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FAQ: Accountability Standards

Why did you change the Accountability Standards?

We are committed to continuously improving and building shared agreement about which standards are important to the sector and which standards indicate a truly strong organization. Since the last major review of the Accountability Standards in 2009, economic, demographic, legal, and societal changes have occurred that require the standards to be updated if they are to remain timely and relevant. 

How were the new Accountability Standards developed?

The collaborative commitment of both donors and nonprofits is an integral component of the success of the Standards Review project.  We have worked to engage all voices in the community, both supportive and critical, through surveys, focus groups, expert dialogue sessions, and committees to ensure that the revised standards are widely accepted, co-created benchmarks. The level of participation in the Standards Review project reflects the active engagement of our community in ensuring informed philanthropy and nonprofit strength.

How are the new and previous Accountability Standards similar?

The majority of the Accountability Standards remained the same. All of the standards continue to represent shared expectations of nonprofit strength.

How are the new and previous Accountability Standards different?

The new Accountability Standards reflect co-created revisions to help nonprofits and donors move into a new era of governance, financial strength, impact and partnership. Our goal was to improve the application of the standards, and to give nonprofits and donors an equal, authentic role in their creation. As a result, we made minor changes to make the standards even more meaningful and user-friendly for today’s nonprofit and philanthropic sector. For example, we’ve condensed the Accountability Standards from 27 to 25, and we’ve shifted our Financial Health and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Standards to be more future-focused. For detailed explanations of the changes, visit our Accountability Standards page.

How will the transition happen from the previous to new Accountability Standards?

Reviews under the previous standards will be maintained for the three-year life of the review. At the time of the organization’s renewal, it will be reviewed under the new Accountability Standards. All new reviews, starting in April 2014, will be reviewed under the new Accountability Standards. As a result, all reviews will be transitioned to the new standards over a three-year period.