Promoting Excellence and Trust in the Nonprofit Sector

Nonprofit Accreditation and Recognition

 
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.

There are many benefits to going through the application process that go beyond the self-assessment. 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

 

Nonprofit Performance | Research Supports Accreditation

 
12%
Organizations saw a 12% average increase in the amount of direct public support in the three years following their application date.
A recent study of 102 nonprofit organizations that have received the Standards for Excellence accreditation compared with peer organizations of similar size and industry examined the impact of acquiring the certification.  Significant findings include:
  
  • The accredited organizations exhibit tangible benefits from participating in the Standards for Excellence program
  • The accreditation process is associated with an increase direct public support

What are the benefits?

  •  Gain a deeper insight of your organization
  •  Promote trust within your community
  •  Improve decision making 
  •  Engage your board
  •  Minimize risk
  •  Facilitate fundraising

What Nonprofits Say

 
Every single thing we learned through the Standards for Excellence goes into practice every day.
Aliscia Banks, Executive Director,
The Standards of Excellence has set a high benchmark by offering…an independent review, showing the community, our constituents and our donors that we take our responsibility to the community very seriously and have pride in our organization.
A.J. Pollard,
Foundations were especially impressed when we attained this status. It benefited us greatly!
The investment we made into the organization translates into a better combined mission and vision, a better future story, more time and ability to do the work well, and more and better transparency in the community. It was both a wonderful experience and a huge win for the agency, our staff and Board, and the families we serve!

Choose Your Path To Excellence

 
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. Nonprofits can demonstrate that they adhere to this model through several options.
Organizations interested in becoming fully accredited by the Standards for Excellence Institute submit to a three-stage independent review process that confirms they have demonstrated that they meet all benchmarks in the Standards for Excellence code.

 

After a thorough review for completeness by Standards for Excellence Institute staff, a panel of trained peer reviewers assesses the applicant’s practices and determines if they have met the Standards.  The final stage of review is conducted by the national Ethics Standards Committee. Accredited organizations have permission to use the Seal of Excellence, a symbol the public and donors alike can trust.

Take the Full Accreditation Self-Assessment

These benchmarks focus on deepening and improving governance and management practices. Applicants will provide an updated application and undergo a staff review and a review by the national Ethics Standards Committee. Discounts on full accreditation application fees are available to organizations that complete the Standards Basics Enhanced recognition program and wish to move forward with full accreditation within a specified timeframe.
The focus of the benchmarks in this tier is around legal and regulatory compliance. Applicants will undergo a staff review prior to recognition at the Basics tier. Discounts on Standards Basics and full accreditation application fees are available to organizations that complete the Standards Basics recognition program and wish to move forward with within a specified timeframe.

 

Take the Standards Basics Self-Assessment

Take an Assessment

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

Apply Now

Check to see if you are eligible to participate through a Replication Partner. If you are ready to apply directly through the Institute, learn which fees are applicable to your organization, and then begin your application.

Accreditation Application Fees. Application fees are paid with submission of your application and cover the application review. Upon accreditation, organizations are licensed to display the Seal of Excellence and are subject to a licensing fee. Members of Maryland Nonprofits, the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations, and the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations should check with their respective organizations for custom fee structures. Members of the Standards for Excellence Institute and of other Replication Partners receive the member rate listed in the table below.

Organization Budget Member Nonmember
Less than $250,000 $300 $600
$250,000 – $500,000 $450 $900
$500,000 – $1,000,000 $750 $1500
$1,000,000 – $5,000,000 $1250 $2500
$5,000,000 – $10,000,000 $3000 $6000
$10,000,000 – 50,000,000 $6000 $12,000
$50,000,000 and higher $8000 $16,000

Accreditation Licensing Fees. Accredited organizations must pay an annual licensing as one of the requirements to maintain their accreditation. Organizations may apply for renewal three years after their initial accreditation, and thereafter every five years. Members of Maryland Nonprofits, the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations, and the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations should check with their respective organizations for custom fee structures. Members of the Standards for Excellence Institute and of other Replication Partnersreceive the member rate listed in the table below.

Organization Budget Member Nonmember
Less than $250,000 $100 $200
$250,000 – $500,000 $200 $400
$500,000 – $1,000,000 $400 $800
$1,000,000 – $5,000,000 $600 $1200
$5,000,000 – $10,000,000 $1250 $2500
$10,000,000 – 50,000,000 $2250 $4500
$50,000,000 and higher $3800 $7600

 

Recognition Application Fees. Application fees are paid with submission of your application (Basics Tier and Basics Enhanced Tier) and cover the application review. Upon recognition, organizations are subject to a licensing fee. Members of Maryland Nonprofits, the Ohio Association nullof Nonprofit Organizations, and the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations should check with their respective organizations for custom fee structures. Members of the Standards for Excellence Institute and of other Replication Partners receive the member rate listed in the table below.

Organization Budget Member Nonmember
Less than $250,000 $150 $300
$250,000 – $500,000 $225 $450
$500,000 – $1,000,000 $400 $800
$1,000,000 – $5,000,000 $650 $1300
$5,000,000 – $10,000,000 $1250 $2500
$10,000,000 – 50,000,000 $2000 $4000
$50,000,000 and higher $3500 $7000

Recognition Licensing Fees. Organizations will apply for renewal after every three years, or have the option to apply for the next tier (discounts may apply). Recognized organizations will pay a licensing fee during the years of the licensing period. Members of Maryland Nonprofits, the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations, and the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations should check with their respective organizations for custom fee structures. Members of the Standards for Excellence Institute and of other Replication Partners receive the member rate listed in the table below.

Organization Budget Member Nonmember
Less than $250,000 $100 $200
$250,000 – $500,000 $125 $250
$500,000 – $1,000,000 $175 $350
$1,000,000 – $5,000,000 $275 $550
$5,000,000 – $10,000,000 $400 $800
$10,000,000 – 50,000,000 $700 $1400
$50,000,000 and higher $1000 $2000