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WorldShare: mini 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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.

Mini 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?

  • I sent them a draft of this review on 24 August 2107. They did not respond.

Is WorldShare registered?

  • As a charity, yes.
  • Other registrations:
    • As a public company (a company limited by guarantee).
      • It is permitted to omit ‘Limited/Ltd’ at the end of its name.
    • A business name, CNEC Partners International.
    • WorldShare operates, per the ACNC Register, in all eight states.
      • It has a fundraising licence in every state with a licensing regime.

What do they do?

  • ‘WorldShare (formerly known as CNEC Partners International) is a leading Christian charity supporting holistic international development by local ministry partners in Asia and East Africa.’ [‘’Who We Are’, on the website.]
  • For how they do this, see ‘How We Work’.
  • Here’s the description for potential ‘Short Term Teams’ participants:
    • WorldShare is responsible for 12 ministries worldwide, where our partners are involved with hospitals, Bible Colleges, orphanages, training of pastors, education, community development, church planting, relief aid and economic development.
  • WorldShare says, on the ACNC Register, that it operates in 22 countries. This is
    • 15 more than the number of partners listed in the Annual Report,
    • 10 more than the number in which there are projects to which you can donate (see below), and
    • two more than the number to which they sent money in 2016 (shown in the Annual Report).
  • For what their activities and outcomes were in 2016, the Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2016 refers the reader to their Annual Report.

Do they share the Gospel [1]?

  • From ‘What do they do?’ (immediately above), and the Annual Report, it appears not.
  • But the donation options (see below) shows that there are a few projects where it appears that evangelism is involved.
  • Last year 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…
  • Neither the Financial Report nor the Annual Report mentions the Christian Nationals Developing Countries Aid Fund, the fund that receives the tax-deductible donations. If we assume that the revenue item ‘Donations and gifts – overseas aid & development’ shows the tax-deductible donations, and apply this proportion to the expense ‘Overseas projects – Funds to overseas projects’, then 31% went to projects where the Gospel could have been shared.

What impact are they having?

  • WorldShare say that they help their overseas partners ‘to achieve sustainable impact and transforming legacy’, there is just one (incidental) use of the word ‘impact’ in the Annual Report. Changing the search to ‘outcomes’ or ‘results’ still doesn’t give any information. Similarly with the latest ‘Ministry Report’.
  • With an ‘Evaluation Specialist’ on the board now, there should be more 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 not all that money will directly benefit the overseas beneficiaries – ‘administration’ is 42% of expenses.
  • With connecting you to its overseas partners (AIS 2016) costing this much, it would be reasonable for you to ask whether it would be more efficient for you to donate direct to the partner.  As five people from Australia did in the year ended 31 March 2016 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?

  • Only to its fund, Christian Nationals Developing Countries Aid Fund.

Is their online giving secure?

  • Security is not mentioned.

Where were your (net) donations sent?

  • The only information in the Financial Report is that $1.71 m was sent overseas.
  • The Annual Report discloses the (unaudited) total sent to each of 20 countries. For 12 of these countries, you can see the names of the projects in the next question below.
    • Using the conversion rate for the middle of the Indian reporting year (30.09.15), $216,543 was received by the Indian partner. The Annual Report shows that $244,496 was sent to India, but this includes some amounts for ‘affiliates’.
  • The total in the Annual Report is, without explanation, $199K greater than the amount in the Financial Report.

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

  • ‘Donate Now’
    • ‘*Where Most Needed – Tax Deductible’
    • ‘Where Most Needed – Non Tax Deductible’
    • ‘Direct Support – Non Tax Deductible’
    • Projects, country by country (12 countries)
      • Four out of the 27 projects are tax-deductible
  • ‘Sponsor A Child’
    • ‘China’
      • All five projects are tax-deductible
    • ‘India’
      • One project only; tax deductibility not mentioned
    • ‘The Philippines’
      • One project only; tax deductibility not mentioned
    • ‘DR Congo’
      • One project only; tax deductibility not mentioned
    • ‘Myanmar’
      • One project only; tax deductibility not mentioned
    • ‘Uganda’
      • One project only; tax deductibility not mentioned
  • ‘Sponsor a Partner’s Project’
    • ‘*Where Most Needed – Tax Deductible’
    • Where Most Needed – Non Tax Deductible’
    • Projects, country by country (10 countries)
  • ‘Sonic Healthcare’
    • *DR Congo, HEAL Africa – Children Clubfoot Program’
    • *DRC, HEAL Africa – Outreach Mobile Health Clinic’
    • * DR Congo, HEAL Africa – Fitstula (sic) Surgery’
    • *DR Congo, HEAL Africa – Medical Equipment Support’
    • *DR Congo, HEAL Africa – Mercy Fund’
    • *DR Congo, HEAL Africa – Mugunga Primary School’
  • ‘Bequests’
  • ‘Gift catalogue 2016-2017, harvest of hope
    • ‘Build the Church’
      • No projects are tax-deductible
    • ‘Children & Education’
      • All projects are tax-deductible
    • ‘Good Health’
      • All projects are tax-deductible
    • ‘Empowering Women’
      • All projects are tax-deductible
    • ‘Income-Generating Projects’
      • All projects are tax-deductible
    • ‘Where Most Needed’
      • ‘Where Most Needed, Non-tax (sic) deductible’
      • ‘Where Most Needed, Tax deductible’

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (over six months after their year-end, two weeks later than last year).

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • AIS 2016: No
    • Three of the five figures under ‘Gross Income’ do not agree with those in the Statement of Income and Comprehensive Income.
    • No outcomes are reported.
    • CNEC Partners International is not their former name.
    • Was no report required because of the NSW fundraising licence?
  • Financial Report 2016: No
    • One of the four compulsory statements, the ‘Statement of Changes in Equity’, is missing.
    • There is no explanation of the accounting policy that results in ‘Distributable Funds’ – 77% of the liabilities – being classified as a payable.
    • The gain in value of the investments has again been incorrectly classified as revenue rather than as a change to equity.
    • The ‘Immediate write-Off for CRM & Website costs’ ($86K) has been incorrectly classified as an adjustment to equity rather than as an expense. (An ‘immediate write-off’ is another way of describing an expense.)
      • This mistake is implicitly acknowledged by the classification of the item as an expense in the extra statement they include, the Income Statement.
    • 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).
    • Nowhere is the tax-deductible fund, Christian Nationals Developing Countries Fund, mentioned.
    • The title Statement of Income and Comprehensive Income doesn’t make sense.
    • ‘Employee benefits expense’ is not disclosed.
    • An extra income statement has again, without explanation, been included in the Report.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • After adjusting for the two misclassifications (see above), last year’s return as a percentage of revenue was decreased from positive 3% to negative 6%.
  • 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 2016’ 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?

  • Yes
    • The information under ‘Other Name(s)’ is incorrect.
    • ‘Responsible Persons’ hasn’t been updated for the May 2017 board changes.

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The people introduced here.
  • From this, it appears that the ACNC Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’) is three months out-of-date. Delete John Joseph and Alexandra Rodgers, and add Sandy Rogers:
  • The board has doubled in size since 19 September 2016 (the signing of the Directors’ Report).
  • At year-end, there were only 13 members. As directors must be members, there is little effective accountability to the membership.

To whom is WorldShare accountable?

  • 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.
  • Also accountable to the ACNC.
  • And, as a company, to ASIC.

 

 

  1. “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. 
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