The following is an overview of the application process to help potential applicants better understand the type of materials they will be required to submit.

The online application has recently been streamlined and relaunched to make it easy to use, and provides examples and resources where they might be needed. You can also “stop and save” at any point while applying, allowing you to take as much time as you need. You can register and create an account using an email address login and creating a password. The online application can be accessed here. From the login screen, follow these steps to access the application:

  • Click on the “Can’t Log In or forgot your password?” link.
  • Enter the email address used by your community foundation when you submitted your initial application (this is the primary email of the application contact or the CEO contact).
  • Click on “Submit.”
  • You will receive an email with a link to reset your password. Note: This link includes an Authentication Token that expires within 30 days.
  • Click on the link in the email and reset your password.
Creating an online account enables you to:
  • Get Help. Your account gives you access to sample documents and other resources you may want to reference as examples. If you do not establish an account, you will not have access to these resources within the system.
  • Take a break. Your account allows you to “stop and save” at any point so you have as much time as you need.
  • Remain in the system. You will use your account access after accreditation to make updates. 
After you register and create an account, you will find the application has two major sections.

Section 1 – Legal and Regulatory Compliance: The first section asks for legal documents that are reviewed by peer and legal reviewers to ensure your policies are compliant with current laws and regulations.

Section 2 – Industry Best Practice: The second section evaluates operational excellence and effectiveness. National Standards accreditation goes above and beyond compliance to demonstrate commitment, insight and innovation in service to communities.

The final section of the application, Data Collection, does not impact accreditation. The information you provide in the initial submission will carry over into renewals so that you only need to update what has changed or address changes to the National Standards themselves.

Application Process Overview & What to Expect:

The first section of the application requires you to upload several documents required to confirm legal and regulatory compliance. These include Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Policy Documentation (such as a Confidentiality Policy), among others. This section of the application also details additional documents that may be required.

This part of the application ensures that your community foundation meets all 26 National Standards that are required for certification.

While some questions in the compliance process only require a yes or no response, your community foundation is expected to keep documentation representing how your community foundation meets each standard. Reviewers reserve the right to flag and follow up regarding answers that require further explanation or documentation.

Responses to the Data Collection part of the application will not affect your National Standards accreditation. This is data collected for the purpose of understanding how community foundations operate as a collective so that both the Community Foundation National Standards Board and the Council on Foundations best represent your foundation and the work you do, individually and as a field. These questions may change as we learn more about the field.