African CSO Excellence Awards

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The African CSO Excellence Awards is a joint initiative between EPIC-Africa and the Rockefeller Foundation. The Awards highlight the importance of organizational capacity to achieve program impact. The African CSO Excellence Awards reward organizations that demonstrate excellence across eight key elements of organizational capacity: Strategic Ability and Adaptability, Leadership and Governance, Financial Health and Management, Human Resources and Staff Development, Operations, Communications, Partnerships and Alliances, Monitoring and Evaluation.
EligibilityAll legally registered not-for-profit, or other classification of social purpose organization, founded and led by Africans, composed in majority of African staff and working on major challenges impacting Africa are able to apply. Under this definition, international NGOs operating in Africa are not eligible for the Awards but their local partners who fit this description are encouraged to apply. Are you an #EPICAfricanCSO
Why ApplyYour organization will get an opportunity to fundraise on the international GlobalGiving Platform with a series of capacity building workshops for 3 members of staff.

You will get media visibility and networking opportunities through the African CSO Excellence Awards community.

The Awards also offer your organization the chance to:

  • Assess your organizational capacity.
  • Receive a confidential capacity diagnostic report to help benchmark your organization.
  • Increase your visibility to local and international funders.
  • Increase your credibility by demonstrating transparency and accountability.


Important Dates

Application Open15th Oct
Applications Open
Application Closed31st Dec
Applications Closed
Shortlisting and Selection of WinnersJan – Mar
Shortlisting and Selection of Winners
Winners Announced
April  2019Winners Announced
Application Checklist


To apply for the African CSO Excellence Awards, you only need to complete the online application form. You will be asked to upload a few documents as you complete the application form. It is advisable to have these documents ready before you begin filling out the form to facilitate the process. Although not all documents are required, you are strongly encouraged to share as many of them as possible. Doing so demonstrates transparency and accountability which helps to strengthen your organization’s credibility.RequiredCertificate of Registration (Proof of legal registration is required to be eligible to apply for the awards)


  • Current strategic plan
  • Human resources manual or other staff development policies
  • Most recent audited financial statement
  • Financial management procedures or policies
  • Communications strategy
  • Most recent annual report

We strongly encourage you to share as many of these documents as possible. Sharing helps to demonstrate your transparency and increase your score in the relevant category as we are better able to assess your application.

Tips For A Successful Entry

  • Read the questions carefully

    Make sure that you understand what is asked. If you don’t understand something, contact with your questions. Assemble a team which includes senior management – often, different people will be knowledgeable about different aspects of your organization and have access to different materials.

  • Start early

    Even though you have the opportunity to save your application and come back to it later, it helps to compile, review and have all your documents ready for the online entry before you start.

  • Involve your marketing or communications contacts

    They may have valuable input. And, if you win or are shortlisted, they can use the award in their materials to help your organization get additional visibility and to fundraise.

Winners SelectionThe selection process consists of three steps:

Step 1: All applicants will be ranked according to their score across the 8 categories of assessment to produce a shortlist of 90 CSOs.

Step 2: The top five CSOs from each category will advance to a shortlist of 45 and undergo a more thorough assessment including interviews, reference checks and where feasible, site visits.

Step 3: A panel of experts from the philanthropy sector will select the top 9 winners.

Who We Are

EPIC-Africa seeks to enhance philanthropic impact by filling critical data and capacity gaps in the philanthropic market infrastructure in Africa. Our work helps to propel African civil society organizations to higher standards of performance, accountability, and transparency while inspiring greater local legitimacy and support.

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