NACC Membership

Nonprofit organizations and voluntary action are critical to the development and strengthening of democracy and civil society throughout the world. Universities are central institutions for understanding and promoting the structures essential for democratic life. University-based programs that perform research, teaching and public service to strengthen nonprofit/nongovernmental organizations, philanthropy, and voluntary action are critical to helping universities and their communities meet this need.

A Revised NACC Membership Model
In January of 2016, the NACC board of directors met and discussed the strategic question of how to build programs that attract and give value to members.  The board decided that one answer to this question would be to revise the NACC membership model. The Board came to consensus that NACC membership needed to be simplified, and that all programs should become “full members” with special designations describing the focus of each member. On July 31, 2017, NACC Membership unanimously voted to approve the new membership model proposed by the board of directors. You can read the full proposal here.Application for Membership

  • To qualify for membership, programs must meet minimum standards as defined by NACC.
  • New programs will be encouraged to apply by one of two annual deadlines, and applications will be reviewed twice a year.
  • The focus of membership will remain on programs with an academic affiliation that can demonstrate a focus on at least two of the three programmatic areas outlined below (education, research and community).
  • NACC will continue to explore ways to engaging other parts of the sector in the future through some kind of affiliation, but not necessarily membership.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for NACC membership, the applicant must:

  1. Operate within an accredited college or university. If the program or center is located internationally, accreditation will be appropriate to the home institution.
  2. Have a primary focus on nonprofit, non-governmental sector management, or philanthropic studies (or related areas such as civil society, social economy, and social innovation).
  3. Provide evidence of ongoing activity in at least two of the three programmatic areas – education, research, and community engagement – as defined below.
  4. Demonstrate a substantial allocation of resources and programming to the programmatic area(s), including:
  • A designated faculty or staff position which has primary responsibility to direct programmatic activities. We recognize the title and exact scope and type of responsibilities may vary, and some responsibility can be shared among other faculty, staff, or students.
  • Accountability to and association with the academic division of the school, college, or university (which can include continuing or professional education), rather than some other area, such as student affairs.
  • Staff support for its activities. No minimum level of staffing is required.

NACC Membership Criteria & Process

Three programmatic areas form the foundation for the work of NACC members – education, research, and community engagement:

  • Education: A systematic program of academic credit studies is a requirement of the education criterion. The program need not take the form of a full degree, but it should be of an academic credit-bearing nature, including concentrations or specializations within full degrees, or academic credit (as opposed to noncredit) certificate programs. If a center or program does not offer credit programs itself, its leadership or staff shall participate in teaching these offerings by other academic units affiliated with the center. Other forms of noncredit education, including professional seminars, workshops and continuing education noncredit certificates, can be important dimensions of a center’s educational programming and offer diverse learning opportunities, but a core of academic, credit-bearing offerings is essential.
  • Research: Some ongoing creation of publications by persons directly affiliated with the program is a requirement for the research criterion. We recognize that research in the field of nonprofit, nongovernmental, and philanthropic studies can take a wide variety of forms including: scholarship that yields books, articles, and papers in academic outlets; applied research of immediate application to practitioners in the field whether done under contract and/or disseminated in professional practice publications; knowledge-building that yields curriculum and instructional materials and publications; or different products from the “scholarship of engagement.” It also consists of disseminating the knowledge created through conferences, symposia, and seminars. All of these research and dissemination activities are valid and encouraged. However, among these activities we consider some on-going activity yielding scholarly and/or professional publications to be essential.
  • Community Engagement: The community engagement or service criterion is understood as academically-based activities that go beyond conventional faculty service assignments. This includes an ongoing and intentional program of engagement that attempts to provide direct impact in its nonprofit community to nonprofit organizations and the community at large. These should be substantial and a formal part of the program or center’s programming, and may include providing consulting, technical advice or assistance to nonprofit organizations, convenings or workshops, or participating in nonprofit public policy and advocacy activities, to name just a few examples.

All NACC members will pay the same annual fee of $1,000 USD.

Rights & Responsibilities
All members will be treated as full members with the same rights, responsibilities, and membership fees.

Relationship to Accreditation

  • Membership and accreditation are distinct entities and processes. Membership in NACC does not equal accreditation in NACC.
  • NACC membership is required before a program can apply for accreditation.

You can learn more about the NACC Accreditation Process here.