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World Vision 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 review[1] 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. ‘World Vision Australia’ is one such Member.



The name in the ACFID membership list links to a website in the same name. Here they seek 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”:

  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 ‘World Vision Australia’, with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[2]

1.  A search on the ACNC Register for ‘World Vision Australia’ gives a charity in the same name (World Vision).

Although World Vision is a public company, it was permitted to register without the usual ‘Ltd’/’Limited’ at the end of the name.


2.  World Vision do seek donations in public places. But, not, according to the website Chat operator on 5 May 2020, door-to-door.

They also allow unofficial collectors to say that they are collecting for ‘World Vision Australia’. _____________________________________________________

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

The security of your information is not mentioned on the first three pages of the giving process.


4.  World Vision’s ABN record (via the ACNC Register) says that it is a public benevolent institution, so it has deductible gift recipient status as an organisation. There are also two World Vision funds that offer a tax deduction:

There is no mention of a tax deduction in the first three pages of the giving process.

Tax deductibility has its own page on the website.


5.  The use of your donations

It’s all about vulnerable children [Directors’ Report, Financial Report 2019]:

World Vision contributes in ‘four key areas’.

Cash spent

This is the only information about where the cash went on operating activities:


Resources consumed (i.e. accrual)

The accrual section of the Report is more helpful:

None of the terms are defined.


‘Fundraising’ 7.6%

‘Accountability and administration’ 4.3%

‘Community Education’ 0.3%

‘Program support costs’ 1.3%

An alternative classification of the expenses

The Notes to the Financial Statements [Financial Report 2019] give a more common classification for the above $581.00 million:

‘Disbursement to overseas projects’

Note 4 tells us where overseas the money went:

It appears, from footnotes (iii) and (iv) above, that all the money is sent to the ‘World Vision International Partnership’ office. Part of Note 6(c) about hedging seems to confirm this:

How much was sent for each giving option[4] is not disclosed.

How they ensured that the money was used for the purpose for which you gave it

There is no information on this.

Employee benefits expense

The $46.31 million incurred on labour represents an average of $86K p.a. This includes ‘Key Management Personnel’ (see below).

The 10.5% increase over last year is partly due to World Vision being one of the high profile organisations who had to own up to underpaying employees over recent years

Key Management Personnel’

5.5% of the employee benefits expense (see above) went on these people. We aren’t told the number of people, so can’t calculate an average. However, the CEO’s benefits are disclosed:

This figure, and that of the other ‘key’ people, is determined by looking at what is paid to companies listed on the stock exchange that are classified as ‘industrials’:


Here are the people responsible for World Vision during the year and up to the issue of the Financial Report 2019:

Shannon Adams

Wendy Simpson

Fiona Pearse

Claire Rogers

Andrew Scipione

Charles Badenoch

Darryl Gardiner

Donna Shepherd

Jon Seeley

Sally-Ann Williams

Tim McCormack

The directors are responsible to the members. With World Vision the directors are the only members. No accountability there.


This is an example of World Vision’s reporting of impact.

See the Annual Report (under ‘Documents’ here).

Charity response

World Vision welcomes feedback.

We sent a draft of this review to them on 6 May 2020. They…did not respond.



  1. See here for the previous review (in early 2017).
  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. Although this level of disclosure may be compliant with the letter of the applicable Accounting Standard ( AASB 107), it is not consistent with either the intent of the Standard and paragraphs 14 and 19, or what is reasonable to expect from a major Christ-led charity that is reporting a true and fair view.
  4. The choice is to donate, or to sponsor a child.No choice of cause or project is given on the Donate now page, but you may stumble on a page headed ‘Ways to give’ which, in addition to ‘Donate to where it’s most needed’ (see above) and ‘Sponsor today’, has these options:
    • ‘Education’
    • A slider of urgent needs
    • ‘Big Impact Appeal’
    • ‘Water’
    • ‘Child Rescue’
    • ‘Health’
    • ‘Cyclone Idai Appeal’
    • ‘Gifts’
    • ‘Support Indigenous Australians’
    • ‘Livelihoods’
    • ‘Bequests’
    • ‘Donate business resources’

    Donations received

    It is not possible to see totals for each of these options in World Vision’s reporting: