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3 Focus Areas for a Development Audit



If you’re anything like me, when you hear the word “audit,” you may think financial audit, tax audit, or something to do with numbers. The word audit means an inspection of an individual or organization’s accounts.


An internal audit doesn’t necessarily always mean numbers or something official completed by another company. For the sake of this blog - think of an audit more like an internal reflection that you are doing on your own organization. It’s important to reflect and see how your organization is regularly doing - whether you’re feeling stuck, need a bit of a refresh, preparing for an event like a big fundraiser or capital campaign, or just to stay relevant and always improving! Based on our years of experience, we believe that there are a few main areas to evaluate that will ensure success for your organization's goals.


The first area of focus should be on your volunteers and board members. Ask yourself and your organizational leaders questions like:

  • Do we have volunteers and board members that are passionate about our mission?

  • Are our board members participating in meetings, retreats, and events?

  • Does every board member or volunteer fully understand our history and future goals?

Evaluate if these individuals are participating in annual giving and if they’re comfortable soliciting others for financial support or are willing to give their time to fundraising events.


The next group to focus on in your internal audit should be your current donors and relationships with those individuals. Evaluate the relationship that you have with key donors to your organization. How could those relationships become even stronger?

  • Are you regularly meeting with them to keep them in the loop and sharing your successes and important news regarding the organization?

  • How are you communicating with them to share these updates? Do you meet face to-face, via phone call, or are you sharing news with bigger groups at events?

Take a deep look at your list of current donors and identify several prospects that may be able to make a lead gift. What is your organization doing to cultivate those lead donors? Donors of all sizes are so crucial to your organization. Continue working on those fruitful relationships and continually assess how you could improve in this area!


Finally, it’s time to take a look at your organization.

Take time to think about the perception of your organization to the public.

  • Have you faced any hostile public relations within the past few years? What about positive public appearances?

  • If people are viewing your website to find out more about your organization, would they have a good view of what you do based on your website? Is it easy to navigate?

  • Does your home page have a clear and precise message of who you are and what you do?

  • Are your data and systems up to date?

There are many more questions to evaluate as you take the time to complete an internal audit or assessment. It is important to continually assess and analyze to ensure your organization is in a good place!


We have over 20 years of experience working with 42+ non-profits and municipalities, having raised over $70 million! If you’re interested in starting this process, reach out to see how we can help. Contact Brianna brianna@crescendollop.com to get started!




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