A development audit is one of the first steps that a new professional to the field or a new non-profit should always undertake.
In fact, all organizations should occasionally go through a fund development review to determine the strength of their development program.
Why a development audit?
As the number of non-profits grow by leaps and bounds, it is critical that your organization operate as effective as possible.
What is a development audit?
A development audit is a tool specifically designed and conducted to determine an organization’s effectiveness, ability, and readiness in terms of its fundraising. It includes surveys and personal interviews with the organization’s closest constituents. This assessment also includes a thorough review of the organization’s fundraising and marketing materials.
Like a financial audit, a development audit should be done by an outside consultant who can look objectively at the organization, compare it with other organizations of similar size and scope and utilize the knowledge and years of experience the consultant brings to the table.
An audit takes a look at several key fund development areas including board development, staffing, volunteers, technology, strategies, current systems and procedures, donor recognition, and cultivation and stewardship.
At the end of the audit a comprehensive report is compiled with fundraising recommendations that serves as the basis for future fund development planning including developing a strategic plan for development that will address the issues needing improvement in the audit.
A good audit helps an organization to build on its strengths and enhance its weaknesses.
When should you consider a development audit?
- When preparing to embark on a major campaign whether for major gifts, capital or endowment.
- When you want better results with your annual fundraising efforts.
- When you want to increase board participation in your non-profit.
- When you are attempting to compare results with other organizations.
- When you are looking for an objective evaluation of your development program.
- When you are trying to diversify your funding streams.
- When you are engaged in strategic planning.
- When you are looking at restructuring your development office.
- When you are seeking to take your program to a new professional level.
- When you are starting up your fund development efforts.
Organizations today cannot afford to NOT assess their fundraising efforts. A development audit will give a newly starting organization or a small non-profit a jump start on its competition and will provide the basis for a sound and strategic road map for the future.