Anne Tinker is the outgoing Executive Director of The Guesthouse’s phenomenally successful sister program in Cambridge, Ontario, The Bridges. She writes:
As I prepared for my retirement from Cambridge Shelter Corporation, one of my final goals was to achieve accreditation under the Imagine Canada Standards Program. Many shelters, unless they receive Ministry of Health funding, do not have access to accreditation processes, so I was extremely happy when Imagine Canada developed an accreditation program for charities and non-profits that demonstrate excellence in five areas of operations: Board Governance, Financial Accountability and Transparency, Fundraising, Staff Management and Volunteer Involvement.
The program strengthens the practices of organizations, encouraging them to achieve best practice status, and strengthens public confidence in the sector through a voluntary peer review based accreditation process.
The application is rigorous and challenging but well worth the time and effort it takes. Cambridge Shelter was fortunate to be accredited by the Standards Program in the fall of 2013. Successful organizations must then complete an annual compliance report and are able to showcase the program Trustmark on brochures and other promotional materials and on their website.
I would encourage any organization that is committed to excellence, and wants to demonstrate that commitment, to consider applying through the Standards Program. It provides a strong framework that will help to ensure good governance and to show transparency and accountability. I am very glad that I was able to achieve this for Cambridge Shelter Corporation before I retired.