Are you wondering if you're missing funding opportunities?

A development audit (or fundraising audit) can help! This objective assessment of your nonprofit’s current fundraising programs and systems will identify both strengths and areas for improvement. All aspects of your program are reviewed, including donor communications, cultivation, stewardship, and use of your donor management system (fundraising software).

Image: stuart miles at

Image: stuart miles at

The development audit includes a review of the involvement of your staff, board and other volunteers in the development process and offers recommendations on how best to utilize these human resources. Overall, development audit recommendations focus on building a more sustainable fundraising program for your organization, with an ultimate goal of more money raised for your mission!

Why conduct a development audit?

Reasons for conducting a development audit are varied but many organizations consider a development audit when they are:

  • Considering embarking on a capital, major gifts, or endowment fundraising campaign
  • Not satisfied with current fundraising results
  • Wanting to diversify fundraising sources and streams
  • Seeking increased board participation in fundraising
  • Engaged in a strategic planning process
  • Looking for advice on how to restructure the development office or making the next hire into the department
  • Seeking to institute fundraising best practices to increase success and raise more money!

Areas to be addressed by the development audit

General Organizational Considerations:  Legal structure, organizational structure, strategic planning, other

Fundraising Systems and Procedures:  Donor management software, case for support, gift acceptance policies, gift acknowledgment policies, diversity of funding streams, other

Your Board’s Role in Fundraising:  Board expectations, performance, development committee, other

The Role of Staff:  Development department structure and functions, professional development, the executive director’s (or CEO’s) role in fundraising, other

Cultivation and Stewardship:  Moves management, donor recognition, cultivation and stewardship plans, donor relations and retention, other

Donor Communications:  Communications plan, newsletters, website, social media, other

What you can expect in terms of process

Your development audit process will be tailored to the specifics of your organization (goals, size, etc.) but you can expect some or all of these steps:

  • Initial consultation to get clear on goals for the audit, specifically, what are your organizational goals for the next several years and what are you hoping to learn from the audit?
  • Staff support in the form of providing organizational documentation, such as fundraising plans, donor communications and other documents (full list will be provided)
  • Both staff and board participation in interviews and/or completing questionnaires (most appropriate staff and board members will be determined as part of the initial consultation)
  • Review of donor management system (database) and how it is used by your staff and others
  • Onsite visits, phone conversations, email exchanges

If you're interested in exploring the possibility of a development audit for your nonprofit, give me a call at 303.919.6199 or shoot me an email at Kathie{at} to set up a time to chat. No pressure, just an exploratory conversation to see if an audit is right for you!