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).
COVID-19: the only mention.
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.
A search on the ACNC Register for ‘OMF International’ gives a registered charity in that name (OMF).
There is nothing to indicate that OMF uses either door-to-door or street collectors.
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 in the giving process (although in not having an online donation facility, the risk is reduced).
OMF’s ABN record says that it is not entitled to receive tax-deductible gifts. The answer to a question in the ‘FAQs’ supports this.
The use of your donations
OMF is one of many ‘OMF International’ organisations around the world.
‘About Us’ on the Australian page of the OMF International site is not about Australia, but OMF internationally.
The entry in the ACNC Register is more helpful:
The ACNC Register says that OMF operates in these countries:
There is no annual report/review to read about OMF’s activity.
Selecting ‘Australia’ under ‘News & Stories’ gives one marked Australia since December last year.
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 these items.
‘Employee benefits expense’
- From the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2021, OMF had the following people working for them:
- Presumably, the missionaries are employees? What is the split between local and overseas?
- The $2.7 million expense equates to an average of $23K per full-time equivalent employee. A reflection of how far the Australian dollar goes in East Asia?
- How does ‘Employee benefits expense’ relate to the next figure?
‘Transfers to International OMF Affiliates’
Why was money sent to ‘OMF Affiliates’? Which ‘Affiliates’?
- How does it relate to ‘Employee benefits expense’?
- How do we know that (a) the money was received, and (b) that it was used for the purposes for which it was given?
These are some of the decisions made by the directors:
- They continue to be non-compliant with the Accounting Standards by
- not depreciating buildings (worth some portion of $4.81 million).
- Including ‘Extraordinary items’ in the Statement of Profit or Loss and Other Comprehensive Income.
- Omitting a line in the Statement of Changes in Equity.
- They don’t explain the distinction between ‘Restricted Funds’ and ‘Unrestricted Funds’ (totalling $10.48 million).
- None of the reports in the Financial Report are signed.
- It appears that AASB15 on revenue has been ignored.
- $284K ‘Receipts from International OMF Affiliates’ is unexplained.
- There is no mention of fundraising licences.
- They don’t define ‘FVOCI’.
- No explanation is given for holding almost all the $3.06 million financial assets in shares, a relatively risky asset class.
- Several of the usual Notes are missing.
In addition, the auditor has omitted some of what is required in his last section.
The directors responsible for this reporting are not shown in the Directors’ Report, (Financial Report 2021), but these are the people, from the ACNC Register, responsible now:
The board is responsible to the members. Directors must be members. At 31 December 2021 there were 200 members (an increase of 191 over the last two years – is this a mistake?).
Nothing, either systematic or anecdotal.
To achieve Missions Interlink membership OMF had to have a ‘complaint management and dispute resolution policy and procedures (sic),’ but none could be found on the website. Nor could an invitation to give feedback or submit a complaint.
‘Members of the public’ are to be included in the users of the above policy. We sent OMF a draft of this review. They…did not 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?
- The ACNC’s information (in its article above) is not correct for the Chrome browser; it does not have ‘https’. ↑
- However, two of the six, Tasmania and Northern Territory, have been omitted on the ACNC Register. ↑
- The ACNC uses the name of Taiwan consistent with the Australian government’s one China policy. ↑
- ‘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]. ↑