ECFA Compliance Review Process

ECFA’s mission is to enhance trust in Christ-centered churches and ministries.

Accredited organizations displaying the ECFA seal are committed to upholding ECFA’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™ in the areas of governance, financial management, and fundraising/stewardship.

Compliance Review 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.

The ECFA Compliance Review Process utilizes various means, including:

 

  • Membership 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 2,500+ 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.
  • ECFA Member Compliance Concern Reporting:  ECFA staff is committed to following up on all concerns related to ECFA Standards. Sharing a concern is easy through ECFA Share a Concern page.
  • 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.

ECFA’s President or his designee and the Board Chairman are authorized public spokespersons for ECFA in all matters, including member compliance.

Guiding Values

ECFA is guided by a Biblical, redemptive approach in administering its compliance review process. When ECFA encounters compliance issues with members, redemption is the overarching goal.

ECFA works 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.

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