Membership Standards

Membership includes three primary categories: Organization, Church and Individual.

Businesses and Regional Alliances of churches may also join as affiliates.

Member Organizations

Member Organizations are required to embody the highest commitment to financial integrity, good governance and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Members represent the full continuum of response to orphans worldwide—including many of the most admired names in adoption, domestic foster care, global orphan care and advocacy. As part of the membership application, organizations must affirm CAFO’s statement of faith and ECFA’s 7 Standards of Responsible Stewardship (see below).

Member Churches

Member Churches must hold convictions consistent with the Alliance statement of faith and share a desire to see God’s people equipped to defend the fatherless.  Many of the nation’s strongest church orphan ministries are Alliance members, both receiving and giving mutual support as part of the Alliance community.

Individual Members

Individual Members stand committed to the Alliance statement of faith and its mission.  Through their own spheres of influence, as well as through their annual dues, they aid the ongoing work of the Alliance community.

ECFA's 7 Standards of Responsible Stewardship

Used and edit for CAFO purposes with permission. For further information visit ECFA.ORG

Standard 1 – Doctrinal Statement

Every member 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 – Governance

Every member 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.

Standard 3 – Financial Oversight

Each member is required to prepare complete and accurate financial statements. Accredited members with annual cash contributions of $3 million or more must submit an annual audit performed by an independent certified public accounting (CPA) firm in accordance with U.S. generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS) with its financial statements prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). ECFA policies allow for CPA reviewed financial statements for organizations with annual cash contributions of $2-$3 million and a CPA compiled financial statement for those organizations below $2 million. The compiled or reviewed financial statements must be prepared in conformity with either U.S. GAAP or the modified cash basis of accounting including fixed assets and depreciation. 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. The board shall be apprised of any material weaknesses in internal control or other significant risks.

Standard 4 – Use of Resources and Compliance with Laws

Every member shall exercise the management and financial controls necessary to provide reasonable assurance that all resources are used (nationally and internationally) in a responsible manner and in conformity with applicable laws and regulations.

Standard 5 – Transparency

Every member 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.

Standard 6 – Compensation-Setting and Related-Party Transactions

Every organization shall set compensation of its top leader and address related-party transactions in a manner that demonstrates integrity and propriety in conformity with ECFA’s Policy for Excellence in Compensation-Setting and Related-Party Transactions

Standard 7 – Stewardship of Charitable Gifts

Every member shall comply with each of the ECFA Standards for fund-raising:

    • 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   Giver Expectations and Intent: Statements made about the use of gifts by an organization in its charitable gift appeals must be honored. A giver’s intent relates both to what was communicated in the appeal and to any instructions accompanying the gift if accepted by the organization. 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   Charitable Gift Communication:  Every organization shall provide givers appropriate and timely gift acknowledgments.
    • 7.4   Acting in the Best Interest of Givers:  When dealing with persons regarding commitments on major gifts, an organization’s representatives must seek to guide and advise givers to adequately consider their broad interests. An organization must make every effort to avoid knowingly accepting a gift from, or entering into a contract with, a giver that would place a hardship on the giver or place the giver’s future well-being in jeopardy.
    • 7.5   Percentage Compensation for Fund-raisers:  Compensation of outside fund-raising consultants or a member’s own employees based directly or indirectly on a percentage of charitable contributions raised is not allowed.