Standards for Excellence

What is the National Standards for Excellence program?

The National Standards program was developed by the Maryland Association of Nonprofits. The program has evolved into a nationally recognized certification program. It provides the internal infrastructure for nonprofits to become more viable and thrive. The Alice Huffard Richards Fund (AHR) is bringing the program to the west Georgia area. The Community Foundation and the UWG Office of Community Engagement were selected by AHR to implement the program locally.

What are the standards?

There are 6 Guiding Principles, 27 areas of focus and 67 Benchmarks. The guiding principles include: mission, strategy and evaluation, leadership: board, staff and volunteers, legal compliance and ethics, finance and operations, resource development and public awareness, engagement and advocacy.

How does the program operate?

Initially, there is a two day ‘boot camp’ that will provide an overview and more in-depth discussion of the principles, areas of focus and benchmarks. Attendance at the boot camp is mandatory in order to participate. The Executive Director is required to attend both days, the board chair or board member is required to attend day 2 and encouraged to attend both days.

For our program, the boot camp days will be Jan. 30 and Feb. 6. The location will be announced in the selection packet. The Georgia Center for Nonprofits will facilitate the assessment and boot camp material delivery.

What is the financial costs?

AHR is underwriting the costs of the program to include the certification application fees.

What is the time requirement?

Initially, there is the 2 day boot camp. The selected participants will meet monthly to work on the standards and the application for certification. We expect the monthly meetings to be around an hour or two. The meetings will be facilitated by Amanda Wright.

What type of support will the nonprofits receive during the process?

Examples and resources will be provided during the entire certification process. An agenda will be sent out prior to each monthly session along with examples of the standard being discussed. It is the responsibility of each nonprofit to work with their board to adopt, implement, etc. the required documents during the process.

How long will this certification process take?

For the first class, we expect it to take a minimum of one year, possibly longer. It depends on the organizational readiness of the individual nonprofits. Some nonprofits will have some of the standards already in place, some not or some may need updating or revising. However, you will be allowed to work at your own pace.

How do I apply?

The Foundation will post the application. Applications will be accepted through January 10. 

Additional questions may be directed to Kim Jones or

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