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.
HeaderImage
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.
Anti-Nepotism Sample Policy

Policy on the employment of related individuals

Click here to view this content.

Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy

Sexual harassment policy that may be used by ministries as a guideline for creating their own

Click here to view this content.

Approval for Overtime Hours

Approval for overtime hours

Click here to view this content.

Background Screening Obligations and Checklist

It is important for Christ-centered churches and nonprofits to understand their obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when becoming end users of background screening services.

Click here to view this content.

Charitable Solicitation Registration - The Unified Registration Statement

Explains the unified registration statement used by many states for charitable solicitation registration

Click here to view this content.

Charitable Solicitation Requirements

Charitable solicitation registration state-by-state survey

Click here to view this content.

Checklist to Document Compensation for a Disqualified Person

Checklist to be used by a nonprofit to document compensation for a disqualified person to avoid future intermediate sanctions problems

Click here to view this content.

Child Protection in a Ministry Environment: Guidelines for Ministry Workers

Though certainly an instance we all hope never happens, abuse, neglect, or simple inattention to detail can occur anywhere that childcare takes place, and that includes your ministry. This guide highlights key areas with policies and procedures all designed to protect children.  Reprinted with permission of Brotherhood Mutual.®

Click here to view this content.

Church Lay Counseling Risk Management Guidebook

Counseling is a wonderful way to meet practical and spiritual needs in all phases of life. Beyond providing a safe place and qualified individuals, biblical counseling ministries require special consideration and planning.

Click here to view this content.

Closer Looks in Tough Times

Discusses the importance of reference checks when hiring new employees

Click here to view this content.

Comparison of Churches, Religious Orders, and Other Nonprofit Organizations

Outlines the key distinctions between churches, religious orders, and other nonprofit organizations

Click here to view this content.

Determining Reasonable Compensation Related to Earlier Undercompensation

Discusses a Tax Court case in which compensation paid to a company’s founder was found to be appropriate due to previous undercompensation

Click here to view this content.

Disclosure of Form 990 Voluntarily

Suggested statement to be provided with a Form 990 voluntarily prepared by a ministry not required to file by the IRS

Click here to view this content.

E-Filing Requirements for Form 990

E-filing now required for large nonprofits

Click here to view this content.

Employee Confidentiality Agreement

Sample employee confidentiality agreement that may be used by nonprofits as a guideline to establish confidentiality expectations within their organization

Click here to view this content.

Employee Handbook – Sample

Sample employee handbook to modify and adapt for your organization

Click here to view this content.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor

Outlines differences between an employee of a ministry and an independent contractor

Click here to view this content.

Employment Evaluation Form Resources

Lists Websites that contain sample employment evaluation forms

Click here to view this content.

Establishing Executive Compensation for your Ministry

Outlines considerations to be made by a nonprofit when establishing executive compensation

Click here to view this content.

Executive Compensation Committee Sample Charter

This sample charter includes the purpose, composition, organization, and responsibilities of the committee.

Click here to view this content.

Executive Compensation Sample Philosophy Statement

This sample document outlines an organization's philosophy of executive compensation.

Click here to view this content.

Federal Public Disclosure Requirements

Outlines the disclosure rules for Form 990 as required by the IRS

Click here to view this content.

Fiscal Agent

One who acts for or in place of another based on limited financial or accounting authority from the person engaging the agent.

Click here to view this content.

Fiscal Sponsorship

Charities that have not attained 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sometimes ask charities that have 501(c)(3) status to process donations for them as a “fiscal agent” and provide charitable receipts for donors. While it is inappropriate for an organization to be a “fiscal agent” and simply receipt and “pass through” or act as a “conduit” for donations intended for another charity, it may be appropriate for an organization to provide administrative services for another charity. These administrative services are sometimes referred to as “fiscal sponsorship.”

Click here to view this content.

FLSA Requirements Regarding Enterprise Coverage for Nonprofits

In the context of reviewing the impact of the FLSA changes for our organization, if we do not appear to meet the requirements for enterprise coverage, does that mean we do not need to comply with FLSA requirements?

Click here to view this content.

Foreign Missionary Filing Exemption

Discusses the exemption of certain foreign missionary organizations from filing IRS Form 990

Click here to view this content.

Form 990-related Policies and Procedures

Links to policies and procedures related to the Form 990

Click here to view this content.

Honoraria

Discusses honoraria payments and potential conflicts of interest related to them

Click here to view this content.

Housing Allowance and Commissioning of School Employees

Discusses IRS ruling on school employees and their eligibility for a housing allowance

Click here to view this content.

Housing Allowance Worksheets

Worksheets that may be used by ministries to officially designate the housing allowance

Click here to view this content.

Intellectual Property for Religious Organizations Guidebook

Intellectual Property for Religious Organizations Guidebook and Forms 2015 Edition by The Church Law Group.

Click here to view this content.

Intermediate Sanctions

Under the Intermediate Sanction rules, the IRS can penalize nonprofit insiders. The sanctions are considered "intermediate" because they penalize the individuals involved without taking away an organization's tax-exempt status.

Click here to view this content.

IRS Form 990-N (e-Postcard) Filing Requirements

The IRS continues to lower the threshold for e-filing of Form 990 by charities.

Click here to view this content.

IRS Forms for Exempt Organizations

List of IRS forms created for tax-exempt organizations

Click here to view this content.

Joint Venture Policy (Abbreviated Version)

Organizations should consider adopting a joint venture policy if the organization has entered into or is considering entering into a joint venture agreement. See an abbreviated version of a joint venture policy.

Click here to view this content.

Leased Employees

Discusses issues relating to nonprofits utilizing leased employee arrangements and the related housing allowance implications

Click here to view this content.

List of State Regulatory Agencies for Solicitations by Charitable Organizations

The following is a contact list of state agencies that have oversight of charitable solicitations.

Click here to view this content.

Loans with Below-Market Interest Rates

Outlines the appropriate tax treatment of loans with below-market interest rates

Click here to view this content.

Mandated Reporting Not limited to Child Abuse

Better protect the people in your ministry with a thorough understanding of mandated reporting. Reprinted with permission of Brotherhood Mutual.®

Click here to view this content.

Maternity Leave Policy

Establishing a proper maternity leave policy may require compliance with certain federal laws and various other considerations.

Click here to view this content.

May employees covered under the FLSA donate or volunteer time for their employer?

Ask ECFA Question from ChurchPulse - May employees covered under the FLSA donate or volunteer time for their employer?

Click here to view this content.

Military Leave Policy

Federal law protects members of the uniformed services from certain workplace uncertainties.

Click here to view this content.

Ministers and Social Security Tax

Outlines the applicability of social security tax to ministers

Click here to view this content.

Ministers Opting Out of Social Security

Ministers may opt out of social security in rare situations. Unfortunately, this option is often promoted as a way for any minister to get out of paying into the social security system. This document clarifies these issues.

Click here to view this content.

Nonprofit Employees and Severance Pay

Determining whether, when, and how severance pay may be provided to nonprofit employees who are terminated from employment is a challenging issue. A memorandum provided to ECFA by Wagenmaker & Oberly, LLC, Attorneys at Law in Chicago, suggests that severance pay may be lawful and appropriate under certain circumstances, provided that applicable safeguards are satisfied.

Click here to view this content.

Obtaining Form 1023 Copies

Discusses proper accounting methods for Form 990 reporting and procedures to follow when changing accounting methods. 

Click here to view this content.

Personnel Files

Guidelines for maintaining quality personnel files

Click here to view this content.

Photo Use Agreement

When it comes to sharing photos, ensure your ministry is doing it right. Use this simple form as a starting point for your ministry’s photo use policy. 

Click here to view this content.

Policies and Procedures Governing Local Chapters, Branches, and Affiliates

If an organization had local chapters, branches or similar affiliates during the year, the Form 990 asks if there are written policies and procedures governing their activities to ensure consistency with the activities of the organization. If the answer to this question is No, an explanation is required in Schedule O as to how the organization ensures that the local unit’s activities are consistent with its own.

Click here to view this content.

Qualifications for Ministerial Tax Status

Discusses the qualifications an individual must attain to be granted ministerial tax status

Click here to view this content.

Reasonable Compensation

Outlines the Internal Revenue Code’s criteria for reasonable compensation

Click here to view this content.

Reimbursing Interview Expenses

Reimbursing job candidates for interview-related expenses is commonplace. Understanding the tax implications of these reimbursements is important.

Click here to view this content.

Religious Order Characteristics

Outlines the IRS guidelines for determining if an organization qualifies as a religious order

Click here to view this content.

Social Media Policy

Social media is a great way for ministries to engage with their current audience and reach the community. A social media presence is common and helpful today, and this guide will help your ministry navigate the many intricacies of existing online.  Reprinted with permission of Brotherhood Mutual.®

Click here to view this content.

State Unemployment Compensation and Religious Organizations

Outlines state unemployment compensation and its application for religious organizations

Click here to view this content.

Tax Publications for Exempt Organizations

List of IRS publications relevant to tax-exempt organizations

Click here to view this content.

The New Big Book of Checklists: Risk Management Checklists for Ministries

Be proactive about risks in a practical way by identifying, planning for, and reducing risks associated with ministry. These checklists and worksheets are a great place to start or simply review and update your current plan.  Reprinted with permission of Brotherhood Mutual.®

Click here to view this content.

Transparency Required under ECFA’s Standards in Addition to Disclosures Required by Federal Law

Federal law requires charities to disclose Forms 1023, 990, 990-T and 5227 when requests are made in person or in writing. However, ECFA’s Standard 5 goes beyond Federal regulation.

Click here to view this content.

Tuition Reporting Requirements

Outlines the information reporting requirements for colleges and universities for qualified tuition payments

Click here to view this content.

Unrelated Business Income

Provides an overview of unrelated business income and a series of questions designed to help your organization determine if you have any unrelated business income

Click here to view this content.

Unrelated Business Income Tax – In General and Applied to Mailing Lists and Affinity Credit Cards

The revenue a charity receives from the sale of mailing lists and the fees from affinity credit cards may generate unrelated business income.

Click here to view this content.

Use of Email and Internet Services Sample Policy

This policy outlines permissible email and Internet use for church and nonprofit staff.

Click here to view this content.

What Is a Nonprofit?

Discusses the characteristics of a nonprofit

Click here to view this content.

White Paper: Registered Sex Offenders in Ministry Activities

Including sex offenders in ministry activities and protecting others at the same time requires proactive attention as well as appropriate policies and procedures. Refer to this guide to navigate this process and find solutions right for your ministry. Reprinted with permission of Brotherhood Mutual.®

Click here to view this content.

Work Made for Hire

Outlines the copyright law regarding work made for hire by employees of a nonprofit organization

Click here to view this content.

Navigation