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Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector

The West Virginia Community Development Hub is proud to partner with the Standards for Excellence Institute® to offer the Standards for Excellence® Program to the nonprofit sector in the State of West Virginia.

Why is Nonprofit Development important?
The West Virginia Community Development Hub recognizes that nonprofit organizations often underpin the work of community development in West Virginia. We applaud the mission and efforts of our nonprofits. As a nonprofit organization ourselves, we understand that nonprofit organizational capacity is a key to realizing the best future for West Virginia. Creating that capacity starts internally with a commitment to be the best organization we can. We are pleased to offer a comprehensive tool for moving that commitment towards increased capacity.
What are the Standards for Excellence®?
Based on fundamental values - honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, responsibility and accountability - the Standards for Excellence® Program describes how nonprofits should act to be ethical and accountable in their operations, governance, human resources, financial management and fundraising.

Standars for Excellence SealThe Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector® includes eight guiding principles, coupled with the 55 individual standards. The Standards are organized into the major areas of nonprofit management and governance:

  1. Mission and Program
  2. Governing Body
  3. Conflicts of Interest
  4. Human Resources
  5. Financial and Legal Issues
  6. Openness
  7. Fundraising
  8. Public Policy and Public Affairs

The Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector® provides nonprofits with clear benchmarks to measure their own performance against the highest standards of nonprofit governance and management, delivers educational programming and technical assistance to make it easy for nonprofits to make improvements, and grants the Seal of Excellence to organizations that complete a rigorous peer review process.

The centerpiece for the Standards for Excellence® program, Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector® is available for review.   Download the 34 page pdf click here.

Educational Resource Materials

Written Educational Materials

The Standards for Excellence Institute® has developed a collection of 23 Educational Resource Packets that are intended to assist individual organizations to implement specific standards. These materials are available free of charge to organizations that have completed the Standards for Excellence® Clinic Series Training.

The Educational Resource Packets generally include information on the importance of implementing specific standards, justification for the standards, best practices associated with the issue, model procedures and sample policies. Structurally, they include a narrative memo and attachments. The attachments include both original materials created by Standards for Excellence Institute®, as well as articles and other copyrighted documents which have been obtained from other sources. Many of the packets include model policies developed by the Institute’s staff of experts.

Collectively, the 23 Educational Resource Packets cover each of the 55 Standards. The following Educational Resource Packets are available:

  1. Developing and Revising the Mission Statement
  2. Program Evaluation
  3. Program Service
  4. On-Going Planning by Organization's Board of Directors
  5. Compensation and Employee Evaluation
  6. Board Composition
  7. Conduct of the Board
  8. Conflict of Interest
  9. Personnel Policies and Employee Orientation
  10. Volunteer Policies
  11. Financial Planning and Monitoring in Nonprofit Organizations
  12. Reporting Financial Improprieties
  13. Financial Policies
  14. Legal Requirements Checklist
  15. Legal Compliance - Liability Issues
  16. Openness
  17. Fundraising Costs
  18. Fundraising Practices
  19. Solicitation and Acceptance of Gifts
  20. Employment of Fundraising Personnel and Engagement of Fundraising Consultants
  21. Public Policy Advocacy, Promoting Public Participation
  22. Nonprofit Efforts to Educate the Public
  23. Compendium of Form 990 Resources

If you would like to request an educational resource packet, please call 681.404.6053.

Standards for Excellence® Clinic Series Training

The Hub builds on The Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector® by offering extensive, two day Clinic Series Trainings.

The Clinic Series covers all of the eight major topic areas in the Standards for Excellence in detail. These sessions are designed to help you learn how to use the Standards to assess and improve your organization's mission, governance, financial systems, personnel practices, fundraising, legal and compliance issues, conflicts of interest and public policy and public affairs. The Clinic Series draws from the Educational Resource Packets and all participants receive a copy of them as part of an exhaustive manual that will lead organizations through Standards implementation.

The sessions are designed for approximately 10-12 organizations who learn from each other over the series of two workshops that take place over a two week time frame. The time frame allows participants to prepare organizational “homework” for each session. A facilitated peer to peer exchange follows each topic overview. Organizations are encouraged to send one representative who will attend both full day sessions and one other member of the organization to each of the sessions depending upon their area of need or expertise. Each organization may have up to two people at each session. Organizations who participate in the training series will have many of the tools they need to meet the Standards upon completion.

What participants say about the Clinic Series Training:

 “This is the most comprehensive nonprofit information I have ever seen or heard. Every nonprofit needs this.”
“This should be required for every nonprofit. I would have loved to have had this on my first day as a nonprofit director.”
“This training provided specific guidelines and examples to develop policies and procedures. It has pointed out the work that needs to be done in our organization to strengthen the board of directors and have clearly stated policies and procedures. I feel utilizing this material will help build a stronger organization.”


Clinic Series are held in various locations around West Virginia.  Check out The Hub training calendar for the latest calendar of events.

Click HERE for an introduction to the Clinic Series Training.

How can I bring a Clinic Series Training to my group or area?

In the past the Hub has partnered with associations, United Ways, and funders to bring the Clinic Series to certain groups or geographic areas. If you are interested in bringing the training to your group or area please contact the Hub at 681.404.6053. 
Technial Assistance Grants available to attend clinic series!

The Hub provides technical assistance to help nonprofits live by all aspects of the Standards for Excellence® code. If you would like to request specific information on how you might address a specific issue related to the Standards for Excellence in the nonprofit which you serve, please contact us at 681.404.6053.

Earn the Seal of Excellence

The Standards for Excellence® accreditation program provides nonprofit organizations across the country with the opportunity to demonstrate that the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector® have been implemented in their own organization. Receiving the Seal is recognition that a nonprofit organization operates with the highest standards of accountability and ethics. As part of the growing Standards certification program, organizations voluntarily submit to a thorough review of all aspects of their operations and governance. Organizations that pass this review earn the Standards for Excellence® Seal of Excellence.

To become certified, organizations must submit a written application, provide documentation, and pay an application fee. After initial staff review of the materials for completeness, a panel of trained peer reviewers will assess the organization’s practices and determine if they have met the Standards. The peer review team will then forward their recommendations to the Standards Committee for final approval. Successful organizations will be given permission to use the Standards for Excellence® Seal.

Organizations will require varying amounts of time and energy to complete the application based on many different factors (policies and practices an organization has in place at the outset of the process, staffing, timing of board meetings, etc.). While one organization may complete the application in six weeks, another may take two years to undergo the complete process.

Free web seminars for prospective Seal of Excellence applicants are held regularly through the Standards for Excellence Institute. Click here for more details.

Thanks to a special agreement in place with the Standards for Excellence Institute, Hub members can apply to earn the Seal of Excellence under the Standards for Excellence Institute members’ dues schedule. For questions about how you can earn the Seal, check out the Standards for Excellence Institute website or contact Angineeki Jones, Certification Manager at or 410-727-1726 ext 2337.