Home / Charity Reviews /

‘YWAM Sunshine Coast’: 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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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 review in the series ‘Members of Missions Interlink. Missions Interlink is ‘the Australian network for global mission’ and a means for a Member to get income tax exemption when it might not otherwise be available[1].

‘YWAM Sunshine Coast’ is one such Member, and an organisation that seeks donations from the public on the internet.

Charity response

Both Members and Associates have to accept a set of standards, the introduction to which includes this statement:

I sent the member a draft of this review. Like last year, they…did not respond.


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 ‘YWAM Sunshine Coast’ [2], with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[3]

1.  There’s no registered[4] charity in that name. Expand ‘YWAM’ to ‘Youth With A Mission’ and there is a result (YWAMSC).

YWAMSC has not registered the other names it uses.


2.  There is nothing to indicate that YWAMSC uses third-party (donation) collectors.


3.  The web address begins with a closed padlock symbol, so the website is secure [the ACNC article above[5]]. Westpac’s facility is used for credit card payments, so your information should be secure.


4.  YWAMSC’s ABN record says that it is not entitled to receive tax-deductible gifts. The website is consistent with this.


5.  The use of your donations

The audited account of how donations are used by a charity is the Financial Report on the ACNC Register.

YWAMSC produced and lodged such a report last year. This year, however, there isn’t one. This is because, since reporting last year, they have decided that they are a basic religious charity. (When you see the parlous state of their financial reporting, including the audit, for 2018, you’d have to question whether this wasn’t deliberate – especially as a charity can voluntarily lodge a Financial Report.)

But YWAMSC does not meet the requirements to be a basic religious charity. And because the ACNC hasn’t the resources to check all submissions, the error persists. So, no accountability to the taxpayer, donors or students via the regulator.

Nor is there any accountability offered by YWAMSC on its website.

But Missions Interlink requires them to have a financial report available, so although it’s a bit more trouble, this will overcome their lack of public disclosure. Let me know if you want a hand interpreting it.

Here are the three people who are responsible for what YWAMSC does:

Brian Hunsberger

John Daniel Faull

Patricia Hensser

End of review.


  1. For the previous review, see here.
  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. The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.
  4. The ACNC’s information (in its article above) is out-of-date.