More than just a monetary number – the capital campaign feasibility study

There are quite a number of groups seeking to test the feasibility of a possible capital campaign.

And, so naturally being a consulting firm catering to small fundraising shops, I tend to get asked to talk about these, and I am currently in the midst of one now.

What I find is that groups think that feasibility studies only test for one thing and that one thing is a financial goal.

I assert that there are many different types of things that a feasibility study tests for as a result.  Financial goals being just one.  In fact, more importantly, feasibility studies look at both internal and external perceptions and find areas of opportunities and challenges for an upcoming campaign.  Things such as “what about that large endowment the organization has?”  or “it doesn’t have strong fundraising leadership?” or “you need to ensure that so and so is on board and committed to launching a full-scale effort.”

Through a feasibility study, a group also finds out about potential campaign leadership, which by the way, can make or break a proposed capital campaign, other competing campaigns currently or just recently completed within the same community, and potential prospective donors to a capital campaign.  Also, a capital campaign feasibility study will unearth the general economic outlook both nationally and locally and how will that impact the success of a capital campaign.

So, as you can see, a feasibility study done correctly will provide lots of data that can then be used to refine the case for support, determine if it is time for the organization to mount a significant campaign, and what is the recommend campaign plan based upon findings as part of the study.  Oh, yes, and what fundraising goal will be feasible.

If you or your group is considering an upcoming capital campaign, I urge you NOT to skimp on the process of conducting a feasibility study.  You will learn more than just – can this campaign make a go of it.  You will find out exactly how much and how it can or cannot!

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