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. ‘(The) Salvation Army International Development’ is one such Member, a ‘Full’ member.
The website linked from the ACFID membership list, ‘The Salvation Army International Development Australia’, seeks donations from the public.
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.
Question 1: Check the charity’s name
There is no registered charity in the name ‘The Salvation Army International Development Australia,’ with or without ‘The’ in the name, or with or without ‘Australia’ in the name.
There is no entity or business name that has ‘Salvation Army’ linked with ‘International Development’ [www.asic.gov.au].
There is no ABN for Salvation Army International Development.
So, we turn to Salvation Army International Development’s website for information.
In the footer, it says, contrary to the ACFID’s member listing (see above), that the ACFID member is The Salvation Army Australia:
But there is no entity The Salvation Army Australia registered with ASIC. Many with ‘Salvation Army’ in their name though.
The website footer then goes on to say, by citing an ABN, that the website belongs to ‘The Salvation Army’, and the money goes to the registered charity The trustee for The Salvation Army (Australia) Self Denial Fund (For Overseas Aid).
Question 2: Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation
The Salvos Red Shield Appeal door-knockers are well identified. Presumably collectors for ‘International Development’ would be similarly identified.
Question 3: Be careful of online requests for donations
The web address begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure.
There is nothing about the security of your credit card information on the giving page. If this is important to you, you’ll have to contact them (many options from which to choose).
Question 4: No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not legitimate
The ABN record (via the ACNC Register) says that The Trustee for The Salvation….’ it is entitled to receive tax-deductible gifts.
Tax deductibility is not mentioned in the giving process. In the website footer, if you think that overseas aid is part of The Salvos ‘social work,’ you will be led to a list of charities that give a tax deduction, a list that includes. The trustee for The Salvation…
Question 5: The use of your donations
The audited account of how a charity uses its donations is its Financial Report on the ACNC Register.
For The trustee for The Salvation… there is no such report. This is because ‘This charity is in an ACNC approved reporting group under Salvation Army – Social Work_ACNC Group’, and members of a Group do not need to report. And The Trustee for The Salvation… has chosen not to voluntarily upload its financial report.
So, no transparency, no accountability for your donation.
Although they have not bothered to upload it to the ACNC Register, The Salvos, courtesy of AICD requirements, have produced a financial report for ‘international development.’ It is available via the website.
However, it an ‘aggregation’ (not consolidation) of the figures for their two ‘overseas aid’ charities. And the figures for The trustee for The Salvation..’ are not shown.
So, still no transparency, no accountability for your donation.
If you are happy to rely on the figures for the two overseas aid charities combined, your donations will be part of these totals (from the Aggregated Statement of Comprehensive Income):
There’s no note in this statement, as is usual, to send you to the information, but in the ‘small print’ (The Notes to the Aggregated Financial Statements), we can find the overseas destination of your donation:
Does ‘other donations’ mean that there are one or more sources outside the two ‘Overseas Aid’ charities?
There’s another $1.06 million of money sent overseas in this Note, but no reconciliation of the totals in the Note to the amount (above) in the Aggregated Statement of Comprehensive Income). Not helpful.
When you donate there are no options – purpose or destination – so you won’t know which of these countries benefited.
But the bigger issue is that the figures for the charity to which you donated are combined with those of another charity. No transparency, no accountability.
We sent a draft of this review to The trustee of The Salvation…. They….did not respond.
- You can see prior review here. ↑
- 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 Report uploaded for the Group is for an entity called The Salvation Army Australia Social Fund. The trustee for The Salvation…is one of fifteen (15) charities in the group. There are also another 7 entities included the group figures, an ‘aggregation’ (not consolidation) of the results and financial position of 22 separate entities.There is no identification of the figures for The trustee for The Salvation… in this report.
Even if you were prepared to rely on the group report, the money spent on ‘international development’ or ‘overseas aid’ is not identified. This is the only disclosure of expenses (with last year in the second column, and note that these are hundreds of thousands):
(Even if overseas aid was identified, there are at least two Salvos charities with ‘overseas aid’ in their name.) ↑
- You can read about the projects in four of the 12 countries in the Annual Report. The theory of change for the work is described on page seven of this report, and page 17 is a summary of the results of the evaluations undertaken. ↑