It is no secret that the Council on Accreditation (COA) believes in what we do. We promote best practices and help our organizations to implement them with the aim that clients across the social services field will get the best possible quality of care. By accrediting the entire organization, we ensure that everyone—from human resources to finances to support staff—is working together to carry out that mission.

90% of surveyed organizations agree that COA accreditation has improved their quality of services. 86% agree that COA accreditation has improved outcomes for the people they serve.

This is the “why” of organizational accreditation for COA and our accreditees alike. We are all here to do good; following best practices helps us do good in the most effective way possible.

Improving service quality is the most important benefit of organizational accreditation. But from our experience, it is not the only benefit! Every time an organization completes the accreditation process, COA asks about its impact. Several themes have come out of our survey responses.  

Organizational accreditation improves operations.

Whole-organization accreditation provides a framework for staff to look at how they fulfill their mission now and discover how they can do so better. The benefits along the way are multifold: more open communication, sound strategic plans, streamlined work systems, better risk management…the list goes on. When an organization looks at itself holistically, it can find the root of any problems and be better equipped to solve them.

"We have really enjoyed the fact that we are united by the power [of] COA accreditation and by sharing our common mission [of] providing children and families, in a contexual and in a multicultural approach, with the best." -Jorge Alberto Acosta, Founder of Nuevo Amanecer Latino Children's Services

94% of COA-accredited organizations agree that accreditation improves organizational learning and knowledge. 82% agree that it improves organizational capacity. COA accreditation has helped some organizations bring themselves back from the brink of bankruptcy; others have used it as a tool to position themselves to become leaders in the field.

Many have expressed that reaccreditation is not an end of itself, but a tool to help them achieve new heights of living their mission. COA is proud to help them do that.

Organizational accreditation boosts marketability.

Organizational accreditation is a professional, 3rd-party recognition that an organization meets the highest standard for both quality service delivery and administrative practices. The effort that an organization goes through to achieve accreditation proves just how much its staff cares about what they do.

This hard work helps organizations stand out among competitors and builds goodwill. 85% of our organizations agree that COA accreditation improves their organization’s marketability. 90% agree that it improves their relationship with external stakeholders. Clients and community alike are looking for signs of quality—accreditation gives them a big one.

Organizational accreditation helps secure funding.

"By maintaining our accreditation over the past 16 years, my organization has been able to be a leader in the field, and successful in securing government and private foundation grants to further our mission." -Sister Linda Yankoski, President/CEO of the Holy Family Institute

Organizational accreditation verifies that an organization not only does quality work, but also has sound financial, administrative, operational, and oversight practices. This third-party verification can inspire the confidence funders need to support an organization as it continues to grow.

This can help in terms of government funding, as well. COA is recognized in over 300 instances in 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and China. Our list of recognitions continues to grow, and with it the financial benefit to our accredited organizations. As of December 2018, 70% of our organizations agree that COA accreditation ensures funding.

Organizational accreditation can give staff a sense of fulfillment.

Accreditation encourages organizations to look at themselves frankly and work toward continuous quality improvement. This can allow staff to take a break from their daily grind and appreciate the big picture of their impact. Organizational accreditation also facilitates transparency and open communication, which can increase trust and the feeling that everyone is working as part of one team.  Finally, the quest for quality improvement provides staff with new professional opportunities, allowing them to lead the charge toward a brighter future for those they serve. 

Almost three quarters of COA-accredited organizations agree that accreditation improves workforce engagement, and over half agree that it improves staff retention. Many of our organizations describe how empowering it is to see the change in mindset that accreditation can bring.

Organizational accreditation holds the team to its goals.

"Partnering with COA supports our agency's continuous improvement efforts, aligns our work with best practices, and helps cultivate a well-developed, competent workforce dedicated to rending top-notch service delivery to our community." -Pravin Patel, Human Services Manager II at the San Mateo County Human Services Agency

As anyone with a broken New Year’s resolution knows, it is easy to put great plans in place and never carry them out. Accreditation (and reaccreditation!) forces organizations to follow through with those great plans, holding them accountable to be the best they can be.

94% of COA-accredited organizations agree that our whole-organization accreditation improves transparency and accountability. Through it, staff become not only accountable to their clients and stakeholders, but to themselves.

Time and time again, accreditation has proved transformative for our organizations, supporting their mission and allowing them to provide clients with the quality service they deserve. COA is grateful and humbled to be a part of this important process.

Have you experienced other accreditation benefits not listed here? Share them with us in the comments!

SOURCE: All statistics are pulled from 2018 survey data from organizations accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).