How to conduct a fundraising audit

How to conduct a fundraising audit

By Wendy Smithers


This detailed guide provides an eight step process to carrying out a fundraising audit and includes a useful summary of the process.

1. Why audit?

Many of us leap into fundraising or setting out our fundraising strategy without first considering our starting position.

How did we get here? What's happened with our fundraising in the past? Which schemes, bids or appeals actually worked and turned into money and which didn't? How do we compare in the scope, range and success of our fundraising with comparable organisations? Do we know who our funders and donors are and why they support us?

If we take time to ask and answer these questions, we're much more likely to be able to go forwards and create a fundraising strategy that is effective and delivers positive financial results.

If you are put off by talk of audits and strategies, think of it as a journey to fundraising success by:

  • thinking about where you have come from (history of fundraising)
  • where you are now (current context)
  • what others are doing around you (comparison with how others in your sector or field are performing)
  • where you are heading (what you want to achieve next)
  • how you'll get there (fundraising route map)
  • what you'll need to help you get there (people, £ and tools)

Mission, Vision, Values

Before we start to analyse our fundraising, it's important to understand what we're aiming to achieve as an organisation or as an individual. We can have a clear audit and a brilliant fundraising plan but it won't make any difference if we're not clear about what we are doing or what we are trying to achieve in a broader sense. Is there a clear sense of what you do now (your mission), what you are trying to achieve (your vision), how you'll get there (your plan) and what will guide you along the way (your values)? Are you fit for purpose and can you make a strong case for support?

If you can answer yes to these questions, you can begin an audit. If you can't, it would be wise to go back a stage and be clear on the fundamentals of your purpose and ambition as an organisation. Without that you can't make a case for support and you'll find it much harder to be an effective fundraiser.

Download the guide to read more:
How to Conduct a Fundraising Audit (PDF)

Resource type: Guide/tools | Published: 2014