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ECFA Announces New 'Affiliate' Membership, Will Benefit Smaller Ministries and Churches

Contact: Ginny McCabe, 513-604-6720

WINCHESTER, Virginia, July 9 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), an oversight and accreditation organization with more than 2,000 Christian nonprofit organization members, today announced the creation of a new "affiliate membership," which will greatly benefit smaller ministries and churches.

Photo: Kenneth Behr

"Over the past year, ECFA's board has carefully considered offering more flexibility in membership options, while enhancing the growing credibility of ECFA's seal with the donor public," said Kenneth Behr, ECFA president.  "One of those options is our new affiliate membership."

The new affiliate membership will not require a costly CPA audit required for ECFA's accredited membership, said Behr.  Affiliate members instead submit either CPA-compiled or CPA-reviewed financial statements annually to ECFA. 

ECFA surveys found that costs have risen significantly for nonprofit CPA audits, primarily due to recent Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, said Behr.  Approximately 75 percent of all nonprofits, including both ministries and churches, are small, he said.  For organizations with a few hundreds of thousands of dollars of annual revenue, these costs can be significant.  As a result, the ministries and churches often shy away from both ECFA membership and involvement with CPAs, he said.

Affiliate members receive all traditional ECFA benefits, including continuing education provided by ECFA staff at regional seminars, on-line seminars and classes, and other conferences.  They also will be identified on the ECFA website as affiliate members and will be able to display the ECFA affiliate member seal.

"Affiliate membership is a great way for smaller ministries and churches to begin the journey toward full accreditation," said Behr.  "Affiliated members meet all seven ECFA standards.  Like their accredited member colleagues, affiliate members embrace the highest standards for nonprofit organizations."

ECFA (www.ecfa.org), founded in 1979, provides accreditation to evangelical Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with established standards for financial accountability, fund-raising and board governance.  ECFA's 2,000-plus members collectively receive more than $16 billion per year in income from their ministry efforts and represent nearly $26 billion in assets.