Understanding the Coversheets and Assembling the Record Binders
By Emily Watkins, Coordinator, Community Foundations National Standards Board
Now that you’ve reviewed all the requirements and prepared your documentation, you have to build your National Standards submission. Make three copies of your record binders and send two copies to the Community Foundations National Standards board. In your binder, separate your documents into 35 tabs with our National Standards cover sheets for reconfirmation or confirmation. The cover sheets include a list of suggested documents for confirmation, and you will have to provide evidence for all the key elements listed. For reconfirmation, provide evidence for required by reconfirmation key elements or any material changes. Foundations that submitted their original confirmation binder before August 2006 will also have to show evidence for the PPA requirements. Please read the definition of a material change for each tab because they differ.
- If you did not have a material change, simply check the box and submit evidence for all of the reconfirmation and PPA requirements, like this sample.
- If you had a material change, please provide evidence for only the key elements that are affected. Here is a sample cover sheet with material changes filled out correctly.
- If you have no material changes and there are no key elements required for reconfirmation or the PPA, you do not have to submit any evidence. See this sample coversheet for details.
We keep the key elements listed there because your foundation should continue to be compliant with them, even though we do not require documentation for them during reconfirmation. Additionally, if the reviewer has questions or concerns, he or she may request evidence for any key element, even if it is not required for reconfirmation.
It is helpful to highlight the evidence within your documents and be very specific on the cover sheets. Reviewers also appreciate page numbers that run continuously throughout all the documents submitted within each tab. Use a marker and write the numbers at the bottom of your pages. If you submit a document under one tab and want to use it for evidence in another tab, please just cross-reference on the coversheets. Do not submit the same document twice. Also, for some tabs, it may help the reviewer if you submit narrative to string all the different pieces of evidence together. You can just submit the narrative behind your cover sheet and put the introductory narrative before the first tab. We see some common mistakes on the cover sheets. People often submit more evidence than required or do not specify the location of the evidence on their cover sheets. Be mindful to use only use 2–3 inch binders and do not overstuff them. Larger binders make it difficult to flip between tabs. Include some bubble wrap or other packaging materials (not packing peanuts) with your binders. If the binders are damaged during shipping and the rings do not match up evenly, they are very difficult to review. Include no identifying information on the outside of your binder. We also prefer you send your check separately. If you do include it with your submission, please put it in an easy-to-see area. Loose checks or checks taped to the outside or inside of the box can be overlooked.
The final and most critical step of preparing your binder is to celebrate its completion! Pat yourself on the back because it is a lot of work and an important accomplishment.