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Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.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

The previous review (May 2019) (in black) is used as a base, with comment only if the situation has changed or extra information would be helpful.

‘YWAM Sunshine Coast’ is one such Member, and an organisation that seeks donations from the public on the internet[1].

Charity response

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

You will see below that there doesn’t appear to have been any review by Missions Interlink, or if there was, it was completely ineffective in bringing about compliance by YWAMSC.

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

Although there was again no response to us, there is evidence that action was taken as a result of the draft review.


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 (link removed). 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.

Or collects door-to-door or in public places.


Reminder: black type = last year; green = this year

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.

Ignore the footnote.


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.)

The Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2019, due 31 January 2020[2], was lodged after a draft of this review was sent on 2 April. The Register was also changed to show that a Financial Report 2019 was also due, and this was lodged at the same time.

This Report is grossly deficient. It is a ‘Not-For-Profit – Association Report’ prepared by Chartered Accountant firm Complete Business Strategies, without any signs of ownership by the responsible persons of YWAMSC.

  • There is no audit report.
  • There is no responsible persons’ declaration.
  • Two of the four required financial statements are missing.
  • The two financial statements that are included are non-compliant.
  • The Notes to the Financial Statements are incomplete.

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.

Sometime after a draft of this review was sent on 2 April, YWAMSC’s Register record was changed to remove any mention of a basic religious charity.

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.

No financial report could be found on the YWAMSC website.

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?

  1. The ACNC implies, therefore, that it is a ‘legitimate’ charity. But this is not correct – as the ACNC itself points out, registration is voluntary.
  2. The ACNC’s information (in its article above) is out-of-date.
  1. It is perhaps fairer to say that YWAMSC ‘provides a facility for donations to be made via the internet’.

  2. This date is based on YWAMSC saying on the Register that their year-end is 30 June. It’s 30 April.