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Archived: The Leprosy Mission Australia: mini charity review for donors

Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 Leprosy Mission Australia (TLM) as an organisation that seeks donations. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is TLM registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee[1].
    • Fundraising licences: exempt in ACT and licensed in the other six states that have a licensing regime.

What do they do?

  • From the Directors’ Report[2] (see Financial Report 2015, below):
    • The principal activity of the company, as a Christian charity, is to raise funds for overseas aid in order that the physical, mental, social and spiritual needs of sufferers of leprosy can be assisted in their cure and rehabilitation from leprosy.
    • For the sources of this money, and their projects by country, see the AIS 2015.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • Not according to information on the website. (Which is consistent with the absence of ‘Advancing religion’ as an Entity Subtype on the ACNC Register, TLM’s objects (in the constitution), and its funding by the Australian Government.)

What impact are they making?

  • The main menu item ‘Your Impact’ leads to a number of individual stories and some project descriptions, but nothing systematic on outcomes.
  • According to the Annual Report, three evaluations were conducted in 2014-15. One of the reports there mentions the assessment of impact.
  • A search of the website gives one anecdotal account of impact in one village.

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[3]. Here’s the figures from the Directors’ Report:

International Programs

Total Disbursements (including DFAT)     38.5%

Support Costs (Including DFAT)                 16.1%

Others’ Projects, Channelled Funds             3.4%

Community Education Costs                        3.5%


Yield as a % of total revenue less asset sales 61.6%

Fundraising                                                   16.4%

Merchandise                                                  10.9%

Investments                                                   0.8%

Accountability & Administration             9.3%

  • The 16.1% of ‘Support Costs’ are direct if the object of the costing is ‘International Programs’, but that is very broad, and if we were to make the cost objects the overseas projects, how much would then be classified as administration? We are not given the information to calculate this.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes

Is their online giving secure?

  • SecurePay is used, so yes.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged five 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 over 14 months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: Except for the absence of outcomes, yes.
  • Financial Report 2015: Yes

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • What the directors say in the Directors’ Report (see Financial Report 2015 on the ACNC Register) seems reasonable:

The Leprosy Mission Australia (TLMA) has achieved a surplus for the year of $50,437 whilst generally maintaining budgeted support for international programs, but without property asset sales, as had occurred in each of the previous two years. The annual result was supported by increases in Donations (up $155,860) and in Bequests (up $399,664), plus expenditure savings to last year in Fundraising and Merchandise totalling $178,663. Revenue totalling $5.38M resulted in $3.31M being disbursed to international programs with $2.02M being spent on support and administrative functions in Australia [see the review section What do they spend…., above). Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) funding provided a total of $1.24M or 23% of the total revenues. The yield of 62% to international programs (as % of revenue) [see the review section What do they spend…., above) exceeded this yearʼs target of 56% due to increased donor revenues and decreased operating costs.

The financial health of the organisation is sound; underpinned by a stable donor base, the recently confirmed DFAT five year accreditation and $1.54M of financial assets. Our financial objective in 2015-16 is to sustainably increase donor revenues while maintaining tight controls on costs.

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.

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

  • Yes.

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

  • None.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

To whom are they accountable?

  • Apart from the ACNC, they are a Member of Missions Interlink[5].
    • 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, they did not respond.



  1. Not, as the ABN record says, an ‘other incorporated entity’.
  2. The information on the website about what they do is not about Australia particularly, but the international organisation, not the Australian charity.
  3. See the first question on the ACNC’s FAQs on ‘Charities and administration costs’.
  4. The ACNC Register also shows Sheldon Rankin, but he is the Public Officer, and therefore not automatically a Responsible Person.
  5. This membership is claimed in the Annual Report, but not on the website.