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Archived: World Outreach 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 World Outreach Ltd (WO) as an organisation that seeks donations (via the website of the international organisation, World Outreach International). (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

Is WO registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company, a company limited by guarantee. (Not, as it says on the ABN record, an ‘Other Incorporated Entity’.)
    • WO has a fundraising licence in its home state. And there is no licensing regime in the other state in which it operates.
      • But it does seek donations on the internet, so compliance with the fundraising law of the other states depends on whether they deem such a request to be ‘fundraising’.

What do they do?

  • No website, so here’s what they said in the AIS 2015:
    • Emergency relief during humanitarian disasters, micro enterprise, prison work, support an aid to Orphans (sic), Leadership (sic) training and mentoring, community development.
      • Is this really all done by WO, or is this what the international organisation does?

Do they share the Gospel?

  • From the objects in the constitution they should be, but there is no evidence that they are.

What impact are they having?

  • No information found.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • Without knowing what WO does, this can’t be answered.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Not according to the Australian Business Register.
  • Why then this statement on the International website?
    • World Outreach Australia Limited has DGR (deductible gift recipient) status for gifts to Public Benevolent Funds within Australia. We operate certain Benevolent Funds which are claimable for tax rebates. Any donations designated to Benevolent Fund Where Most Needed will be tax deductible. Contact our Australian Office for details of specific missionaries or projects which relate to any Australian Benevolent Fund projects. We also give tax claimable receipts for donations to the Fulani people project in Burkina Faso.

Is their online giving secure?

  • eWay and PayPal are used, so yes.

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (lodged on the last day allowed, seven 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 nearly nine months ago.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2015: No.
    • There are no outcomes given.
    • The wrong type of financial statements is given in Section E.
    • Only two of the eleven Income Statement figures match those in the financial statements.
    • The email address is incorrect.
  • Financial Report 2015: No
    • The reports that should be signed are unsigned.
    • Revenue is understated due to the netting of grants against donations.
    • ‘Comprehensive income’ is grossly overstated. (And is missing from the Statement of Changes in Equity.)
    • The decision to say that there are no users, either present or prospective, who are dependent on WO’s financial statements is, given WO’s reach and donation income, questionable.
    • The audit report is missing a compulsory paragraph, and the auditor contradicts himself on whether he assessed the appropriateness of WO’s accounting policies.
    • An unexplained, and unaudited, extra income statement is included.

What financial situation was shown by that Report?

  • Last year’s deficit of 19% of revenue was turned around to a very small surplus (less than ½%).
  • Short term structure: short-term (current) liabilities exceed short-term (current) assets by only 25%.
  • 86% of total liabilities are represented by borrowings from related parties, related parties that are not disclosed in the accounts.
  • The equity is only 14% greater than last year’s deficit.

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.
    • But see the last two points above under ‘Financial Report 2015’.

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

  • Assuming that WO doesn’t consider that it has a website, yes.

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

  • The following six:
    • ‘Bless as WOI missionary’
    • ‘Bless a project’
    • ‘Tools for missionaries’
    • ‘Empower a leader’
    • ‘Empower the poor’
    • ‘Empower a Woman’ (sic)

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • Not shown on the international website, but from the ACNC Register:
    • Edward Elliot
    • Bruce Hills
    • Gail McDougall
    • Grahame Orpin
    • Searle Thomas (is this the wrong way round?)

To whom are they accountable?

Are they responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review…they did not respond.



  1. For one opinion on the strength of this accountability, see the section Activities in this review.