Your nonprofit has been mulling over the idea of launching a capital campaign for quite some time and — congratulations! — you’ve decided to take the first step with a feasibility study.

By collecting valuable feedback from your constituents, a feasibility study will help your nonprofit work out any kinks in your capital campaign before moving full speed ahead.

That’s why it’s essential for your nonprofit to conduct your feasibility study in the most effective way possible to guarantee your campaign will go the distance.

Luckily, we’ve mapped out the top three factors for your nonprofit to prioritize during this critical period:

  1. Understanding the what, when, who, why and how of feasibility studies.
  2. Consulting your donors and building lasting relationships.
  3. Recruiting a trained fundraising consultant.

Managing a feasibility study can be nerve-wracking for any nonprofit development team. However, as long as you pay special attention to these handy tips, your campaign will be on its way before you know it.

Understand the What, When, Who, Why, and How of Feasibility Studies

But hold on! How can your nonprofit organize a master feasibility study without understanding the basics first?

No worries, we’ve got you covered. Follow along as we detail the what, when, who, why and how of a nonprofit feasibility study one section at a time.

What is a feasibility study?

In case we lost you at ‘feasibility study’, let’s take a moment to break down this important concept.

A feasibility study is a helpful resource for nonprofits to utilize when determining the longevity of your capital campaign and how the necessary funds will be raised.

When do you conduct a feasibility study?

A feasibility study is always conducted in the preparation stage — also known as the “quiet phase” — of your capital campaign development.

Generally, it’s best to begin this step about 3-4 months in advance of your campaign start date and, more often than not, will require even further pre-planning beforehand depending on the extent of your project.

Who do you reach out to in a feasibility study?

Your nonprofit should interview your most involved supporters, board members and prominent community leaders to get the best feedback possible.

These individuals will likely have experience working towards your cause and will be able to share valuable wisdom and advice for planning each stage of your campaign.

Business owners and vendors are also prime candidates to consider due to their potential for offering sponsorships or corporate philanthropy in support of your project.

Why should you conduct a feasibility study?

A feasibility study provides endless benefits into strengthening your vital capital campaign.

For starters, they can give you direction for identifying possible leaders and reviewing your fundraising tactics and case for support (which we’ll dive more into later in this post).

Also, you directly connect with your most valued supporters and generate some buzz for your upcoming capital campaign.

How should you conduct a feasibility study?

Due to the gravity of it’s impact, your nonprofit should take your time administering a feasibility study to fully assess the scope of your capital campaign.

This step is essentially at the heart of your campaign’s quiet phase and is integral to securing the donations and loyalty you need to move your project forward with confidence.

While your entire fundraising team should be involved in the process, your nonprofit can also bring on outside assistance from a professional fundraising consultant.

Phew! Now that the lightning round is over, let’s move on with how to properly consult your feasibility study constituents and form lifelong relationships.

Consult Your Donors and Build Lasting Relationships

Naturally, your nonprofit’s greatest allies for the rest of your fundraising endeavors are the same for coordinating your feasibility study: your donors.

The way your nonprofit seeks out, listens and responds to your supporters’ feedback on your capital campaign should be your highest priority in the feasibility study process.

Learn how to conduct your donor interviews in a personal and professional manner for the best results by reviewing the following items.

Ask Your Donors the Right Questions

There’s no better time to get to know your donors than by prompting them with critical questions about your capital campaign in your feasibility study interviews.

That being said, you don’t want to waste your donors’ time (or obtain unhelpful feasibility study results) by asking ineffective questions.

To help you gain priceless insight into your campaign and donor demographic, consider starting off with these key questions:

  • How do you view our nonprofit’s reputation?
  • Who would you recommend for a leadership role?
  • What is the maximum donation you’re willing to give? What is your preferred amount?
  • Do you think our fundraising strategies have been successful in the past?
  • What new directions do you think we should take our campaign in?
  • Aside from funds, how would you like to contribute to our campaign’s growth?

By preparing suitable questions ahead of time, your nonprofit can ensure that you and your donors walk away from the interviews with understanding and excitement for your project.

For more tips on how to connect with donors during a feasibility study, check out @Pay’s in-depth advice!

Take Donors’ Views into Account for Building a Case for Support

For those of you who don’t know, a case for support is your nonprofit’s most vital document and tool for putting your campaign into action.

Your case for support outlines goals and strategies regarding your capital campaign’s development and should be sent to your donors prior to your feasibility study interviews.

This way, your donors won’t be coming in blind when you sit down with them to discuss your nonprofit’s latest long-term fundraiser.

Ensure your interviewees are clear on your proposal by including the following points in your case for support:

  • Estimated fundraising budget.
  • The need for your organization and campaign.
  • The purpose of the campaign and issues it will resolve.
  • Potential challenges you’ll meet and solutions for overcoming them.
  • Relevant branding associated with your organization.

After receiving donor feedback in your feasibility study interviews, your nonprofit can then revamp your case for support to better achieve your campaign goals.

Show a Personal Interest in Your Donors

Many nonprofits can attest to the level of improvement in their fundraising and donor outreach simply by showing a personal interest in their donors.

Remember, within your pool of donors are individuals who are more likely to assist your nonprofit’s feasibility study if you take the time to engage with them on a shared human level.

To go the extra mile in winning over supporters in your feasibility study, try using these donor stewardship techniques:

  • Create feasibility study invitations that focus on the donor, not your nonprofit.
  • Encourage participants to envision ways they can be involved in your project.
  • Thank participants before and after your feasibility study interview.

In addition, always make it a priority to keep in touch with your feasibility study interviewees with different levels of communication:

  • Direct mail, email and social media.
  • Personalized mail, phone calls and event outreach.
  • Face-to-face and one-on-one meetings or visits.

Finally, don’t forget to address your donors’ questions or concerns during the feasibility study interview by fostering an open and welcoming environment to ask them.

Recruit a Trained Fundraising Consultant

Nonprofits that need a little help with running a strong feasibility study (let alone capital campaign) can always enlist a fundraising consultant to give an extra boost to your fundraising operations.

In particular, these development experts come in very handy with three important feasibility study areas; let’s take a look.

1. Conducting Objective Donor Interviews

Despite your nonprofit’s best interests, an in-house interviewer may not be the best way to go when it comes to managing your feasibility study.

In-house representatives sometimes run the risk of showing bias or missing key warning signs during the feasibility study, which in turn can have extreme consequences on your campaign.

On the other hand, a fundraising consultant can help you avoid favoritism and attain honest feedback from donors who may feel more comfortable being candid with someone with no personal stake in the project.

A fundraising consultant’s fresh perspective can also help you pick up on key details that otherwise may have been missed by an in-house interviewer.

2. Giving Your Campaign the Green Light

While a feasibility study is designed to help your nonprofit catch critical errors in your budding capital campaign, it’s also important for determining whether or not you should continue with your project at all.

Unfortunately, sometimes a capital campaign is too big a risk for a nonprofit worried about not accruing enough funds or support for the project’s development.

As opposed to an in-house representative who may let their enthusiasm blind them to the feasibility of your campaign, a fundraising consultant can give your project the green light it deserves or create a stronger alternative plan.

3.Developing Fundraising Solutions Based on Feasibility Study Results

Once you’ve analyzed your feasibility study results, it’s time for our nonprofit to address any weak links in your campaign with new fundraising solutions.

A fundraising consultant can use strategic planning expertise to help you brainstorm and plan out reliable fundraising solutions to take your campaign to the next profitable level.

In addition, if your development or executive team are inexperienced or lacking in required tools to execute your campaign, a fundraising consultant can help you lay the groundwork for donor solicitation and fundraising strategies for repeated use.

Discover how you can recruit a professional fundraising consultant for your capital campaign with Aly Sterling Philanthropy’s expert guide.

Like a used car, before you can move your capital campaign forward, you first need to check everything under the hood.

Thankfully, that’s where feasibility studies come in. Kick off yours the right way by always taking these essential concepts into heavy consideration.

JGoldberg HeadshotJenny Goldberg is an experienced fundraiser, talented speaker and respected advisor with a diverse background in development and media/public relations. At Aly Sterling Philanthropy, Jenny is focused on leading and building a strong advisor team and helping her clients improve fundraising strategies, donor relations, gift cultivation and overall team effectiveness.

Jenny’s workshops and presentations have been featured at meetings of the National Schools Foundation Association, the legal aid sector’s Management Information Exchange, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Jenny holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo, received training from the Fund Raising School at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and is a graduate of Leadership Toledo. She has served on boards and committees for organizations such as Ronald McDonald House Charities, Northwest Ohio Scholarship Fund, Anthony Wayne Youth Foundation, Sight Center of Northwest Ohio and the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo.

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