EarthShare Member Charity Eligibility Criteria

EarthShare requires applicant charities to meet numerous criteria before they are considered for membership in the federation. You can review our standards below.

Is your nonprofit organization interested in becoming an EarthShare member charity? EarthShare conducts a member consideration cycle once a year, which happens in the late May timeframe. For more information about the application process and the eligibility criteria listed here, please contact our Director of Member Services, Perry Bird.

Any EarthShare national member (and EarthShare itself) must demonstrate each year that it:

  • Is an organization, the primary mission of which is the protection and enhancement of the natural environment or conservation of natural resources (organizations must identify themselves as an "environmental" or "conservation" organization in their formal literature, i.e. annual report, brochures, etc., and must spend more than 50% of their budget on environmental or conservation programs).
  • Annually completes audit and files IRS Form 990.
  • Has been in existence for three years prior to applying to the Federation as evidenced by three years' of IRS Form 990s.
  • Is established as a "permanent" organization (i.e. one whose mission is not limited by the termination of a project or campaign).
  • Meets all other requirements for membership with the Federation as set forth in its By-laws, and is committed to working cooperatively and positively with all other EarthShare members though they may disagree on organizational policies and environmental issues.
  • Is not a private foundation, private operating foundation or community foundation.
  • Does not advocate illegal direct action.

Each member charity and EarthShare itself must also meet the following ANNUAL Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) requirements:

  • It provided or conducted real services, benefits, assistance, or program activities in 15 or more different states over the three-year period immediately preceding the start of the campaign application year. Or, it provided or conducted real services, benefits, assistance, or program activities in a foreign country over the three-year period immediately preceding the start of the campaign application year.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognizes the applicant organization as one which is tax-exempt under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) and to which contributions are tax deductible pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 170.
  • The expenses of the applicant organization connected with lobbying and all attempts to influence voting or legislation at the local, State or Federal level would classify it as a tax-exempt agency under 26 U.S.C. 501(h). Or, the applicant organization does not engage in lobbying nor does it attempt to influence voting or legislation at the local, state or Federal level.
  • It is a human health and welfare organization providing services, benefits, or assistance to, or conducting activities affecting human health and welfare.
  • It accounts for its funds in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
  • It was audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS) by an independent certified public accountant in the immediately preceding year.
  • It has spent 25% or less of its total support and revenue on administrative and fundraising expenses during the year covered by the submitted IRS Form 990.
  • If the organization's overhead exceeds 25%, it must provide EarthShare an explanation of the organization's management, general, and fundraising expenses and a formal plan to reduce these expenses to 25% or less of its total support and revenues.
  • It has an active and responsible governing body, whose members have no material conflict of interest and a majority of which serve without compensation, directs the organization named in this application.
  • It conducts publicity and promotional activities based upon its actual program and operations, that these activities are truthful and non-deceptive, include all material facts, and make no exaggerated or misleading claims.
  • It effectively uses the funds contributed by federal personnel for its announced purposes.
  • It is chartered/incorporated under a governmental entity.
  • It has in the preceding year received no more than 80 percent of its total support and revenues from government sources.
  • It prepares and makes available to the public an annual report that includes a full description of the organization's activities and supporting services and identifies its directors/governing body and chief administrative personnel.


Is your nonprofit organization interested in becoming an EarthShare member charity? EarthShare conducts a member consideration cycle once a year, which happens in the late May timeframe. For more information on the application process and eligibility criteria, please contact Perry Bird, Director, Member Services.

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