Serving as a Standards for Excellence Peer Reviewer, A Profile in Excellence

Volunteering as a Standards for Excellence peer reviewer is a truly special type of volunteer experience. Unlike more traditional volunteer roles, peer reviewers are trained individuals responsible for evaluating an organization’s application for compliance with the Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector®. Using a peer review process ensures that individuals with diverse opinions and expertise in the nonprofit sector review application packages and that the outcomes will be fair and unbiased.


This volunteer opportunity offers many benefits:
– Contribute to strengthening ethics and accountability in the nonprofit sector
– Network with other nonprofit management professionals
– Access professional development for your analytical and assessment skills
– Receive complimentary registration to Standards for Excellence-related training programs

This post’s purpose is to highlight one of our most experienced peer reviewers and hear his thoughts and opinions on why peer reviewing can be such a rewarding experience.


Roderick Clark has over 45 years experience working in the nonprofit sector. Working at organizations like the American Cancer Society, Arts Organizations and Catholic Charities allowed Roderick to develop an understanding of what makes a successful nonprofit organization.

What originally motivated you to become a peer reviewer for the Standards of Excellence program?

Selfish reasons really. I wanted to improve my knowledge of good nonprofit organizational practices. It also helped me gain ideas on how I could incorporate new practices in my organization that organizations already had success with. Basically, I saw it as a “win-win” situation where I could improve myself and help improve another organization.

Why do you think the Standards for Excellence program is important to nonprofits?

While all organizations claim they are acting efficiently and appropriately when they compete for resources and funding. It’s important for the funders to selecting organizations who are acting on that claim. Funders want to donate to an organization where more of their money is going towards fulfilling the organization’s mission and not to an organization where the majority of the money goes to outrageous salaries and activities for the CEO and other leadership executives. The Standards for Excellence Seal provides the funder with the information to know which organization will use their money the right way.

How have you been able to apply some of these benefits to your own personal career development?

Peer reviewing has given me a lot of different ideas on how to improve my organizations. Whether that is creating a successful website, what constitutes as proper board relations, and how to be more transparent to the public. I have been able to apply what I have gained from Peer Reviewing to projects that I am working on currently.

Any advice to people who are on the fence about becoming a Standard for Excellence Peer Reviewer

Give it a shot. Try it. It will improve you as a professional and improve another organization.


Volunteers are encouraged to promote their peer review experience on their resumes and professional networks as a compliment to their professional experience in the nonprofit sector. If you are interested in this opportunity, please complete the online application by November 29, 2013. If you have any questions, please contact Susan Larsen at 443-438-2323.


About Amy Coates Madsen

Amy Coates Madsen serves as the Program Director of the Standards for Excellence Institute.
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