Creating Common Ground with the New Accountability Standards®

The Accountability Standards® are at the heart of our mission. With them, we’re transforming philanthropy by building donor and nonprofit relationships for strong, vibrant and just communities.

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new Accountability Standards®!

In 2014, Charities Review Council piloted the rolling review of the Accountability Standards®, a multi-year process that would align the Standards with our mission and values, while also ensuring they remained relevant and meaningful to the community for the long-term. This rolling review meant that every few years the Council would review the Accountability Standards® and make improvements for even greater impact. In 2018, we completed a round of our rolling review process, gathering twenty cross-sector leaders and subject-matter experts to form our Standards Review Committee.

Our goal during this round of review was two-fold:

  1. We wanted to review the Accountability Standards® from a legal perspective, ensuring they were up to date with current legal standards; and
  2. We wanted to refresh and reframe the language from an asset-based approach.

With support from our Standards Review Committee, Council consultants, board and staff, we were able to review, revise, and relaunch the Accountability Standards®, with updates to the language and design.

Check out the new Accountability Standards® here!

For a more in-depth look at the revisions and updates, we’ll be sharing a 4-part blog series highlighting the four key categories: Public Disclosure, Governance, Financial Activity, and Fundraising. Sign-up to receive these updates directly in your inbox. In the meantime, check out the FAQ’s below to learn more about the Accountability Standards® and updates to your account.


What are the Accountability Standards®?

The Accountability Standards® serve as a contract of expectations between donors and nonprofits, representing co-created benchmarks of nonprofit governance, finance, fundraising, and public communication. View the new Accountability Standards® here.

How does Charities Review Council use the Accountability Standards®?

At Charities Review Council, we use the Accountability Standards® as the framework for delivering on our mission, to build donor and nonprofit relationships for strong, vibrant and just communities. The Accountability Standards® are the backbone of our nonprofit review process and inform our work in every area. To learn more about the Accountability Wizard® nonprofit review process, click here.

How can I use the Accountability Standards®?

As a donor, you can use the Accountability Standards® to inform and guide your giving decisions. These Standards are designed to provide insight into promising practices and legal requirements. Before investing in a new nonprofit partner, ask questions related to the Accountability Standards® to gauge overall organizational strength.

You can also recommend that a nonprofit be reviewed by Charities Review Council. Our review process is voluntary, so hearing from a donor or potential donor partner, makes a big impact. Organizations that have successfully completed the review process earn the Meets Standards® Seal, a visual marker of nonprofit strength. Look for the Meets Standards® Seal when making your giving decisions.

As a nonprofit professional, you can use the Accountability Standards® and our Accountability Wizard® nonprofit review process as an internal, risk-free, self-assessment of organizational policies, practices, and procedures. Build your strength and demonstrate your impact. Get started with a nonprofit review today!

How does this impact my nonprofit review with Charities Review Council?

You might notice a few cosmetic changes in your Accountability Wizard® account but won’t be asked to renew early, provide additional or new information at this time. In fact, our vetting and requirements remain the same. The biggest change was clarifying the language (Words matter!). We wanted to ensure the Standards were asset-based versus approaching this work from a deficit perspective. We also took steps to be more clear, upfront, and transparent about what was required of nonprofits partners in order to meet each Standard.

Was your question left unanswered? Contact our Nonprofit Services Team at 651-224-7030 or by emailing Our team is happy to help!

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Charities Review Council

Our mission is building donor and nonprofit relationships for strong, vibrant and just communities. We envision healthy communities for all, benefiting from effective and trustworthy nonprofits that are supported by a well-informed public’s generosity.

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