Tips for When and When Not to Do a Feasibility Study
Feasibility, or pre-campaign planning, studies help prepare an organization for a successful capital campaign. But are they always necessary?
The book “The Fundraising Feasibility Study: It’s Not About the Money,” edited by Martin L. Novom, offers insights into the feasibility-study process from a host of professional fundraisers.
For example, Elliott S. Oshry, executive vice president of fundraising firm Ketchum, talks about the benefits and elements of a pre-campaign planning study, including things like objectives and deliverables, process, and timing.
Oshry says there are no downsides to doing a pre-campaign study. Though it requires time and some expense, it usually pays clear dividends. He says a pre-campaign study always should be done when:
* There is any question about the community’s acceptance of the capital project.
* There has been any major board or CEO transition.
* It is a “first” campaign for the agency.
* It has been 10 years or more since the last campaign.
* The annual fund has been stagnant.
* There is no clear and accessible first choice for campaign chair.
* The lead gift is not clearly identified.
On the flip side, some instances where a pre-campaign planning study might not be necessary include when:
* The agency has had seamless, back-to-back campaigns.
* The campaign is mandated by an accrediting body.
* The lead gift has been secured.
For more, “The Fundraising Feasibility Study: It’s Not About the Money,” edited by Martin L. Novom. 2007, John Wiley & Sons. $50. www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470120746.html