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Promoting Excellence and Trust in the Nonprofit Sector
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Standards of Excellence Accreditation Helps Funders

Take the Guesswork Out of Supporting Nonprofits

As foundations and grantmakers, you have many nonprofits vying for your support.
You must:

  • Decide where your investments will have the greatest impact.
  • Be certain that grant applicants are operating in an upright, accountable, and ethical way.
  • Ensure that each project you fund is successful, achieving the impacts proposed in the grant application.

Accreditation or recognition by the Standards for Excellence Institute takes the guesswork out of supporting nonprofits.
Accredited organizations:

  • Are better stewards of financial resources.
  • Are more effective at achieving their missions through effectively led programs.
  • Fulfill their legal and ethical fiduciary obligations with transparency.
  • Develop resources truthfully, responsibly, and sustainably.
  • Engage their communities.

Give With Confidence

Organizations that go through the accreditation process have been evaluated and reviewed by teams of nonprofit experts to ensure they live by the comprehensive Standards for Excellence code. The Standards for Excellence code has been thoroughly researched and its materials and guidelines are frequently updated.

Once a nonprofit is accredited, it earns the right to display the Standards for Excellence Seal.

The Standards for Excellence Seal demonstrates that the organization is in the best position to do the most good in the communities it serves. For example, you as a funder can be confident the nonprofit has appropriate internal controls in place, has a comprehensive advocacy policy, and has done all it can to avoid conflicts of interest.


When you see Standards for Excellence Seal, you can give with confidence.


The Standards Effect: Research Supports Accreditation


Thoughts from Foundation Leaders

“The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County partners hand-in-hand with donors. We have a responsibility to ensure that they are giving to well-run nonprofit organizations. Our donors want to know that their investment is going to a credible organization that is making a meaningful difference.

On the flip-side, we care deeply about the success of nonprofits and we want to know that they are providing the highest quality programming and services possible.

The Standards for Excellence Seal lets us know that a nonprofit is focused on the organizational strength and sustainability required for immediate and long-term community impact.”
Melissa Curtin,
Former Executive Director Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County

“As a grantmaker, the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama looks at all grantees as partners of the Foundation. Our Foundation places the upmost importance on integrity and best practices as we steward gifts that are intended to have a lasting impact on our region.

Our Foundation and our community have a higher level of confidence in grantees that have achieved and maintained the accreditation with the Standards for Excellence Institute.

The presence of the Standards for Excellence Seal has been paramount to ensuring that not-for-profit organizations receiving grants share our commitment to operating with integrity and best practices."
Heather Lamey,
Former Director of Donor Grants and Standards for Excellence, Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama


More information

Interested in learning more about the Standards for Excellence Institute and how to get started supporting excellence? Contact Amy Coates Madsen, Director of the Standards for Excellence Institute, at or 443-438-2314.