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Reviews for New & Re-forming Organizations

New organizations that have recently incorporated in the last three years or have not filed an IRS Form 990 for the past three years can still go through the Accountability Wizard and earn the “Meets Standards” seal. The Charities Review Council applauds new organizations beginning their nonprofit existence as accountable and transparent organizations.

Through the Accountability Wizard review process, we collect data and documents from your organization.  As a new organization, you may not have 3-years of financial data and other key policies in place. As such, there are some Accountability Standards that will not be applied depending upon your organization’s age.  With other Accountability Standards, there is variation with how Council staff applies the Standard depending upon the organization's age:

ANNUAL REPORTING & COMMUNICATION

Year 1: The nonprofit annually keeps the following information available to the public via its website and/or a written report.

  • Mission statement
  • Definition of geography and populations served
  • Description of each major programs
  • Description of outstanding outcomes and/or significant unexpected events/incidents
  • List of the Board of Directors
  • List of key employees/volunteer staff
  • Financial information including a balance sheet (including liabilities and assets)

Year 2: All of year one components are made available to the public via its website and/or a written report AND: 

  • Related accomplishments for each major program
  • Income Statement (income and expenses)
  • Functional expense allocation (program, fundraising, admin)
  • Total cost of each major program

Year 3: The nonprofit annually keeps the following information available to the public via its website and/or a written report.

  • Mission statement
  • Definition of geography and populations servedDescription of each major program with related accomplishments
  • Description of outstanding outcomes and/or significant unexpected events/incidents
  • List of the Board of Directors
  • List of key employees/volunteer staff
  • Financial information including:
    • Balance sheet (including liabilities and assets)
    • Income statement (including income and expenses)
    • Functional expense allocation
    • Total expense for each major program

Impact on the Community

Year 1: Not Applicable

Year 2: The nonprofit can describes on an annual basis, using specific objective information, its accomplishments in the previous year in relation to its mission and its community impact. The nonprofit also states its goals for the current year.

Year 3: The nonprofit can describes on an annual basis, using specific objective information, its accomplishments in the previous year in relation to its mission and its community impact. The nonprofit also states its goals for the current year.

Financial Transparency

Year 1: Not applicable

Year 2: The nonprofit is independently audited as required by state law and receives an unqualified opinion. If the nonprofit operates in a state without applicable laws, it nevertheless has an annual independent audit if its revenues exceeded $750,000.

Year 3: The nonprofit is independently audited as required by state law and receives an unqualified opinion. If the nonprofit operates in a state without applicable laws, it nevertheless has an annual independent audit if its revenues exceeded $750,000.

Legal Compliance

Year 1: The nonprofit has an awareness of applicable laws. 

Year 2: To the best of its knowledge, the nonprofit does not violate any federal or state laws or regulations.

Year 3: To the best of its knowledge, the nonprofit does not violate any federal or state laws or regulations.

Monitoring Mission & Strategiy

Year 1 - Year 3: The Board of Directors at least annually reviews the nonprofit’s mission and supporting strategies, which connect to a longer-term plan that reviews program effectiveness and community impact.

Governing Documents

Year 1: The Board of DIrectors has set goal for reviewing governing documents. 

Year 2: The Board of Directors has confirmed a timeline for the upcoming review of documents. 

 

Year 3: The Board of Directors reviews the nonprofit’s bylaws and other governing documents (at least every three years).

DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION

Year 1: The nonprofit’s board and key staff identifies information to collect regarding participants, volunteers, staff partners, board, practices and programs.

Year 2: The nonprofit’s board and key staff begins tracking information and identifies potential goals.

Year 3: The nonprofit’s board and key staff:  Collects information about its participants, volunteers, vendors, staff, partners, board, practices, and programs;  reviews information comparing its internal composition and practices (e.g. board, staff, volunteers, hiring, and or program development) to its external composition (e.g. population served, and stakeholders); and identifies related goals, opportunities, gaps, and progress.

BOARD ORIENTATION & ASSESSMENT

From Formation: The nonprofit provides an orientation to new board members within one year of initial election that includes a review of board roles and responsibilities. In addition, the board annually assesses its effectiveness and capacity to govern.

BOARD LENGTH OF SERVICE

Year 1: This Accountability Standard is not applicable.

Year 2: This Accountability Standard is not applicable.

Year 3: Organizational bylaws set a certain number of consecutive terms that can be held by a board member or provide for a limit on the number of consecutive years served.  (No elected voting member of the board serves for more than five years without standing for re-election.)