• Resources must be used and accounted for in accordance with the giver’s intended purposes;
  • Giver expectations that are created by fundraising appeals must be realistic and fulfilled through the use of the funds;
  • Givers, including those providing restricted gifts, must receive appropriate and timely gift acknowledgements;
  • Giver-restricted gifts may not be used to pass money or benefits through to any named individual for personal use;
  • All gifts must be under the church’s control;
  • Reports must be provided, including financial information, on the specific project for which a church is soliciting gifts;
  • A church 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;
  • Outside stewardship resource consultants or a church’s employees may not be compensated directly or indirectly on a percentage of charitable contributions raised, whether or not the gifts are restricted by givers.

These steps go beyond what the law requires in handling restricted gifts, but for churches that commit to these higher standards, the end results are well worth it.

The more your church demonstrates integrity in this area, the greater potential you have to build trust and increase Kingdom impact.

Listen to this in podcast format here.

Stay tuned for future articles in this special Crosswalk series on how churches can demonstrate integrity in key areas of governance, finances and fundraising/stewardship.

Dan Busby is president of president of ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability), an accreditation organization that sets standards for governance, financial management and fundraising/stewardship for churches and other nonprofits across the country.

Publication date: April 23, 2013