Standards for Excellence®

Build trust with donors. Manage effectively. Operate efficiently. Govern with accountability.

ABN can show you how.

The Alliance for Better Nonprofits fosters a culture of accountability in the nonprofit sector of East Tennessee through the nationally-renowned Standards for Excellence® program. The Standards for Excellence® provides a framework of best practices for nonprofit management, governance and operations. ABN helps members operate in accordance with the program through:

  • A confidential online organizational assessment (FREE for members!)
  • A resource library of valuable tools, templates, and other resources specific to the nonprofit sector
  • Assistance in the voluntary accreditation process
  • Training workshops

Standards for Excellence® Classes


Download: The Code Book

Resource Library

ABN is a licensed replication partner and provides Standards for Excellence® materials and sample documents at no cost to members.

The library includes:

Mission Strategy & Evaluation: Planning, Program Evaluation, Sustainability Planning, Strategic Partnerships

Leadership (Board, Staff & Volunteers): Board Member Responsibilities, Board and Executive Partnership, Board Member Composition and Independence, Personnel Policies, Employee Orientation, Compensation and Evaluation, Volunteer Policies, Succession Planning

Legal Compliance & Ethics: Legal Requirements Checklist, Charitable Nonprofits Guide to Disclosure Requirements, Reporting Misconduct and Whistle Blower Protection, Conflict of Interest, Developing Code of Ethics, Working Professionally and Respectfully with Program Stakeholders

Finance & Operations: Financial Budgeting, Reporting and Monitoring, Financial Policies and Internal Controls, IRS Form 990 Governance and Management Policy Compendium, Administrative Policies, Risk Management and Insurance

Resource Development: Planning and Sources of Income, Fundraising Costs, Fundraising Solicitation Acceptance of Gifts and Working with Donors, Fundraising on Behalf of the Organization

Public Awareness, Engagement & Advocacy: Advancing the Mission through Public Policy, Educating and Engaging the Public

Organizational Assessment

Put your organization to the test with our Standards for Excellence® Organizational Assessment - FREE to members ($500 value). The confidential assessment is taken online, followed by a one-hour results workshop at no charge.

The process can energize your staff, board, and volunteers by asking for their feedback, and getting a pulse on current initiatives will help you check to see if your resources are aligned with your strategic objectives. 

We'll give you a road map for focusing our training, consulting, and resources on your areas of opportunity. Plus, our team will show you how to leverage the results when approaching donors.



Ready to Get Started?
Contact Elle Benson at or 865-313-2077.





ABN can assist members in pursuing national Standards for Excellence® accreditation. Obtaining these credentials has proven particularly useful in fundraising, grant pursuits, and recruiting. 

Learn More About the Standards for Excellence® Institute