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MAF Australia: 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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.

This is an update of the July 2019 review of the charity MAF Australia. The previous review (in black) is used as a base, with comment only if the situation has changed or extra information would be helpful.


This is a review[1] in the series ‘Organisations accredited by the CMA Standards Council’. The CMA Standards Council is ‘a ministry of Christian Ministry Advancement[2], with a missionto help build faith and trust in Christian organisations, be they churches, charities, schools or otherwise, to enable them to achieve more effective outcomes[3]. MAF Australia’ is one of these accredited organisations[4].  (It is also a Member of Missions Interlink, also an organisation that has standards expected of its members.)

MAF Australia, like for the last two reviews, did not respond to a draft.

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:

Charity response

We sent the charity a draft of this review. They received the email but chose not to respond.


MAF Australia 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”:

  1. Check the organisation’s name.
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for ‘MAF Australia’, with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[5].

1.  A search on the ACNC Register of charities for ‘MAF Australia’ brings up two charities:

The second one, ‘MAF Australia_ACNC GROUP’, is because MAF Australia[6] is a member of that group[7]. The third one is because MAF Assist says that it is also known as ‘MAF Australia’[8].


2.  Nothing on the Register or the website indicates that MAF Australia uses door-to-door or street collectors.


3.  MAF Australia’s ‘Give’ page[9]begins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. But there is no information on this page, or subsequent pages, about the security of your information.


4.  No tax deduction is available for a donation to MAF Australia. However, the charity’s website also collects for MAF Assist and MAF Aid Fund (link added):

This answer does not mention MAF Assist. The first donation page does though[10].

None of the donation pages explain the relationship between the four ‘MAFs’[11].

REMINDER: Green is this review, black the previous review.


5.  The use of your donations

Objects / Mission

The purpose on the website (no longer a current link) is for the MAF worldwide organisation, not MAF Australia. See ‘Strategies/Activities’.



The Directors’ Report [Financial Report 2018 2019] says that ‘The principal activity during the financial year was to provide staff and support so that our operational services can assist in the physical and spiritual transformation of isolated people in developing countries.’

From the quote under #4 above, ‘our operational services’ are most likely ‘the relief work of MAF International’.

No description of what MAF Australia does could be found.

While describing ‘Transactions with related parties’ (Note 14B d in the Financial Report 2019), there is a description of what MAF Australia does:

Although the website says that ‘MAF’ is the joint venturer in Tree Tops Lodge, the Financial Report 2018 shows that it is MAF Australia.


Sharing the Gospel? [12]




MAF Australia operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, in all eight states. And overseas in Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Suriname, Uganda, and Timor-Leste.

There is no description of the support provided in each of these countries by MAF Australia. None of them are mentioned in the Financial Report 2018 2019.


Giving options (link corrected)

Either ‘Give to where it’s most needed’ or, below the fold,


Donations revenue

From the Note 5 in the consolidated[13] financial statements (Financial Report 2018):


Note 2:

Cash spent

This is the only information about where the cash went on operating activities (with the figures for last year in the second column):




Resources consumed (i.e. accrual)

The accrual section of the Report (with last year in the second column) is more helpful:


62% 64% of the expenses are ‘Distributions’. The purpose and destination of these ‘distributions’ is not given directly.

Via a part of Note [Note 14B d, Financial Report 2019], we learn that the money went to MAF International:

The program or programs responsible for the ‘Programme expense’ are not identified. If these are the direct costs of the support services (see ‘Activities’, above), then it costs 36% of total expenses to provide these and generate the ‘distributions’.


These are the people (directors) responsible for this disclosure (from the ACNC Register[15]:

Charles Foster

Elmo Jacob

Glenn Thompson[16]

Ian McBride

Jeff Nagel

Michael Buckmaster

Timothy Meyers


To the above list, remove Glenn Thompson (see the footnote), and add Michael D Goodluck.



Nothing systematic on MAF Australia’s impact[18] was found.

Standard 5.6 of the CMA Standards council standards (see above) requires that regular program evaluations must be performed. There is still no mention of these on the website.


Please contact me if you need a more in-depth review.





  1. See here for the previous review.
  2. Link added by me.
  3. Emphasis in original.
  4. 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
  5. 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].
  6. Although it is a public company, MAF Australia is permitted to omit ‘Ltd’/’Limited’ at the end of its name.
  7. The third member is MAF Aid Fund.
  8. If MAF Assist is ‘publicly known by’ ‘MAF Australia’ as well as its own name, why is this not also the case for MAF Aid Fund?
  9. Using the Edge browser
  10. The second paragraph implies that MAF Australia collects donations for other charities. If these donations are included in revenue then revenue is overstated.
  11. ‘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].
  12. ‘Consolidated’ means that two or more entities have been combined for reporting because MAF Australia controls one or more other entities. The Notes to the accounts show that it is two entities:
  13. Although this level of disclosure may be compliant with the letter of the applicable Accounting Standard ( AASB 107), it is not consistent with either the intent of the Standard and paragraphs 14 and 19, or what is reasonable to expect from a major Christ-led charity that is reporting a true and fair view.
  14. The directors are not part of the ‘team’.
  15. On the Register as the Public Officer. As Glenn is the Finance Manager of MAF Australia, and because a Public Officer is not automatically a Responsible Person, I suspect that Glenn is not a director.
  16. Unfortunately, the ACNC appears to have removed this article:
  17. Here’s how the worldwide MAF entity defines impact: