Conducting a social audit for your non-profit


picture of a keyboard with the caps lock key changed to the word audit.

Bild von Got Credit via


For every nonprofit organization that I have ever worked for, we would conduct an annual financial audit with professional accountants costing thousands of dollars. The purpose of the audit was to ensure that the agency was well maintained and to identify short comings that could be rectified. Audits were conducted by outside, independent investigators to ensure fairness and establish standards. But the audits always stopped at the financial management of the organization. Here we propose going one step further and establishing formal reviews of the nonprofit’s overall performance across the various functions.

The agency can hire its own independent “reviewer” or conduct a self-assessment using a downloadable tool developed by S & G Endeavors. 

The Assessment Tool: what it does

Designed as a self-assessment tool, your management team or an ad hoc audit team would go through each item of the audit and assign a current status for the item. For example, the first item under the category of of Board Development and Organization asks:

The board has adopted a formal long term strategic plan that sets out the direction of the organization and provides staff guidance on priorities.

The answers fit into one of the following:

  1. The organization has not started to work in this area yet.
  2. We have plans to use in planning and implementation.
  3. We have implemented this and have evidence of its use.
  4. We have demonstrated proficiency in this area, it is part of our routine, and we model it for others.

The tool covers the following key categories:

  • Board Development and Governance
  • Organizational Operations and Human Resources
  • Equity
  • Development and Events
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Services and Programs
  • Campaigns (for those that advocate or have broader education campaigns)

At the completion of the audit, organizations can step back and see how they are doing and identify priorities for moving forward. Each year the assessment is completed, the agency should have higher and higher scores.

Photo: Rob Sadowsky Copyright 2017

The Assessment Tool: what it doesn’t do

This assessment tool does not create a clear road map for resolving any deficiencies. Your team will need to determine how to get to the higher level. It doesn’t provide cookie cutter documents or procedures to get to the next level. Our suggestion? Ask a partner organization that you work with to see if they have sample documents you can borrow from. Or, work with a consultant at S & G Endeavors to create the documents and plans for you directly.

Who else is this tool useful for?

This is a great template tool that accountants can share with their clients. S & G Endeavors can work with your firm to offer additional services to your clients or train you to offer these services directly.

Contact [email protected] for more information on the Nonprofit Social Audit Self Reflection Form or direct services.

Click here to request a free Self Assessment Tool.

Top Photo:

Audit. Bild von Got Credit via Lizenz: Creative Commons

Trainer, consultant, strategic planner and executive coach for S & G Endeavors.

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