National Standards Revisions FAQs

Do I have to be a COF member to be involved with National Standards?

No, the two are separate. However, there are distinct benefits for each. The National Standards accreditation provides great staff and board training and some sample documents. The Council provides in depth resources such as board job descriptions and training on how to engage in different forms of community leadership such as impact investing, becoming an anchor institution (place maker), and setting up disaster philanthropy in your community. Further, while the National Standards team answers some legal questions about your sample documents, the Council's legal team answers questions about interactions with donors, questions of how to use variance power, implementing scholarship programs, and so much more. These resources are unique Council membership benefits. Last year the Council invested over $44,000 into the program, including the initial investment necessary to create the online application.

My accreditation doesn't expire until 2016, 2017, 2018, or 2019, do I need to start applying annually this year?

No. Your current accreditation was not revoked. You maintain your current accreditation through its expiration date. Our goal is to have you submit your first online accreditation 8-12 months before your accreditation expires to ensure we complete your review before accreditation expires. After your first online application, your annual application is due 90 days before your accreditation expires. We expect you will have less information to review year over year so we shorten the timeline for submission and review.

Will I get a notification about accreditation expiring?

Yes! Community foundations with accreditation expiring in 2015 and 2016 have received emails about how to being the online process. 2017 emails will go out before the end of 2015 because we understand that it takes time to plan and put a submission together. Also, once you have received accreditation through the online system, the system is set up to send reminders to update the online system throughout the year. It is also set to remind you about the 90 days deadline. If you believe you should have received an email and have not received it, please contact

Can my community foundation create more than one login for our application?

No. Your community foundation application is unique to the username and password that you create. We will not be able to merge applications. Please note that you can share the username and password among your team, however only one team member can be in the application and making changes at one time. If more than one person is in the application making changes, both sets of changes will not save (similar to having multiple people in a Word document on the share drive at one time).

Where do I find the board resolution?

Here is the board resolution.

Do I need to submit information to say the community foundation intends to complete the process?

No, you do not. You can just begin the application by creating a username and password.

Can my community foundation use the samples with the COF copyright?

Yes, if your community foundation chooses to use these samples, please remove the copyright and adopt them with proper board review and approval.

How can I change a file in my online application?

Once a file is uploaded, it can be deleted but only by replacing it with a new document. Please take care to name your files in a format that will describe their contents to both you and the administrator. For example, The Small Town Community Foundation's Bylaws could be named, "SmallTownCF_Bylaws_101015.pdf" As this CF makes edits to this document over time, the date would change at the end, noting a new version to all parties viewing the document.

General Program FAQs