Is it Time for a Development Audit?
What is a development audit?
A development audit is an assessment of an organization’s fundraising program and operations. An audit will examine an organization’s key external and internal areas of fundraising such as annual, major and planned giving activities and potential; stewardship; donor recognition; staffing; volunteer involvement; technology; and allocated resources.
A development audit report will also recommend ways for a nonprofit to be more efficient by identifying strengths, weaknesses and opportunities within your system and suggesting updates for structuring and processes. At the end of an audit, an organization will be able to develop a strategy and course of action for a fundraising department’s future.
When should my nonprofit conduct a development audit?
Often changes in an organization’s leadership or significant shifts in a nonprofit’s fundraising team or activities may signal a need for a development audit. What is the new leader’s vision for the organization and how does fundraising play a role in the new direction? What skill sets are needed among fundraising team members to achieve your nonprofit’s goals? An audit may be the first step in identifying how to restructure a fundraising department by understanding staffing needs and what it may take to build capacity for an effective team.
Another instance when an organization may decide to conduct an audit is prior to creating a new development plan. Does your development plan need to align with your nonprofit’s new strategic plan goals? Is your nonprofit looking to refresh or enhance fundraising activities? Understanding your fundraising department’s capabilities will help you understand if you have the resources to make changes in your development plan.
A development audit will also uncover your funding sources. Do you need to diversify your revenue streams with a mix of supporters or fundraising activities that will attract different types of donors? Are some fundraising activities more successful than others? Are there initiatives you can incorporate to attract new supporters? An audit will help evaluate current fundraising activities and identify where a fundraiser’s time is best spent in generating revenue for your organization.
Nonprofits that need to raise more funds than previous years due to new programs or initiatives may also consider a development audit. Particularly, if the organization is planning to embark on a capital or endowment campaign soon. An audit will assist in identifying areas to enhance your fundraising operations as you transition to raising funds for a campaign.
If you believe your nonprofit may benefit from a development audit or you would like to learn more about the process, contact Jennifer Rubel, director of fundraising at AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising at firstname.lastname@example.org.