ECFA – Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability
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.
Charity Navigator works to guide intelligent giving. Charity Navigator helps charitable givers make intelligent giving decisions by providing information on over five thousand charities and by evaluating the financial health of each of these charities. Charity Navigator ensures evaluations are widely used by making them easy to understand and available to the public free of charge. By guiding intelligent giving, Charity Navigator aims to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace, in which givers and the charities they support work in tandem to overcome our nation’s most persistent challenges.
Charity Navigator aims to provide objective, unbiased analytical information on America’s largest charities so you can determine if donating to those charities is a sound decision. And because it does not charge the charities to be evaluated, you can be assured that the information contained on its site is without bias.
Charity Navigator is not affiliated with any of the charities that it rates, so you can trust that the information is 100% objective. Charity Navigator takes proven financial models, formulas, and ratios and applies them unilaterally to every organization in its database. Charity Navigator makes no allowances for anyone and makes no exceptions. The data is what it is.
Charity Navigator is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization under the Internal Revenue Code and does not accept any contributions from any charities it evaluates.
America’s Best Charities “Best in America”
The purpose of America’s Best Charities “Best in America” Seal of Excellence is to help potential contributors easily identify an organization as one of the top charities in the country, one that meets the high standards of America’s Best Charities. The Seal of Excellence is awarded to nonprofits that have, upon rigorous independent review, been able to certify, document, and demonstrate on an annual basis that they meet the highest standards of public accountability, program effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness. These standards include those required by the US Government for inclusion in the Combined Federal Campaign, probably the most exclusive fund drive in the world. Of the 1, 000,000 charities operating in the United States today, it is estimated that fewer than 50,000, or 5 percent, meet or exceed these standards, and, of those, fewer than 2,000 or 0.2 percent, have been awarded this Seal.