You are here:

Listing Criteria & Review Process

The Directory provides valuable, detailed information on a wide range of service providers in the form of listing pages. We post these pages after:

  1. Reviewing the application and attachments submitted by the provider
  2. Ensuring that the person or organization meets the requirements outlined below and on the application
  3. Conducting reference checks using a form developed in consultation with a Consultant Advisory Group (applies to providers who offer consulting services or products)

Information found on the listing pages, including the summary statement, was submitted by the person or group that applied to be in the Directory. Therefore, the accuracy of this information is ultimately the responsibility of each provider. We encourage Directory users to do their own due diligence before hiring a provider. Additionally, a provider's listing in this Directory does not imply 501 Commons' endorsement.

Minimum requirements

Years Serving Nonprofits

To be in the Resource Directory applicants must have at least 3 years of recent experience serving nonprofits (including schools and governmental organizations) in the categories they want to be listed under. Experience working at a nonprofit, while relevant, does not count toward this minimum requirement.

If you do not yet have this level of experience, please apply when you reach the mark. Also, contact us about gaining consulting experience through our Service Corps program and attend our professional development series, Learn to Serve.

Nonprofit Client Base

All applicants must be able to show that they have a nonprofit focus. This is even more important for companies or organizations that serve both businesses and nonprofits. The requirements differ depending on organization size.

  • Under 6 employees – nonprofit clients need to comprise at least 30% of your business
  • Firms with 6 or more employees – nonprofit clients need to comprise at least 30% of your business or your company must have professionals with demonstrated nonprofit expertise and experience serving nonprofits

Reference checks

In addition to a review of their applications and submitted materials, we verify that there are at least three nonprofit clients who recommend providers that are one of the types below:

  • Independent consultants and consulting firms
  • Other individual service providers and companies, such as graphic designers and software firms
  • Nonprofit capacity-building organizations that offer consulting services or products

This process involves conversations with nonprofit client references, and a scoring system using a reference-check form. An average score of 3.5, or higher, on a 4-point scale is required for the provider to be listed.

Nonprofit service providers that are one of the types below are listed upon review of their application; references are not contacted:

  • Associations, networks, and other groups
  • Educational programs and resource centers focused on nonprofits
  • Volunteer centers

Interim executive directors/CEOs

In addition to the above minimum requirements, to be listed under the "Interim executive director/CEO" subcategory, the applicant must:

  1. Have at least two interim ED/CEO engagements in the last six years
  2. Provide references for interim ED/CEO work done for at least two nonprofit clients and 501 Commons will conduct at least two reference checks

Reminder: Experience working as an executive director/CEO at a nonprofit, while relevant, does not count in this case. Consulting experience is needed. Also, experience from interim roles other than ED/CEO, such as an interim development director, also does not count for this subcategory.

Listing categories & fees

When applying, service providers can choose from 20 categories, or areas of expertise, and many more subcategories. Since no one can be an expert in all areas, we limit the number of categories each provider can select and be listed under.

All providers must also pay a listing fee, which covers a portion of the costs of maintaining the Directory. However, for the Directory's first year, we waived the first-year fee for "associations, networks, and other groups" and "educational programs and resource centers focused on nonprofits" that applied by March 1, 2011. "Volunteer centers" that applied by Dec. 31, 2011 were also listed at no cost for a year.

For a complete listing of categories, visit the online Directory application. To review category limits and fees, go to our Listing Categories & Fees page.