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

Centre for Excellence

As mentioned earlier, CFs who promote good practice are invited to develop where they are good at and to become a “Centre of Excellence.” CFN encourages them to take advantage of further development and training so as to be able to inform and train other members across the network.

Specific Processes and Tools are serving a number of purposes for community foundations in the United Kingdom.

Purpose served: Remarks

1. Accountability, transparency, self-improvement

Quality mark denotes ‘minimum standards.’

2. Distinguish characteristics of CF from other NGOs.

Yes. Helping our members to see and to express that they are part of something bigger.

3. Unify national community foundation field

Yes. Standards allow us to talk about our network far more coherently and as a unified force, working towards the same ideals, and they help our members to talk about and trust in each other.

4. Roadmap for ethical, legal, effective practices

Quality mark denotes ‘minimum standards.’

5. Symbol of excellence and rigor

Yes through benchmarking and the Centres of Excellence.

6. Framework for organizational development

Help CFs identify areas for improvement and areas for celebration

Who administers these guidelines or standards?

The CFN Board oversees the administration of standards. The Quality Accreditation Committee is responsible for the conduct of the accreditation process with the assistance of an independent management consultancy.

CFN also undergoes the QA process on the same cycle as its members.

Some learnings

There are questions or issues that arise and dominate discussions about CF tools and processes, as identified by Suzie Webster:

  • What are the ramifications of not going for QA?
  • Issues around cost
  • Issues around timing (it is a 3-year programme but what happens if you have reached the end of your third year and it‘s not a good time to go through the re-accreditation process?)
  • Issues around how prescriptive we can be with guidance on key documents, i.e. we provide guidance on what the assessors would expect to see in a business plan, but we can‘t ask all 57 independent CFs to re-write their business plans into a standard template.