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BlogIs it Time for a Development Audit?

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co-workers reviewing reports of a development audit

Is it Time for a Development Audit?

Understanding Development Audits

co-workers reviewing reports of a development auditA development audit is a comprehensive evaluation of a nonprofit’s fundraising operations. This process examines both external and internal fundraising components, including annual, major and planned giving activities, stewardship practices, donor recognition, staffing, volunteer involvement, technology utilization and resource allocation.

The outcome of a development audit is a detailed report highlighting the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities within the organization’s fundraising framework. The report provides strategic recommendations for enhancing efficiency and effectiveness, guiding nonprofits in restructuring and optimizing their fundraising departments. Ultimately, this enables the development of a robust strategy and actionable plan.

Timing for a Development Audit

Nonprofits should consider conducting a development audit under the following circumstances:

  1. Leadership Changes: A shift in leadership often brings new visions and strategies. Understanding how fundraising aligns with this new direction is crucial. The audit helps in assessing the skill sets needed within the fundraising team to achieve these new goals, facilitating necessary restructuring and capacity building.
  2. Strategic Planning: Before formulating a new development plan, it is important to ensure alignment with the nonprofit’s overall strategic goals. An audit assesses the current capabilities of the fundraising department, determining whether the necessary resources and strategies are in place to support the new plan.
  3. Funding Source Evaluation: Diversification of revenue streams is needed for sustainability. An audit helps identify the effectiveness of current fundraising activities, pinpointing successful initiatives and areas requiring improvement. This evaluation supports identifying new opportunities to ensure the optimal allocation of fundraising efforts.
  4. Increased Fundraising Needs: When new programs or initiatives necessitate raising additional funds, an audit becomes essential. This is particularly true for organizations preparing for significant campaigns, such as capital or endowment campaigns. The audit identifies potential improvements in fundraising operations to support the campaign’s success.

Benefits of a Development Audit

Conducting a development audit offers numerous benefits, including gaining strategic insights that align fundraising efforts with the organization’s overall strategy. An audit will help to identify improvement areas and adopt best practices, optimize resource use to maximize fundraising potential and strengthen donor engagement through improved recognition and stewardship practices.

If your nonprofit is considering a development audit or wants to learn more about the process, contact a fundraising consultant at AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising today.

Written by:

Melissa provides fundraising counsel for AMPERAGE’s nonprofit clients, leading feasibility studies and providing solutions that drive successful fundraising campaign results. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), she uses her experience and extensive skill set to continually advance her fundraising practices and develop campaign-specific strategies, materials and training to help clients reach their campaign goals and advance their mission. Melissa has vast experience working in the nonprofit sector, having served in development and leadership roles with Sisters of Mercy and the Alzheimer’s Association. In addition, she has served as a volunteer and board member with local nonprofits, such as the Catherine McAuley Center. Faith-based organizations and causes are of particular interest to Melissa. Melissa moves the needle by always looking for new opportunities and ways to improve professionally. She is currently president of the Eastern Iowa Planned Giving Council and a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Eastern Iowa Chapter. Melissa holds a Master of Strategic Leadership degree from Mount Mercy University. This busy professional, wife and mother enjoys sports and live music in her free time. A fan of Cubs baseball and Iowa Hawkeye football, Melissa and family enjoy football tailgating, where she’s known for her breakfast burritos. She enjoys the local band scene but says a Foo Fighters concert is her all-time favorite.