Update | September 21, 2017

At the Member Meeting in Indianapolis, IN on July 31, 2017, the NACC Membership voted to move forward on the proposed Accreditation Process.

Dear NACC Members,

As that excellent communicator and scholar of daily practice, Jackie Gleason used to say ….

NACC accreditation is no longer an idea to discuss, debate, and hold meetings about. NACC accreditation is here. At our annual summer meeting, NACC members overwhelmingly voted to start the NACC accreditation process. The number of people who have committed a huge amount of time and effort to make this dream a reality is quite long. However, I would be remiss without saying a special thank you to Past-President of NACC, Stuart Mendel; NACC President-Elect, Renee Irvin; NACC Membership Vice Presidents, Maureen Feit and Angela Logan; current NACC Treasurer and former Accreditation Summit, Host Will Brown; and most especially our amazing Executive Director, Erin Vokes. This was truly a team effort and one that we should all be proud of.

In just the few short weeks since our historic vote, we can already feel a “buzz” that this move has created in our field. Heather Carpenter’s excited tweet with cool hashtag about her excitement at being #intheroom was so fun to see. Jeannie Fox wrote a front-page and widely shared NPQ (Nonprofit Quarterly) article degrees-nonprofit-philanthropic-studies/) about NACC accreditation, and I somehow, quite mysteriously, became a “subscriber” to the online newsletter from the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Hmmm.

In the coming weeks and months, NACC will start to implement our vision of what a nonprofit and philanthropy accreditation process should look like.

A big part of this effort is reaching out and hiring staff, including an Accreditation Launch Director and an Accreditation Coordinator to help shepherd us through the next phases of implementation. In addition, we will be on the lookout for people willing to serve as External Review Board Members. If you are interested in or know of anyone interested, please stay tuned to the NACC website for more formal announcements.

Another part of the implementation effort is updating and building out the online NACC accreditation portal. We have a DRAFT (PLEASE IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY NOTICE THAT IT IS A DRAFT) of this portal available here, where you can see a basic outline of the accreditation instrument. Please feel free to let us know what you think. You can do this by e-mailing me directly at matthew.hale@shu.edu.

Finally, we will recruit programs interested in being a part of the inaugural NACC accreditation class. Not every program will get to say they were part of the first NACC accreditation class. So, if you are interested, I suggest that you e-mail our Executive Director (and keeper of the sign-up list) Erin Vokes at e.vokes@csuohio.edu.

This is an exciting time to be a part of NACC. We should all be proud of getting to the point of making NACC accreditation actually happen. There are many people who didn’t think we would get this far. But that doesn’t mean the work is done. In fact, it is really just beginning. Just as we needed volunteers to help shape and frame what accreditation SHOULD like, we now need volunteers to help shape and frame what nonprofit and philanthropy accreditation WILL look like. So please, don’t be shy in stepping up to volunteer your thoughts, time, and talents.

Matt Hale
Seton Hall University
NACC President

Regarding the membership vote on accreditation, President-Elect Renee Irvin said, “Despite concerns about not being able to see several years into the future, NACC members were still clearly comfortable with NACC taking the risk of launching the pilot stage of accreditation. I think the enthusiastic vote signals two things – acceptance of the risk involved in taking on accreditation, and recognition that our field needs the guiding presence of an accreditation system now. Yet the vote, while strong, masks a sensible concern that we all seem to share; we want to do this right, and we recognize that this will require a lot of attention to detail and sensible management as accreditation gets off the ground.”

Update | August 17, 2017

At the Member Meeting in Indianapolis, IN on July 31, 2017, the NACC Membership voted to move forward on the proposed Accreditation Process. We’ll be preparing a full update on this soon. In the meantime, we’re pleased to share with you this article featured in Nonprofit Quarterly this afternoon, "NACC Votes for Accreditation of Nonprofit and Philanthropic Academic Programs," written by our member Jeannie Fox of Hamline University.

The membership of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC) voted at its annual meeting on July 31st to pursue the development of an accreditation process for its institutional members, all of whom provide graduate and/or undergraduate education with a focus on the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Why is this significant? As an academic discipline, the field of nonprofit studies only started to emerge about 35 years ago. This is in stark contrast to such established disciplines as the classic fields of liberal arts or sciences, which date back to our earliest universities. NACC’s history of establishing published curricular guidelines, and now a move toward formal accreditation, is an important step in the ongoing maturing and professionalization of the sector.

Continue reading the full article here:

Much appreciation to our members for voting to move forward on this process, to Matthew Hale and Renee Irvin for their contributions to this article, to Jeannie Hamline for authoring the article, and to the Accreditation Task Force who helped make this process possible.

Please stay tuned for more comprehensive coverage of the Accreditation Process history and next steps.

Introduction | Winter 2016

Since the summer of 2015, NACC and its member institutions have been considering whether or not accreditation of nonprofit and philanthropy programs makes sense for NACC and more importantly makes sense for the field.

Along the way we have held numerous meetings, conversation and an entire summit on accreditation.  We have also produced a good deal of paper.  Some of this paper is formal and scholarly.  Some of this paper is informal and impromptu.  But all of it is important to the discussion of accreditation. 

This page and the links on it are designed to be a depository of the notes, minutes, formal presentation and updates and position papers regarding the NACC accreditation process.  It will continually be a work in progress, but our hope is that anyone interested in seeing the documents and thought processes involved will have a single place to go.

We welcome comments and critiques. We ask for submissions and request forgiveness for omissions.  But most of all we thank everyone from those involved in this process at the beginning to those viewing these documents for the first time for your thoughtful consideration of this vitally important topic for our field.


Matt Hale
Seton Hall University
NACC President