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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should my organization go through a review?

The Accountability Wizard is a risk free learning tool and assessment where organizations partner with the Council to measure and build their internal policies and practices. The Council works hand-in-hand with organizations until they have met all standards, earning them the Meets Standards seal. These nonprofits are listed on our website, in our bi-annual Giving Guide, celebrated on social media, and recommended to donors via phone and email inquiries. The seal is a visual marker of nonprofit strength, and a great way for nonprofits to differentiate themselves, communicating their internal strength and impact to supporters. 

The Accountability Wizard review offers your nonprofit the opportunity to:

  • Engage your board and staff in accountability issues, in order to create a shared culture of accountability and transparency;
  • Access technical assistance to assist you in aligning your organizational practices and procedures with the Accountability Standards;
  • Earn the “Meets Standards” seal by meeting all of the Accountability Standards to use in your print and web materials to set your organization apart and demonstrate your organizational strength
  • Build trust with donors by earning the Meets Standards seal, your organization will be recognized as one of the most trustworthy charities on the Smart Givers Network website and in our semiannual newsletter;
How long do I have to complete the Accountability Wizard?

While we encourage organizations to submit the assessment as soon as possible, you have up to one year from the date you create your new account to submit the assessment for review. If the assessment is not submitted by the one year deadline, the account will be deleted. Organizations that wish to continue with the review can simply create a new account, submit the enrollment fee and begin the assessment again. 

Once submited, the Council will conduct its review and the initial results will be available in your account within a few weeks.

The review will then go public as soon as all standards are met.

How long is the review good for?

A review is valid for three years from the date the Council completes its initial review. Three months before the review expires, we will send an email notification encouraging your organization to renew your review. 

Is there a cost to go through a review?

Yes.  It’s a sliding scale base on .02% of your annual expenses, good for three years. There is a minimum fee of $100 and a maximum of $3,000.

EXAMPLE: If your organization's annual expenses total $3,000,000, your fee would be $600. If your annual expenses total $16,500,000 you would pay the maximum of $3,000 instead of $3,300.

Do you review new organizations (less than three years old)?

Yes.  As long as your nonprofit has obtained its federal tax exemption or applied for it, you can go through a review.  The process for reviewing new nonprofits is slightly different, however.  Contact the Council for details.

What if our organization doesn't meet standards?

After a review is complete, it is very common for a nonprofit to not meet a standard or two initially. In many cases, the changes required to meet all standards are minor and can be made quickly.

While an organization will not be recognized in our list of the most trustworthy nonprofits on our website or in our newsletter until it meets all of our Accountability Standards, the Charities Review Council staff is available to provide one-on-one guidance and technical assistance to help nonprofits meet standards.