- Katrina Lynn Pierson
5 Reasons a Feasibility Study Can Make You Wildly Successful in Your Next Capital Campaign
By Katrina Lynn Pierson, Certified Fundraising Executive and Founder of Generosity By Design
For decades now, a philanthropy feasibility study has been heralded as a necessary step and best practice for organizations preparing to launch a major capital fundraising effort. While the process is probably best known for ascertaining a realistic capital campaign MN organizations are seeking, a well-executed study can offer a variety of foundational benefits that go far beyond the campaign goal discussion.
1) Engaging Your Board and Staff. A feasibility study calls upon your board and staff to think creatively and strategically together to build a preliminary case for support to be tested during the campaign. It also asks them to help identify and qualify prospects to be interviewed for the study. Further, when the study is completed and delivered, it provides a shared reference point to help your team understand and align around your organizational position. These experiences create an opening for your team to bring forth their perspectives and talents in a meaningful environment.
2) Creating Your Early Tribe. A study includes 1:1 interviews with donors, volunteers and other stakeholders who are likely to contribute to your campaign. Giving this group of treasured supporters a chance to connect early and offer their feedback through a study provides an authentic experience and reminds them that they are a valued part of your organizational universe. This, in turn, helps to plant the seed with key potential volunteers who may be interested in serving in a leadership position on your board or nonprofit capital campaign steering committee.
3) Cultivating & Stewarding Your Donors. A feasibility study is a natural and trusted way for donors to connect or re-connect to your mission. The process of inviting donors in to share their opinions about your proposed project with an experienced consultant is a meaningful touch point within your organization’s donor management strategy. Consider your feasibility study as the first cultivation visit for your leadership and major donor prospects. The interview, if done right, readies donors for a major ask when you are ready to launch the silent phase of your campaign.
4) Giving a Hard Look at Your Reality. The objective feedback that nonprofit consultants gather during a feasibility study can help leaders better understand your reputation, internal conflicts, opportunities and environmental threats. This may include learning about other capital campaigns (competition) in your community, excavating employee barriers to engagement in your nonprofit fundraising program, and identifying new options for your project you may not have thought about. A study not only informs your capital campaign planning but can help set the stage for strategic planning or other high-level discussions about overdue issues that have been lingering under the surface.
5) Designing a Capital Campaign that is More Likely to Succeed. Finally, the most obvious reason for conducting a feasibility study is to inform the design of a successful capital campaign. A well-written study report comes complete with recommendations on:
- Whether or not to proceed with the campaign
- What’s possible/campaign goal amount
- What to emphasize in your case statement
- How to position the project within your campaign marketing
- Volunteer recruitment and leadership
- Staffing and internal infrastructure
- Timing and competitors
- Campaign branding and key messaging
- A timeline and concise plan for moving forward (or the changes that are needed to your project scope or goal based on the study findings).
Ultimately, a feasibility study can be thought of as the first phase of a wildly successful capital campaign. A significant investment? Yes. But one that’s worth it if you are serious about increasing the impact of your mission.
If you’re looking for a trusted expert to be your guide and craft a comprehensive, highly tailored feasibility campaign for your organization, contact Generosity By Design today. We invite you to connect with us by calling (320)293-8388, or reaching out through our online contact form at your convenience. Our creative, award-winning founder is available for complimentary 30 minute consultations by phone. We’re excited to hear from you to begin a relationship for a realistic capital campaign MN nonprofits are seeking.