Promoting Excellence and Trust in the Nonprofit Sector

Path To Accreditation

The Standards for Excellence Institute® is a national initiative established to promote the highest standards of ethics, effectiveness, and accountability in nonprofit governance, management, and operations, and to help all nonprofit organizations meet these high benchmarks. Our program is a system of nonprofit sector self-regulation originated by Maryland Nonprofits and replicated by state, regional, and national associations and support organizations. 

The Standards for Excellence Institute provides a model for organizations to implement in their operating plans so they can gain a deeper understanding of their effectiveness, improve their decision-making and minimize risks. Participating in the Standards for Excellence program is a way to strengthen your organization and set it apart as one that goes above and beyond minimal legal requirements. Accreditation and recognition through the Standards for Excellence Institute is available to any 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), or 501(c)(6) designated nonprofit in the US. Nonprofits can demonstrate that they adhere to this model through several options.

There are many benefits to going through the application process for accreditation or recognition. The independent third-party review of your organization’s policies, procedures, and practices will give you confidence that your organization is committing the needed resources to your leadership, capacity, and infrastructure.

Nonprofits of all sizes and service areas can find an application process that fits their needs.


 Find An Accredited or Recognized Organization
Renewing Organizations


Levels of Accreditation and Recognition

Nonprofits of all sizes and mission areas can start at any level. The Institute offers three levels of Recognition and Accreditation.


Important Tools and Information

Take an Assessment

Assess your organization against all the Standards in the code, or determine if Standards Basics is right for you.