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In the Growth stage, the organization has launched and is "on the map." Programs and funding streams are growing. The first paid staff-person is hired, and first new recruits are added to the board. The organization might have office space, but few administrative systems are in place. Building infrastructure and formalized processes becomes necessary.

Standards for Excellence Guiding Principles

Characteristics and Priorities

Maryland Nonprofits' Resources

Mission, Strategy and Evaluation

  • Develop comprehensive strategic plan.
  • Programs may expand quickly as resources expand.  
  • Questions of mission/focus and geographic scope may arise as organization is stretched in new directions.  
  • Show results.
  •  Resource: Strategic Plan Outline
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Program Evaluation
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Mission, Impact and Planning

Leadership: Board, Staff and Volunteers

  • Board may take on program and operational roles, as well as governing roles.
  • Executive Director shifts to paid status; professional staff are added.
  • Integrate new board members.
  • Establish board committees.
  • Board evaluates CEO performance.
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Board Composition and Independence
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Sustainability and Sustainability Planning
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Personnel Policies
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Volunteer Policies
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Board and Executive Partnership

Legal Compliance and Ethics

  • Develop personnel policies and comply with laws and regulations as an employer.
  • Comply with fundraising regulations.
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Legal Requirements Checklist
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Working Professionally and Respectfully with Program Stakeholders
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Disclose It: A Charitable Nonprofit’s Guide to Disclosure Requirements
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Reporting Misconduct and Whistleblower Protection Maryland

Finance and Operations

  • Professional help is needed for financial management, but resources are limited.
  • Establish chart of accounts.
  • Establish a database.
  • More out of home office.
  • Acquire business equipment.

Resource Development

  • Diversify fundraising tactics; significant grants, contracts or earned income become more developed.
  • Recruit board members who can fundraise. 
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Fundraising Costs
  • Standards for Excellence Packet: Fundraising on Behalf of the Organization
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Resource Development Planning and Sources of Income

Public Awareness, Engagement and Advocacy

  • Grow presence on web; social media.
  • Build your email contact list.
  • Develop "elevator pitch" and key messaging. 
  •  Standards for Excellence Packet: Advancing the Mission through Public Policy
  •  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:





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