Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

Standard #1 - Doctrinal Statement

Insight for Living shall subscribe to a written statement of faith clearly affirming its commitment to the evangelical Christian faith and shall conduct its financial and other operations in a manner which reflects those generally accepted Biblical truths and practices.

Standard #2 - Board of Directors and Financial Oversight

Insight for Living shall be governed by a responsible board of not less than five individuals, a majority of whom shall be independent, which shall meet at least semiannually to establish policy and review its accomplishments. The board or a committee consisting of a majority of independent members shall review the annual financial statements and maintain direct communication between the board and the independent certified public accountants.

Standard #3 - Financial Statements

Insight for Living is required to submit complete and accurate financial statements as defined by ECFA policies.

Standard #4 - Use of Resources

Insight for Living shall exercise the management and financial controls necessary to provide reasonable assurance that all resources are used (nationally and internationally) in conformity with applicable federal and state laws and regulations to accomplish the exempt purposes for which they are intended.

Standard #5 - Financial Disclosure

Insight for Living shall provide a copy of its current financial statements upon written request and provide other disclosures as the law may require. The financial statements required to comply with Standard 3 must be disclosed under this Standard. A member must provide a report, upon written request, including financial information on any specific project for which it is soliciting gifts.

Standard #6 - Conflict of Interest

Insight for Living shall avoid conflicts of interest. Transactions with related parties may be undertaken only if all of the following are observed:

  1. A material transaction is fully disclosed in the audited financial statements of the member;
  2. The related party is excluded from the discussion and approval of such transaction;
  3. A competitive bid or comparable valuation exists; and
  4. The member's board has acted upon and demonstrated that the transaction is in the best interest of the member.

Standard #7 - Fundraising

Insight for Living must comply with each of the ECFA Standards for Fundraising:

7.1 Truthfulness in Communication

All representations of fact, description of the financial condition of the member, or narrative about events must be current, complete, and accurate. References to past activities or events must be appropriately dated. There must be no material omissions or exaggerations of fact or use of misleading photographs or any other communication which would tend to create a false impression or misunderstanding.

7.2 Communications and Donor Expectations

Fundraising appeals must not create unrealistic donor expectations of what a donor's gift will actually accomplish within the limits of the member's ministry.

7.3 Communication and Donor Intent

All statements made by the member in its fundraising appeals about the use of the gift must be honored by the member. The donor's intent is related to both what was communicated in the appeal and to any donor instructions accompanying the gift. The member should be aware that communications made in fundraising appeals may create a legally binding restriction.

7.4 Projects Unrelated to a Ministry's Primary Purpose

A member raising or receiving funds for programs that are not part of its present or prospective ministry, but are proper in accordance with its exempt purpose, must either treat them as restricted funds and channel them through a member that can carry out the donor's intent or return the funds to the donor.

7.5 Incentives and Premiums

Members making fundraising appeals which, in exchange of a contribution, offer premiums or incentives (the value of which is not insubstantial, but which is significant in relation to the amount of the donation) must advise the donor of the fair market value of the premium or incentive and that the value is not deductible for tax purposes.

7.6 Financial Advice

The representative of the member, when dealing with persons regarding commitments on major estate assets, must seek to guide and advise donors so that they have adequately considered the broad interests of the family and the various ministries they are currently supporting before they make final decisions. Donors should be encouraged to use the services of their attorneys, accountants, or other professional advisors.

7.7 Percentage Compensation for Fundraisers

Compensation of outside fundraising consultants or a member's own employees based directly or indirectly on a percentage of charitable contributions raised is not allowed.

7.8 Tax Deductible Gifts for a Named Recipient's Personal Benefit

Tax deductible gifts may not be used to pass money or benefits to any named individual for personal use.

7.9 Conflict of Interest on Royalties

An officer, director, or other principal of the member must not receive royalties for any product that the member used for fundraising or promotional purposes.

7.10 Acknowledgment of Gifts-in-Kind

Property or gifts-in-kind received by a member should be acknowledged describing the property or gift accurately without a statement of the gift's market value. It is the responsibility of the donor to determine the fair market value of the property for tax purposes. The member may be required to provide additional information for gifts of motor vehicles, boats, and airplanes.

7.11 Acting in the Interest of the Donor

A member must make every effort to avoid accepting a gift from or entering into a contract with a prospective donor which would knowingly place a hardship on the donor or place the donor's future well-being in jeopardy.

Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

Donor's Bill of Rights from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability

Make sure your charity's standards and guidelines assure you of a "bill of rights" as a donor.

You have the right to:

  • Know how the funds of a member are being spent.
  • Know what the programs you support are accomplishing.
  • Know that the member is in compliance with federal, state, and municipal laws.
  • Restrict or designate your gifts to a particular project.
  • A response to your inquiries about finances and programs.
  • Visit offices and program sites of a member to talk personally with the staff.
  • Not be high-pressured into giving to any member.
  • Know that the member is well managed.
  • Know that there is a responsible governing board and who those board members are.
  • Know that all appeals for funds are truthful and accurate.