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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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 a review in the series ‘Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Members’. ACFID ‘is the peak body for Australian non government organisations (NGOs) involved in international development and humanitarian action.’ It requires Members to adhere to a Code of Conduct. ‘Leprosy Mission Australia, The’ is one such Member[1].


The website linked from the ACFID membership list, ‘The Leprosy Mission Australia’, seeks donations from the public.

Covid-19 on that website.

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, and
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for ‘Leprosy Mission Australia, The’, with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[2]

 1.  There’s a charity registered in the name ‘The Leprosy Mission Australia’ [TLMA].

Although TLMA is a public company, the usual ‘Ltd’/’Limited’ is absent because ASIC permitted registration without it.


2.  There is no indication on the website that TLMA seeks donations door-to-door or in public places.


3.  The web address begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above].

The SecurePay logo (unlinked) is at the bottom of the page where you put your information[3].


4.  TLMA’s ABN record says that, as a public benevolent institution (PBI), it is entitled to receive tax-deductible gifts. The initial page of the giving process says the same.


5.  The use of your donations

This graphic, under the heading ‘About/Where your funds go’ on the website, is one of TLMA’s answers to this question:

But this is not the whole picture. The above activities occurred overseas and were not delivered by TLMA. TLMA is a fundraising organisation[4]:

The audited account of how a charity uses its donations – $3.00 million for TLMA – is its Financial Report on the ACNC Register.

Cash spent

From the Statement of Cash Flows (with last year in the second column):

No further information is given on the first figure. So, we don’t have enough information to understand where the cash went.

Resources consumed (i.e. accrual)

This, from the Statement of Income and Expenditure, is how the activities translated into expenses:

None of the above terms are defined.

From the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page on the website:

‘Accountability and Administration’ above is 10.8% (excluding any part of the unidentified ‘Other Expenditure’).

‘The field’ is not defined, but it seems reasonable to equate this with the amount sent overseas (Note 19, see below). This was 34%, less than half the 70% that was TLMA’s aim. Even if we exclude ‘Commercial…’ and ‘Other Expenditure’, it is still only 41%. For this reason, you might consider asking TLMA why you shouldn’t send your donation direct to The Leprosy Mission overseas.

Note 19 gives the destination of the bulk of the funds sent overseas:

Presumably, this is saying that the net donations were all sent to TLM offices overseas.

There is no comment on what happens to the money after it reaches the overseas office.


Nothing systematic found on TLMA’s impact.

Charity response

TLMA appreciates feedback. I sent a draft of this review to them on 6 April 2020. By the time of publication, on 24 April, they had not responded[5].


  1. The organisation is also a Member of Missions Interlink. Missions Interlink also a set of standards for members (monitoring of which is weak).

  2. 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?

  3. Suggestion to TLMA: for those who don’t know Secure Pay, a link would be useful.

  4. From the Directors’ Report [Financial Report 2019, ACNC Register]:

  5. They didn’t respond to the last review either.