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MinistryWatch Releases List of Christian Ministries With Transparency Grade Of “F”

These ministries release little or no financial information to the public

Warren Cole Smith

MinistryWatch stands for transparency and accountability.  That’s why we think it is important for Christian ministries to be as transparent as possible with donors and with the public.

So MinistryWatch will grade every ministry in its database based on transparency.  Today, we release a list of the ministries who have received a failing or “F” grade — approximately 20 ministries.

(To see the more than 200 ministries with a superior “A” grade, click here.)

Our transparency grade evaluates the ease with which donors can see into the finances of a ministry.  The ministries on this list have failed to comply with the following three requirements:

  1. The completion and public availability of a Form 990. The Form 990 highlights revenue, expenses, fundraising costs, and executive salaries.  Form 990s have a great deal of information of interest to donors, though they are not a “gold standard” because this information is self-reported.
  2. The completion of an audited financial statement. Audited financial statements do not list executive salaries, but they have the advantage of being created by an independent accounting firm, thus giving donors and the public greater assurance that the numbers reported by management are accurate.  (Ministries with annual revenue of less than $1-million may have reviewed financial statements.)
  3. Membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Members of the ECFA publicly commit to live up to the “Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship.”  (Ministries with annual revenue less than $1-million are exempt from this requirement.)

The grading system is simple.

  • If a ministry complies with all three of the standards above, that ministry will receive a Transparency Grade of “A.”
  • If a ministry meets two of the three standards, that ministry will receive a “C.”
  • If a ministry meets only one of these standards, it will receive a “D.”
  • If it fails to meet any of the three standards, that ministry will receive a Transparency Grade of “F.”

Though we have only 20 or so “F” ministries here, you can search our database and see the grade of your favorite ministry by clicking here.

If you would like to report an error or a change in ministry status, please email:  wsmith@ministrywatch.com

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Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren previously served as Vice President of WORLD News Group, publisher of WORLD Magazine and has more than 30 years of experience as a writer, editor, marketing professional, and entrepreneur. Before launching a career in Christian journalism 20 years ago, Smith spent more than seven years as the Marketing Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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