Care: At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 email@example.com.
This is a review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being the Australian Evangelical Alliance Inc‘s ‘network for global mission‘. Members must sign up to a set of standards, and this, at least on paper, makes them a better bet for your donations (or other involvement).
The charity 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 charity’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, and
5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.
1. A search on the ACNC Register for ‘MAF International’ gives a charity in that name (MAFI).
2. There is nothing in MAFI’s material to suggest that they use either door-to-door or street collectors.
3. The MAFI website is secure.
4. Although MAFI doesn’t seek donations for itself, its ABN record (via the ACNC Register) says that if it did, then it could offer a tax deduction.
5. The use of your donations
MAF Australia (not MAFI) received the following donations last year [Financial Report 2019, ACNC Register]:
This would include the money raised via the MAFI website.
But then, because one of their main activities is to raise money for MAFI, MAF Australia return that money to MAFI (Note 14B d):
So, even though your donation is not made to MAFI, it ends up there. Consequently, the accounts of MAFI are relevant to your decision.
Unfortunately, if you are reading this, then it is likely that those accounts are not designed for the type of MAFI stakeholder that you are. This is because the directors of MAFI ‘have prepared the financial statements on the basis that the company is a non-reporting entity because there are no users who are dependent on its general purpose financial statements’ [Note 1, Notes to the Financial Statements, Financial Report 2019].
This may or may not be the case – we are doubtful – but the decision means that they have prepared the statements ‘to meet the needs of the members of MAF International:
Which means that they have prepared them for one entity, and one entity only, MAFI’s parent, a UK charity [Directors (sic) Report, Financial Report 2019]:
Not for you – or any other stakeholder.
However, the Accounting Standards tell us that you should be able to ring the MAFI office and command the preparation of financial reports tailored to your needs. (This is the case even if MAFI had prepared the statements to comply with the law rather than the needs of its parent.)
Over to you.
Where the money went
From the Statement of Comprehensive Income [Financial Report 2019], this is what MAFI told their parent (with last year in the second column):
Note that most of the $5.84 million under (b), 35% of the total expenses, came from underperforming investments and assets.
The people who were responsible for the accounts, and are still the only directors, are
All three work for the MAF group. No non-executive directors to keep them accountable.
And only one member, the parent company, so any accountability must come from the members of the parent.
It is one of their six ‘core values’:
But no report on impact was found.
MAFI values feedback.
The introduction to the Mission Interlink standards (see above) includes this statement:
We sent the member a draft of this review. They received the email but chose not to respond.
- See here for the previous review. ↑
- A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering: ↑◦ 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? ↑
- That this is the parent appears to be contradicted by MAF Australia: ↑
- The directors misunderstand the law. The Regulations to the Act [Section 60.10 (1)] provide that it is the ‘accounting standards’, not the needs of the company’s members, that should determine the form and content of the company’s financial statements. ↑