by Angela White
I recently recorded a short video interview on why we advocate feasibility studies at JGA. A feasibility study provides vital answers to help an organization create and run a successful fundraising campaign. By conducting a feasibility study, an organization can receive a third-party perspective on the organization’s upcoming campaign or project.
Here are some questions a good feasibility study should help you answer.
1. How much money can you expect to raise in a capital campaign?
– What are donors willing to do to aid your organization in achieving its goal?
2. Who are your potential volunteer leaders?
– Who might be able to partner with staff to make the campaign a success?
3. What are the perceptions of your organization among your constituents?
– How do donors connect to the leadership of your organization?
4. Are there underlying issues impacting your organization’s potential for success in a campaign?
– What might be out there that could maximize your giving?
– Are there challenges that could cut back on the amount of gifting you are likely to receive?
– Are there issues impacting your constituency of which you need to be aware?
5. What are the broader questions that need to be asked specific to our organization?
– How can we position this campaign to be successful today and set the stage for long term growth?
A feasibility study can be a valuable tool to help develop a thorough understanding of how successful your campaign may be and where you may encounter problems. But from my perspective, to get at the broader answers about the campaign you need to tailor the approach specifically to the organization.
Through the years, we have recognized that the feasibility studies that yield the most useful information include the following:
- Detailed, custom plan development specifically to meet your organization’s needs, not a cookie cutter approach
- A tailored selection of questions that allows a feasibility study to take into account your organization’s history and current situation
- Face to face interviews with clients which yield more insights and build closer relationships to volunteers and donors
- Enough time for a thorough study of the aspects that could impact your campaign, sometimes up to 90 – 120 days
- Go beyond donors and involve committees, staff, volunteers and other constituents important to your success
Taking this extra step to tailor the questions and the approach to your organization’s unique needs allows the feasibility study to answer the bigger question of what you need to be successful not just today in this campaign but to set the stage for long term philanthropic growth.