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WorldShare: 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 a charity review of WorldShare, an organisation that seeks donations online, and is exempt from Australian income tax via its membership of Missions Interlink. (Including the answers to the questions that the Australian charity regulator, the ACNC, suggests that you ask.)

For the previous review, see here.

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • Neither feedback nor complaints (other than those about your privacy) are invited on the website.
  • The ‘Accountability’ page on the website does not mention feedback, complaints, or any external accountability organisations.
  • I sent them a draft of this review. Like last year, they…did not respond.

Is WorldShare registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • WorldShare is a public company (a company limited by guarantee).
    • It is permitted to omit ‘Limited/Ltd’ at the end of its name.
  • It holds one business name, CNEC Partners International.
  • WorldShare operates, per the ACNC Register, in all eight states.
    • It says – in the AIS 2017 – that it has a fundraising licence in every state with a licensing regime. Confirmed for New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australian[1].

What do they do?

  • This description, from the Financial Report 2017, is probably the clearest:

  • Here what they reported for 2017 in the AIS 2017:
    • In the last financial year, WorldShare supported 11 direct partnerships. Through these partnerships, 1042 children were sponsored, with 1194 others educated outside of our child sponsorship programs. 460 individuals received vocational training and 4349 patients were provided with healthcare. Thousands of people were reached through spiritual ministries. To connect people in Australia with the work overseas, WorldShare hosted an international visit from a partner in Uganda, during which over 1900 people connected with that partner. Over 1500 people in Australia provided support for our programs in the year, including through child sponsorship. In the last financial year, $1.7M in expenses were used for the purpose of supporting our overseas partner organisations, while $388,000 was used for fundraising purposes to ensure WorldShare can continue to assist more people and communities around the world.
  • WorldShare says, on the ACNC Register, that it operates in nine countries. This is two more than the number stated in the Annual Report.

Do they share the Gospel[2]?

  • From ‘What do they do?’ (immediately above), and the Annual Report, it appears not.
    • Evangelism is probably even less likely now that they have tax-deductible status not just for their fund, but also in their own right.
    • The objects in the old constitution required it:
      • The Company is a religious institution whose values require the promotion of the Lord Jesus Christ to peoples throughout the world and their evangelisation on the basis of the principles of the Christian faith.
    • But the not so the new constitution:
      • (a) to love like Jesus and provide holistic benevolent relief to poor and marginalised persons and communities through relief or development projects…
    • Perhaps this is why, again this year, their fund, Christian Nationals Developing Countries Aid Fund, is nowhere mentioned.
      • The only place ‘Christian’ is mentioned in the Annual Report is in the name of an overseas partner.

What impact are they having?

  • This is WorldShare’s answer to the FAQ ‘How do I know that the project I support is effective?’

  • No evaluations were found. Nor anything systematic on impact.
  • WorldShare do not describe how what they do produces the changes that they are seeking in the beneficiaries. ‘Theory of change’ is not mentioned on the website.
  • Hopefully, with an ‘Evaluation Specialist’ on the board since May 2017, there will be at least some comment next year.

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

  • If we define ‘direct’ as the money that leaves Australia for projects – and this ignores the fact that some of this money may be used on local administration – ‘administration’ is 43% of expenses (up from 42%).
  • With getting a result for you costing this much, it would be reasonable for you to ask whether it would be more efficient to donate direct to the partner.  As three people and one organization from Australia did in the year ended 2017 to the Indian partner.

Do they pay their directors?

  • This is not allowed by their constitution.
  • The disclosure of expenses is insufficient to confirm that no fees were paid.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Since 13 May 2017, yes.
  • And since many years earlier, to its fund, Christian Nationals Developing Countries Aid Fund.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is still not mentioned.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The only information in the Financial Report is that $1.34 m was sent overseas.
  • The Annual Report discloses the name of WorldShare’s 11 (down from 12 last year) overseas ‘partners’ and their country.
    • Unlike last year, though, the amounts sent to each country is not shown.
  • This is WorldShare’s answer to their FAQ ‘Where does my money go?’
    • Approximately 78% of funds raised go to partner programs that directly benefit vulnerable children and their communities. This includes the provision expertise (sic) to ensure that the funds are providing maximum benefits to their intended beneficiaries.
      • Note that this includes $375K of ‘Project costs’, that is, not money that goes to the beneficiaries. Without that spending, the percentage drops to 60%.

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

  • Many.
    • Why, when WorldShare has DGR status, are some things that you can give for ‘non tax deductible’ (sic)?

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Worldshare (Group not yet started): Yes (two days before the deadline, seven months after their year-end, and three weeks later than last year).
  • The Group: None due – Group began 1 July 2017.
  • The Trust: None due – Group reporting.

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2017[3]: No
    • Most of the figures in the ‘Comprehensive Income Statement summary’ are incorrect.
    • No outcomes are reported.
    • CNEC Partners International is not their former name.
    • Online’ has been omitted as a fundraising source.
  • Financial Report 2017[4]: No
    • Once again[5]
      • There is no reserve for the ‘Fair value adjustment of financial assets’.
      • The disclosure in the Statement of Cash Flows does not comply with the Accounting Standards.
      • The deficit used in the ‘Reconciliation of net cash flows from/(used in) operating activities to operating (loss)’ is different from the deficit reported in the Statement of Income and Comprehensive Income (sic).
      • The revenue disclosure in Note 2 does not match what is disclosed in the Statement of Income and Comprehensive Income (sic).
      • Why is ‘Staff Entitlement Provisions Movement’ not included in ‘Employee Benefits Expense’?
      • What is the difference between ‘Employee benefit accounts’ and ‘Employee Entitlement Provisions’?
    • The prior year figures in the Statement of Cash Flows do not match those in last year’s accounts.
    • ‘Increase (decrease) in GST Payable/Recoverable’ is not a cash flow.
    • The disclosure in the Statement of Changes in Equity and Accumulated Funds and Reserves does not comply with the Accounting Standards[6].

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • Last year’s return as a percentage of revenue was increased from negative 6% to negative 4%.
  • Both short- and long-term financial structure are sound.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • The auditor, Lawrence R Green, FCA, of Shedden and Green Partners, issued a ‘clean’ opinion on the financial statements. I suggest you read the ‘Financial Report 2017’ section above before you decide how much comfort to take from this opinion. (And here and here to understand what ‘clean’ means.)

If a charity, is their page on the ACNC Register complete/correct?

  • Worldshare: Not quite – the information under ‘Other Name(s)’ is still incorrect.
  • The Group: No. Four fields are blank.
  • The Trust: No.
    • ‘Other Name(s)’ is incorrect.
    • ‘Email’ and ‘Website’ are blank (said by the ACNC not to be compulsory).

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The people introduced here.
  • With a couple of name variations, this is the same as those shown on the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):
    • Joanne Armstrong
      • Is it this Jo Armstrong?
    • Stuart Harris
    • Krystal Leanne John
    • John Lamerton
    • Peter Leau
    • Victoria Lee
    • Alexandra Elizabeth Rodgers
    • Craig Murray Wilson
  • At year-end, there were only 18 members [Financial Report 2017]. As directors must be members, there’s not much effective accountability to the membership (but more than last year with only 13 members).

To whom is WorldShare accountable?

  • As a charity, to the ACNC.
  • And, still for some things as a company, to ASIC.
  • Not mentioned on the website, but WorldShare is a member of Missions Interlink.
    • For one opinion of the strength of that accountability, see the section Activities in this review.

 

 

  1. Search facility temporarily unavailable for Tasmania and Queensland.
  2. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14.
  3. A Group AIS was not required.
  4. A Group Financial Report was not required.
    • The breakup of donations is not shown (it is in the Annual Report).
    • Reading the market price of available-for-sale investments is not a ‘critical…judgement’.
    • Nowhere is the tax-deductible fund, Christian Nationals Developing Countries Fund, mentioned.
    • The title Statement of Income and Comprehensive Income doesn’t make sense.In addition:
  5. In addition:
    • The title of that statement doesn’t make sense.
    • The revenue recognition practice does not match the policy Note.
    • Confusion is caused by the inclusion of cents in the first four of the revenue items in the Statement of Income and Comprehensive Income.

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