Pointing the Way
Understand the capacity for fundraising
And now for the million-dollar (or ten- or hundred-million dollar) question: “How much can we raise?” While many development officers and volunteers key in exclusively on this question, a good study should also include the following questions:
- Who are the most likely sources of support for this campaign?
- How can we identify, cultivate and solicit gifts for this campaign, while at the same time building the ongoing fundraising program?
- At this point, what is an estimated total for projected gifts? What steps should we take to make the difference between that number and our goal?
The campaign feasibility study itself is an important step in cultivating potential donors’ interest in your organization and the campaign. For the most part, people like to be asked their opinions, and the very process of asking your best prospects to participate in the study interview is key to building their interest and engagement.
Through this process, we learn what is most likely to capture their attention - and support - in the campaign. This information is essential to building sound cultivation and communications programs for the campaign.
Solidify internal structure and communications
A well-designed staff structure can make the difference between a campaign that stutters and one that soars. We all know that it’s difficult to get an accurate “read” of our own organization from the inside, so a feasibility study can be especially helpful in answering the following questions:
- What are staff members’ current roles and responsibilities? How should these change during the campaign?
- What additional staff will we need to hire to manage the campaign?
- How effective are current marketing and communications efforts, and how might these be enhanced as we move into the campaign?
- How can we most benefit from campaign counsel, beyond the feasibility study and into the campaign?
- What level of investment will we need to make?
From feasibility study to campaign
Most importantly, at the end of a feasibility study you should be able to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?” You should have clear guidelines for creating a compelling case for support for your organization and the campaign. You should know how to engage your board and other volunteer leaders, and what roles they will play during a campaign. You should have a target goal and strategies for reaching that goal. You should know what additional staff and financial resources you will need to manage a successful campaign and beyond.