A feasibility study provides invaluable feedback for launching a fundraising campaign, yet many organizations still hesitate to invest in this key early step. So if you happen to be wondering whether your organization should just jump into a campaign without a feasibility study, consider the benefits a study can provide.
- Flags areas of concern for key donors or influencers. This allows you to address these concerns prior to the campaign and strengthens support from key individuals or groups. Are there pieces of the campaign that key stakeholders view as nonessential to your mission?
- Measure board support. While every board has different financial capacities, it’s important that everyone is supportive of the project and campaign. A study allows board members to share concerns they might not otherwise share in a group setting.
- Identify leadership gift prospects. Leadership donors can make or break your campaign. A study should verify whether or not those you suspect of being lead donors are supportive, and allow you to adjust your plans accordingly.
- Identify leaders and volunteers. You will need volunteers for a variety of roles during a campaign. Do you have people willing to fill those positions? Who do your stakeholders view as influential leaders?
- Check for competing campaigns. Even if it’s not public, perhaps another organization is preparing a campaign of its own. Depending on how much your constituencies overlap, this may affect how much can be raised.
- Collect organizational feedback. Is your organization well-known in the community? Do people know what the mission is? Is the leadership known and trusted?
- Show you have done your homework. Some donors, especially foundations and businesses, might ask if you have conducted a feasibility study before awarding a grant. They want to know a project they are supporting has a high likelihood of success.
- Cultivate potential donors. Potential donors will appreciate that they were engaged and asked for their feedback early in the process, increasing your chances of a gift when the time comes to ask for one.
- Gauge internal readiness. Do you have the staff and operational resources necessary to undertake a campaign?
- Find out how much can actually be raised. You want a campaign goal that is challenging and bold, but also realistic. A sound feasibility study will take all the above factors into account and give you an honest assessment of how much can ultimately be raised.
Shocking Statistic: Charitable giving has historically risen at about one-third the rate of the stock market (The Foundation Center).