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’, 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.
It achieved this by meeting the Council’s ‘Principles and Standards of Responsible Stewardship’, and therefore is able to be promoted as an organisation that strives ‘to go beyond the basics in terms of good governance and good stewardship’.
The website linked from the Directory goes to a website in almost the same name , ‘Medical Mission Aid Inc’. Here they seek online donations.
- Check the charity’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, and
- Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.
On the ACNC Register, MMA says it trades under an additional name:
But the ABN for this charity was cancelled in November 2021. And there is no mention of this Fund on the MMA website.
MMA has no other names registered as business names.
Nothing in MMA’s public materials indicates that it uses either volunteer or professional door-to-door or street collectors.
MMA’s web address has a ‘closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar’, so the website is secure [the first ACNC article above].
But there is no information on the ‘Donate’ page about the security of your information.
‘Will my donation be tax deductible?’ on the charity’s ACNC Register record shows that a tax deduction is available. The website says the same.
Question 5: Where’s the money go?
How their mission translates into activities (from the ACNC Register):
Sharing the Gospel?
Although being ‘Christ-Centred’is one of their values (see link above), there is no mention of sharing the Gospel in any of their material.
The audited account of how donations are used is the Financial Report on the ACNC Register.
MMA used to be a member of an ACNC Group. The registration for this Group was voluntarily revoked in 2021. The Group’s page would normally be the place where a reader would be able to access the Financial Report, but all the information there has been deleted. And the Financial Reports have not been restored to the page for the single entity MMA. Result: no public accountability.
Courtesy of three extracts in the Annual Report, we know that a financial report exists, but it is not offered on the MMA website. Result: an accountability that’s inconsistent with being an organisation that ‘operates in an accountable manner, with good governance, appropriate stewardship’.
Who is responsible?
Here, from the Annual Report (page 3), are the people who were most likely responsible for the 2021 financial reporting:
The ACNC Register shows that, since this time, Pam Thyer and Conrad Parsons have left the board.
The directors are accountable to the members. The number of members is not reported, so no assessment of accountability can be made.
Where the donations went
- 67 cents of every dollar of expenses went on ‘development programs’ (unchanged from last year).
- No explanation is given for the dramatic rise in ‘Employee Benefits…’.
- Or the same with the ‘Operating & Administration Expenditure’.
- No explanation is given for the dramatic reduction in ‘Op Shop Expenses’.
- The classification of expenses is, contrary to the Accounting Standards, a mixture of the two permissible methods.
- Because of the absence of an Annual Information Statement 2021 (see above), we don’t know the staffing of MMA.
- This, from the Annual Report (page 17), is the (unaudited) picture of where the ‘Development Programs Expenditure’ went:
There is no publicly available information on how MMA ensures that funds reach their intended destination and are then spent on the purposes for which they were given.
Everything MMA is doing may be being done ‘properly’, but unless the money is producing the change in people that the charity intends (i.e., an impact), the money would be better used elsewhere. And the same applies if the impact is less than is being achieved by another charity.
There are some anecdotal accounts of changes in lives on the website, but nothing systematic.
The Executive Director says, in the Annual Report (page 4), that impact is being measured, but it appears from the use of the word elsewhere in the Report, plus the following diagram (Annual Report, page 15), that ‘impact’ mostly means activities and outputs.
Standard 5.6 of the CMA Standards Council standards (see above) requires that regular program evaluations. There is no mention of evaluations on the website, and the above comment by the Executive Director is the only mention of evaluations in the Annual Report.
We sent a draft of this review to the charity. They…did not respond.
- Linked added by us. ↑
- Emphasis in original. ↑
- https://www.cmasc.net.au/news/presentation-of-certificates ↑
- Having the list of accredited organisations on a site that is not secure is inconsistent with this building of ‘faith and trust’: ↑
- Medical Mission Aid announced this success on its website. ↑
- 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?
- Both ‘Inc’ and ‘Incorporated’ are acceptable under the Associations legislation. ↑
- There is no mention of fundraising licences on the MMA website, nor in the Annual Report (there is no Financial Report). ↑
- MMA used to report as a part of a group. Then they revoked that Group. The meant the ACNC could no longer give access to the past AISs. ↑
- ‘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] ↑
- The behaviour of its people, its use of money, and how it goes about its business. ↑