WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Sweetser, a Maine non-profit agency operating since 1828, provides comprehensive mental and behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services. Statewide, it serves around 15,000 consumers a year, including children, adults, and families in outpatient, office-based, and residential settings.
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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Covington

Wm. R. (Bill) Jones, ACSW, MDiv, Chief Executive Officer

Catholic Charities in Covington has been COA accredited since 1996. Though the time spent in completing the self study and hosting the site visit can sometimes feel sometimes daunting, the rewards far outweigh the effort. In our agency, the self-study is a group process that involves every member of the staff from the CEO to the building maintenance staff.
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Purpose 

The organization earns and sustains the public trust through honest, truthful, and responsible transactions, partnerships, and relationships with individuals, communities, providers, businesses, donors, and government entities.

ETH 3: Fundraising

An organization that raises funds by individual solicitation from the general public conducts fundraising activities in an ethical, fiscally responsible manner.

Interpretation: This section is applicable to organizations that solicit or receive money from private individuals, through capital campaigns and contribution plans. This section is not applicable to organizations that apply for and/or receive private or public grants and contracts.

Note: The organization reconciles its fundraising practices with prevailing ethical practices of the Association of Fundraising Professionals or similar national bodies.

NA The organization does not raise funds through solicitations or general funding events.

Rating Indicators
1
The organization's practices fully meet the standard, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the ETH 3 Practice standards.
2
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the ETH 3 Practice Standards.
3
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the ETH 3 Practice standards; e.g.,
  • Staff are unaware of the organization's fundraising policies and/or procedures; or
  • Fundraising practices may pose a risk to the organization.
4
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the ETH 3 Practice standards.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Policies and procedures for all fundraising practices, including confidentiality of donors
    • Financial statements/reports (see FIN 5)
    • Analysis of costs and benefits for sample of fundraising activities
    • Annual Report
    • Governing body meeting minutes
    • Interview:
      1. CEO
      2. CFO/fiscal director
      3. Development director

  • ETH 3.01

    The organization’s governing body and management oversee fundraising activities.

    Interpretation: Contracts for outside fundraising services will be reviewed under RPM 9. 

    Rating Indicators
    1
    The organization has established procedures regarding oversight of fundraising activities to which personnel, volunteers, contractors and/or consultants routinely and uniformly adhere and management and the governing body routinely monitor fundraising practices.
    2
    Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement; e.g., 
    • Written agreements with contractors or consultants may lack specificity regarding acceptable practices.
    3
    Practice needs significant improvement; e.g.,
    • Procedures governing fundraising activities are very general and do not provide clear guidelines; or
    • The board provides little oversight to management regarding fund-raising activities.
    4
    Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all; e.g.,
    • Organizational procedures are absent; or
    • Oversight is extremely lax; or
    • Consultants or contractors work without written agreements.

  • ETH 3.02

    The organization:

    1. accurately describes the purpose for which solicitations are being made;
    2. spends funds for the purposes they were solicited, with the exception of reasonable costs for administration of the fundraising program;
    3. maintains accounting segregation for restricted funds; and
    4. respects donor confidentiality requests.

    Interpretation: Conducting solicitations in an ethical manner also requires the organization to ensure that there are no material omissions, misstatements of fact, or misrepresentation regarding the use of funds.

    Interpretation: Internal controls should address the handling and acknowledgement of contributions and respect for donor confidentiality requests. At a minimum, the organization should protect the confidentiality of donors who request anonymity by ensuring that such donors’ names are not published or listed in newsletters, articles, annual reports, or other publicly available documents regarding the organization.

    Rating Indicators
    1
    The organization's practices reflect full implementation of the standard.
    2
    Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement; e.g., 
    • One of the elements is not fully addressed, but the organization has taken steps to strengthen practice; or
    • The organization has a system of controls that may need strengthening, however, contributions are appropriately recorded and acknowledged.
    3
    Practice requires significant improvement; e.g., 
    • There have been some violations of donor requests for confidentiality; or
    • One of the elements is not addressed at all.
    4
    Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all; e.g., 
    • Unethical or deceptive practices regarding costs in relation to funds raised exist; or
    • The organization does not accurately describe the uses of the funds; or
    • Two or more of the standards' elements have not been addressed.

  • ETH 3.03

    Costs and benefits of each fundraising activity are analyzed, taking into account factors that affect the reasonableness of fundraising costs in comparison to dollars raised.

    Interpretation: Factors that affect reasonableness of fundraising costs to dollars raised include, and are not limited to: the differential costs of donor solicitation, donor renewal, large bequests, or donations that would obscure true fundraising costs. The organization must show that it carefully allocates fundraising costs and does not obscure them by allocation to program or educational purposes. The organization must collect and maintain data that support sound fund-development decisions by its leadership.

    Rating Indicators
    1
    The organization's practices reflect full implementation of the standard.
    2
    Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement; e.g., 
    • Some fundraising costs are not sufficiently reviewed for full analysis.
    3
    Practice requires significant improvement; e.g., 
    • The organization does not routinely analyze the costs and benefits of its separate fund-raising activities.
    4
    Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.

  • ETH 3.04

    Upon request of a donor or funding source, the organization discloses descriptive and financial information for revenue-generating activities including fee-for-service programs, for-profit subsidiaries, and related or unrelated business ventures.

    Rating Indicators
    1
    The organization's practices reflect full implementation of the standard.
    2
    Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement; e.g., 
    • The organization may not disclose all revenue-generating activities to donors/funders but discrepancies do not constitute withholding relevant information requested by specific donors/funders.
    3
    Practice requires significant improvement; e.g., 
    • The organization discloses limited or inadequate information; or
    • The organization places impediments in the way of obtaining information such as lengthy or excessively formal procedures.
    4
    Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all; e.g.,
    • The organization does not honor donor requests for information on revenue generating activity.

  • ETH 3.05

    The organization raises funds in accordance with applicable local, state, and federal requirements and registers all fundraising activities with the appropriate administrative authorities.

    Rating Indicators
    1
    The organization's practices reflect full implementation of the standard.
    2
    Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement; e.g., 
    • Legal requirements have not been reviewed for more than two years.
    3
    Practice requires significant improvement; e.g., 
    • The organization does not regularly reconcile legal requirements with practice and are at risk for violations.
    4
    Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all; e.g.,
    • The organization has a history of legal violations in this area.
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