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Archived: The Leprosy Mission Australia: 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink’, Missions Interlink being ‘the Australian network for global mission[1] (and a means for a Member to get income tax exemption when it might not otherwise be available[2], with a consequent accountability regime).

The Leprosy Mission Australia’ (TLMA) is one such Member, and an organisation that seeks donations from the public.

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:


TLMA did not respond to a draft of this review.

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 charity’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 ‘The Leprosy Mission Australia’[3], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[4].

1.  A search on the ACNC Register of charities leads to a charity with that name.

2. NA

3. The “web address begins with ‘https’” and there is a “closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the first ACNC article above]. On the page two of the giving process the logo of ‘SecurePay’ is shown, but there is no link to information on this security.

4. The Australian Business Register (linked from TLMA’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts.

5. Contrary to what it says on the Register, in the AIS 2018, on the website, and in the Annual Report 2018, TLMA is not a charity that has projects itself, but is a ‘Supporting Country’, raising money in Australia and providing ‘expertise…to the projects’ they fund (Annual Report, page 30).

In 2018, they raised $5.44 million. From this they made overseas grants of $1.72 million (36% of expenses), and had ‘Employee expenses’ of $1.32 million (27%). They don’t comment on the effectiveness of this fundraising.

Although the note number has been omitted in the statement, Note 20 shows the distribution of the $1.72 million country by country. It is headed ‘Distribution to TLM Global Fellowship’, so presumably the recipient was the national ‘The Leprosy Mission’ organisation in each of those countries?

There is no information on how TLMA ensures that (a) their donations reach these organisations, (b) what happened to the donations after they reached those organisations, and (c) what TLMA does to ensure that your donations are used on the project you selected.


There is some information on a small portion of the work overseas in the reports of the two mid-term evaluations that were conducted in 2018. A link to the evaluations is not offered. There is no overall assessment of impact, either in 2018 or over the last few years.


For more a more in-depth review, please contact me.

  1. https://missionsinterlink.org.au/about/ 
  2. http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-21.png
  3. See here for last year’s review.
  4. 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].