Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

Disability Access and Inclusion Checklist

Developed as a self-assessment tool for applicants of Lever for Change’s 100&Change competition, this checklist is available for any organization that would like to add a disability rights lens to its life-changing projects and programs.


Whether your organization is working to address education, economic opportunity, environmental protection, or other critical themes, your social impact project has the potential to engage people with disabilities.

Initially commissioned by the MacArthur Foundation, MIUSA and Access Living developed this checklist as a self-assessment tool for applicants of MacArthur Foundation’s first 100&Change global competition to ensure that applicants’ final applications incorporate rights-based disability-inclusive practices. Today, the MacArthur Foundation continues to offer the checklist as a resource to applicants of all competitions of its affiliate organization, Lever for Change, along with the following message:

“Not all questions in the checklist may be applicable to each specific proposal; however, MacArthur Foundation encourages each applicant to be innovative in their thinking and use each question to start the paradigm shift in thinking towards inclusive practices. The Foundation intends to take responses to this guidance seriously as the selection process moves forward. We encourage the applicants to use this checklist as a way to strengthen their own applications and ensure that the final proposal is truly inclusive.”

Whether or not your organization is applying for a Lever for Change competition, consider using this checklist to identify any areas where you need to improve in terms of disability access and inclusion. This applies to organization headquarters as well as any international offices. Should you need assistance to address any gaps, refer to a list of optional resources that are provided immediately following the checklist.

View the checklist below, or download the Word file from “Documents” at the bottom of this page.

Accessibility and Inclusion Checklist

Respond “yes” or “no” to the following questions. For each section, provide comments to reflect on how your organization will improve in specific areas.

Planning, Policies, and Programming

  • Does your organization clearly promote the principle of disability inclusion in all aspects of programming in order to mainstream disability into all program development (staffing, advocacy, awareness raising, activities, monitoring, etc.)? Does the organization have this principle reflected in their policies?
  • Do you make sure your services are carried out in an integrated way, that any separate programs for people with disabilities are separate because of necessity, and that there is a choice of participating in “regular” programs?
  • Does your program provide reasonable accommodations such as alternative communication formats (Braille, large-print, sign language interpreters, etc.), environmental access, transportation access, programmatic access and economic access?
  • As part of long-range and annual planning, do you address accessibility issues with regard to facilities and/or services and include them as a cost of your operations?
  • Are your answers to the questions above true for HQ as well as all field offices and programs?
  • If you receive federal funding, have you done a self-evaluation and transition plan and followed the funding agencies’ section 504 requirements?

Inclusion of People with Disabilities and Disabled Persons Organizations

  • Do you engage directly with Disabled People’s Organizations in order to ensure an inclusive approach to the program’s design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation?
  • Do you ensure that volunteers and interns with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate?
  • Do you ensure that staff and potential contactors have an equal opportunity to be hired?
  • Are people with disabilities included on your Board, advisory boards and committees?
  • Have you identified people with disabilities who can provide input about access to your services, programs, and facilities?
  • Are staff and consultants with disabilities paid adequately for their work? Are their credentials and expertise acknowledged?
  • Are your answers to the questions above true for HQ as well as all field offices and programs?

Outreach and Awareness

  • Do you know who the leading Disabled Person’s Organizations (DPOs) are in your area? Have you reached out to them to engage them in your project, and to inform them of your services or initiatives?
  • Do you require staff to attend disability rights training to ensure all sections and field offices are aware of how to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate inclusive programs and create an inclusive office culture?
  • Is your staff aware of how to interact with individuals with disabilities, and does staff treat them with courtesy and dignity?
  • Have you informed your staff of your nondiscrimination/accessibility/accommodation policies?
  • Does your staff know how to alert people with disabilities of an emergency in the area and how to assist them in leaving the building or sheltering?
  • Does your staff know how to obtain accessible transportation, sign language interpreters, and other accommodations when providing or arranging transportation for individuals or groups?
  • Are your answers to the questions above true for HQ as well as all field offices and programs?


  • Do your communication tools promote disability inclusion and use language that is respectful, humanizing, and nondiscriminatory (i.e. “person with MS” rather than “victim of MS”)?
  • If you distribute printed materials (e.g. brochures, forms, exhibits, hand-books) or have displays of print information, do you have those that are frequently used available in large print or other alternate formats, such as Braille, electronic format, recorded tape or disk?
  • If you produce or use videos, DVDs, or television broadcasts, or make audio- visual presentations, do you make them accessible to people with disabilities? Do you make captioning available? If at a presentation, do you provide sign language interpretation and/or live captioning?
  • Do consumers have a way to contact your organization other than via phone, such as via email or web form? Are your staff familiar with how to use free Video Relay Systems (VRS) with people who use sign language?
  • Do you emphasize accessibility in ads, programs, notices, and newsletters, and on your website?
  • Are your answers to the questions above true for HQ as well as all field offices and programs?

Meetings and Events

  • Do you hold public meetings and events only in accessible facilities or have a way to give notice and move the meeting to an accessible location depending on the circumstances and attendees?
  • Is information provided in advance about how to make requests for modifications or auxiliary aids and the accessibility of the meeting (i.e. interpreters, real time captioning, etc.)?
  • Do all meetings incorporate accommodations to ensure that they are accessible to all participants?
  • Are your answers to the questions above true for HQ as well as all field offices and programs?


  • Have you evaluated your website for accessibility?
  • Is your website accessible to blind/visually impaired people who use screenreaders? Are videos on your website captioned?
  • Do you ensure that new content is accessible?
  • Are your answers to the questions above true for HQ as well as all field offices and programs?


  • If transportation (or a voucher for transportation) is provided as a service to, from, or within an event, as part of an event or service, or in any other way, is equivalent accessible transportation provided for people with disabilities?
  • Are your answers to the questions above true for HQ as well as all field offices and programs?


  • Have you evaluated your facilities for physical accessibility within the last two years? Do you have a process for doing so regularly?
  • Do you ensure that places where you carry out your services and activities are accessible? If they are not, do you move the services to accessible locations or make other modifications to ensure participation by those who have disabilities?
  • Do you ensure that staff and volunteers accurately inform clients and visitors of accessible features of your building?
  • Are you in compliance with federal, state, and local accessibility requirements?
  • When you look for new space to lease or use, do you make every effort to find space that meets accessibility requirements or can be altered to meet them?
  • Are your answers to the questions above true for HQ as well as all field offices and programs?

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Reporting

  • Does your program require that reporting mechanisms specifically include indicators for people with disabilities and around disability inclusion?
  • Does your evaluation process mandate that the data be disaggregated by disability to ensure that people with disabilities are included in the project as well as the outcomes?
  • Are your answers to the questions above true for HQ as well as all field offices and programs?
  • Do you ensure a disability inclusion perspective in monitoring and evaluating your programs? When reviewing the program reports, do you ensure that people with disabilities are included in the program activities in a meaningful and effective way?

Works Referenced

This checklist was adapted from the following documents:
“Taking Stock: An ADA Quick-Check Tool for Nonprofits” found in Renewing the Commitment: An ADA Compliance Guide for Nonprofits

Summary Guide to Renewing the Commitment: An ADA Compliance Guide for Nonprofits

Global Call to Action for Disability Inclusion, available upon request from World Learning or Mobility International USA

Resources for Disability Inclusion

Webinar on Strategies for Disability Inclusion Utilizing a Human Rights Framework, presented by MIUSA and Access Living for MacArthur Foundation

Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a free online resource center for U.S. employers providing technical assistance related to workplace accommodations and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act

MIUSA’s Excellence in Development and Disability Inclusion (EDDI), a paid membership service for customized referrals to disability experts and consultants, resource guides on top-of-mind disability access topics, webinars and moreThis checklist was co-created by Mobility international USA and Access Living for the MacArthur Foundation.

    Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

    Also Search our NCDE Web Resource Library

    Contact Us