National Standards and the Perfect Workday
I was in a meeting where the participants had to pair up and answer a series of questions, and one of them was “describe your perfect workday.” I’ve been involved in the National Standards program for four years now and many aspects of the work I do constitute what I consider a perfect workday. My favorite workdays have the following components: working on a project, spending some time with my team to problem-solve and think creatively, talking with a few people from the field, and at the end of the day, feeling like I finished something and helped someone.
The National Standards is both a project and a program that has clearly defined parameters and dates, so there is predictability to it. This week, I received five calls from foundations new to National Standards and they all asked the same question: How do I get started when I only have 1½ full-time staff members? Now my colleague Emily and I are working on a project to help provide new technical assistance to them.
There is great interest in the National Standards program. Everyday, I get to interact with people from across the country who need help getting accredited or who want more information about the program. I’ve had numerous calls from other foundation types asking if they can go through the process and, most recently, calls from people in government who have seen press releases about accreditation. With increasingly scarce resources, the public at large wants assurance that our charitable institutions are accountable and responsible.
The National Standards are a blueprint for community foundation operations. I like knowing that the standards are solid, transparent, and similarly impact all sizes, shapes, and colors of foundations. We want to continually build on the good work that community foundations do. Give me a megaphone and I’ll talk about how this is a field-generated and operated program that is also unique within the philanthropic field.
I hope being accredited with National Standards positions a community foundation to realize its perfect workday every day.