ECFA is an accreditation agency dedicated to helping Christian ministries earn the public's trust through adherence to seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. Founded in 1979, it is comprised of over 1,200 evangelical Christian organizations, which qualify for tax-exempt, nonprofit status and receive tax-deductible contributions to support their work.
ECFA's Standards of Responsible Stewardship focus on board governance, financial transparency, integrity in fund-raising, and proper use of charity resources.
Compliance with the Standards is monitored in three ways. First, all ECFA members must annually submit membership review information including audited financial statements, IRS Form 990 (if applicable), salary information, fund-raising appeals, board composition, changes in organizing documents, and much more to verify compliance with the Standards. Second, ECFA conducts on-site field reviews at over 10% of its membership each year. These field reviews serve to verify the information submitted in the annual membership review, confirm compliance with the ECFA membership Standards, and give support to the member organizations. To date, approximately 750 organizations have received an on-site review. Third, ECFA responds to complaints against member organizations. All such complaints are investigated thoroughly in order to determine possible noncompliance with the Standards.
ECFA provides several services to the donor public as well. Disclosure requirements enable donors to request and receive audited financial statements for all ECFA members. ECFA's website contains a membership directory with selected financial information of all its members, guidelines for giving, the Donor's Bill of Rights, and general information helpful to the giving public. In addition, ECFA staff provides information to donors on a variety of issues.
Through its publications and services, ECFA informs its members of current administrative, financial, fund-raising, legislative, postal, and promotional matters of common concern.