Fundraising Audits

Aspen Forest, Photo: Walt Kaesler

Fundraising or “Development” Audits

Most non-profit organizations think about “audits” as a necessary evil with CPAs combing through the finances, offering opinions as to the state of the organization, and making recommendations about improvements needed. Afterward however, their work is appreciated in subtle ways. The Board has greater confidence in the overall organizational management, funders have a better understanding of how the organization works and the degree to which it is positioned for success, and items that need to be adjusted or improved can be.

A Fundraising/Development Audit works the same way and offers many of the same benefits. It typically involves three days of work including one day on site, but may extend for larger organizations.

Description of Service

The Fundraising/Development Audit looks at all individual, corporate, and foundation activity and results over the most recent 5-year period and delivers a formal report covering the findings and recommendations. The audit considers all essential development systems (communications, recruitment, solicitation [including grants], renewal and retention, stewardship, and member events and benefits), involvement (staff, Board, other volunteer, mail, and personal), and results (funds raised, grants secured, renewal rates, and upgrade results). The end product is a written report delivered initially in draft form and presented formally for the Board. The report includes both long-term and short-term recommendations.

Benefits to Fundraising/Development Audits

  • Baseline Documentation: The Fundraising/Development Audit provides a baseline document from which to measure improving results over time.
  • Efficiencies: The audit can recommend small changes that save time and money without compromising results.
  • Redirection of Effort: Your organizational volunteer and staff time can be focused on the most productive efforts, such as major donor development.

Fees and Expenses

I base my fee on the size of your organization, an estimate of days required on site, and estimated travel expenses from Madison, Wisconsin. The fee includes initial set-up and communication of results and is typically in the $4,500-7,000 range. Travel expenses are explicitly included.

“I have truly enjoyed this process and consider myself lucky to be starting my career here at the Conservancy with such a clear assessment of our fundraising systems. [I am] looking forward to your [Board] presentation.”
– Joe McHugh, Geneva Lake Conservancy