Annual Fund Audit And Plan

Periodically, it’s important to take stock of your performance before planning for the future. The KMA audit is conducted in close collaboration with you to evaluate your annual fund program against your goals, and against the demonstrated "best practices" of fundraising. We recommend improvements where needed, whether in strategic approach, staffing, reporting, communications or administration. Our work provides the foundation for a new written annual fund plan that we prepare with you.

Annual Fund Audit & Plan

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as repeatedly doing the same things and expecting different results. Many organizations seem to fall into that trap from time to time, by constantly repeating themselves, when they already know their activity is not accomplishing their goals.

The annual fund audit is a systematic examination of all aspects of an annual fund program asking these general questions:

  • What are the fundraising goals and needs of the organization?

  • How are they set? How do we know they are realistic?

  • What is being done to achieve them?

  • Why is it being done that way?

  • How successful is the program?

  • What are the obstacles and challenges?

  • How could it be done better?

At all points, the answers are considered in light of two key considerations: the body of knowledge about what works well in annual fund programs, and the specific situation and unique nature of the organization. By evaluating the effectiveness of current activity, the organization lays the basis for planning improvements that lead to a more effective annual fund program, and, therefore, to higher revenue.

The audit concerns itself with, among other things:

  • Case for support;

  • Organizational strategic plans;

  • Fundraising strategies and plans;

  • Donor base analysis and use;

  • Methods of solicitation;

  • Results of solicitation;

  • Management reporting;

  • Donor services;

  • Communications


Annual fund planning is built on the recognition that donors vary greatly in their level of interest and commitment, financial capacity, and reasons for giving: not everyone responds to the same kind of approach.

An annual fund plan helps your organization apply good fundraising practice to a very diverse constituency, in efficient and effective ways.

Key questions to be asked when planning annual fund strategy:

  • Who supports us now?

  • Why do they support us?

  • How will we retain the support of all?

  • How will we increase the support of some?

  • Who might support us?

  • How do we approach them?

  • What resources do we need?

  • How will we keep them informed?

  • How will we thank and acknowledge them?

  • What is our timetable for each element and for the program as a whole?

  • Who is responsible for each element?


An annual fund plan should address these areas as a minimum

  • Operations

  • Case for Support (update at least annually)

  • Systems & Services

  • Staffing

  • Ongoing evaluation

  • Budget

  • Solicitation

  • Direct mail appeals

  • Major gift program

  • Use of web site, on-line giving and social media

  • Donor stewardship

  • Planned giving program

  • Foundation solicitation

The planning process is ongoing; ideally, an organization will know its plan for a year or more in advance. Changes occur constantly, but without a plan to change, programs become unfocused and much less productive.