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Archived: The Christian & Missionary Alliance of Australia Inc: mini 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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.

Mini charity review of The Christian & Missionary Alliance of Australia Inc (CMAA) as an organisation that seeks donations. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is CMAA registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As an ACT incorporated association (A 02382).
    • Not registered for fundraising in any of the seven states that have a fundraising licence regime. This includes the six states in which CMAA operates.
      • The law in this area is not straightforward – is an internet invitation ‘fundraising’ for instance? – and advice varies, so check with the charity before drawing any conclusions.
    • If its operations interstate include ‘carrying on business’, then it doesn’t have the required registration (an ARBN).

What do they do?

  • CMAA is a Christian denomination.
  • This is the list of their ministries:
    • ‘Our Australian Work’: churches, youth events and training, and The Alliance College of Australia.
    • ‘Our International Work’: short-term mission trips, missionary conventions, and ‘international workers’.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • Looking at the ministries, one would presume so.

What impact are they making?

  • Nothing found.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • As is often the case, this is not easy to tell[1]. If it is represented only by the item ‘Administration’, then it is 32%. If the object of costing is set lower than ‘Overseas missions’, ‘Australian ministries’, and ‘Leadership training’, then the figure is likely much higher.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No

Is their online giving secure?

  • There is no comment about security on the first two pages in the giving process.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged three and a half 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 nearly 11 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: Not quite. There are no outcomes given, and a number of the figures in the Income Statement do not match those in the Financial Report.
  • Financial Report 2015: Doubtful.
    • From information on the ACNC Register, it appears that CMAA controls at least three other entities, Alliance College of Australia, The Christian Missionary Alliance Development Fund, and The Christian And Missionary Alliance of Australasia Property Trust, yet there is no mention of them in the Financial Report.
    • The directors have decided that CMAA, an organisation that receives over a million dollars in donations, operates in six states, and appeals publicly for donations, has no users, either present or prospective, who rely on the financial statements to make decisions. This means that they can produce special purpose financial statements, statements that do not have to comply with all the Accounting Standards.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Ignoring the fact that it is likely that a quite different picture would be shown if CMAA had included the entities that it controls (see the last question above):
    • The ‘Cash and cash equivalents’ balance represents 8 months of revenue.
    • Current (short-term) liabilities are well covered by current assets (even allowing for the fact that the ‘Finance loans’ and ‘Personal loans’ are not actually all due beyond 12 months).
    • 55% of the equity is represented by a fleet of motor vehicles.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • He gave a ‘clean’ opinion. To take the right amount of comfort for this finding, please read here and here.
    • This opinion implicitly includes his agreement with the decision not to consolidate the three charities that CMAA controls, and the decision to produce special purpose financial statements.

If a charity, is their information on the ACNC Register complete?

  • Apart from blanks under ‘Phone’ and ‘Website’, yes.

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • ‘Fiji Cyclone’, ‘Great Commission Fund’, and ‘IMPACT Sydney’.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the website.
  • See under ‘Responsible Persons’ here.

To whom are CMAA accountable?

  • Although they do not mention it on their website, they are, apart from the ACNC, a Member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, this response was received from the position of ‘Administrator’:
    • Thank you for your review. We do not agree with all of your observations e.g. we are a denominational head office, therefore administration is a major function; and we preach the Gospel as noted in our Annual Information Statement etc. However, we do not wish to enter into a detailed justification of each point.
      • Reviewer comment: (1) There is insufficient information in the accounts to isolate the cost of delivering administration versus their direct charitable work; (2) There is nothing the AIS 2015 to say that CMAA shares the Gospel.



  1. See the first question on the ACNC’s FAQs on ‘Charities and administration costs’.