This July, we’re answering burning questions we hear from many clients and non-profit colleagues across the country. Chances are, the question might be burning in our readers’ minds, as well.

    As non-profit leaders plan for a potential capital project and campaign, they look to us for a feasibility study. We are often asked:

    What do we need to have ready before we can start a Feasibility Study? Do we need architect drawings, site location, signed agreements with collaborative partners, campaign chair recruited?

    While it is important to have done your research and have a clear vision before you sit down for your first feasibility interview, none of those elements above are necessary. We often remind our clients that we are “sharing not selling” during the interviews and we should spend most of our time listening to what the person on the other side of the table is telling us about their interests and involvement.

    Executed correctly, the study should reveal the amount of support available and a recommended dollar goal. But there are other important reasons to do a feasibility study:

    • Cultivate and educate key leaders, getting their input and deepening their engagement in the project.
    • Identify major gift prospects and potential campaign leaders and determine connections with them.
    • Test your vision and resonance of your case for support.
    • Gather information needed to create a comprehensive campaign plan, case statement and marketing strategy.
    • Assess internal readiness.
    • Identify pre-campaign activities that will be needed to strengthen the organization’s fundraising position.

    So what do you need before you start your capital feasibility study?

    • Assessment of capital needs and the financial/operational impact it will have on your organization (for internal planning)
    • An understanding of community needs and how this project will address them
    • A bold vision for the capital project
    • The ability to show how your project will address community needs
    • General plans/costs for your capital project
    • Support for your capital plans from senior staff and volunteer leaders

    If you have renderings it’s okay to share them during the interviews, but we don’t want to give the impression this is a done-deal. We are there to seek advice and input from community leaders. They are helpful, but not necessary.
    Yes, there is a lot of legwork to be done before you sit down for your first interview, but you don’t need to have every problem solved and detail planned.
    Do you have a burning question you’d like us to answer? Leave a comment below or email us {info at donorbydesign dot com}.

    Posted by DBD Team on Jul. 10, 2018
    DBD Team

    Written by DBD Team

    The Donor By Design team is made up of professionals from the non-profit world, leveraging their decades of fundraising experience to help organizations raise the resources they need to make a positive difference in the world.

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