ONEplace recently hosted a webinar on evaluating your fund development plan. The speaker, Linda Lysakowski, ACFRE, encouraged participants to measure the philanthropic culture and practices of their organizations on a regular basis and to conduct a formal development audit before starting any new or significantly different funding strategy.
Our economic environment has changed considerably and, many predict, permanently. This calls for “new or significantly different funding strategies” for every nonprofit going forward. Before trying new ideas or stopping current activities, take a close look at your overall development plan through an audit. Don't think you have a development plan? Whether written, or not, what you are doing to bring money into your NP, is your current “plan.”
What is involved in a development audit?
- A comprehensive examination of past and current fund raising activities: annual fund to capital campaigns, special events, personal solicitations, planned giving programs, newsletter asks, memorials... everything.
- An assessment of their value to the organization in terms of amount of money raised, and “human resources” (staff, board, volunteers) and technology (software, hardware, training), needed to raise the money-the return on investment
- A review of policies and procedures related to fund raising
- A review of external factors affecting your fund raising abilities
- Recommendations for increasing effectiveness in all of these areas
What a development audit is not.
- A “blame game,” rather it is a tool for improving your development program and strategically meet your fund raising goals through the best use of human assets and technologies
Who conducts a development audit?
Start with internal assessment using some of the tools available at Capital Venture or Society for Nonprofit Organizations or Association for Fundraising Professionals. Lysakowski the recommends utilizing an independent, third party who can talk with all of your audiences (internally and externally) in a neutral, confidential manner, summarize their candid input, and make recommendations for improvement.
Whether starting a new fiscal year with fresh hopes, gearing up for “regular” fall fund raising activities, or facing a financial crisis, investing some time, and perhaps money, in a development audit will pay off.
Taking an impartial look at what you've been doing, and the outcomes being realized, will help your organization plan and execute fundraising initiatives more strategically.
Workshops and Webinars
Workshops and webinars focusing on concepts and skills for building fund development capacities are being offered by ONEplace, the Nonprofit Alliance in Battle Creek, and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy in Grand Rapids. Check Workshops and Event schedules regularly for current and new offerings.
Workshops, Webinars, Peer-Learning