has reduced its transparency this year by not including its Directors’ Report in the Financial Report, so we can’t see a formal listing of the directors at the time the accounts were signed. But this is the board in 2019 Annual Impact Report (probably issued at around the same time):
- Going on what the ACNC Register says – the website doesn’t show the board – Stephen and Jane are no longer and Dawn Penney, Jane Tunnecliff, and Paul de Mare have joined.
- Paul is marked as the Secretary, so it may be that inclusion on the Register is a mistake.
- It’s nowhere mentioned, but John Peberdy (above) is the Chairperson of the organisation responsible for the Council that issued the seal of approval to Korus Connect.
The Board of a public company is responsible to the members. With Korus, the constitution [ACNC Register] tells us that the members are always the current directors:
So, no accountability there.
The annual report on the ACNC Register is called the 2019 Annual Impact Report, but it is not a systematic report on the changes in the beneficiaries.
Number 8 of the CMA Standards Council’s ‘Nine Principles of Ministry Accountability‘ is ‘The organisation must be transparent and accountable to its stakeholders’. One of the nine ‘Standards’ that ‘fall under’ that principle is about openness and responsiveness to feedback:
Korus has such a mechanism.
We sent Korus a draft of this review. They….did not respond.
End of review.
- See here for the previous review. ↑
- Link added by me. ↑
- Emphasis in original. ↑
- You may know them as Access Ministries. They changed on 1 January 2019. ↑
- It achieved this by meeting the Council’s ‘Principles and Standards of Responsible Stewardship’, and therefore is able to be promoted as a ‘high quality organisation’. ↑
- 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]. ↑
- The name, along with nine others, has been registered as business names by the charity. ↑
- The ACNC’s information (in its article above) is not correct for the Chrome browser; it does not have ‘https’. ↑
- ‘When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett says this about sharing the Gospel: ‘A host of contextual issues determine the best manner and the appropriate time to present the gospel verbally, particularly in militant Muslim or Hindu settings. But without such a presentation, it is not possible for people to be personally transformed in all their relationships, which is what poverty alleviation is all about [Kindle Locations 1262-1264, Moody Publishers]. ↑