The Various Tools and Processes that Community Foundations Use to Improve Practice


Australia Canada 3 Visegrad countries Germany United Kingdom United States Puerto Rico

Sample Tools and Processes used to Improve the Practice of Community Foundations1


Philanthropy Australia

Community Foundations of Canada

Association of CF in Czech Republic, in Slovakia, CF Network in Poland (no data for Hungary)

Association of Foundations in Germany/ Affinity Group of CFs & Community Foundations Initiative (IBS)

Community Foundation Network

Council on Foundations

Puerto Rico Community Foundation and network of grant seekers


(as of 2010)

(as of 2011)

8 in Czech Republic
8 in Slovakia
9 in Poland

Ca. 300
(as of 2011)

(as of 2011)

(as of 2011)

Tools and Instruments

Registration process for community foundations (“an accreditation-like process”)

Membership criteria based on principles (criteria 1-8 for minimum compliance and 9-13 for excellence)

Building Community Vitality Toolkit

Professional Advisors eResource – a web-based toolkit

Community Foundation Minimum (Czech)

Criteria for membership in Association of CFs in Slovakia

Criteria for membership in network of CFs in Poland

10 Characteristics of a Community Foundation

Criteria for Membership in the Association of German Foundations

Seal of Approval

Criteria for membership

Quality Accreditation in 5 areas

Benchmarking service

-based on annual surveys on CFN and other reports held by Charity Commission

Criteria for membership

41 National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™

Benchmarking service

Criteria for membership in network of Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico (FCPR)

U.S. National Standards

Legal benchmarks by Corporate Affairs and Trust Deeds, Australian Tax Office

Legal benchmarks by Canada Revenue Agency

Legal benchmarks (laws and specific acts) covering legal form, rules on accountability and finance management

Legal benchmarks(federal and local laws)

Community Foundation charter

Legal benchmarks

Charity Commission and its Hallmarks of an Effective Charity

Legal benchmarks (federal and state laws)

Internal Revenue Service

Legal benchmarks (follows laws relevant to a U.S. territory)

Community Foundation Forum (annual event) serving as ‘major quality control check point’

Biennial conference

National conferences and other networking activities

National Holiday for Community Foundations

Biennial conference

National conferences and other networking activities

Manuals of practices (eg, Governance manual) and best practice guides

Manuals on policy development, mission-based investing) Best practice guides

Manuals of practices (eg.. for due diligence processes in grant making)

Manuals of practices

Best practice guides: (e.g. on setting up a CF, fundraising, marketing, financial management etc.)

Manuals of practices ‘Philanthropy Toolkit’ for Professional Advisers promoted by Centres of Excellence and in other ways

Best practice promoted by Centres of Excellence and in other ways

Manuals of practices and best practice guides from support organizations like BoardSource

Policy and procedures on human resources, accounting, donor-advised and designated funds, conflict of interest, etc.

Yearly balanced scorecard monitored by staff

Listserve system for encouraging collective learning

Tele-meetings about every 3 months.

Visits from local “experts” and from overseas

National conferences, regional meetings and peer learning events

Standards cover:

-Annual Budget

-Annual Audit (not in Poland)

-Evidence of Investment Performance Review

-Policies on Finance

-Donor education and regular reporting to donors

Standards cover:

-Engagement processes with donors on types of Funds

-Annual Recognition events for Donors

-Annual Award for CFs with best practices

-Annual Survey of CFs

“StiftungsWelt” magazine of the Association of German Foundations on critical

Standards cover:

-Assessment of grant-making and community leadership

-Grants Guidelines

-Policies (e.g. covering relationship with the independent management consultancy

Annual Forum for Donors

Annual Survey of the network

Web-based tools in members‘ area:

-Sample documents

-Guidance notes

Standards cover:

-Documentation of procedure ensuring that funds meet donor‘s intent

-Evidence of donor education and participation

Web-based tools:

Various CF databases that promote one-stop philanthropy models for donors and partners

Annual audit by a U.S. audit company

End of the year Impact report is a virtual tool to document all of reports and media coverage


Entrelazando (or “connecting”)

Who administers the tools and processes?

The Community Foundation Board and Board committees (on Donors, Investment, Grantmaking etc.)

CFC Membership Board

Board of A.K.N. (Czech Republic)

Board of Association and advisory groups (Slovakia)

Secretariat of the network (Poland)

Independent jury of representatives of community foundations determine the application for the Seal of Approval

CFN‘s Quality Accreditation Committee

CFN Board

Community Foundations National Standards Board (CFNSB)

Determination Committee of the NSB for those who do not pass confirmation

Community Foundations Leadership Team (overall CF management)

FCPR Board

Compliance and Monitoring aspects

No external documentation of compliance apart from external financial audit

Annual Forum is a major quality control check.

Training opportunities with CF-LINKS

AKN offers ‘support organization’ status in the CF association while Slovakia has affiliate members. These are alternative status to CFs who lose full membership due to non-compliance with criteria.

Various training opportunities offered

Suspension and De-Accreditation Policy for erring accredited members

Various training opportunities offered

Various training opportunities offered by a host of support organizations

Compliance is evaluated on a yearly ongoing basis using the balanced scorecard.

1ANNEX A for the study by Tina V. Pavia. Based on preliminary data from key informants and supplemented by web-based research. For the Worldwide Initiative for Grantmaker Support (WINGS), October 2011.