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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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 an update to the review of the charity WorldShare.

I sent a draft of this review to the charity. Like last time, they did not respond[1].

WordShare seeks donations on its website. The charities’ regulator, 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.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for ‘WorldShare’, 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 name ‘WorldShare’ on the ACNC Register of charities leads to three:

The ‘group’ in the third one consists of the first two. WorldShare is the trustee[3] of the second one, Worldshare Christian Mission Trust (the Trust)[4].

WorldShare has a website, the Trust not. Although controlled by WorldShare, the Trust is not mentioned on its website.


2.  There is nothing to indicate that WorldShare uses third party collectors.


3.  The “web address begins with ‘https’” and there is a “closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the first ACNC article above]. The donation page does not mention the security of your information.


4. The Australian Business Register (linked from WorldShare’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is entitled to receive tax deductible gifts, both in its own right (since May 2017), and for its fund, Christian Nationals Developing Countries Aid Fund[5].

There is no explanation on the website for the inclusion of two giving options that are not eligible for a tax deduction.


5. Objectives/Mission

Neither ‘mission’ nor ‘objectives’ are mentioned on the website. In the Directors’ Report, in the Group Financial Report 2018, there is one objective under the heading ‘Long Term Objectives and Strategies’:

We exist to together, restore hope and life to the outcast and forgotten and see lives transformed (sic) as people connect to love like Jesus’.

This does not appear to include the work of the Trust, that is, it is about WorldShare, not the Group.


The balance of the ‘Long Term Objectives and Strategies’ section (see above) describes what WorldShare does:

A major activity is omitted though – the sending of your money to these partners.

For 2018, this is what they said they did (from the Group Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2018[6]):

Again, this omits the Trust’s activities, that is, it is about WorldShare, not the Group[7].

Sharing the Gospel[8]?

WorldShare no, the Trust yes.

The Trust’s activities

There is no description of its activities in its ACNC Register entry.


WorldShare operates, per the ACNC Register, in all eight states[9]. And in four overseas countries: India, Philippines, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of Congo[10].

The trust operates in the first three of these countries, plus Congo[11], China and Indonesia. Nowhere is what they do in these countries disclosed.

How the objective and activities translated into dollars spent

The audited account of how donations are used is the (Group) Financial Report 2018 on the ACNC Register[12]. This Report covers both WorldShare and the Trust.

Here are expenses in that Report (with last year in the second column):

  • No explanation is given for the dramatic reduction in ‘Funds to overseas projects’.
    • Or why ‘Project costs’ would increase in such a situation.
  • There is no disclosure of how much was consumed by projects in the name of the Trust compared to WorldShare programs.
  • The amount sent to each partner is not disclosed; not even the amount by country is given.
  • Only 37% of donations were used for ‘overseas projects’.
  • WorldShare, on the ‘Accountability’ page on the website, says that the figure is 67%:

But this is only accurate if one says that the 44% of the total that goes on ‘project costs’ is of direct gain to the beneficiaries. Which is questionable.

  • Under ‘Child Sponsorship’, the claim rises to 75%. And then to 78% in a FAQ on the same page as the 67%[13]:

  • This is the amplification of the expenses above (Note 3):

  • There is no disclosure of how much was spent for each of the giving options on the website, for instance, child sponsorship.
  • No explanation is given for the difference between ‘Fundraising costs’ ($313K) and ‘Costs of Fundraising’ ($87K)[14].
  • The former figure is 21% of Donations.
  • ‘Administration’ is 13% of Donations.
    • Seven full-time equivalent employees seems high for a charity that had revenue of $1.52 million.
    • The average full-time employee benefits was $83K [AIS 2018].
  • 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 five people and three organisations from Australia did in the year ended 2018 to the Indian partner.
  • ‘Project costs’ were equal to 77% of ‘Funds to overseas projects’.
  • No explanation is given for the reporting of ‘Staff Entitlement Provision Movement’ outside ‘Employee Benefits Expense’.
  • $10K was consumed by ‘Community education’, yet this is not one of their stated activities.
    • WorldShare’s Register entry says that ‘$388,000[15] was used for fundraising purposes’. This figure includes the $14K used for ‘Community education’. So why separate the two?
  • WorldShare have, without explanation, cash, cash equivalents, and investments totaling over a year’s worth of revenue.
    • 49% of the investments are, without explanation, in higher risk assets.
    • $168K of donations were used to purchase (unidentified) intangibles.


All projects are formally evaluated:

No such evaluations are available via the website though. And none are mentioned in the Annual Report[16]. It appears that the appointment of an ‘Evaluation Specialist[17] to the board in May 2017 has yet to have any effect[18].

The people shown under ‘Our Board’ are the people currently responsible for the situation described above[19].

For more a more in-depth review, please contact me.



  1. It was reviewed previously because it was a member of Missions Interlink. As such it had to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:http://tedsherwood.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/word-image-20.pngAlthough it is no longer a member, WorldShare, as a ‘Christian’ organisation, should still be comfortable with these standards. However, neither feedback nor complaints (other than those about your privacy) are invited on the website. And the ‘Accountability’ page on the website does not mention feedback or complaints.
  2. 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? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].
  3. From the ‘governing document’ on the ACNC (which was lodged two months late).
  4. This is the legal name of the Trust. It is, contrary to what it says on the ACNC Register entry, not also known as ‘WorldShare Christian Mission Trust’. And contrary to what WorldShare have recorded on the Australian Business Register, it is not a fixed trust.
  5. This Fund is not mentioned on the website, nor in the Annual Report. The giving options online do not include this Fund, and the amount raised is not shown in the Financial Report.
  6. Even though the ACNC generously allowed charities with a 30 June year-end an extension to 31 March, WorldShare still lodged a month late. This meant that their accounts were available over 10 months after their year-end.
  7. The ‘Description of charity’s activities and outcomes’ in the (Group) AIS 2018 is not about the Group, but about WorldShare alone. The reverse appears to be the case for the Register entry for WorldShare: the Summary of Activities includes ‘Thousands of people were reached through spiritual ministries’.
  8. 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.
  9. It has a fundraising licence in all six states that required registration, and in the ACT; the Financial Report 2018 says that WorldShare complied with the NSW legislation yet the AIS 2018 says that the report was submitted to the Queensland regulator.
  10. This is a 50% reduction over last year.
  11. I suspect that this should be the Democratic Republic of Congo. Congo is a neighbouring country.
  12. Although the auditor (Lawrence R Green) has given a ‘clean’ audit opinion, for the third year now,
    • There is no reserve for the ‘Fair value adjustment of financial assets’.
    • 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).
    • ‘Staff Entitlement Provisions Movement’ is not included in ‘Employee Benefits Expense’.
    • No reason is given for separating ‘Employee benefit accounts’ and ‘Employee Entitlement Provisions’.
    • And like last year,
      • 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 Fund and Reserves does not comply with the Accounting Standards.
      • The title of that statement doesn’t make sense.
      • The revenue recognition practice does not match the policy Note
      • And this year,
        • The (unidentified) intangibles have not been recorded correctly.

  13. This is shown as 69% in the Annual Report, a mistake that contributes to a pie that totals 103%:
  14. With the importance of fundraising to WorldShare, the declaration, in the AIS 2018, that they do not intend to fundraise in 2018-19 must be a mistake?
  15. This figure is incorrect. It is from last year’s accounts, not those for 2018. Likewise, the $1.7M figure for expenses.
  16. The Annual Report, like the material on the ACNC Register, is not helpful in understanding the Group as opposed to the two individual charities: right until the last page it reads as a report on WorldShare; only then is the work, but not the name, of the Trust briefly mentioned.
  17. Krystal John.
  18. Theory of change’ (or similar), something in which Krystal John is experienced (see ‘Experience’ here), is not mentioned on the website.
  19. This collection matches the Responsible Persons on the ACNC Register for the Trust, but Craig Wilson is absent from the similar listing for WorldShare; three directors resigned during the year, perhaps due to the ‘large-scale transformation’ that occurred ‘throughout the organisation’ [Directors’ Report, Financial Report 2018, page 1].