Nonprofits First
Accreditation Standards
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Governance

I. Key Principle: The organization practices good governance in pursuit of its mission and vision

 

1. Defining Standard: Governing documents are compliant with federal, state, and local law

a. All required records are maintained and made available for public review as required

b. Changes to governing documents are appropriately recorded and documented

c. The organization has a document retention and destruction policy

2. Defining Standard: Registration and reporting is compliant with federal, state, and local law

a. The organization maintains good standing with the IRS, with a publicly available IRS Determination Letter and timely filing and public availability of IRS Form 990 Series

b. Appropriate annual paperwork is filed to maintain incorporation and/or registration in the state(s) where the organization conducts business

c. If the locality(s) where the organization conducts business requires registration or paperwork, appropriate paperwork is filed and updated

3. Defining Standard: Directors understand their legal responsibilities to the organization and the duties of care, loyalty, and obedience

a. Board members are provided with the information needed to be an effective board member

b. New board members are oriented according to a documented process

4. Defining Standard: The organization's board is diverse and possesses expertise and skills that are beneficial to the organization

5. Defining Standard: A majority of board members, officers, and key staff are independent

a. Voting board members are not compensated for service on the Board of Directors, with the exception of reimbursement for any direct expenses, as specified in the bylaws

b. The board has a Conflict of Interest policy that includes recusal of voting, timely disclosure and documentation of relationship(s) to the full board, and signed documentation of annual disclosures by board members

c. The board has a Nepotism policy that includes recusal of voting and timely disclosure of relationship(s) to the full board

d. There are sufficient board members, unrelated by family or business relationships, to maintain a quorum when conflicts of interest arise

e. The organization limits related party transactions, and appropriately discloses any that do exist

6. Defining Standard: The board governs in accordance with best practices and their own governing documents

a. Governance activities occur as directed by governing documents and best practices

b. Governance activities are appropriately documented

c. The board evaluates the work of the chief executive at least annually

d. A defined succession process is used to recruit and develop the board and chief executive

e. Lawsuits, claims, and assessments are disclosed to the board and independent auditor

7. Defining Standard: Bylaws are up-to-date and sufficient to meet the needs of the organization

a. Bylaws are reviewed at least every three years

b. Bylaw reviews and/or changes are appropriately documented

c. Bylaws specify a minimum of 5 board members and a quorum requirement

 

Strategic Planning

II. Key Principle: The organization engages in self-evaluation, and organizational and strategic planning on an ongoing basis

 

1. Defining Standard: Mission and vision, as well as the competitive environment, are considered when making organizational and strategic plans

a. The board reviews and approves the mission at least every three years

b. Programs align with mission and goals

c. Organizational priorities are aligned with fiscal conditions and program outcomes

d. Appropriate stakeholders are involved in the strategic planning process

e. The organization's written strategic plan considers organizational goals, the resources needed to achieve them, and assigns responsibility of progress to individuals or positions

 

Risk Management and Safety

III. Key Principle: The organization acts to safeguard its clients and employees, as well as itself

 

1. Defining Standard: Risk is actively identified and managed

a. Adequate insurance is maintained to mitigate risk

b. Programs and facilities are licensed, inspected, and accredited as required

c. Confidentiality is protected in accordance with applicable laws

d. The organization actively plans and prepares for business continuity

e. The organization complies with applicable law while actively planning and preparing to serve a range of clients, including those of diverse backgrounds and/or with disabilities

f. Vendors and contractors are vetted and have or are covered by appropriate licensing and insurance

 

Development and Fundraising

IV. Key Principle: The organization uses sound development strategies to ensure community support and adequate resources to advance its mission

 

1. Defining Standard: The overall financial strategy incorporates sound fundraising and special event practices

2. Defining Standard: Fundraising practices are transparent and comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations

a. Grants and donations are appropriately documented and used in accordance with donor intentions

b. Applicable law is followed in fundraising, gift solicitation, disclosure, and gift notification and acknowledgement

c. Applicable law is followed for all charitable gaming/gambling

 

Finance / Financial Policies and Procedures

V. Key Principle: The organization furthers its mission through both conserving and expanding available resources

 

1. Defining Standard: The organization is financially stable, transparent, and accountable

a. Written financial policies and procedures based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles are followed

b. Documentation meets IRS and other federal, state, and/or funder requirements

c. Financial information sufficient for oversight is regularly provided to the board

d. Use of organization-issued credit cards and/or debit cards is dictated by written policy and procedures

e. IRS Form 990 and other relevant documents are available to the public

f. Annual financial statements are assessed by an independent auditor (not required for “Core”)

g. A positive fund balance and resources necessary to meet obligations are maintained

2. Defining Standard: Financial controls maintain a segregation of duties and provide a system of checks and balances

a. Accounting system and written accounting policies and procedures are appropriate to the scale and activities of the organization

b. Financial decisions made by the chief executive have appropriate thresholds and review procedures

 

Human Resources

VI. Key Principle: The organization values, supports, and protects its human resources

 

1. Defining Standard: Human Resource activities comply with federal, state, and local laws and align with current practices in the field

a. All federal and state mandated informational disclosures and postings related to employment are displayed

b. Policies ensure compliance with critical areas of federal, state, and local law and regulations regarding employment

c. The written Human Resources policies and procedures are readily available to employees

d. Every employee subject to background screening is appropriately screened prior to employment and at appropriate intervals

e. Personnel files are maintained and kept confidential for all employees

f.  Independent contractors and consultants are used appropriately

g. The relationship between the organization and independent contractors and consultants is documented

h. Job descriptions that include clearly written expectations, essential functions and duties, and FLSA classification are developed for each position

i. Time and attendance is recorded for payroll, leave, and program documentation

2. Defining Standard: The organization supports and develops their human resources

a. Performance and professional development feedback is provided to staff at least annually

 

Volunteer and Intern Management

VII. Key Principle: The organization values, supports, and protects its volunteers and interns

 

1. Defining Standard: Volunteer activities comply with federal, state, and local laws and align with current practices in the field

a. Applicable law is followed for all use of volunteers

b. Job descriptions include clearly written expectations, essential functions, and duties for each volunteer position

c. Every volunteer subject to background screening is appropriately screened prior to service and at appropriate intervals

d. Every volunteer is provided orientation and training

e. Appropriate documentation is maintained for every volunteer

f. Volunteer effort is appreciated and recognized

2. Defining Standard: Intern activities comply with federal, state, and local laws and align with current practices in the field

a. Applicable law is followed for all use of interns

b. Job descriptions include clearly written expectations, essential functions, and duties for each intern position

c. Every intern subject to background screening is appropriately screened prior to service and at appropriate intervals

d. Every intern is provided orientation and training

e. Appropriate documentation is maintained for every intern

f.  Intern effort is appreciated and recognized

 

 


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