Nonprofit Resource Development Tools

The Standards for Excellence Institute has developed and maintains a library of educational resources for nonprofit organizations interested in implementing the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector (login required). The resource packets include information on implementing specific standards, justification for the standards, best practices associated with the issue, model procedures and sample policies. Structurally, they include narrative memos and attachments. The attachments include both original materials created by the Standards for Excellence Institute, as well as documents that have been obtained with permission from other sources.

The Standards for Excellence educational resources were prepared by conducting an exhaustive review of literature on a particular topic, pulling the most useful information, creating original materials (including model policies) where the available information is not sufficient, and packaging the materials in an easy to use format. Collectively, the resources cover each of the 67 standards in the Standards for Excellence code. The following resource packets are available to members of the Standards for Excellence Institute and Replication Partners:

Click below to download a printable annotated list of the entire Resource Packet Library

A membership with the Standards for Excellence Institute is required to access these resources.  

Mission, Strategy and Evaluation

  • Steps to engage in strategic planning
  • Developing a mission statement
  • Benefits of mission statement revision
  • Complying with legal aspects of mission statement
  • Using your mission statement
  • Developing a three to five year plan
  • Pitfalls of Planning
  • Examples of mission statements
  • Attachments: Strategic Plan Sample Worksheet for Executive Summary and Sample Strategic Plan Implementation/Action Plan

  • Definition of program evaluation
  • Purpose of program evaluation
  • Defining your programs
  • Monitoring vs. evaluation
  • The program cycle
  • Approaches to outcome evaluation
  • Logic models
  • Methodologies: quantitative and qualitative approaches
  • Effectiveness v. efficiency
  • Cost benefit analysis
  • Measuring participant satisfaction
  • Using program evaluation data
  • Attachment: Sample Outcomes Logic Model (WK Kellogg Foundation) and Sample Program Evaluation Matrix (Standards for Excellence Institute)

  • Definitions of sustainability for nonprofits
  • Approaches to working toward a more sustainable organization
  • Considerations of sustainability in terms of: programming, leadership, personnel, finances, infrastructure
  • Attachments: Sample worksheets on cataloging income, capturing expenses, and assets and liabilities (Recession Tool Kit), functional expenses worksheet

  • Types of partnerships and important considerations
  • Identifying and vetting potential partners
  • Memorandum of Understanding
  • Role of the board
  • Attachments: Sample Policy on Strategic Partnerships (Pathfinders for Autism), Mergers Due Diligence Checklist, Legal Issues and Nonprofit Mergers

Leadership: Board, Staff and Volunteers

  • Board’s governance and fiduciary responsibility
  • Board member legal responsibilities
  • When board members act in a representative capacity
  • Bylaws
  • Policies
  • Board evaluation of its own performance
  • Expectations for board members
  • Board member development, orientation and training
  • Board meetings and attendance
  • Meeting Minutes
  • Strategic Meeting Agendas
  • Committees and Characteristics of Effective Committees
  • Attachments: Sample Bylaws, Sample Board Evaluation, Job Description, Sample Board Commitment Form, Board Orientation Checklist, Board Member Handbook, Tips for Effective Meetings, Board Meeting Minutes, and Board Committees
  • Defining roles of the board and the chief executive
  • Sorting out board and staff roles and responsibilities
  • Understanding the line between management and governance
  • Hiring the chief executive
  • Executive roles and responsibilities
  • Determining chief executive compensation
  • Evaluating the chief executive
  • Chief executive termination and removal
  • Policies
  • Attachments: Leadership Roles in Management and Governance Diagram, Board Calendar Board Room Quick Tip, Sample Position Description: Executive Director, Sample Executive Director Evaluation Process Resource Tool
  • Commitment to the mission of the organization
  • Employees on the board
  • Relatives and business associates in leadership position on the nonprofit board
  • Board member recruitment and selection
  • Board Development, Nominating, or Governance Committee
  • Board diversity
  • Term limits
  • Compensation of board members
  • Size of board
  • Board independence
  • Attachments: Board Development Committee, Board Composition Analysis, Statements on Board Diversity, Family and Business Relationships and Interested Person Independence Questionnaire
  • Benefits of personnel policies
  • Contents of an employee handbook
  • Development of personnel policies
  • Drafting an employee handbook
  • Distribution of an employee handbook
  • Staff management (employee orientation, performance evaluation, outcomes of competitive compensation and employee evaluations)
  • Compensation Structure Overview (Conducting a salary structure review, developing a compensation philosophy statement, provisions of intermediate sanctions)
  • Appointing the executive director, setting executive compensation and conduction annual evaluation
  • Attachments: Annual Reviews of Executive Director, Annual Employee Evaluation Form, Compensation Philosophy Statements, Compensation Policy for Employees, Compensation Policy for Executive Director, Model Review of Organization’s Salary Structure, Model Employee Handbook (includes employee orientation checklist) and A Charitable Nonprofits’ Guide to Telecommuting

  • Definitions of cultural competency
  • Developing respectful, appropriate and effective relationships with people of diverse backgrounds and ensuring equal access to resources
  • Cultural competency self-assessment and crafting a cultural plan
  • Developing and implementing a cultural competency policy
  • Tips for a successful cultural competency planning process
  • Attachments: Sample Cultural Competency Policy (Arc of Central Chesapeake), and Cultural Competency Self-Assessment for Nonprofit Organizations
  • Benefits of volunteer policies
  • Developing volunteer policies
  • Preparing for incorporation of volunteers into an organization’s efforts
  • Initial assessment or screening of volunteers for appropriate work responsibilities
  • Ongoing supervision, training, and evaluation of volunteers
  • Recognition and opportunities for advancement
  • Attachments: Model Volunteer Program Policies and Procedures, Position Description for Volunteer Coordinator, Sample Volunteer Policies
  • Types of succession planning
  • Preparing for succession, leadership and staff development
  • Key elements of succession plans and procedures
  • Hiring a new executive director
  • Succession planning for board leadership
  • Attachments:, Sample Leadership Development and Succession Plan, Board Room Quick Tip, Strategies for Successful Succession

Legal Compliance and Ethics

  • Requirements applicable to tax exemption/tax exempt status
  • Requirements for corporate start up
  • Requirements related to organizations with employees
  • Requirements related to solicitations, fundraising, and related activities
  • Requirements applicable to lobbying activities
  • Miscellaneous requirements
  • Attachments: Checklist of Compliance with Selected Legal, Regulatory, and Financial Reporting Requirements for Charitable Nonprofits, Joint Ventures Policy, Reimbursement of Expenses Policy
  • Proper registration for soliciting contributions
  • Disclosure requirements in fundraising solicitations
  • Disclosure requirements regarding the deductibility of donor contributions
  • Disclosure requirements in fundraising receipts and acknowledgements
  • Sponsorships and Taxable Advertisements
  • Disclosure requirements regarding financial documents that must be provided to a member of the public upon request
  • Disclosure information for contests, sweepstakes and promotions
  • Benefits of reporting improprieties
  • Confidential means to report improprieties
  • Protections for those that “blow the whistle”
  • How a nonprofit can implement a policy to promote confidential reporting of financial improprieties
  • Attachments: Sample policy on Confidential Reporting of Financial Impropriety or Misuse of Organization’s Resources, Sample policy on Reporting Improprieties, Fraudulent or Dishonest Conduct, Sample Financial Impropriety or Misuse Policy, Sample Job Description for Individual (Volunteer or Paid Staff) Managing the Ethics Hotline (or similar mechanism to provide employees a confidential means to report suspected financial improprieties or misuse of organization resources).
  • Benefits of a conflict of interest policy
  • Why a conflict of interest policy is important
  • Identifying conduct that raises conflict concern
  • IRS conflict of interest concerns
  • Disclosure
  • Independent review and approval
  • Perceived conflicts and the appearance of impropriety – policy in action
  • Steps to take in preparing a conflict of interest policy
  • Attachments: Model Conflict of Interest Policy, Model Conflicts of Interest Annual Affirmation of Compliance and Disclosure Statement, Sample Questionnaire on Family and Business Relationships and Interested Person Independence
  • Guides the crafting of a statement that conveys the organization’s values to stakeholders and the public
  • Step-by-step strategy for developing a code of ethics
  • Working respectfully
  • Confidentiality policies
  • Grievance procedures
  • Attachments: Sample Confidentiality Policy, Sample Privacy Policy and Sample Fundamental Human Rights Policy

Finance and Operations

  • Budget and budget process
  • Finance committee
  • Financial statements
  • Resources spent on program administration and fundraising
  • Audits
  • 2009 Accounting Standards Codification and 2006 Audit standards revision
  • Audit Committee and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • The Form 990
  • Attachments: Glossary of Terms associated with financial planning and monitoring, Sample Request for Proposal for an Audit, sample Independent Nonprofit Auditor Policy, Board’s Review of the Form 990 Policy, Effective Fiscal Management, Sample Section of Board Minutes Reflecting Review of Percentages Spent on Program, Administration and Fundraising
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Investment policies
  • Unrestricted current net assets
  • Purchasing policies
  • Internal controls policies
  • Attachments: Sample Investment Policies, Sample Joint Venture Policy, Sample Policy on Unrestricted Net Assets, Model Purchasing Policy, Sample Internal Control Policy, Practical and Almost Painless Approaches to Improving Internal Controls
    • Ensuring nonprofits have the tools needed to complete the management and governance sections of the 2008 Form 990
  • Attachments: Board Member Independence Questionnaire, Board’s Review of the Form 990, Conflict of Interest Policy, Compensation Policy, Auditor Independence Policy, Whistleblower Policy, Joint Ventures Policy, Expense Reimbursement Policy, Solicitation and Acceptance of Gifts Policy, Document Retention and Destruction Policy

Crisis and Disaster Planning

  • Key principles and guidelines for organizational responses to crises and disasters
  • Benefits associated with crisis management (and risks for not addressing crisis planning)
  • Recommended components of a Crisis and Disaster Plan
  • Integrating program delivery, service populations, and other stakeholders into crisis and disaster planning
  • Crisis communication
  • Steps in developing a crisis communications plan
  • Attachments: Sample crisis and disaster plan introduction, Roles and Responsibilities of the Disaster/Crisis Team, Sample Risk Assessment Worksheet, Sample Emergency/Crisis Communication Plan.

Information Technology Planning

  • Benefits of Information Technology (IT) Planning,
  • Discussion of the full scope of IT,
  • Strategic IT Planning (including strategy and needs assessment),
  • IT Management,
  • Online Fundraising
  • Getting Started with IT Planning
  • Attachments: Social Media Factsheet, Acceptable Use Policies, Information Technology Consultants, Data Security and Integrity

Communications, Engaging the Public and Social Media

  • Key elements of a communications policy
  • Key elements of a communications plan
  • Nonprofits’ efforts to engage the public
  • Social media platforms, benefits, getting started
  • Mobile applications
  • Attachments: Social Networking Policy (The Arc Baltimore), Sample Nonprofit Style Guide, Essential Communications Tools
  • Immunity for nonprofits
    • Federal immunity laws
    • State immunity laws
  • Managing Risk
  • Insurance for Nonprofits
  • Directors and officers insurance
  • Other types of insurance
  • Attachments: Questions and Answers about D & O Coverage

Resource Development

  • Cost-effective development of sufficient resources from various sources
  • Elements of a resource development plan
  • Implementing a development plan
  • Major categories of support
  • Evaluating plan effectiveness
  • Assessing sources of income for mission alignment
  • Attachments: Sample Resource Development Plan, Sample Board Development Calendar, Income Worksheet, Fundraising Case Statement Fundraising Readiness Worksheet, Annual Campaign Information, Telemarketing and Phone-a-thon Information, Major Gifts, Grants, Federated Fundraising, Special Events, Planned Giving Overview, Supporting Organizations
  • Controlling cost of raising money
  • Determining ratio of charitable contributions for fundraising results to costs
  • Fundraising ratio do not reveal efficiency or effectiveness of nonprofits
  • Reasonable fundraising costs over time
  • Attachments: Typical Fundraising Event Expenses, Nonprofit’s Fundraising Expenses
  • Benefits of fundraising and development policies
  • Accurate and truthful solicitations
  • Donor relationships and donor privacy
  • Solicitations and acceptance of gifts policy
  • Limits on persons or entities from whom organization will accept gifts
  • Limits on type of gift that will be accepted
  • Limits based on the practical or financial implications of accepting a gift
  • Limits on the purpose for which gift will be used
  • Anticipating unexpected gifts
  • Attachments: Model Solicitations and Acceptance of Gifts Policy, Donor Bill of Rights
  • Avoiding commission or formula based compensation for fundraisers
  • Proper registration of fundraising consultant
  • Exercising control over individuals or groups soliciting on the nonprofit’s behalf
  • Attachment: Sample Fundraising Agreement for Outside Organizations Raising Money Without Charge on Behalf of a Nonprofit

Public Awareness, Engagement and Advocacy

  • Advocacy and lobbying in charities is legal
  • Defining the terms advocacy and lobbying
  • Allowable lobbying activities (Default option: substantiality principle and
  • Election option: 501(h) election
  • Registration and disclosure of lobbying activity
  • Developing public policy/advocacy policy for your organization
  • Activities must be strictly nonpartisan
  • Attachments: Sample Policy on Public Policy, Sample Advocacy Policy, Limited Advocacy Policy, Worry-Free Lobbying for Nonprofits, (Alliance for Justice, 2012)
  • Benefits of engaging the public
  • Openness
  • Annual reporting
  • Elements of an annual report
  • Public access, opportunities for the organization leadership to communicate with the public
  • Educational information
  • Attachment: Final Checklist Before Releasing Materials to Public