Learn more about the standards that NCOA's National Institute of Senior Centers developed to improve their senior center operations today—and position themselves for the future.
To ensure senior centers remain connected to one another digitally during the pandemic, we'll be moving the NISC Accreditation Operations into a digital learning management and submission portal.
Training modules are expected to launch in August 2021, along with the new NISC Wizehive Online Portal shortly thereafter.
NCOA’s National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) offers the nation’s only National Senior Center Accreditation Program. To advance the quality of senior centers nationwide, NISC developed an accreditation program with nine standards of excellence for senior center operations. These standards serve as a guide for all senior centers to improve their operations today—and position themselves for the future.
Steps to Beginning NISC Accreditation
- Make sure your center has a NISC membership, and join NISC if it doesn't.
- Submit an Intent to Self-Assess form, which can be filled out online.
- Pay the $500 deposit that's due upon submission of your Intent to Self-Assess form.
- Request the Building Excellence Manual from the NISC Membership to begin your Self-Assessment Process at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To continue advancing the quality of senior centers as they navigate a historic time in our nation’s history and staying true to the ability for senior centers to remain connected to one another digitally, the NISC Membership Team will be moving the NISC Accreditation Operations into a digital learning management and submission portal. Once it’s launched, NISC will implement all program measures, along with training modules, a training webinar, and other events. Training modules are expected to launch in August, along with the new NISC Wizehive Online Portal shortly thereafter
What does that mean for my senior center?
- If your senior center has already submitted your Accreditation materials for review (prior to this update on June 7), your materials will continue through the existing review process.
- If your senior center has submitted the Intent to Accredit form, the Accreditation Board will notify you of your acceptance of your materials, and your materials will continue through the existing review process.
- If your senior center is thinking about submitting any materials to include the Intent to Accredit form, you will submit through the new portal system in August, we will submit through the new NISC Wizehive Online Portal and more communication will be available through our NISC Connections Webinar series.
List of Nationally Accredited Centers
More than 200 senior centers have been accredited, and many more are in the process. Use the resources below to learn more about these centers:
- Interactive map of accredited centers
- 2018 Nationally Accredited Centers
- 2017 Nationally Accredited Centers
- 2016 Nationally Accredited Centers
- 2015 Nationally Accredited Centers
- 2014 Nationally Accredited Centers
- 2013 Nationally Accredited Centers
- 2012 Nationally Accredited Centers
Why Should Your Senior Center Accredited?
Improve your organization
The accreditation process improves and strengthens overall senior center operations. It results in official recognition that a senior center is meeting its mission in a nationally accepted, professional fashion.
Connect to the community
During the self-assessment process, staff, participants, board members, aging service agency representatives, and the community come together to look at the senior center and compare it to the standards that have been established by NISC. Together, the center and the community identify strengths and areas that need improvement and develop a strategy. Many centers report that this has led to funding opportunities, new collaborative partners, and an increase in programs or participation.
Develop a plan for the future
Throughout the process, centers have access to a specially designated accreditation hotline to get the information and guidance they need to develop a vision for the future. They are provided with a written strategic plan, and receive technical assistance in determining outcome measurements to improve overall senior center operations.
Enhance your center’s image
Accreditation creates an opportunity to establish your senior center’s position as a leader in positive aging. You can use this national recognition strategically to heighten awareness of the importance of your center and showcase your excellence to funders, participants, families, and other key people in your community. Collectively, accreditation raises the bar for all of us. It legitimizes senior centers as professionally managed, relevant, and vital resources for older adults.
What senior centers are saying ...
The most rewarding benefit of accreditation is the process and an action plan for achieving a bright future.
It portrays the senior center in a positive light in terms of being a viable, fundable, and qualified provider of services within the community.
I love being able to say that we are nationally accredited and first in the state. Our organization’s accountability and quality of services was proven.