Please login using Chrome or Firefox, not Internet Explorer.

In the Decline/Crisis phase, the organization is facing crises in key areas, including repetitive leadership turnover, loss of major funding, a fractured board, etc. Look to Renewal for road map out of crisis. 

Standards for Excellence Guiding Principles

Characteristics and Priorities

Maryland Nonprofits' Resources

Mission, Strategy and Evaluation

  • Evidence that products and service quality has greatly declined

  • Referrals have dropped significantly

  • No evaluation process

  •  Licensing or accrediting is at risk

  • Community questions need for or tactics of the organization

Leadership: Board, Staff and Volunteers

  • Board rubber-stamps decisions

  • Attendance low

  • High turnover among Executive staff and board

  • Conflict between board and staff

  • Conflict among board members

  • Cannot agree on primary mission

  • Executive Director makes all decisions without consultation with board, allows board to make all decisions

  • Executive Director inaccessible, unable to meet deadlines, priorities

  • Staff complaints/grievances

  • Consulting: Board Development
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Board/Staff Partnership
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Board Responsibilities
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Succession Planning
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Sustainability and Sustainability Planning 

Legal Compliance and Ethics

  •  Fraud

  •  Harassment

  •  Lawsuits

  • Investigation

  • Conflicts of Interest

  • Related-party transactions

  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Legal Requirements Checklist
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Reporting Misconduct and Whistleblower Protection
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Conflicts of Interest
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Code of Ethics

Finance and Operations

  • Poor audit findings or “going concern” letter

  • Critical records (tax forms, personnel policies, client files) cannot be found

  • Staff unable to present clear financial picture

  • Unable to meet payroll

  • Behind on invoices

  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Risk Management and Insurance
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet:: Internal Controls and Financial Policies

Resource Development

  • Loss of more than one key funder

  • Termination of contracts

  • Loss of paying customers

  • New directions in fundraising always discussed but not acted on

  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Resource Development Planning

Public Awareness, Engagement and Advocacy

  • Negative press - Loss of trust with stakeholders

  • Key constituents cannot define purpose, services of organization

  • Perception or rumor organization is in crisis

  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Educating and Engaging the Public


Better governance and management practices allow you to focus on meeting your mission, strengthen fundraising, improve decision-making, prepare for transition, minimize risk, and engage your board. Learn more about the Standards for Excellence Code - and embark on your organization's path to Excellence.

To see resources for other stages or to return to the Nonprofit Lifecycle home page, click below:


Members, to access content, please click the icon to login.  

Please note, access to or the ability to download certain resources requires that you are a member of Maryland Nonprofits with valid login information.  Member documents are designated by the    icon.  If you would like to join Maryland Nonprofits, please visit the Membership page.


Green background, yellow brain, white bubble inside brain

Maryland Nonprofits
1500 Union Ave, Suite 2500
Baltimore, MD 21211
Copyright 2018 by Maryland Nonprofits |Terms Of Use |Privacy Statement