Organizational Standards For CSBG Eligible Entities

In 2012, the Federal Office of Community Services (OCS) provided funding to establish the CSBG Organizational Standards Center of Excellence (COE). 

The COE was charged with developing a set of organizational standards designed to ensure that CSBG Eligible Entities (CEEs) have the capacity to provide high-quality services to low income families and communities


The Community Action Partnership received this funding and engaged and expanded the existing CSBG Working Group to spearhead these efforts.  The Partnership and the CSBG Working Group involved the breadth of CSBG Network including CSBG Eligible Entities/Community Action Agencies, CSBG State Lead Agencies/Offices, Community Action State Associations, National CSBG Partners (CAPLAW, NASCSP, NCAF), content experts, and others to develop this comprehensive set of CSBG organizational standards.


The initial effort included an intensive 9-month process of listening sessions, literature reviews, surveys, and field testing that resulted in a draft of the CSBG organizational standards being provided to OCS in July 2013.  Readers of this document are encouraged to access the July 2013 submission to review the project’s full background, standards development process, and implementation recommendations. In March 2014, OCS published a draft information memorandum (IM) including the proposed organizational standards, providing potential implementation recommendations and seeking additional input from the Network. 


In January 2015, OCS released IM 138, State Establishment of  Organizational Standards for CSBG Eligible Entities under 678B of the CSBG Act, 42.U.S.C  § 9914.  IM 138 provides direction to States, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories, and CEEs on establishing organizational standards by FY 2016 and includes the final wording of the standards developed by the Organizational Standards COE. 


The Standards were developed in three thematic groups, comprising nine categories with the final set including 58 Standards for private/nonprofit CEEs and 50 for public/governmental entity CEEs.  These categories include:


  • Maximum Feasible Participation

  • Consumer Input and Involvement

  • Community Engagement

  • Community Assessment Vision and Direction  

  • Organizational Leadership Board Governance

  • Strategic Planning Operations and Accountability

  • Human Resource Management

  • Financial Operations and Oversight

  • Data and Analysis


The COE-developed organizational standards work together to characterize an effective and healthy organization. Some of the Standards have direct links to the CSBG Act, such as the standards on the tripartite board structure and the democratic selection process. Some Standards link with U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance, such as the standards on audits. As a whole, the standards reflect many of the requirements of the CSBG Act, applicable Federal laws and regulations, good management practices, and the values of Community Action.


This document provides the final language for the final COE-developed organizational standards. Additional resources can be found on the Partnership’s website at and include Assessment Tools and a Glossary of Terms. These resources are designed to assist CEEs and States with assessing CEEs against the organizational standards, provide clarity as to terms and activities, and offer non-binding guidance as to the intent of individual standards and how to demonstrate meeting them.


This document and other tools referenced are the work of the Organizational Standards Center of Excellence and the Community Action Partnership.  Readers are encouraged to refer to IM 138 for OCS-guidance regarding the CSBG Organizational standards.  


If you have questions about this document, please contact:  

Denise Harlow at

Jarle Crocker at

Cashin Yiu at


Standard 4.3: The organization’s Community Action plan and strategic plan document the continuous use of the full Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA) cycle or comparable system (assessment, planning, implementation, achievement of results, and evaluation). In addition, the organization documents having used the services of a ROMA-certified trainer (or equivalent) to assist in implementation.


This Standard is intended to demonstrate the Eligible Entity’s use of all of the phases of the ROMA Cycle in its work.  The documentation for this integration can be found in its Community Assessment, Strategic Plan, and agency reports (to external entities and to its board). It is not intended to be a complex or burdensome description of use, but an affirmation that the agency engaged in thoughtful assessment of needs, planning to meet those needs, implementation of programs and services designed to meet those needs, collection of data, and an analysis of this data.

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