About Standards for Excellence®

Standards for Excellence aims to raise the level of accountability, transparency, and effectiveness of all nonprofit organizations. This fosters excellence and inspires trust in your organization and across the entire sector. The Standards for Excellence code provides a framework and step-by-step guidelines to achieve a well-managed and responsibly governed organization.

The code builds upon the legal foundations of nonprofit management, governance, and operations to embrace fundamental values such as honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, compassion, responsibility, and transparency. The code consists of six Guiding Principles in 27 topic areas with specific performance benchmarks that characterize effective, ethical, and accountable organizations. 

AAN helps the nonprofit sector in Alabama operate in accordance with the Standards of Excellence code by providing educational resources and connections to assistance should your organization decide to complete the voluntary accreditation process.

AAN encourages all nonprofit organizations to adopt the Guiding Principles of the Standards for Excellence code. By implementing the performance benchmarks in the code, nonprofit organizations will meet the highest ethical standards for effective service in the public interest.

The Standards for Excellence Program is housed at the Standards for Excellence Institute in Maryland, and AAN is grateful for their work.

There are four components that make up the program:

  1. The Code itself – which outlines the 6 guiding principles and recognized 27 topic areas.
  2. Educational tools which include 27 educational resource packets, one for each topic area, and training programs offered by the Institute.
  3. A voluntary accreditation and recognition program that offers the Seal of Excellence or Recognition at one of two levels, just below the seal.
  4. The Institute educates the public about the standards that effective nonprofits should follow.

The 6 Guiding Principles Focus On:
  • Mission Strategy and Evaluation
  • Leadership: Board, Staff and Volunteers
  • Legal Compliance and Ethics
  • Finance and Operations
  • Resource Development
  • Public Awareness, Engagement, and Advocacy

Your membership with AAN provides you with free resource packets and sample policies as well as discounted fees to the Standards for Excellence Institute if you decide to become accredited.

AAN can connect you with licensed consultants to hire as you move through the accreditation and recognition process.