Knowledge Center

The Knowledge Center provides you access to hundreds of documents including policies,
procedures and a wealth of research on topics such as charitable gifts, expense
reimbursements, board governance, fringe benefits and much more.
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This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.
Accelerating Board Members to Full Engagement

Proven ideas to accelerate your board members, both new and long-standing, into full service

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Accountability and the Great Commission

Steve Douglass powerfully communicates how accountability supports fulfilling the Great Commission. As Steve suggests, “When people perceive a ministry and its leaders are accountable, they believe in them more.”

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Advisory Boards

Outlines the purposes, benefits, and risks of a nonprofit utilizing an advisory board separate from a governing board

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After Thank You and Good-bye

For a season, board members throw their minds, hearts, and financial resources into the organization, and then they leave. Unless you are intentional about trying to stem the natural progression of things, all those years of service to your charity very quickly fade to a pleasant memory.

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Benchmarks Matter

Discusses techniques and benefits of internal assessment of an organization

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Beyond Scorecard and Dashboard Reporting

Aligning strategic plans with department and staff-performance goals

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Board Chair - Sample Position Description

Board Chair position description

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Board Ethics Sample Policy

A board's commitment to biblical, ethical, businesslike, and lawful conduct

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Board Governance Committee

Discusses the purpose, duties, and role of a board governance committee

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Board Member Application

Sample form to be completed by a prospective board member

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Board Member Commitment Pledge

Sample annual pledge of service for board members

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Board Member Resources

A list of resources to help board members to excellence

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Board Member Selection

Publications that may be helpful in selecting nonprofit board members

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Board Review of IRS Form 990

Board Review of Form 990

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Board Secretary – Sample Position Description

Board Secretary position description

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Board Self-Evaluation – Is It Time to Give Your Board a Check-up?

Outlines the purpose, importance, and means of board self-evaluation

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Board Self-Evaluation Form - Full Board Evaluation

Evaluating the board as a whole

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Board Self-Evaluation Forms - Board Member Evaluation

Evaluating a fellow board member

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Board Self-Evaluation Overview

Discusses board self-evaluation and includes links to sample board self-evaluation forms

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Board Service: An honor or a duty?

Outlines the importance of effective board service as both an honor and a duty

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Board Treasurer – Sample Position Description

Board Treasurer position description

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Board Vice Chair – Sample Position Description

Board Vice Chair position description

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Board Voting by Proxy

Discusses the implications of board voting by proxy

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CEO Job Description

Nonprofit organizations exist in all sizes with an emphasis on an array of causes.  Regardless of size, or whether the organization’s staff is made up of volunteers or employees, every nonprofit should have one person who is the effective leader that guides the organization.

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Conducting Effective Board Meetings

Outlines the important role of the board chair in planning and leading effective board meetings

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Conference Call Board Meetings

Includes a compilation of state government legislation on teleconferencing

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Conflicts of Interest Questionnaire

Sample questionnaire for determining conflicts of interest for board members

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Conflicts of Interest Sample Policy

Discusses conflicts of interest and related-party transactions, and includes a sample conflicts of interest policy and related documents

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Corporate Documents

Discusses the bylaws and articles of incorporation for a nonprofit organization

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Covenant of Confidentiality

Nonprofit boards may use this sample covenant of confidentiality to protect the confidentiality of a ministry

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Creating the Vision for the Next Board

Creating a vision for and drawing the blueprint for the future board is one of the most important legacies of a board.

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Disclosure of Governing Documents and Conflict of Interest Policy

Nonprofit organizations subject to the Form 990 filing requirements should determine how to respond to the Form 990 question about disclosure of certain governing documents.

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Executive Compensation Policy

A Board’s determination of the nonprofit’s senior staff members’ compensation is one of its key tasks. 

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Finance Committee Sample Charter

Sample Finance Committee Charter

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Five Board Governance Trends

Discusses trends in board governance

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Fraud in Ministries: How to Respond

What to do if you detect fraud in your organization

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Fraud in Ministries: Real Examples and Red Flags

Ministries can implement a few simple internal controls to remove temptations from employees and protect resources from misappropriations.

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Fraud Prevention

You Can't Eliminate All Fraud - But here are some resources to help reduce its likelihood

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From the Pen of Olan Hendrix

ECFA is pleased to offer excerpts from Olan Hendrix's writings as a part of our Knowledge Center. Please find below many great topical articles that we hope will be a blessing to you in your ministry.

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Governance and the Christian College

In order to have the kind of “shared governance” that is called for in most Christian college and university settings, there is one overarching fundamental that needs to be firmly placed in the hearts and minds of board members and staff alike.

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Governance Overkill Syndrome

Nonprofit organizations are on a quest to seek out and attain good governance. The failure of a relatively small number of boards to do their jobs should not cause every nonprofit board in America to engage in remedial action that is unduly burdensome and unproductive, and that distracts board members from their true obligation--that of overseeing the effective carrying out of the mission of the organization itself.

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Governing Board Culture

We are confident we need to address our current governing board culture but we are not sure when and how to proceed. What do you suggest?

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Governing Board Minutes Sample

Board Minutes - Sample

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Handling Conflicts of Interest

Practical approaches for boards

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How to Avoid Three Common Board Mistakes

You may have been on a board where one or more of these three mistakes were made. Avoiding these mistakes will improve the effectiveness of your board.

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Improving Your Board—One Step at a Time

Article by Dan Busby

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Independent Board Members

Outlines ECFA's requirement regarding independent board members

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Individual Board Members - Sample Position Description

Describes responsibilities and characteristics for individual board members

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Internal Control Resources

Publications that include information on internal control

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Is Your Ministry Too Close to the Edge?

Discusses various forms of risk management for nonprofit organizations

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Leadership Succession

Guidance for leadership transitions in nonprofit organizations

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Making Vision a Reality

Effective strategic plans and how to implement them

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Mission Creep – Blueprint for Mission Creep

Why organizations drift from their mission: finances, personnel, organizational structure, demographics, or philosophy

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Mission Creep – Temptations and Solutions

Why organizations drift from their mission and how to avoid drift — "all great causes are not your cause."

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Nonprofit Board Member Annual Affirmation Statement

Sample Board Affirmation Statement

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Optimizing the Board-President Relationship: Best Practices that Make a Difference

The executive search process is launched with the best of intentions. The board search committee is put together to set parameters and to ensure due diligence. The multiple documents and resumes provided by presidential candidates are reviewed, finalists determined, followed by multiple interviews, test-taking, and analyses. The choice is subsequently announced to great fanfare, followed by the usual pomp and circumstance of a presidential inauguration, everyone hoping for the best.  

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Passing the Baton of CEO Leadership: CEO Selection Webinars-On-Demand

Passing the Baton of CEO Leadership: CEO Selection Webinar with David McKenna, addresses how to orchestrate a successful CEO selection, transition, and development.

By listening to this Webinar-On-Demand, you will learn:

  • Be introduced to the elements of what it means to be a Christ-centered board
  • Understand the board’s overseer role in selecting their CEO under the leading of the Spirit
  • Learn how to manage the transition between CEOs within the culture of a Christ-centered organization
  • Learn the essential role of the board (over the entire tenure of the CEO) in assisting the CEO to grow personally and professionally as a maturing model of Christian leadership

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Planning in Times of Uncertainty: An overview of the scenario planning process

This article explains the five main steps of the scenario planning process. Scenario planning involves exploring several ways the future may unfold and devising a strategy that will keep you moving forward no matter what happens. It is useful during times of disruptive change when long-range planning seems impossible.

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Public Access to Ministry Board Meetings or Board Meeting Minutes

Discusses any legal requirements and the propriety of granting public access to ministry board meetings or board meeting minutes

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Quality Financial Reporting

Outlines a nonprofit board’s responsibility for quality financial reporting

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Recording Governing Board Minutes

Outlines the importance of and procedures for recording board meeting minutes, including a sample set of minutes

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Recruiting Board Members

Outlines some helpful board recruitment strategies to develop and maintain an effective board

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Renewing Your Vision

The importance of keeping God’s vision for ministry in focus

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Serving on a Ministry Board with Excellence

Boards seem to give little thought to qualities that separate good boards from the very best

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Spiritual Discernment

Dr. Stephen Macchia is one of the leaders of a growing spiritual discernment movement.  As Steve says:  “No matter who joins you at the discernment table, they bring with them their hearts . . . the condition of their hearts directly impacts the discernment process.”  May you bring a burning heart to the discernment table.

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Staff and Volunteer Ethics Sample Policy

A nonprofit's staff and volunteers' commitment to biblical, ethical, businesslike, and lawful conduct

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Strategic Plans that Learn: An innovative alternative to traditional strategic planning

Traditional strategic plans often fail to produce the intended results. In business schools, strategic planning has been replaced with the broader concept of strategic management. Rather than doing long-range strategic planning every three years or so, it is far better to conduct periodic strategic reviews. The article describes six questions to use to guide strategic review meetings.

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Term Limits for Boards

Outlines the importance and strategy of term limits for boards

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The Audit Oversight Process

Details adequate financial oversight and how it is one of the central responsibilities of effective board governance

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The Board's Fiscal Responsibilities

Board members act as trustees of the ministries assets and must exercise due diligence to make sure that the ministries are well-managed and financially sound. This article outlines the board's fiscal responsibilities.

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The Executive Committee and Its Role for Ministries

Describes the potential role of an executive committee of a ministry board

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The Great Board Debate: How should ministry boards govern?

This article describes the pros and cons of policy based governance and the requirements that must be in place before making a transition. It examines the tendency of boards to swing from micro-managing to rubber-stamping and what to do about it.

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The Impact of Founder's Syndrome

Visionary leaders do not just experience personal stress but can also cause great organizational distress. Founder’s Syndrome occurs when an organization is driven more by the personality of the founder than by its own mission. It is an organizational problem more than a personal one. All institutions face this danger, but it is especially complicated in Christian settings, where founders often function as spiritual leaders as well.

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The Sober-Judgment Board

What is a biblical way to think about board self-assessment?  Dr. Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College, suggests board members should “think with sober judgment” (Romans 12).  His outstanding article, "The Sober-Judgment Board," emphasizes the importance of a carefully structured, mission driven, and mutually accountable board.

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The Two Sides of Strategic Planning: How the Holy Spirit inspires our vision and our planning

Strategic planning has two sides and a middle—the visionary thinking side and the detailed planning side—linked together by current reality. Both sides are important and necessary. Like planning a family vacation, you have to decide on a great destination everyone will enjoy, but you also have to make lists and pack the car.

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Top Five Intellectual Property Issues Webinars-On-Demand

This Webinar-On-Demand will focus on, Top Five Intellectual Property Issues with John Anthony, attorney for Anthony & Middlebrook, P.C.

By listening to this Webinar-On-Demand, you will learn about:

  • Copyright
  • Ownership of intellectual property
  • Areas of intellectual property
  • Trademark
  • Trade Secret
  • Patent
  • How to protect the church
  • Avoiding infringements

 

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Tough Decisions for Boards

Discusses elements of making effective board meeting decisions

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Travel Expense of Board Members and their Spouses

Outlines the issues surrounding board member and spousal travel reimbursements

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Unmistakable Integrity Starts with the Tone at the Top

Integrity appears in both very small ways and very significant ways.

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What Is the Board's Role in Fundraising?

Looks at the specific roles of board members in fundraising

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