Nonprofit Feasibility Studies: Must Have or Scam?

With over 25 years of service to nonprofits nationwide, Company and Carlton knows all the contending theories regarding fundraising feasibility studies. The very best advice: some nonprofits gain greatly from a well-designed staff and Board or study, especially when first needs seem obscure need more concrete data to move forward with confidence. But a poorly designed study never represents a shrewd step. (If, in fact, your leaders has “set the table” with solid preparatory work, you may be able to transition directly into a major solicitation without a Study– but take care not to overestimate improvement to date!)
Whatever your circumstances, the main aim always should include getting the assignments right for greatest success. A in depth feasibility study may be your finest step (contrary to gimmicks that promise to shortcut studies with apt messaging and staff training alone). Done properly, capital campaign feasibility studies bring participation and trust and increased clarity – all worth the early investment. Therefore, a successful study should be regarded as a primary tool in any major campaign that was successful. That said, you may choose to dismiss any “pro” who says a study should ALWAYS or NEVER be needed!


What else should you do as part of your due diligence in capital campaign groundwork?
Capital campaign feasibility studies represent months of work and preparatory research. Ask for a recent sample copy, when assessing prospective firms that run fundraising feasibility studies. As with any process predicated on data, look past colours as well as formatting. Instead look attentively at what forms the foundation for recommendations.
Leaders or how many supporters had input? Were they asked or contacted? If interviewed as a couple, were married pairs counted as two separate interviews or one? Were interviews ran in short sessions that function just as guided “fill out a form” meetings?
The Carlton fundraising feasibility process includes the widest possible input from stakeholders, based on respectful, private face to face interviews (not mass emails or fill in bubble surveys). This approach invests significant time to learn about a nonprofit organization’s unique history and donors, including subtle but crucial details easily overlooked or discounted.
The bottom line: Capital campaign feasibility studies should not be considered required in every capital campaign, nor should they be considered pricey scams. They may be well worth the investment when they produce clear recommendations desired, supported by a trusted process along with hard data.
Please contact Company and Carlton to get a copy of a recent Carlton fundraising feasibility study. Remember that, above all, a Carlton and Company campaign feasibility study produces what your decision makers have to move forward and fulfill your aim with full trust.
See Carlton and Company at fundraising-campaigns.org.
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