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Mini charity review of Riverview Children’s Foundation Inc (RCF) as an organisation that seeks donations online. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)
(To see the situation last year, read this review.)
Are they responsive to feedback?
- When sent a draft of this review, they…did not respond.
Is RCF registered?
- As a charity, yes.
- Other registrations:
What do they do?
- See the website.
- They don’t do this themselves, though. They seek donations for projects run by the secular charity Global Development Group.
Do they share the Gospel?
- No. (The word ‘Gospel’ does not occur on the website.)
What impact are they having?
- They run annual ‘impact trips’ – ‘a link between the projects we’re partnering with, and the people who wish to understand and respond to the needs of vulnerable children’ – but there is no information on the website (or in the Financial Report) about the impact of the work that is being funded.
What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?
- If we define ‘direct’ as ‘Grants and donations…’ in the AIS 2015, then it cost $197K to deliver $15K.
- If we include ‘Project dispersals’ (sic), then although the ratio improves considerably – $141K to deliver $72K – ‘administration’ is still 66% of expenses.
- You might reasonably ask RCF why you should donate through them when it would be far more efficient to donate directly to Global.
- Whether we call their cost ‘employee expenses’ or ‘contracting expenses’ (see AIS 2015, below), the expense was 20% of the total.
Can you get a tax deduction?
- Not by giving to RCF.
- They do offer tax deductible projects though, via Global Development Group. RCF is part of a Christian church, but Global is not a Christ-centred charity.
- Even though RCF is not allowed to solicit tax-deductible donations, this is what they are doing – the donations are for Riverview Trust – Children’s Foundations (an abortion of the proper name, but almost certainly RCF). It appears that they are then, contrary to the Accounting Standards, included in revenue. (‘Revenue’ does not include amounts collected for third parties.)
Is their online giving secure?
- Security is not mentioned on the first page (personal details), or second page (credit card details).
Is their reporting up-to-date?
- Yes (two days before the deadline, six months after their year-end).
- But if you are considering a large donation, I would ask for more up-to-date financial information – the accounts are for a year end that is now 10 months ago.
Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?
- AIS 2015: No
- No activities (just the mission), or outcomes given.
- ‘Donations and bequests’ excludes ‘Fundraising income’.
- ‘Contracting expenses’ are shown as ‘Employee expenses/payments’.
- ‘Grant and donations made…’ do not include ‘Project dispersals’ (sic).
- Financial Report 2015: No
- The Statement of Financial Performance uses an out-of-date format.
- If revenue includes the donations collected for Global Development Group (see above), then it is overstated.
- There is no Note explaining ‘Trade and other payables’, 100% of the liabilities.
- There is no Statement of Changes in Equity.
- Although not an ACNC requirement for this size of charity, you are entitled to audited financial statements because of their membership of Missions Interlink.
What financial situation was shown by that Report?
- The deficit was increased 450%, from 1% of turnover to 4% of turnover.
- No obvious concerns with the financial structure.
What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?
- No audit report is included in the Financial Report. (And there is no financial report on the website.)
If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?
- Not quite. ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’ are blank.
What choices do you have in how your donation is used?
- None disclosed on the website.
Who are the people controlling the organisation?
- Not shown on the website, but the ACNC Register lists them under ‘Responsible Persons’.
To whom are RCF accountable?
- Not claimed on the website, but RCF is a member of Missions Interlink, an organisation that has standards with which it must comply.
- RCF is also accountable to the ACNC.
- Despite RCF being part of Riverview Church – confirmed by the same people directing both charities – the Church does not consolidate RCF into its accounts. ↑
- As it only operates, according to the ACNC Register, in its home state, it does not need to have an Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN). ↑
- The law in this area is not straightforward and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions. ↑
- The projects are not identified, otherwise you could, as with some other charities that use Global, read about them on the Global website. ↑
- MI has the wrong website as the link in the membership list. ↑