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Standards for Excellence recognition: Standards basics

Nonprofit leaders, you work hard every day to meet the ever-changing needs of your community.

You also take seriously your responsibility to your own organization. You want your nonprofit to be strong and sustainable.

How can you ensure your organization has implemented all the basic organizational requirements?

The answer:

The Standards for Excellence Code offers a set of nonprofit best practices to help your organization build a strong foundation.

Using the Code and applying for the Standards basics recognition will provide a structured process for you to
   - review your policies,
   - double check that you have covered all the necessary basics, and
   - receive verification of your work from a trusted third-party.

The benefits of applying for the Standards basics recognition include:
     - gaining a deeper understanding of your nonprofit’s effectiveness;
     - improving your decision making;
     - maximizing your board performance, and
     - earning the trust of donors and the public.

Apply for the Standards basics recognition TODAY!

“Applying for Standards for Excellence Basics Recognition provides nonprofits an effective tool for reviewing their operations and working towards becoming a viable nonprofit entity, committed to efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability.”
Cheryl Petty Garnette, Executive Director
The Ivy Community Charities of Prince George's County, Inc.


Frequently asked questions:

How does a nonprofit apply for Standards basics recognition?

The process starts with the nonprofit using the Standards for Excellence code, and tools such as the online self-assessment, to evaluate their organization, and then gathering the necessary information and documentation. Examples of documentation needed include: your mission statement, list of programs and services, descriptions of how you evaluate your programs, and information about your board.

After creating a free account, the nonprofit’s leadership works through the application, saving along the way to come back as needed. When they have completed all the questions and are ready to submit the application, they pay the application fee. (This fee covers the application review; it varies depending on the organization’s budget. Members of the Standards for Excellence Institute, Maryland Nonprofits, and other Standards partners receive a discount.)

What happens after the nonprofit applies?

Standards for Excellence Institute professionals with expertise in nonprofit management and accountability review the applications for Standards basics recognition. Those professionals work with the nonprofit to make sure the application is complete and meets all requirements. The nonprofit may be asked to provide more information or documentation. Nonprofits learn about and implement best practices immediately as they go through this thorough review process.

What happens when the nonprofit application is approved?

Nonprofits who earn this recognition are then able to prove to their stakeholders (funders, community members, board, staff, volunteers), that they have strong policies in place for good governance and legal compliance, and a well-defined mission with impactful programs. Their community will have outside verification about the quality of their programs, accountability and openness, and commitment to best practices.

The nonprofits are included on the Standards of Excellence Institute website. Their Standard basics recognition designation is noted in their GuideStar profile. (Note that nonprofits sign a licensing agreement and pay a licensing fee that is based upon membership status and budget size.)

Resources to help nonprofits apply for Basics Recognition

- The free online self-assessment is a great tool for nonprofits to use to assess their organization. After completion, nonprofits receive a detailed, actionable report, with links to resources.

- Standards for Excellence Licensed Consultants  are independent consultants with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to work with nonprofits interested in implementing the Standards or earning Recognition or Accreditation.

- Information about Application and Licensing Fees

- Standards for Excellence Institute Members have access to detailed, thorough, current educational resources for all the Standards for Excellence areas.

- Standards for Excellence Institute Membership – join today!


For more information:

Go to Standards For Excellence website
Contact Amy Coates Madsen at 443-438-2314 or acmadsen@standardsforexcellence.org.
Contact Kate Hull, at 443-438-2323 or khull@standardsforexcellence.org.