Don't Let Your Program Audit Become a “Ramp to Nowhere”

When construction was undertaken, the “ramps to nowhere” in the below picture had a purpose, to connect with an anticipated highway that would run nearby. With the highway having long ago been scrapped, the ramps have stood as is for 50 years, at least finding use as diving platforms and a “canvas” for artwork.


The decision to conduct an in-depth review of your planned giving program (or a component of it) likewise has a purpose, to identify and resolve issues that may be limiting its effectiveness.  Once the project is underway, be sure the time invested in it doesn’t stop once the analysis has been done and recommendations made.  A report placed in a drawer, never to be acted on, becomes its own “ramp to nowhere.”  Instead, take the following steps:

  • Establish a small group to meet and discuss the report.
  • Make conscious decisions on whether to adopt all, or just some, of the recommendations.
  • If numerous changes need to be made, prioritize and implement them in stages.
  • Set a tickler for 6 months and again in a year, to check on the effectiveness of new procedures and policies, and further adjust as needed.

Above all, don’t expect the problems will self-correct with the passage of time; in fact, they may end up compounding.  Keep the purpose of the review in mind, focus on where you want your program to be, and finish building those ramps.

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