Standards for Excellence® Accreditation

For organizations interested in earning accreditation, it is completely voluntary. The highest honor is earning the Seal of Excellence through the Standards for Excellence Institute’s rigorous accreditation program. If you prefer, there are recognition programs, called Standards Basics and Basics Enhanced. You can choose to do these before applying for the Seal or you can do these to simply get your organization in “better order.”

The accreditation program provides an opportunity for nonprofits to show the public that they live by the tenets, benchmarks and practices of the Standards for Excellence code. Groups submit an application online and the application is reviewed in a three-step review process involving staff, volunteer peer reviewers, and members of the Ethics Standards Committee.

For organizations that earn the Seal of Excellence or are recognized through the tiered recognition program, the accreditation or recognition is visible on each organization’s GuideStar profile. This is a remarkable symbol of trust to donors and the general public.

Application Process

Accountability Standards for Nonprofit Organizations:
Do Organizations Benefit from Certification?
  • Study of 102 accredited organizations against a comparable control group.

  • Shows that in the time following an organization earning the Seal of Excellence the direct public support that they raised was higher than the direct public support raised by those who did not earn the Seal ($286,589 compared with $323,754).  

  • Independent academic research was released in May of 2014.