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Leadership Monday: Are You Leader Enough to Conduct a Development Audit?

Do you have a genuine understanding of the overall health of your development department/foundation? It’s critical to your success moving forward. If you don’t have that understanding, it’s probably affecting both the effectiveness and the efficiency of your organization.

A development audit can include many different things, such as:

  • A business operation review

  • Marketing and communication efforts

  • Positioning amongst your competitors

  • Donor surveys

  • Employee and volunteer staffing surveys

One of the advantages of a development audit is helping to find low-hanging fruit like major donors or planned giving opportunities or even discover segments of your donor database that have not been communicated with frequently enough for whatever reason.

If leadership at your organization has changed recently and you’re the ‘new guy’ or ‘gal,’ an audit can give you a great snapshot of your new organization’s fundraising capacity because it provides a base to start from and uncover potential for new or revitalized growth by identifying specific areas of opportunity.

As a leader, you shouldn’t be afraid to discover that there were some gaps with the way business was conducted before. It does help to identify areas that were under-invested and have areas pointed out that leadership (you) can help identify that leads to impact and increased fundraising capacity.

But don’t wait until your train falls off its tracks.

If you’re experiencing

  1. declining response rates to direct mail and other communication efforts

  2. increased costs and overhead

  3. stagnant or decreased giving levels across any segment of your donor file

  4. increased attrition

  5. complaints from donors

  6. shrinking database size

  7. fewer major gifts and a

  8. reduction in planned gifts

it might be time for you to seriously consider a development audit.

Remember, it takes a real leader to know what he/she doesn’t know and may need to know to move the nonprofit forward .

Have you had an audit done recently? What did you learn?

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