What is Standards for Excellence®?

Standards for Excellence® is a national benchmarking system for nonprofits that was created in 1998, and it is a baseline from which organizations can continuously improve. The standards are focused on six major areas of nonprofit governance and management: Mission, Strategy & Evaluation; Leadership: Board, Staff and Volunteers; Legal Compliance and Ethics; Finance and Operations; Resource Development; and Public Awareness, Engagement, and Advocacy.

Why should you consider Standards for Excellence® training?

An independent study measured the impact of achieving Standards for Excellence accreditation, examining changes in funding before and after an organization gained accreditation. The report showed revenue before accreditation was $286,589, and revenue after accreditation was $323,754. Accreditation was associated with increases in public support. The Standards for Excellence® training offers a comprehensive set of best practices and a roadmap on how to implement them. It's not a passive rating system, but an active way to strengthen your organization. You will gain access to the Standards library that includes turnkey resources, sample policies and procedures, assessment tools, and real-life examples from leading nonprofits that hold the Seal. Participating in training can help your organization become accredited.

What is a Seal Holder?

Nonprofits participate in Standards for Excellence® training so they can improve their governance, operations, and management and some go on to apply for accreditation. A nonprofit must go through the rigorous application process to be considered for approval. If the nonprofit is approved by the Standards for Excellence Institute, they become Seal Holders.  Standards Seal Holders are listed prominently on the Standards for Excellence website and GuideStar.org, and they gain access to a national community of nonprofits, consultants, and partners from around the country.

A nonprofit can apply for recognition status at the Standards Basics or Standards Basics Enhanced level. A nonprofit can apply for full accreditation and the Seal of Excellence, regardless of recognition status. Your organization does not need to apply for each level. These levels are provided to help your nonprofit succeed.

The mission of the Standards for Excellence® Institute is to promote the highest standards of ethics and accountability in nonprofit governance, management and operations, and to facilitate adherence to those standards by all nonprofit organizations.