Employee Giving Program Rules
The King County Employee Giving Program Committee spent two years researching and reviewing industry best practices for public sector workplace giving programs and began implementing those findings in 2012 by revising King County Code 3.36, the governing legislation for the King County Employee Giving Program. The revisions, grounded in best-practices and guiding principles that align with the King County Strategic Plan, streamlined the code and made it more authorizing in nature.
Per KCC 3.36 the Employee Giving Program Committee may adopt rules for the program, including but not limited to, eligibility requirements for nonprofit participation. In order to be transparent, gain feedback from a variety of sources, and involve as many stakeholders as possible, the EGP Committee chose to utilize the King County "Public Rule Making Process" which requires public notification, an opportunity for public feedback, and documents the resulting rules with the King County Recorder's Office.
On November 15, 2012, a notice of intent to adopt rules, containing a link to the actual proposed rules, was published in the Seattle Times and sent by email to:
1) 940 current, previous, or potentially interested EGP nonprofit agency participants;
2) the King County Council and the King County Executive’s Policy Review Group;
3) six other King County Community Councils.
The proposed rules were posted on the EGP website for review and public comment from November 15 until December 29, 2012.
During the public comment period a total of six respondents submitted eight comments and/or questions. The “FAQ” section below captures the comments and questions received and EGP’s responses.
These rules will apply to the upcoming 2013 application cycle.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Why is the rules document so long?
A. While some of these rules did apply to the EGP under a previous version of the King County Code, the EGP has never had formal administrative rules before; this rules document is entirely new.
Q. Has the Administrative/Fund-Raising Ratio (AFR) been eliminated as an EGP eligibility criterion?
A. Yes, AFR will no longer be used by the EGP in screening nonprofit eligibility for our Annual Giving Drive. Based upon our recent review of nonprofit industry standards, the EGP Committee determined that the use of AFR in eligibility screening was no longer useful.
Q. Does the proposed $120 minimum annual pledge requirement for eligibility apply to Federation nonprofit members? What is the reasoning behind this requirement? How would a nonprofit re-focus on workplace giving once they have fallen below this minimum?
A. The proposed $120 minimum annual pledge requirement has been stricken from the adopted rules. Though the intent of this rule was to increase EGP administrative efficiency, after considering public comment, the EGP Committee decided that any potential inefficiencies were likely to be insignificant relative to the simplicity and openness associated with eliminating this requirement.
Addendum: One respondent specifically requested that this requirement be deleted.
Q. Proposed Rule 7.1.2., section 6, would require an audit for organizations with total annual gross income exceeding $500,000. Wouldn’t that have an adverse impact on some nonprofits?
A. Based upon public feedback, the EGP has amended the proposed rule regarding audit requirements. The audit requirement will now only apply to nonprofits with total annual gross income exceeding $1,000,000 rather than $500,000 as proposed. It is the EGP’s belief and experience that most if not all nonprofits with income exceeding $1,000,000 already undergo formal audits annually; EGP reasoned, therefore, that there would be no adverse impact to nonprofits at this income level. Nonprofits with income below $1,000,000 will need a review by a certified public accountant, while those with income below $250,000 will need an internally produced, complete financial statement.
Q. Rule 7.1.3. seems to suggest that actual copies of the paperwork referenced (IRS Form 990/IRS Pro Forma 990; annual report; annual financial statement; disclosure of total dollar value of support from all sources; total dollar amounts applied to charitable purposes, fundraising costs and all other expenses) must be made available by the nonprofit but won’t have to be submitted. Wouldn’t nonprofits rather know up front if they comply with eligibility requirements?
A. This rule lists all of the documentation that nonprofits must make available upon request by the EGP, the King County Council, or the County Executive. This speaks to ensuring that there’s a willingness on the part of the participating agency to provide additional documentation if it were requested. This rule does not represent a change to documentation required to be submitted with a nonprofit’s annual EGP application. Nonprofits will know up front if they comply with eligibility requirements.