Care: At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission’ (and a means for a Member to get income tax exemption when it might not otherwise be available). ‘Bible League Australia’ is one such member.
The website linked from the Missions Interlink membership goes to a website in the name ‘Bible League International’ – but which has the name ‘Bible League Australia’ in the footer as the owner of the site. The site seeks online donations.
Covid-19 – no information found
Given what Missions Interlink does, ‘Bible League Australia’ is probably a charity.
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.
Here’s the results for ‘Bible League Australia’ (the Missions Interlink membership), with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?
1. A search on ‘Bible League Australia’ gives a registered charity in a third name, The Bible League Incorporated [TBL]. This is because ‘Bible League Australia’ is one of the two names that TBL has recorded on the Register under ‘Also known as’. (The other one is Bible League Australia and New Zealand.)
2. There is nothing to indicate that TBL uses door-to-door or street collectors.
4. The ABN record says that donations to TBL are not tax deductible. A page on the website supports this, but also says that ‘businesses are able to gain some tax advantages by supporting the ministry through a business sponsorship’.
5. The use of your donations
Despite what TBL says on the ACNC Register, in the Committee’s Report for 2019 [Financial Report 2019), and in its Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2019, TBL does not
It is instead a fundraiser:
[Note 1, Notes to the Financial Statements, Financial Report 2019].
The audited account of how a charity uses donations is the Financial Report on the ACNC Register.
Committee members have a choice between two kinds of reports, special purpose or general purpose. The requirements of the former are less onerous than the latter (no consolidation, no related parties’ disclosure for a start).
TBL’s auditor, WJ Piepers FCA is a partner in chartered accounting firm berger piepers. This is what his professional body, Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand, has to say about the choice between the two types of reports:
With donors all over Australia giving $3.03 million [Financial Report 2019], 22 employees, and 20 volunteers, [AIS 2919], it is hard to see how a special purpose report is the right choice. But that is the choice that the committee members of TBL made.
And the auditor, a Chartered Accountant, agreed with them.
One of the implications of their choice is that you can ring TBL’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity. I strongly doubt that they will agree. And if they don’t then the accounts presented by the committee members are not for you.
The use of your donations
If you are still prepared to consider a donation to TBL, here is how the donations were used:
From the Statement of Cash Flows (with last year in the second column):
Compare with the expenses, below.
Resources consumed (i.e. accrual)
This, from the Statement of Financial Performance, is how the activities translated into expenses (with last year’s figures in the second column):
Other than Note 3, for two minor items, there is no further information given in the audited statements for these expenses.
- In the extra unaudited income statement, we can see that 98% of the funds were sent to one organisation, The Bible League USA. No such organisation could be found. I suspect they mean Bible League International.
- Note: The amount sent for bibles etc (‘Distribution of Funds Raised’) represents only 39% of revenue.
TBL give no information on (a) whether the money sent overseas was received, and (b) whether it was used for the purpose given.
Other issues with the Financial Report (repeated from the last review)
- Two income statements have been included.
- The income statements do not comply with the applicable Accounting Standard.
- The auditor either didn’t audit two of the financial statements or accidentally omitted them from his first paragraph.
- Some of the required Notes are missing.
- TBL refers to the ‘authoritative pronouncements of the Associations Incorporation Act when there aren’t any.
- The most prominent thing on the cover is the logo of a related entity.
- Confusion is introduced by the inclusion of the Certificate by Members of the Committee.
- Are the ‘Supporter’s loans..’ correctly classified as non-current? (Such loans are usually repayable on demand or at short notice.)
Here are the committee members who approved the Financial Report 2019:
Hans Norel [Committee’s Report]
From the ACNC Register, these are still the committee members.
The page headed ‘Our Impact’ is blank. Nothing systematic found elsewhere.
Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:
We sent TBL a draft of this review on 9 April 2020. At the time of publication, three weeks later, they had not responded.
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 implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary. ↑
TBL is an incorporated association (not, as they still say on their ABN record, an ‘Other Unincorporated Entity’). The ACNC Register says that it is operating interstate. This may mean that it should have an ARBN. ↑
A search on ‘Bible League International’ (the website name) gives one result, Bible League International (APAC) Pty Limited. Although its single responsible person is also on the board of TBL, this charity is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a US organisation, Bible League International Inc. To add further confusion, its website has the same name as TBL’s website:
Enhancing Not-for-Profit Annual and Financial Reporting, March 2013, accessed from their website March 2020. ↑
The accounting profession says that you are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose financial reports’. [From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au]. ↑
A list that was, until ‘Depreciation’, in alphabetical order. ↑
The committee members are accountable to the members. The number of members is not disclosed. ↑
Neither the word ‘feedback’ nor the word ‘complaint’ appears on the website. ↑