Standards For Excellence® Certification

Standards for Excellence ® Certification



Endorsed by the Alabama Attorney General View Letter


Participants enrolling in this training session will receive extensive educational resources, user-friendly planning tools, sample policy descriptions, best practice case studies and much more. At the Association, we believe that you shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Participating in the Standards Institute will set you on a path to long-term success.

The Institute is open to all nonprofits new and old, regardless of your budget size. In Alabama, we want as many nonprofits as possible to gain the knowledge Standards has to offer.

This 2-day class is the first step for nonprofit organizations interested in pursuing the Standards for Excellence ® Certification. The first program of its kind in the United States, the Standards for Excellence® Institute is a national initiative that promotes the highest standards of ethics and accountability in nonprofit governance, management, and operations, and facilitates adherence to those standards by all nonprofits. The Institute, an operating division of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations (Maryland Nonprofits), uses the Standards for Excellence® program, a comprehensive system of nonprofit sector self-regulation as its vehicle for effective change. The Standards for Excellence® program works to strengthen the ability of nonprofit organizations to act ethically and accountability in their management and governance, while enhancing the public's trust in the nonprofit sector.

Individuals and organizations across the nation can gain access to the Standards for Excellence® program directly through replication partners in jurisdictions where partner organizations exist.

View the article on Standards for Excellence featured in Business Alabama here-     Page 1     Page 2

The Alabama Association became the Institute’s tenth replication partner organization in 2011. Our certified Standards for Excellence® trainers include:


Shannon Ammons

Allison Black-Cornelius

Tay Knight


The Standards’ recognition sets a high benchmark that exceeds the minimum legal requirements of most states by establishing a new standard to quantify how well managed and responsibly governed nonprofits should operate. Comprehensive educational materials, public education efforts, and a certification program were developed to support the Standards .

The Standards cover eight areas of nonprofit operations:

·         Mission and Program                                    

·         Governing Body

·         Conflict of Interest

·         Human Resources

·         Financial and Legal

·         Openness

·         Fundraising

·         Public Affairs and Public Policy


You can learn more about the certification program and process by visiting the Institute’s website.


Written Educational Materials                                          

The Standards for Excellence® Institute has developed a collection of 22 Educational Resource Packets that are intended to assist individual organizations to implement specific standards. These materials are available to all AAN members free of charge that attend the 16 hour Standards workshop.

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 22 Educational Resource Packets cover each of the 55 Standards. The following Educational Resource Packets are available:

o   Developing and Revising the Mission Statement

o   Program Evaluation

o   Program Service

o   On-Going Planning by Organization's Board of Directors

o   Compensation and Employee Evaluation

o   Board Composition

o   Conduct of the Board

o   Conflict of Interest

o   Personnel Policies and Employee Orientation

o   Volunteer Policies

o   Financial Planning and Monitoring in Nonprofit Organizations

o   Reporting Financial Improprieties

o   Financial Policies

o   Legal Requirements Checklist

o   Legal Compliance - Liability Issues

o   Openness

o   Fundraising Costs

o   Fundraising Practices

o   Solicitation and Acceptance of Gifts                                                                                                                                                        

o   Employment of Fundraising Personnel and Engagement of Fundraising Consultants

o   Public Policy Advocacy, Promoting Public Participation

o   Nonprofit Efforts to Educate the Public

 Standards National Booklet


AAN staff provides technical assistance to AAN members to help nonprofits live by all aspects of the Standards. 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 the AAN office at 205.879.4712.  

Program Cost:  $195 per person for AAN members/ $390 for non-members. Registration includes meals and binder.