Is this charity legitimate?

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Came across this today and am wondering if I am the only person getting a whole bunch of red flags here.

The charity is registered and has an ABN
http://www.abr.business.gov.au/AbnHistory/View?id=15609317937

However I fail to see any evidence that this organisation has provided any sleeps for homeless individuals. It appears that there has been a prototype bus made but I cannot see any evidence of it being used for the stated aim of this organisation.

The founders linkedin page seemed to be quite short on the specifics of his history and raises concerns regarding his chances of success with donated funds.
https://au.linkedin.com/in/sleepbussimon

  • Serial Entrepreneur
    Self Employed
    May 1990 – October 2014 24 years 6 months
    Australia
    Multiple business owner; from a drama school at age 17, to cafe's, restaurants, retail and wholesale jewellery businesses, sports therapy clinics and business consultancy. From start-ups to rebuilds; a passion for business and a drive to continually reinvent and evolve.
He raised some funds through gofundme and appears to have built one bus that he shows off in public and videos online to generate more influx of funds.
https://www.gofundme.com/profile/simon-rowe-3uqjw
Here is an image of the bus.


It would seem the statement on the side is a little misleading if it has never been used in that manner.

From 4:40 in this video published July 31, 2017 he talks about how a donor can log in and see what is happening with a bus and how many sleeps have been provided etc. Yet 20 months later the sleepbus live page has not eventuated. https://www.sleepbus.org/sleepbuslive


On this page https://www.sleepbus.org/faq#faq-service
It states
How often does sleepbus operate?

sleepbus is run by Sleep Bus Ltd, 365 days per year; 8PM to 8AM. The operational hours have be chosen so that it fits in with community expectation and concern. sleepbus rolls in at 8PM each night, long after people have left work and then we leave by 8AM, before people return the next morning.
And
What is the sleepbus nightly schedule?

Here's how a typical sleepbus day looks:
  • 7:00pm - sleepbus depart depot to approved locations for service
  • 8.00pm - sleepbus arrives at the approved location
  • 8.30pm - Onboarding of guests commences
  • 10.00pm - Onboarding complete and the Caretaker conducts last checks
  • 6.30am - Wake up call for all guests
  • 6:45am - Offboarding of guests commences
  • 7:45am - Offboarding complete
  • 8:00am - sleepbus departs approved location
  • 9:00am - sleepbus reset process begins back at depot (cleaning, repairs, maintenance, checks etc)
  • 11:00am - Any sleepbus booked for site visits depart (Corporate engagement, School/University visits etc)
  • 5:00pm - All sleepbus are back in depot for spot checks
And this regarding how many people use the service nightly.

How many people are provided a safe sleep each night?

Each sleepbus is fitted out with 22 sleep pods, providing 8,030 safe sleeps per year. To achieve our vision; we will build 319+ buses which will provide more than 2,000,000 safe sleeps per year right around Australia.
And this regarding donations.
How are my donations distributed?

100% of your donation is allocated to a sleepbus project; that's our 100% Model promise to you. When you donate or fundraise, every dollar goes to building and maintaining a sleepbus project. Private donors fund our Charity operating costs, so 100% of your money can go towards getting people off the street.

Donations are non refundable. Should a specific location campaign not meet its target amount within a twelve month period all donations may be allocated to another sleepbus project or held until such time as the original project location eventuates. Donors can continue to track the allocation of their donation via their sleepbus account page.
When it comes to access of the service it states

How do homeless people access our service?

In conjunction with the local council and community groups
When looking at this video I fail to see how any council would approve the use of this vehicle for the stated purpose.


The facebook page of the organisation was spamming posts everyday to sell "Safe sleeps Christmas gift cards" throughout December 2018 and continues to post as recently as yesterday.
https://www.facebook.com/sleepbusaustralia/


To top it all off here is what their projects page states:
https://www.sleepbus.org/completed-projects

"
Projects
sleepbus One has been completed and we are currently in discussion with local councils to finalise our first service location.
"

It appears that this bus has never provided any sleeps for the public despite what is written on the side of it and the numerous dubious claims on the website posted above. I struggle to see what council could approve such the use of this vehicle.

I also wonder how soliciting donations in such a dubious manner cannot be considered as misleading and deceptive conduct.
 

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More than a few charities in Australia setup to pay the people running them. Shane Warne had one so his relatives made money from his name.
Am aware of some charities that put a rather small percentage of their donations into their purported cause but are they as blatantly misleading and deceptive as this guy? He is soliciting donations for the running of a service that has actually never run and giving people the impression that the service is actually a real nightly event.

It seems like blatant lying with a cover of (I intend to do this eventually) even though it is hard to see a council approving the use of that vehicle.

From what I can see it seems like he sleeps at home each night and has one bus that sits stationary but wants people to think he is offering multiple homeless people a place to sleep each night and solicit donations under that assumption.

How is that not misleading and deceptive? How does this guy get away with this?

https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/guide_acl_fundraising-1.pdf
The application of the ACL Key points Generally, if you: engage in a fundraising activity involving a supply of goods or services or
fundraiser or are fundraising in an organised, continuous and repetitive way then your fundraising activity is likely to be in trade or commerce and you are likely to have certain obligations under the ACL.
And
Fundraising in an organised, continuous and repetitive way Regardless of whether you collect donations or payments for goods or services by using volunteers, employees or professional fundraisers, if those fundraising activities are carried out in a business-like way then they are likely to be in trade or commerce and subject to the ACL.

Factors that indicate that fundraising activities are more likely to be undertaken in a business-like way and therefore in trade or commerce include some or all of the following: the fundraising activities are continuous and repetitive the fundraising activities are organised and managed (e.g. through the use of business plans or fundraising strategies, measurement of fundraising goals and outputs, processes, policies and procedures etc)
the entity fundraising is established such that its activities (which include fundraising) are likely to continue e.g. the entity may be incorporated as a separate legal entity the entity fundraising uses resources (e.g. assets and employees) the fundraising activities are promoted or marketed
fundraising activities are maintained. The above are not an exhaustive list of factors. Whether a fundraising activity is undertaken in a businesslike way will always depend on the
Example An incorporated association is established for the purpose of providing volunteer emergency services, being partly funded by donations from the public. The association develops a fundraising strategy and undertakes regular fundraising drives that are organised and coordinated with a view to meeting its fundraising goals. The association keeps records of its fundraising revenue. The ACL is likely to apply to the fundraising activities of the incorporated association, because these activities are undertaken in a business-like way and therefore the fundraising activities are likely to be undertaken in trade or commerce
Surely section 18 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 must apply in this instance.

Any bigfooty lawyers have some input?
 

CheapCharlie

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#5
Looks like a way for the guy to make himself some cash
Remember Street Swags?
https://www.news.com.au/finance/bus...s/news-story/202e9c2d5bf33d07b91fa624ec268232

Of course these guys are amateurs compared to the massive corporate group of Appco
Global fundraising company keeps $7m of $12.2m raised for Special Olympics
NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing says it will investigate Appco Group over gift voucher program
Saimi Jeong and Michael Safi

A global company that raises funds on behalf of some of Australia’s largest charities will be investigated after it emerged that 96% of the $12.2m it raised for Special Olympics Australia was not retained by the charity.
Since 2011, the Sydney-based Appco Group has implemented a gift voucher program on behalf of Special Olympics Australia, a charity that runs sports for people with intellectual disabilities.
 
Joined
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Thread starter #6
Looks like a way for the guy to make himself some cash
Remember Street Swags?
https://www.news.com.au/finance/bus...s/news-story/202e9c2d5bf33d07b91fa624ec268232

Of course these guys are amateurs compared to the massive corporate group of Appco
Global fundraising company keeps $7m of $12.2m raised for Special Olympics
NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing says it will investigate Appco Group over gift voucher program
Saimi Jeong and Michael Safi

A global company that raises funds on behalf of some of Australia’s largest charities will be investigated after it emerged that 96% of the $12.2m it raised for Special Olympics Australia was not retained by the charity.
Since 2011, the Sydney-based Appco Group has implemented a gift voucher program on behalf of Special Olympics Australia, a charity that runs sports for people with intellectual disabilities.
"Serial entrepreneur" was an indication of someone with a long time dream of wanting to enrich himself.
 

Demosthenes

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#9
If the charity is registered, you can go to www.acnc.gov.au and look at their financial statements. Here is the latest financial statement lodged by Sleep Bus Limited:

https://acncpubfilesprodstorage.blob.core.windows.net/public/6ce5cd79-3aaf-e811-a95e-000d3ad24c60-013f01f5-f72f-45a1-94b9-2f6d6a45dc7e-Financial Report-3e628695-0d37-e911-a96d-000d3ad24a0d-SLEEP_BUS_LTD._-_Profit_and_Loss.pdf

TLDR: $115K in donations, $150K+ in employee expenses, some minor travel and marketing spend, and a grand total of $487 in fuel for a clearly seldom-driven bus.

I'm not saying they're doing anything legally wrong, but it's certainly not a charity I'd be donating to. Whether they are ambitious or disingenous, they don't look like they are anywhere near providing a meaningful service to the community.
 
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