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

Community Foundation Network
Quality Accreditation
Guidance Pack

The Standards

  1. Definition and governance
    1. A community foundation is an independent charitable philanthropic organisation serving a defined geographical area that builds an endowment to meet needs in local communities.
    2. A community foundation has a broad based Board with relevant skills which includes members from different sectors.
    3. A community foundation has a comprehensive business plan which is implemented and reviewed.
    4. A community foundation complies with relevant legislation, codes of practice and adopts good employment practices.
    5. A community foundation embraces diversity and equality in all aspects of its work.
    6. A community foundation has a lead Executive and experienced and qualified staff and volunteers to fulfil its duties.
  2. Finance and risk
    1. A community foundation complies with financial reporting requisites.
    2. A community foundation has policies for investment of funds.
    3. A community foundation has a financial strategy which addresses the sustainability of the organisation.
    4. A community foundation maintains accurate financial records and controls.
    5. A community foundation assesses and minimises risk for all aspects of its work.
  3. Donor Services And Development
    1. A community foundation continually seeks funding from a broad range of donors to encourage local philanthropy and giving in order to increase endowed and flow-through funds.
    2. A community foundation can provide a customised service to donors which respects their charitable interests and meets their needs.
    3. A community foundation offers opportunities to involve donors in different ways.
  4. Grantmaking
    1. A community foundation operates a broad range of grant programmes that meet the needs of the community it serves and demonstrates impact.
    2. A community foundation has an objective and transparent grant-making process.
    3. A community foundation provides expert assessment and monitoring of grants awards.
    4. A community foundation publicises grant programmes and seeks to reach all sections of the community.
  5. Community Engagement and Communications
    1. A community foundation can demonstrate understanding and involvement in social issues
    2. A community foundation communicates with all its stakeholders.

(Corporate Assessment on next page)

Accreditation Process

  • Application involves the member‘s signing up for the accreditation. Members prepare the required documents, ensuring accuracy of information and coherence. Upon submission of the documents, the member receives a date for the assessor‘s visit.
  • Assessment starts with the visit of the assessors, an independent management consultancy. The CFN member pays the assessment fee directly to the assessors. The assessor ‘spot-checks’ on other documents held on-site by the member. Afterwards, the assessment results are provided to CFN and the member.
  • Feedback about any issues arising from the assessment is required to be formally given by the applicant to CFN‘s Quality Accreditation Committee to the CFN Board, both being composed of community foundation peers. In this way, there is peer review of the assessor‘s report and the report is moderated and ratified by CFN.
  • Conclusion of process. The quality mark is given to the successful applicant. There is a certificate as well as an electronic logo that marks websites and marketing materials of the community foundation. CFN likewise promotes accredited members in various ways and opportunities with funders and government agencies.

Every applicant and their Board are given the opportunity to comment on their assessment. If the applicant is unsuccessful in achieving QA, their status becomes that of associate member.

The ramifications to non-compliance are as follow:

  1. CFs will not be automatically included in national grant programmes or other national contracts
  2. Loss of reputation
  3. Loss of development opportunities
  4. Implications as to national standing as part of the network