Key Takeaways

  • NCOA’s National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) offers the nation’s only Senior Center Standards of Excellence and Self-Assessment.

  • Get answers to frequently asked questions about National Senior Center Self-Assessment.

  • Learn more about the NISC Standards of Excellence and how your senior center can get started on self-assessment.


What are the National Senior Center Standards of Excellence?

To advance the quality of senior centers nationwide, the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) developed nine standards of excellence for senior center operations. Called Building Excellence, these national standards serve as a manual for senior centers, and is available to all NISC Affiliates. As we continue to develop the indicators of excellence for today’s senior centers, we hope NISC Affiliates will serve as ambassadors for senior center standards and self-assessment and work with us in assisting the thousands of centers to reach their full potential.  

How do I start self-assessment?

Learn about the Standards of Excellence by requesting the Building Excellence standards manual. NISC affiliates can email us at, and we will send you a digital copy so you can evaluate your operations and conduct a self assessment. 

Can any size senior center conduct a self-assessment?

Yes. We encourage centers of all sizes to assess their strengths and challenges as a means to boosting their ability to serve their unique community needs.

How much does self-assessment cost?

The self-assessment is free.

What technical assistance is available?

You have access to two kinds of technical assistance:

  • Building Excellence provides you with resources that can help. 
  • NISC can connect you with our peer network and provide you with guidance.

What is the history behind NISC's Standards of Excellence?

NCOA/NISC received a large, corporate-funded grant to develop and refine a national process of accreditation of eight senior centers through a demonstration in seven states. This accreditation process was based upon the NISC Senior Centers Standards of Excellence and an accompanying Self-Assessment Workbook previously developed and tested. As a companion to the development and testing of this accreditation process, a public awareness campaign was designed and tested in order to foster the public's understanding of senior centers and the role they play in the community and the lives of older adults and their families. 

From 1998 to 2023, NISC’s Building Excellence program included a peer review and accreditation process, successfully completed by almost 300 senior centers. These accredited centers established and set the standard for what senior centers can achieve

For more information about NISC, contact us via email: