The ECFA Story

Enhancing Trust in Christ-Centered Churches and Ministries

The founding ministries of ECFA understood this simple truth. How organizations treat financial transparency, board governance, and stewarding charitable gifts can create trust with their donors or break it irreparably. In today's world, demonstrating trustworthiness is more important than ever in effectively reaching the world for Christ.

ECFA exists to help enhance that trust.

The Crisis of Confidence

It was the late 1970s and one of the biggest problems in the United States at the time is what President Jimmy Carter described as a "Crisis of confidence." This was true not just in the broader American culture, but even among nonprofit and religious organizations. Concerns were raised that donations weren't being used for what the organizations promised during their fundraising. Donors had nowhere to look to make sure the Christian organizations desiring their support were operating with financial integrity.

Our Founding

In the fall of 1977, Senator Mark Hatfield called in friends from World Vision and from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He urged them and other ministry leaders to find a way to self-regulate, or face the potential threat of government intervention. As a result, ECFA was formed, standards were established, and a visionary and faithful group of 150 charter members committed to operating within the high standards.

The Standards

Keep in mind, the standards they established were truly revolutionary. They were revolutionary in requiring audited financial statements to be made available to the public upon request. That might not seem extraordinary now, but back in those days, virtually no nonprofits had CPA audited financial statements. The standards were also truly revolutionary in requiring an active, responsible governing body, a majority of whom had to be independent board members.

A Growing Membership

ECFA has multiplied from 150 pioneering charter members in 1979 to a diverse group of over 2,700 accredited members today, representing churches and ministries of all sizes and types that impact an estimated 2 billion people globally each year. These leading churches and ministries are committed, in the spirit of 2 Corinthians 8:21, to being accountable to God privately and publicly transparent to donors and the world.

Integrity ≠ Perfection

No ministry is perfect. ECFA certainly doesn't claim perfection. But while integrity doesn't equal perfection, it also doesn't mean we're off the hook. It means coming back and finding our identity in Christ and caring enough to do the hard work toward high standards that honor God. That's the hard work that our members and our team at ECFA are committed to daily.

The Whole Story

In the first episode of the "Behind the Seal" podcast, President and CEO Michael Martin unpacks the history and heart of ECFA. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts to listen, or watch the video version here.

ECFA Member Impact

Displaying the ECFA Seal of Integrity.

Accredited Members
$38.2 Billion
Total Revenue
2.1 Billion
People Reached
14 Million+
Donors Supporting ECFA Members

The ECFA Board

The Board of Directors

ECFA staff are accountable to the Board of Directors, consisting of national ministry leaders and professionals respected for their Christian character and wisdom. The independent Board is elected by the ECFA membership and is subject to term limits.

Paul Anderson

Paul Anderson

Board Chair

Director of Resource Development and Administration, North Central District of the Evangelical Free Church of America

Minneapolis, MN
Kurt Nelson

Kurt Nelson

Vice Chair

President & CEO, East-West Ministries International

Plano, TX
Cindee Coffee

Cindee Coffee


General Counsel, Southeast Christian Church

Louisville, KY
Jacinta Tegman

Jacinta Tegman


CEO, CRISTA Ministries

Seattle, WA
Rick Alvis

Rick Alvis

President/CEO, Wheeler Mission Ministries

Indianapolis, IN
Danny de Armas

Danny de Armas

Senior Associate Pastor, First Baptist Orlando

Orlando, FL
David Beroth

David Beroth

Chief Financial Officer, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Charlotte, NC
Michael Batts

Michael Batts

Managing Partner, Batts Morrison Wales & Lee, P.A.

Orlando, FL
Dan Beirute

Dan Beirute

Attorney at Law, Beirute Law, P.C.

Tulsa, OK
Alan Cureton

Alan Cureton

Immediate Past President, University of Northwestern

St. Paul, MN
Holly Duncan

Holly Duncan

CEO, Parkridge

Lubbock, TX
Ken Larson

Ken Larson

Owner and Founder, Slumberland Furniture

Little Canada, MN
Lysa TerKeurst

Lysa TerKeurst

President and Chief Visionary Officer, Proverbs 31 Ministries

Matthews, NC
David Wills

David Wills

President Emeritus, National Christian Foundation

Waco, TX
Michael Martin

Michael Martin

President and CEO, ECFA, Ex Officio

Winchester, VA

The ECFA Team

The ECFA team is filled with professional Christ-followers who are passionate about enhancing trust in churches and ministries. With headquarters based in Winchester, VA and remote staff around the country, the unity of this dedicated team of attorneys, CPAs, and communication specialists is a testimony to God's faithfulness.

Our Team Culture


We humbly put God and others first. (Philippians 2:3)


We work hard with excellence as a small team on a big mission. (Col. 3:23-24)


We, and ECFA, are better (a "win-win") by serving with healthy pace and rhythms. (Matt. 11:28-30)

Meet our Leadership

Click to read a brief bio.

Michael Martin

Michael Martin

President & CEO

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Kim Williams

Kim Williams

Senior Vice President of Communications and Operations

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Warren Bird

Warren Bird

Senior Vice President of Research & Equipping

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Staci Brown

Staci Brown

Senior Vice President of Member Accountability & Relations

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Jake Lapp

Jake Lapp

Vice President of Member Accountability

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Brittany Stepp

Brittany Stepp

Vice President of Communications

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Meet our Team

These leaders are privileged to serve alongside the full Member Accountability & Relations Team and the Communications Team. To get in touch with a team member, please email info@ecfa.org.

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How Does Accreditation Work?


Through ECFA accreditation, we serve as an accountability partner to Christ-centered organizations that voluntarily apply for membership and continue to faithfully demonstrate their commitment to ECFA's Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™ focused on board governance, financial management, and stewardship.

We help our accredited members maintain high standards and make their financial practices and activities transparent to the public, which significantly enhances their credibility and support among their current and future donors.

The Accountability Process

Under ECFA's Bylaws, the ECFA Board of Directors has the responsibility for approving all applications for accreditation and may also suspend or terminate membership in the event of an organization's non-compliance with the standards.

To assist the Board in carrying out these responsibilities, ECFA employs CPAs and other professionals who have the necessary experience and expertise and possess appropriate discernment and judgment to make sound recommendations and decisions to carry out ECFA's compliance program, under the oversight of ECFA's Board of Directors.

Also, a Standards Advisory Committee comprised of individuals with professional expertise in areas such as accounting, management, law, technology, and fundraising advises ECFA's President and the ECFA Board as needed on matters related to the ECFA standards.

Accreditation Applications

A church or ministry interested in joining ECFA must submit an application for accreditation demonstrating the organization's commitment to compliance with all of ECFA's standards. ECFA staff carefully reviews each application and supporting documentation before the application is considered for approval by the ECFA Board.

Annual Accreditation Renewals

Each of ECFA's 2,700+ members must complete an Annual Membership Renewal form, on which an individual authorized by the member affirms compliance with the Standards. It also includes a review of CPA prepared financial statements and other required documentation by ECFA's professional staff. If questions arise concerning a member's compliance with the standards, ECFA staff will request additional information necessary to confirm compliance.

ECFA staff ensures that all organizations desiring to maintain accreditation complete the membership renewal by the appropriate date based on their fiscal year end. The annual membership renewal is subject to the ECFA Board of Directors' determination that the member is continuing to demonstrate its commitment to compliance with all of ECFA's standards.

Standards Check-In Program

A Standards Check-In is a periodic, in-depth review designed to further enhance a member's compliance with ECFA Standards. This process includes the review of various items from the member, including meeting minutes of the governing board, internal financial statements, fundraising appeals, conflict of interest monitoring process, among other items

These periodic reviews are conducted virtually for some members, and onsite at the member's location for others. The onsite Check-In includes face to face meetings with several representatives of the member – such as the Executive Director, Lead Pastor, CFO, Board Chair, Development Director, and others.

Compliance Concern Reporting

ECFA staff is committed to following up on all concerns related to ECFA Standards. Sharing a concern is easy through the ECFA Share a Concern form.

Formal Compliance Reviews

When there is a serious concern of noncompliance, ECFA may place a member under a formal compliance review. ECFA staff will investigate the necessary details to help determine whether the member is in compliance with the standards. A formal compliance review may lead to the ECFA Board suspending or terminating an organization's membership for unresolved compliance issues. All membership changes within the past 12 months are posted here.

Our Guiding Values

The ECFA team is guided by a biblical, redemptive approach in administering its compliance review process. When we encounter compliance issues with members, redemption is the overarching goal.

We do everything we can to work with members to correct any problems and maintain their good standing. In a spirit of community, care, and gentleness we strive to help members to positively address compliance issues and improve their overall integrity, to the glory of God.

Still have questions?

We'd love to help! Listen to this conversation with Michael Martin and Jake Lapp about the accountability process. Or click the link below to read some common questions we receive.

"Thanks again for working with us to ensure that we are in compliance with all ECFA Standards. I found the Standards Check-In to be a valuable experience and really appreciate the process."

—VP of Finance, ECFA member organization

Frequently Asked Questions

With over 2,700 Christ-centered churches and ministries now accredited by ECFA, maybe you've seen ECFA's seal on a ministry's website, social media, or giving materials.

What exactly does ECFA accreditation mean? And how does an organization earn the right to display ECFA's seal of financial integrity?

Take a look at some of our most common FAQs below and please contact us using the form below if there's anything else we can do to help.

General Questions

ECFA is the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

We've been honored for over 40 years to help enhance trust in the integrity and accountability of churches and ministries so they can more effectively reach the world for Christ.

ECFA provides accreditation and resources to organizations that want to model integrity and accountability. We also inspire Christians to give generously to trusted churches and ministries.

ECFA began as a movement of Christian leaders who wanted the ministries they serve to be known for excellence and integrity—not financial scandals or questionable fundraising practices.

To this day, the ECFA standards, set a high bar for organizations—often far above the minimums required by law. These seven standards, drawn from scripture, are required for members to earn and maintain their ECFA accreditation:

  • Solidly evangelical
  • Independent board governance
  • Sound financial management
  • Responsible use of resources
  • Appropriate transparency
  • Integrity in compensation-setting and conflicts of interest
  • God-honoring stewardship

Learn more about ECFA’s integrity standards for ministries and churches at ECFA.org/Standards.

As a Christian donor, we know how important it is to give wisely and generously to organizations that you can trust.

Our standards set a high bar for ECFA-accredited organizations, often far above the minimums required by law, making it easy to find a trusted ministry and connect your generosity to worthy, Christ-centered causes.

Visit our for more support from ECFA as you seek to be a good steward in your giving.

Visit the ECFA member profiles of over 2,700 accredited organizations through the “Find a Member” tool.

These profiles include ministry descriptions, summary financial information (from the member’s latest CPA-prepared financial statements), and a designated donor contact at the ministry that you can contact with any questions.

We also offer GiverConnect™ where you can quickly and easily find the latest giving opportunities posted by organizations that maintain high standards of integrity as ECFA members. The funds given through GiverConnect™ go directly to ECFA’s members, with no overhead assessed by ECFA.

No. ECFA does not compare, rate, or rank member organizations, but rather measures each against an independently established benchmark—the ECFA Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™.

Since criteria used to compare ministries are often subjective or arbitrary, rating potentially can cultivate division by diminishing each ministry’s uniqueness, as well as contribute to unhealthy competition within the Body of Christ.

Through ECFA membership, each ECFA-accredited member clearly demonstrates its commitment to accountability and integrity. ECFA annually evaluates its members to confirm their continuing compliance, laying a solid foundation upon which donors may match their ministry choices to their own values and expectations.

Read more – Why ECFA Does Not Rate Ministries.

No. Although ECFA is led by experienced, professional staff with accounting, finance, and law credentials, ECFA does not offer financial audits or other professional services for members.

But as a condition for accreditation, ECFA requires its members to have their annual financial statements audited, reviewed, or compiled by an independent CPA.

ECFA’s ministry is supported primarily through annual accreditation fees of member organizations. These fees are calculated on a sliding scale to make accreditation affordable for organizations of all sizes.

With over 2,700 accredited members, ECFA's determinations regarding member compliance with its standards are not influenced by the annual accreditation fee of individual organizations. Even for the very largest of ECFA members, the individual annual accreditation fee is less than a fraction of 1% of ECFA’s operating budget. Instead, review criteria have been objectively identified and are uniformly applied to all member organizations.

ECFA’s ministry is also supported through the generosity of grants and donations. If you appreciate ECFA’s ministry to enhance trust in Christ-centered churches and ministries, you can also make an individual gift to support ECFA by clicking here.

The Accreditation Process

Nonprofits and churches earn ECFA accreditation by proving that they meet high standards in financial management and transparency, board governance, and stewardship. ECFA’s seal of integrity—awarded exclusively to accredited organizations—has been a proven symbol of trust for over 40 years inspiring confidence with donors and greater generosity to Christ-centered causes.

Ministries applying for accreditation receive coaching by the experienced professionals at ECFA through a rigorous application process to meet all the ECFA standards. Member organizations must continue to follow and demonstrate their commitment to the ECFA standards through an annual accreditation renewal.

ECFA-accredited organizations are also given specialized education and training throughout the year with weekly news and updates, quarterly in-depth educational outreaches, other accountability programs, and the availability at any time to connect with an ECFA team member with questions about the accreditation standards and other nonprofit best practices.

The first step to earning ECFA accreditation is easy by submitting a short online application. Click here to get started!

“… Taking precaution that no one should discredit us in our administration of this generous gift, for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” 2 Corinthians 8:20-21 (NASB)

As scripture teaches, we have a duty to be above reproach in how we manage God’s resources. This means taking precautions or practical steps to demonstrate integrity—not just in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Trustworthy practices are more important than ever for nonprofits and churches in today’s world that has become increasingly skeptical of all institutions, including the Church.

ECFA is the largest nonprofit accreditor for donors in the U.S. and the only one that bases its standards directly on biblical principles. We help coach ministries through a thorough vetting process to demonstrate that they meet all of ECFA’s high integrity standards. We continue to support organizations in their compliance with the standards through an annual accreditation renewal and provide ongoing training and resources from ECFA’s professional staff throughout the year.

Displaying the ECFA seal of integrity and accountability can bring additional credibility to your ministry as you share the gospel and connect with givers.

Plus, as an ECFA member, you’ll receive free, unlimited access to a wealth of ECFA resources and training to help maintain high standards and enhance trust with donors.

The initial application fee to apply for ECFA accreditation is $500. Check with us about an application fee waiver if you learned of ECFA from a recent conference or another referral.

There is also an annual accreditation fee each year due at the time of your annual ECFA accreditation renewal (either January 31 or July 31, depending on your ministry’s fiscal year).

Keep in mind the most significant expense for ministries is not usually ECFA’s accreditation fee but the external cost of annual financial statements prepared by an independent CPA, which are required for accreditation under ECFA Standard 3.

No. ECFA accreditation is for churches and nonprofits of all sizes and types.

The minimum total revenue to apply for accreditation is $50,000 per year.

Although many larger ministries and churches are ECFA-accredited, the majority of our members are much smaller. About one-third of ECFA’s members have annual total income less than $1 million.

Yes. Local churches qualify for ECFA accreditation, and today, churches are the fastest-growing membership segment of ECFA-accredited organizations.

Step 1 – Apply online

  • Take a few minutes to complete a short, online application form. The accreditation application will request supporting documents that can be submitted at that time or emailed later, whichever works best for you!

Step 2 – Coaching from the ECFA team

  • Once your application is submitted, you’ll be assigned an experienced coach from the ECFA staff for an onboarding call to walk you through our accreditation requirements and to provide help or resources to your organization in meeting ECFA’s standards.

Step 3 – Final review and approval

  • After coaching and review by the ECFA staff, your completed application will be shared with ECFA’s board of directors for final review. You’ll be notified as soon as possible when your application has been approved.

Every accreditation application is thoroughly reviewed before it is presented to the ECFA Board of Directors for approval. If an application is complete and compliance with ECFA’s standards is demonstrated, the review process will take approximately six weeks.

Become accredited today.

Annually. ECFA uses an annual accreditation model as part of our due diligence to support strong member compliance with ECFA’s accreditation standards.

  • If your fiscal year ends October through March, your annual accreditation renewal is due July 31 after the close of your year end.
  • If your fiscal year ends April through September, your annual accreditation renewal is due January 31 after the close of your year end.

The ECFA team will send a friendly reminder each year with instructions to make the renewal process simple and stands by ready to help with any of your questions.

Before you begin your application, ensure your ministry qualifies for ECFA accreditation. If you’re applying as a nonprofit, you’ll need to be a U.S.-based ministry holding a 501(c)(3) status for at least a year and currently generating $50,000 or more annually. If you’re applying as a church, you’ll need to be U.S.-based, have existed for at least a year, and also currently generating $50,000 or more annually.

If you meet these requirements, congratulations! You can start your application by filling out the online application form.

Our team will help guide you through the process and provide any needed help and resources so you can be confident in your alignment with the ECFA standards.

If you prefer to first talk with an ECFA team member or receive more information, Julie Beasley, Senior Compliance Associate (Julie@ECFA.org, 800-323-9473) would be happy to connect with you.

ECFA and Accountability

Yes. As an accrediting organization, ECFA protects the integrity of its standards and its seal awarded to accredited members.

ECFA is guided by a biblical, redemptive approach to member accountability. We work with members to correct any problems and maintain their good standing. ECFA helps members to positively address compliance issues and improve their overall integrity—this is done in a spirit of community, care, and gentleness.

When necessary, ECFA takes action against member organizations that are unable or unwilling to comply in a timely manner with any of the standards. This may include suspending membership for a period of time or terminating an organization’s membership. As the basis for any disciplinary action, ECFA relies upon facts and documentation—not allegations or innuendos as the basis for any disciplinary action. While it takes time to proceed thoughtfully and deliberately in these matters, doing so is critical to arrive at a fair and true determination regarding an organization’s membership status.

Yes. Our commitment to transparency and accountability includes posting all ECFA membership changes within the past 12 months.

All resignations, suspensions, or terminations of membership while under compliance review are included, as well as voluntary resignations of members not under a compliance review. View the latest updates here.

Additionally, to search all of ECFA’s current accredited members, use our Find a Member tool.

Absolutely. ECFA is committed to following all the same accreditation standards that we expect of our members, including independent board governance, annual CPA audits, and appropriate transparency.

ECFA staff are accountable to the Board of Directors, consisting of national ministry leaders and professionals respected for their Christian character and wisdom. The independent Board is elected by the ECFA membership and is subject to term limits.

See also ECFA’s Bylaws and IRS Form 990 with ministry financial updates for the three most recent years.

We also invite any of your additional questions about ECFA through our contact form or by phone at 800-323-9473.

Our contact form is a quick and convenient tool if you have additional questions regarding ECFA or one of its accredited members. You can also give us a call at 800-323-9473.

Thank you again for your interest in ECFA!

Get in Touch

We know sometimes a conversation with a real person is the best way to get your questions answered. Reach out to us using the form below or give us a call and we'll get back to you as soon as we're able!