Before a capital campaign is conducted, it is imperative to determine an organization’s capacity to succeed.
Commonly this is usually done through an external feasibility study.
However, I urge most non-profits that in tandem with conducting a market survey, they also, go one step further and conduct an internal audit or assessment of their own development performance and preparedness.
Many organizations forego this important step, preferring instead to focus most of their energies on external assessments.
While I always suggest a development audit to all non-profits, it becomes critically important to do one before an organization is in the process of beginning a very large campaign. This development assessment will evaluate the organization’s development program and its relationship to key constituents and it should almost always be conducted by an outside objective consultant. It will establish the facts about the development program, suggest new and better ways of doing things, justify the role of development, and involve managers and leaders actively in the fundraising efforts.
In fact, in order for such a large campaign to succeed, an organization must be managed well both internally and externally. I always say that it is not fundraising issues per se that impact the effectiveness of development, but, larger organizational ones.
In fact, if a feasibility study does not get a clear picture of the organization’s ability to mount such a large scale campaign to raise significant sums of money, the organization might not be able to handle the demands of such campaigning and may forfeit many of the lasting benefits of a capital campaign.
So before you start a feasibility study that examines external, do not forget to turn the lens inside first and foremost to ensure that you have the internal capability of mounting such a large campaign. Nothing is worse that starting a campaign that an organization cannot support within its current infrastructure.