Standards for accountability for nonprofits

At first glance it looks like Imagine Canada has done a good job of putting a standards program in place for charities and nonprofits.

This kind of accountability and transparency has been a long time coming it should be no surprise for those in the sector.

The standards cover

  1. Board Governance
  2. Financial Accountability & Transparency
  3. Ethical Fundraising
  4. Staff Management
  5. Volunteer Involvement

They are tiered depending on size of organization with modest fees for accreditation. The standards and the process are all available on the website and from my cursory look, the standards are written in plain language for ease of understanding.

To my delight, the standards are rooted in a strategic framework.

Vision: A Canada where well-run and well-respected charities and nonprofits make a positive contribution within communities across the country and around the world.

Mission: To build excellence within Canada’s charities and nonprofits through common standards of practice and to strengthen confidence in the sector.


1. Help Canadian charities and nonprofits improve their practices in five foundational areas: board governance, financial accountability, fundraising, staff management, and volunteer involvement.

2.Increase the transparency of charities and nonprofits in these foundational areas.

3.Recognize organizations that meet the standards.

4.Strengthen public confidence in individual charitable and nonprofit organizations and the sector as a whole.

They’ve been through testing on some very recognizable nonprofit organizations and with the strength of positioning of Imagine Canada, this is a movement that can not be ignored.

Good reference material for any nonproft

Beyond an accreditation program, this material is free guidance on how to structure or run a solid nonprofit. It  is a set of best practices presented in an easy-to-read 16 page PDF. So if you are running a nonprofit take advantage of this great resource. And if you’re thinking of supporting a nonprofit, these standards give you a good checklist for an evaluation.


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