Peer Review

Peer Review Background

The SOE provides two levels of membership for organizations: Associate and Accredited.

Associate Member status is an open membership for both sending and receiving entities. Associate Members commit to follow the Standards of Excellence and to fulfill some basic and continuing education in short-term mission best practices (see Overview of Required Training). 

Accredited Member status is reserved for sending entities who desire to pursue the highest level of best practice recognition by completing an audited Peer Review. 

A Peer Review (PR) is a process in which an SOE member’s short-term mission program(s) is reviewed by other SOE members (their peers). The purpose of the Peer Review (PR) is to assess how the member organization is progressing in its pursuit to achieve excellence in all Seven of the Standards of Excellence. The PR for most Accredited Members is the core of the SOE where evaluation, interaction, and encouragement toward excellence takes place. It may be the single most valuable resource for our members.  Since it is a rigorous and demanding process which requires clear support of an organization’s top leadership, not all SOE Associate Members choose this accreditation pathway.

The PR is not meant to be a legalistic process, instead it is a redemptive one.  The overall objective is to encourage, motivate, and challenge each member toward excellence in all of their STM endeavors.   The PR exists to provide constructive feedback, peer mentoring, relationship, and accountability. The evaluation, recommendations, and advancement of membership status are determined by each respective Peer Review Team, not by the SOE office.

Peer Review Team Description

The Peer Review is conducted by a Peer Review Team (PRT).  This team consists of three components:

  1. Key Member STM Personnel (minimum of two) from the SOE organization being evaluated for accreditation (the reviewee)
  2. The Team Facilitator (an SOE approved facilitator from an Accredited Member Organization)
  3. Additional Reviewers (minimum of two) from two other SOE Member Organizations (must be unique from the facilitator’s organization)

To further elaborate, the Peer Review Team consists of an experienced facilitator from one SOE Accredited Member organization (the facilitator must be recommended and approved by the SOE office). The Peer Review Team also includes personnel from at least two additional SOE organizations (unique from the facilitator’s) who agree to review an adoptive member’s STM program(s). Thus, a minimum of 3 total reviewers are required for the Peer Review Team (facilitator from Organization “A”, plus a reviewer from Organization “B”, plus a reviewer from Organization “C”).  It is highly recommended that at least one additional reviewer be present from any of the 3 reviewing organizations so that the facilitator can concentrate on the meeting and secretarial duties involved in the Peer Review Process. Having a total reviewing roster size of 4 to 5 individuals (not counting the reviewee) is ideal to give feedback and unique perspective to the process.  Budget constraints are understandable and therefore 3 is the minimum required.

Location of PR

Peer Review Teams meet at the location of the reviewee’s choosing.  This may involve the headquarters of the organization being reviewed.  Peer Review Teams can be formed locally or regionally if several SOE members live in close proximity.  They can also be formed nationally from any SOE member organization willing to participate in a Peer Review. Peer Review Teams may choose to meet together at a national conference to minimize cost.  Sometimes, SOE members may elect to conduct dual reviews at a single location and reciprocate in reviewing one another’s programs (though not required).  When more than one review is conducted at one location over a series of days, costs for all involved can be minimized (though work load increases).


Associate Members can choose to advance to Accredited Member Status any time they feel ready and once they have completed their SIW and STM Training Conference requirements. Once an organization becomes a fully Accredited Member by passing their Peer Review, they must repeat a new Peer Review every five (5) years to maintain compliance.  If there is no significant change in staff or STM programming, the SOE Leadership may, in its sole discretion, choose to extend the time required for a recertifying Peer Review.


The reviewee is responsible for all expenses related to the Peer Review unless other agreed upon arrangements have been made. This includes transportation, lodging, and food for all Peer Review participants.

Peer Review Instructions and Forms:

All forms needed for the peer review process will be provided by the SOE office.  We will also try to keep them up-to-date and make them available for download through the member log-in portal.

Questions or comments should be directed to the SOE Office at 1-855-JOIN-SOE  (855-564-6763).