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Transform Aid International Ltd: 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 Transform Aid International Ltd (TAI) as an organisation that, via its subsidiary Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd, seeks donations. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is TAI registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee[1].
    • TAI operates – according to the ACNC Register – in all states, and has a public invitation to give. But it is not registered to fundraise in NSW, Queensland or Victoria.
      • 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.
      • TAI comment: ‘TAI is registered in all jurisdictions as required.
        • Reviewer response: I asked the respondent the basis for their belief that they didn’t need to register in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. He didn’t answer.

What do they do?

  • The primary object in the constitution says that TAI was formed ‘to act as the affiliated aid and development agency of ABM [Australian Baptist Ministries] [clause 1.7 (a)].
  • This has been broadened on the website to include other Australian denominations:
    • Transform Aid is a space for churches, denominations and agencies to come together to end poverty through community development work and advocacy with Christian Partners in Asia, Africa and the Pacific. We also mobilise supporters in Australia via high quality education, advocacy and marketing resources.

Do they share the Gospel?

  • No.

What impact are they having?

  • Nothing systematic found on the TAI website.
    • TAI comment: ‘TAI’s website contains the 2014/15 consolidated Annual Report which makes extensive reference to our impact.’
      • Reviewer response: Here is an example of how they use the term ‘impact’ in that Report:
        • The Impact: Community members are leading healthy lives in supportive environments.

The outcome: Transform Aid International invested $2.98 million in 40 projects in 14/15. Community members have improved their knowledge of health issues and now practise behaviours which engender good health and see lives saved. Community members now have access to improved health services and enjoy healthy physical environments.

Examples: In one project, our partner in Nepal, ‘United Mission to Nepal’, targeted 40,480 direct and 108,215 indirect beneficiaries in seven of the most marginalised districts of Nepal. The project implemented awareness campaigns, strengthened community health workers in skills and empowered health organisations to address health issues locally. It provided education on living with HIV/AIDS, nutrition, sanitation, sexual reproductive health and infant and child health. Those most vulnerable being women, children and those living with HIV/AIDS were the primary target group.

In Papua New Guinea (PNG) our partner, the Baptist Union of PNG, runs three district rural hospitals, 10 health centres and nine aid posts providing essential health services to 180,000 people. Transform Aid International, in partnership with the Australian Government through the Church Partnership Program, ensures that these services reach the maximum number of people with quality health services and develop professional and community based health workers to service some of the most isolated parts of PNG.

  • Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd: Nothing systematic found.
    • TAI comment: ‘BWAA’s website contains the 2014/15 consolidated Annual Report which makes extensive reference to our impact.’
      • Reviewer response: see above.

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 calculate. If ‘impact’ is defined as the outcomes from money spent directly on or for aid beneficiaries, then administration is 38 cents of every dollar of expense.
    • ‘Accountability and Administration’ – excluding the unallocated ‘Non-monetary expenditure’ $315K – is 18 cents in the dollar.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • No
    • TAI comment: ‘Yes, TAI is an endorsed Deductible Gift Recipient under the OAGDS scheme.’
    • Reviewer response: The ABN record, accessible from TAI’s record on the ACNC Register, shows that TAI does not have DGR status. Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd does though (see below).
  • Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd: yes. All donations go to TAI’s subsidiary Baptist World Aid Australia Public Ancillary Fund.

Is their online giving secure?

  • NA (for TAI).
  • Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd: The page says ‘Secure transaction’ (but doesn’t name the portal).
    • TAI comment: ‘BWAA uses Eway, a secure payment gateway.’

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged just under six 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 15 months ago.
      • TAI comment: ‘TAI is fully compliant with ACNC’s requirements, the next ACNC reporting is only due in December 2016.’
      • Reviewer response: I have not suggested otherwise.  If you look at advice on giving with discernment, you will find that my suggestion is valid.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: No. There are no outcomes given, and three of the figures in the Income Statement do not match those in the financial statements.
    • TAI comment: ‘TAI’s financial statements are audited by independent auditors.
      • Reviewer response: The comment is about the AIS 2015, not the financial statements.
  • Financial Report 2015: Yes

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • There was a large increase in surplus as a percentage of revenue (from 3% to 10%).
    • TAI comment: ‘This is explained by a number of large-scale Disasters Appeals with multi-year re-building programs.’
  • One contribution to this was the increased retention of non-designated donations.
  • Consequently, the amount of annual revenue that is covered by ‘cash and cash equivalents’ has increased from 1.7 months to 2.7.
  • No obvious concerns about the financial structure.

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?

  • Almost. ‘Website’ is blank.

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

  • TAI: NA.
  • Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd:
    • ‘Where it’s needed most’
    • ‘Vulnerable Children Fund’
    • ‘Middle East Crisis Appeal’
    • ‘East Africa Drought Appeal’
    • ‘Disaster Action Fund’
    • ‘Community Development’
    • ‘Advocacy Research’

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The first eight people shown here. (Although the page is headed ‘Board’ the others are advisers or interns.)

To whom are they accountable?

  • The four organisations named in the website footer:
    • Australian Baptist Ministries is included in the four because TAI is one of their national ministries, and therefore overseen by them.
    • AICD membership confirmed.
    • Although the link from Australian Aid logo doesn’t show it, TAI has full accreditation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to receive aid grants.
    • Integral. Here are the standards with which they have to comply.
  • There are two accountability relationships not mentioned.
    • Missions Interlink.
      • For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.
    • The ACNC. (This also applies to TAI’s two charity subsidiaries.)

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, they responded the same day. However, they did not respond to my subsequent explanations.

 

 

  1. The website and the Financial Report (including the audit report) not infrequently use TAI’s name without the ‘Limited’ (or ‘Ltd’). As far as I can see – and I am not a lawyer – it does not have the provisions in its constitution that would allow it to do this.
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