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PeaceWise Limited: 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 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]. PeaceWise’ is one of these accredited organisations[4].

PeaceWise responded promptly to a draft of this review[5] , including with two comments for inclusion in the review (see below).


PeaceWise 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 ‘PeaceWise’[6], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[7].

1.  A search on the ACNC Register of charities for ‘PeaceWise’ brings up a charity in the name PeaceWise Limited[8]. This is because this charity has ‘PeaceWise’ recorded as one of the other names by which it is known[9].


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

Ministry comment: ‘I can confirm that PeaceWise does not use door-to-door or street collectors.’


3.  PeaceWise’s ‘Give’ pagebegins with ‘https’ and…there is a closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. The page says that ‘this side is secured by Comodo for your protection” (but the Comodo logo is not live.)


4.  The ABN record says that no tax deduction is available for a donation to PeaceWise. The ‘Give’ page does not mention tax. PeaceWise is nevertheless a legitimate charity.


5.  The use of your donations

Objects / Mission

PeaceWise doesn’t show their ‘Vision’ and ‘Mission’[10] on the website, but this, under ‘what we believe’, is probably the mission:

And from the Chairman’s Report to the 2019 AGM:



See ‘what we do’.

As for 2018, see the Directors’ Report for 2018 in the Financial Report 2018[11].


Sharing the Gospel[12][ix]?

No, not explicitly, but sometimes it is an incidental result:



PeaceWise operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, in every State. And only in Australia [the Register].


Giving options


Donations revenue

The audited account of how donations are used is the Financial Report 2018 on the ACNC Register. Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, of PeaceWise? Perhaps you intend to donate or are one of the donors who together gave $165K[13] last year[14] [Financial Report 2018]? Perhaps you are one of the suppliers who shared in the $385K of payments? [Financial Report 2018], or one of their 15 volunteers [AIS[15] 2018][16]. If so, can you ring PeaceWise’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I very much doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports’.

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of PeaceWise, and the directors, with the agreement of the auditor, have again produced special purpose[17] financial statements[18], a decision that implies] that you don’t exist. They[19] continue to give no reason for this decision[20].

So, the financial statements have not been drawn up to suit you.  Why, then, would you rely on them?

Should you still choose to do so, here is where the $165K donations went:


Cash spent[21]

This is the only information about where the cash went on operating activities:



Resources consumed (i.e. accrual)

The accrual section of the Report is more helpful[23]:

The National Director, Bruce Burgess works for Burgess Consultants Pty Ltd (a legal practice), and that company supplies Bruce to PeaceWise. So even though the AIS appears to show Bruce as an employee, this is not the case in the accounting records.



PeaceWise does not include impact in its performance measurement [Directors’ Report for 2018, Financial Report 2018].

The newsletters contain ‘many stories of transformed lives and relationships’.


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. These are the first two ‘key elements’ in the PeaceWise Complaints Policy: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:
  6. 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].
  7. The name on the ACNC Register is incorrect. It is ‘PeaceWise Ltd’, not ‘Peacewise Ltd’. From prior correspondence, I know that PeaceWise is very careful about its name.
  8. PeaceWise is allowed to trade under that name, as it does on its website, if it qualifies to trade without ‘Ltd’/’Limited’, or if the name is registered as a business name (a trade mark is not sufficient). The first is questionable, and it only has one of the names it says it is ‘Also known as’ [ACNC Register] registered, and it is not ‘PeaceWise’.
  9. From ‘Who we are’: ‘The Board provides strategic and governance oversight of the ministry and together with the National Director are custodians of the Vision, Values and Mission of the ministry.’
  10. The AIS 2018 description, contrary to what the ACNC expects, is not particularly about 2018; although there is a document on the Register called ‘Annual Report’, it is identical to the Financial Report 2018.
  11. [ix] ‘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. The AIS 2018 reports $235K, but this includes $70K of grants.
  13. From the Statement of Financial Position, it appears that donations may be understated by the amount of ‘stipulated donations’ that have been classified as liabilities.
  14. Annual Information Statement.
  15. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/word-image-15.png
  16. Contrary to what is reported in the AIS 2018.
  17. Special purpose financial statements do not have to comply with all the Australian Accounting Standards. Yet the directors’ ‘Basis of Preparation’ section in Note 1 implies that their statements comply with all the Accounting Standards. (Their Note 1 complies with neither the Australian Accounting Standards (AASB) nor the standards of the Accounting Professional Ethics and Standards Board (AESB)).
  18. These are the directors (shown on the website and under ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register):Jeroen BruinsIs it this Jeroen Bruins?Ministry comment: ‘I noted that you inserted a link to Linkedin behind my name. FYI I haven’t accessed my linkedin account for years, let alone maintained it. I probably should, when I have some time.’

    Bruce Burgess (a PeaceWise executive)

    Li Ai Gamble (a PeaceWise executive)

    Wendy Konemann

    Stuart Wesley

  19. The board is accountable to the members of PeaceWise. The number of members is not disclosed, so we can’t assess the strength of this accountability.
  20. A number of the figures in Note 12 do not match the figures in the Statement of Financial Position.
  21. 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.
  22. It would be more helpful if the classification of expenses was not a mixture of the two permissible classifications; for example, are there any employee expenses, depreciation, etc in ‘Kids project expenses’.
  23. Unfortunately, the ACNC appears to have removed this article: