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organization accreditation

The cornerstone of nonprofit success and sustainability.


Nonprofits First Accredited Agencies are the pride of our mission to drive excellence in nonprofit management and sustainability. The foundation for organizational strength, Accreditation assures funders and partners that your nonprofit business and program practices are trusted, sound and operating at their highest level. This means confidently managing risk, identifying financial trends, and demonstrating impact, accountability and management excellence to all stakeholders.

Nonprofits First Accreditation benchmarks meet the core requirements of federal, state and local laws and regulations that govern nonprofits, best practices in management, and the expectations of many public and private funders. Led by expert staff in collaboration with our agency partners, our process evaluates your organization's compliance with standards in a number of key areas including board governance, strategic planning, fundraising, risk management, human resources, and financial management.

To ensure the process is objective, compliance with Accreditation Standards is verified by subject matter experts in each area of review, offering vital third-party confirmation of your organization’s commitment to management excellence.

“Acquiring accreditation through Nonprofits First was a significant milestone. It opened up many new funding opportunities and established a strong operational foundation for our future. All the hard work required to obtain accreditation was absolutely worth it.”

Gwenesia Collins, President
Faulk Center Board of Trustees

The Value of Accreditation

The many benefits of Accreditation to your organization, Board of Directors, and other stakeholders include:

A Mark of Quality

Accreditation distinguishes your organization’s commitment to accountability, competence and excellence in nonprofit management.

Risk Management

Accreditation assures board members, funders, and community stakeholders that your policies and procedures include necessary safeguards.

Continuous Improvement

Accreditation creates a solid framework for consistent, thoughtful growth and increased impact.

Assurances of Transparency, Accountability and Compliance

Accreditation demonstrates rigorous evaluation to current and prospective funders, assuring that your organization meets nonprofit sector and funder-mandated standards, and complies with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.


Accreditation enhances your organization’s reputation and credibility in the community, among your peers, and with potential public and private donors.

Funding Advantages

Accreditation helps organizations gain greater access to funders and programs that require or strongly prefer their grantees or partners are regularly evaluated.

Where Does Nonprofits First Accreditation Lead?

Greater Capacity, Sustainability and Funding

A collective $100 million was awarded in 2021 to Nonprofits First Accredited organizations from funders requiring an Accreditation standard.

Leveraged Resources

Last year 25 Accredited organizations were recognized by their funders for collaborations that resulted in greater mission outcomes.

Growth, Prosperity and Higher Impact

100% of Accredited organizations surveyed cite higher quality and performance in all aspects of operations and mission impact.

The Accreditation Process

Accreditation is an annual process, beginning with an onsite review of all standards. Accreditation is renewed each year after review of your organization's fiscal health and viability, as well as a categorical review.

The initial process takes several months to one year to complete, depending on your organization’s capacity and established infrastructure, and follows these primary steps:

  1. Orientation, initial paperwork and payment are completed.
  2. Completion of the online P2E™ Toolkit (Pathway to Excellence).
  3. Nonprofits First staff help your organization prepare for the onsite review.
  4. Executive Volunteer Corps members (peer practitioners with subject matter expertise) from Nonprofits First verify compliance with Accreditation Standards at your onsite review.
  5. Nonprofits First staff prepare preliminary and final report(s).
  6. The Accreditation Review Council makes a final determination to award or deny Accreditation.

The Accreditation Team

Our Nonprofits First Accreditation Team provides the hands-on assistance and tools needed for your organization to reach compliance and successfully complete the Accreditation Standards process.

Throughout the process, the Accreditation Team supports your organization by responding to self-assessment tool questions, providing technical assistance to ensure an adequate understanding of the standards, sharing training information, planning for a successful onsite review, preparing reports and facilitating the onsite review.

The Accreditation Standards
Verification Manual

This manual contains information about the standards, how they relate to every question we ask, and how we verify compliance at the onsite review. There are also links to helpful articles and other resources. Open office hours are held monthly if you prefer to discuss your questions in person.

Accreditation Costs

The Annual cost for Accreditation is as follows:

New Organizations: Full Accreditation with Virtual and/or Onsite Review

Returning Accredited Organizations: Desktop Fiscal Renewal and Categorial Review



Annual Categorical Reviews
Personnel, Governance, Fiscal or Development

Questions? To learn more, email us today at

Thank You to Our Hats Off Nonprofit Awards 2024 Sponsors

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