The Standards for Excellence Code



I. Mission & Program
Nonprofits are founded for the public good and operate to accomplish a stated purpose through specific program activities. A nonprofit should have a well-defined mission, and its programs should effectively and efficiently work toward achieving that mission. Nonprofits havean obligation to ensure program effectiveness and to devote the resources of the organization to achieving its stated purpose.
II. Governing Body
Nonprofits are governed by an elected, volunteer board of directors that should consist of individuals who are committed to the mission of the organization. An effective nonprofit board should determine the mission of the organization, establish management policies and procedures, assure that adequate human resources (volunteer or paid staff) and financial resources (earned income, government contracts and grants, and charitable contributions) are available, and actively monitor the organization's management, financial and programmatic performance.
III.Conflicts of Interest
Nonprofit board and staff members should act in the best interest of the organization, rather than in furtherance of personal interests or the interests of third parties. A nonprofit should have policies in place, and should routinely and systematically implement those policies, to prevent actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest.
IV.Human Resources
A nonprofit's relationship to its employees and volunteers is fundamental to its ability to achieve its mission. Volunteers occupy a special place in nonprofit organizations, serving in governance, administrative and programmatic capacities. An organization's human resource policies should address both paid employees and volunteers, and should be fair, establish clear expectations, and provide for meaningful and effective performance evaluation.
V. Finance & Legal
Nonprofits must practice sound financial management and comply with a diverse array of legal and regulatory requirements. A nonprofit's financial system should assure that accurate financial records are kept and that the organization's financial resources are used in furtherance of the organization's charitable purposes. Organizations should conduct periodic reviews to address regulatory and liability concerns.
VI. Openness
Nonprofits are private corporations that operate for public purposes with public support. As such, they should provide the public with information about their mission, program activities, and finances. A nonprofit should also be accessible and responsive to members of the public who express interest in the affairs of the organization.
VII. Fundraising
Charitable fundraising provides an important source of financial support for the work of most nonprofit organizations. An organization's fundraising program should be maintained on a foundation of truthfulness and responsible stewardship. Its fundraising policies should be consistent with its mission, compatible with its organizational capacity, and respectful of the interests of donors and prospective donors.
VIII. Public Affairs & Public Policy
Nonprofits provide an important vehicle through which individuals organize and work together to improve their communities. Nonprofits should represent the interests of the people they serve through public education and public policy advocacy, as well as by encouraging board members, staff, volunteers and constituents to participate in the public affairs of the community.



(c) 2005-2013 Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, dba Standards for Excellence Institute, offered under licensing agreement through the Alabama Association of Nonprofits. No part of these materials may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any other information storage retrieval system without written permission from the Standards for Excellence Institute of Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations and the Alabama Association of Nonprofits. Alabama nonprofits should contact the Alabama Association of Nonprofits at or (205) 879-4712. Other organizations should contact The Standards for Excellence Institute at 1500 Union Avenue, Suite 2500,
Baltimore, MD 21211, phone: 410-727-1726,