Introduction to the Standards of Excellence Certification Program®


By Kim Williams, Senior Associate, Member Services and Certifications

The National Health Council (NHC) membership is comprised of the nation’s leading patient advocacy organizations, which control our governance and policy-making process; health-related associations and nonprofit organizations including the provider, research, and family caregiver communities; and businesses representing biopharmaceutical, device, diagnostic, generic, and payer organizations.

NHC patient advocacy organizations represent conditions from rare to prevalent and rely on the trust of the public to accomplish their missions. To assure the public that these organizations are worthy of support, the NHC holds its member patient advocacy groups to the highest standards of accountability and ethical practice.

The NHC requires that its member patient advocacy organizations comply with its Standards of Excellence Certification Program®. The program’s 38 Standards cover the areas of governance, human resources, programs, fundraising, finance, accounting and reporting, and evaluation. From within the 38 Standards, there are 10 minimum Standards that all patient advocacy organizations must meet before they can apply for membership.

These Standards are completely aligned with, but more stringent than, the Standards for Charity Accountability adopted by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and are also consistent with Independent Sector’s Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice.

Over the next several months, the NHC will offer a series of blog posts focusing on topics covered within its Standards of Excellence. These posts will explore the importance of topics such as:

  • Minimum Standards of Excellence
  • Board of Directors and Governance Best Practices
  • Program/Fundraising Expenses and their role in your Charity Navigator rating
  • Donor Transparency
  • Policies to Ensure Mission-Driven Independence
  • Data Security
  • Operating Reserves

The NHC and our patient advocate members are proud of the Standard of Excellence. If you have any questions about our Standards, please let me know.