Care: At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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‘. We review these charities because their membership means that they 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”:
- 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.
1. A search on the ACNC Register for ‘OMF International’ gives a registered charity in that name (OMF).
2. There is nothing to indicate that OMF uses either door-to-door or street collectors.
3. The web address begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above]. However, there is nothing about the security of your information on the first two pages of the giving process.
4. OMF’s ABN record says that it is not entitled to receive tax-deductible gifts. The ‘More Info on Finances’ page supports this.
5. The use of your donations
OMF is one of 18 OMF International organisations around the world:
Consistent with this, the Financial Report 2019 shows that OMF is basically a collector of donations for OMF workers overseas.
(‘About’ on the Australian website is not about Australia, but OMF internationally.
OMF’s ACNC information is meant to be about OMF, but again it is about OMF internationally. There is no annual report/review to read about OMF’s activity, and the ‘Principal Activity’ section of the Directors’ Report [Financial Report 2019] is also about the work overseas.)
Sharing the Gospel
By some of the overseas workers, no doubt.
Where the money went
The audited account of how a charity uses donations is the Financial Report on the ACNC Register.
Here’s how OMF consumed its resources (i.e. accrual figures, with last year in the second column):
There is no information given on any of the major items, totalling 98% of the expenses.
General & Administrative Expenses
This is everything that wasn’t transferred overseas other than one minor item. It is too large to be unexplained. How does it relate to Note 9?
Members (sic) Expenses
Presumably ‘members’ are the people called missionaries under ‘Income’? Are they employees? What are these expenses?
Transfers to International OMF Affiliates
Why was money sent to ‘OMF Affiliates’? Which ‘Affiliates’? How do we know that (a) the money was received, and (b) that it was used for the purposes for which it was given? How does this relate to Note 2?
There are some other questionable decisions made by these directors:
- They signed the accounts well after the beginning of the pandemic, yet it is not mentioned.
- 94% of the $1.48 million liabilities are classified as ‘Other Payables’, with no further explanation.
- $305K ‘Receipts from International OMF Affiliates’ is unexplained.
- Buildings, some portion of $4.05 million, are not depreciated.
- Employee benefits expense is not disclosed.
- The directors operated without the required fundraising licences even though they knew that they were required.
- ‘Accounts Receivable’ is negative.
- ‘Investments’ are not classified correctly.
Here are the directors responsible for this reporting (from the Directors’ Report, Financial Report 2019):
The ACNC Register shows that, since that time, Loxton, Brooke, and Ridge have left, and David Loon has joined.
The board is responsible to the members. Directors must be members. At 31 December 2019 there were nine members, meaning that
- the composition of the board contravened the constitution, and
- there is no accountability possible from the membership.
Nothing, either systematic or anecdotal.
OMF doesn’t seek feedback.
The introduction to the Mission Interlink standards (see above) includes this statement:
We sent the member a draft of this review. They…did not respond.
End of review.
- 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?
- 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]. ↑