In the past, the Christian Reformed Church in North America provided an annual list to churches of organizations that had been reviewed and deemed appropriate for congregations to support financially. This accredited list took time to produce each year and was not always well used by churches.
In 2023, a change in direction was made as synod approved “discontinuing the practice and policy of reviewing and recommending charitable organizations to CRC churches”, and instead directed “the Office of General Secretary to provide the criteria currently used by CRCNA staff to the churches to assist in their vetting process of charitable organizations being considered for offerings."
The process for evaluating ministries who desired to be placed on the denominational “recommended for offerings” list has been in effect for almost 100 years. As you can expect, the process for vetting these ministries has changed during that time, and most recently has included rigorous program and finance evaluations with information that is readily available online.
With Synod 2023’s decision to discontinue the denominational vetting process, churches may want to consider the following requirements the denomination has used.
The organization must:
- have been In existence for a minimum of three years.
- be closely related to our integral work.
- for the CRCNA that was: works of mercy, of Christian education, or the distribution of the Word of God.
- This included affiliated colleges and universities (Dordt, King’s, Redeemer, Trinity).
- be closely allied with our ecclesiastical mission.
- agree with the CRCNA’s fundraising ethical guidelines.
- not compete directly with existing denominational ministries.
- A statement of the purpose along with clearly identified goals of the organization.
- Clearly outlined changes to purpose and goals if those have taken place in the last year.
- A statement describing new programs or changes in current programs.
- An explanation of programs the organization is no longer engaged in.
- Geographical area served.
- List of degree programs offered or soon to be offered (if applicable).
- Corporate bylaws, and/or changes to bylaws.
To analyze the financial conditions of the various organizations asking for financial support, such organizations are to provide the following information:
- Federal Employer ID number in the US; Charity Registration Number in Canada.
- Most recent financial statement, audited or reviewed by a Certified Public Accountant or Chartered Accountant.
- Current and previous fiscal year’s operating budget, including the percentage attributed to program and support expenditures.
- Statement of the amount of contributions received from Christian Reformed Church congregations and the percentage this represents of total contributions.
- Statement indicating a fidelity bond is in effect and the amount of that bond coverage.
- Financial analysis including, but not limited to, the following:
- Days operations coverage = (cash + investments + other liquid current assets – current liabilities) / 250
- Dollar and percent change in net assets from the prior year
- Percent overhead = (management and general + fund raising) / total expense
- Comparison of net asset levels over the prior three years
- Source of current assets during the prior three years