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What is the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)?

Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

The primary purpose of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) is to assure donors that a Christian nonprofit organization is using donations with efficiency, integrity, and transparency. Since the ECFA is the accepted standard for Christian non-profits, donors should use due diligence when giving to organizations that are not ECFA accredited or who have failed the accreditation process.

“Founded in 1979, ECFA provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with established standards for financial accountability, transparency, fundraising, and board governance. The Christ-centered ministries accredited by ECFA include churches, denominations, educational institutions, rescue missions, camps, and many other types of tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations. . . . ECFA accreditation entitles a ministry to use the ECFA seal and receive other Accreditation Benefits. The continuing use of the seal depends on the ministry’s good faith compliance with all ECFA Standards” (, accessed 4/8/24).

To be accredited by the ECFA means that a ministry has submitted its organization to ECFA scrutiny and has been found to be faithfully using donated funds. Scrutiny is based on seven standards. To meet these standards, a ministry must be in agreement with the EFCA’s written statement of faith; be governed by a board of at least five individuals; publish independently reviewed financial statements; demonstrate integrity and propriety in paying employees; and display honesty in fund-raising, among other things.

In recent years there have been a number of high-profile ministries that have voluntarily withdrawn from the ECFA, citing their own rigorous and transparent accounting practices and also the high cost of dues, which can be over $175,000 per year for the largest ministries with the biggest budgets. Others have withdrawn perhaps because they could no longer meet the standards, and withdrawing voluntarily saves face. Of course, when a ministry fails to meet ECFA standards, their stamp of approval is removed from its website and all publications. When there is a change of status with a high-profile ministry, the information often makes news in Christian media.

Occasionally, the ECFA has given its stamp of approval to a ministry that later turns out to have had serious problems with financial integrity. The rigorous standards seem to be more difficult to apply to ministries based outside of the United States or to spending money internationally. In spite of these issues, ECFA certification can help assure donors that the ministries they donate to are using the funds in an efficient and ethical manner.

Got Questions Ministries is an accredited member of the ECFA.

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This page last updated: April 23, 2024