The Standards for Excellence® – Six Guiding Principles

The Standards for Excellence® helps nonprofit organizations achieve the highest benchmarks of ethics and accountability in nonprofit governance, management and operations. In 2008, BoardSource named the Standards for Excellence code as “one of the most important milestones in the field of nonprofit governance in the last 20 years.” The Institute’s program has been cited by the American Society of Association Executives Associations Advance America Program.

The Standards for Excellence®: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector identifies 6 major areas of nonprofit governance and management, which contain 27 different topic areas. Each topic area includes specific benchmarks and measures that provide a structured approach to building capacity, accountability, and sustainability in nonprofit organizations. 

In addition to the code, the Standards for Excellence Institute® has developed a series of educational resources that include information on implementing specific standards, justification for the standards, best practices associated with the issue, model procedures and sample policies.

These resources are available to members of the Institute and collectively cover each of the benchmarks in the Standards for Excellence code. Nonprofits that adhere to these benchmarks can become formally recognized or accredited by the Standards for Excellence Institute.


An Ethics and Accountability Code PLUS Sample Policies & Templates for the Nonprofit Sector.

The benchmarks in the code set a high standard of operation for your board, staff, and volunteers and cover topics in:

 ○ Mission, Strategy & Evaluation 

 ○ Leadership

 ○ Legal Compliance and Ethics

 ○ Finance & Operations Resource

 ○ Development

 ○ Public Awareness, Engagement & Advocacy


Access the training and resources you need

There's no need to reinvent the wheel or struggle on your own. We provide training to help you understand how it all fits together, model policies and procedures help you implement the code, and technical assistance from our skilled staff to help you adapt these best practices for your organization.


Apply for Accreditation or Recognition

Organizations who want to demonstrate that they've met the benchmarks can submit an application for third party review and receive in-depth feedback on your policies, practices, and procedures. You can submit an application for full accreditation or you can take it at your own pace using the tiered recognition process.


Replication, Licensed Consultants, Membership

Become a member of the Institute or access our resources through a replication partner or one of our licensed consultants.

The Standards for Excellence Institute also licenses individual consultants and regional and affiliate associations to offer various resources and trainings to nonprofits interested in implementing the Standards for Excellence code throughout their organization.

Learn more about the Standards for Excellence Institute and its signature programs at

Book a Session

Robbie MacCue is a licensed consultant through the Standards for Excellence Institute® & has over 14 years of non-profit executive leadership experience. He has experience in the emergency services field for over 20 years and has worked with non-profit organizations around the globe.

You can book a free strategy session today.

"Leadership is not about being in charge, it's about taking care of those in your charge"