Accreditation is an exceptional accomplishment for an organization. Awarded by an independent accrediting body, accreditation validates that an organization has effectively met designated national industry standards and is appropriately fulfilling its mission. Becoming accredited is a significant investment of time, effort and a multitude of resources dedicated to earning this distinction.
Reaccreditation is a process that typically takes place every three or four years (depending on the accrediting body) and also must be earned via a thorough review process of the nonprofit and its operations since the previous accreditation cycle. Given all of the time and resources attributed to earning accreditation initially, properly and actively maintaining accreditation in the interim will continue to strengthen the organization’s operations and services provided and will make the reaccreditation process much smoother and more efficient.
Areas of concentration should focus on overall implementation of the accreditation standards, including a focus on performance and quality improvement, risk management and client safety. Annual accreditation reporting requirements are also compulsory. An effective and sustainable performance and quality improvement program must be clearly demonstrated as an ongoing part of the agency’s operations from year to year. Best practices include having quarterly and annual performance summary reports shared with staff and board members. At least annually, key performance metrics should be shared with various stakeholder groups, in part, to demonstrate increased transparency and communication with stakeholders. Further, a commitment to risk prevention and management will demonstrate a continuing commitment to sound operational procedures.
Developing an annual calendar of accreditation milestones can go a long way in keeping an organization thoughtfully organized and focused on the goal of accreditation maintenance. This will serve as a solid review of progress, as well as an accurate look ahead to the needs of the upcoming quarters, allowing the agency to proactively prepare for the reaccreditation process. Last but not least, the need to stay up-to-date on changing accreditation standards cannot be understated. Preemptively knowing the changes that lie ahead can be the key to successfully navigating the required modifications in a timely, beneficial manner.
Accreditation Guru, Inc. offers a Maintenance of Accreditation plan to assist organizations to proactively prepare for reaccreditation. For more information contact us.