Standards for Excellence Accreditation

Why a Code of Excellence is Important

Nonprofit organizations, as tax-exempt entities that, in many cases, are reliant on the generosity and trust of others, face sharp scrutiny to operate effectively and ethically. This scrutiny is intensified in the midst of scandals that are circulated through the media and raise concerns about accountability within the nonprofit sector. Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits works to assist organizations in exceeding the minimum legal requirements of local, state and federal regulations to ensure they are fulfilling their obligations to those they serve, to their supporters, and to the public.

In 2008, BoardSource named the Standards for Excellence code as “one of the most important milestones in the field of nonprofit governance in the last 20 years.” The program has been cited as exemplary at hearings and roundtables before the US Senate Committee on Finance and the American Society of Association Executives.

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits is committed to raising the level of principled and responsible practices within the nonprofit sector in Oklahoma. We provide 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 that adhere to this model can become formally accredited under the Standards for Excellence code and earn the right to display the Seal of Excellence throughout their organization.

A recent research study conducted by faculty at Suffolk University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette found that nonprofit organizations exhibit tangible benefits from receiving the Standards for Excellence accreditation. The study illustrates that the accreditation process is associated with an increase in direct public support, and that stakeholders will react positively to organizations receiving the Standards for Excellence accreditation by allocating more resources to the nonprofit. The researchers indicate that the results provide supporting evidence of the positive impacts of the comprehensive certification program offered by the Standards for Excellence Institute and its licensed partners, like Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits.

Applying for accreditation is a cooperative, three-staged process between each organization and the Center. The stages include a thorough review by staff, a peer review by vetted volunteer third-party professionals, and final approval by a team of volunteer nonprofit experts who serve on the Oklahoma Ethics Standards Committee. Applications are reviewed with consideration of each nonprofit’s individual mission, size and resources. Applicants are provided with custom recommendations at each stage of review that are intended to strengthen the organization’s impact and qualify them as a Standards for Excellence Seal holder. Organizations also have the option to be recognized for significant accomplishments through the tiered recognition program.

How to Apply

What is the process for accreditation?



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