The objective of a fundraising feasibility study is to assess the possibility for the success of a proposed capital campaign amount, by an organization, at a given time, in a given community.
The feasibility study will determine:
- How much money can feasibly be raised
- How long this might take to accomplish
- Strategies for a successful campaign
The amount to test depends on a number of factors
Often, the architectural feasibility study cost estimates will be used as a starting point for finding the campaign amount to test in fundraising feasibility.
Other amounts that should be added to this include:
- design fees and other soft costs
- land costs
- campaign fundraising costs
- contingency allowances
- endowment funding
Fundraising feasibility consultants can help develop estimates for these quantities.
The fundraising feasibility process
The process begins by developing a case for support that describes:
- The project’s mission
- The needs it meets for the organization and the community
- Compelling reasons for support from individuals, corporations, municipalities, etc.
Then, a series of confidential interviews are conducted
Interviews are typically conducted with a number of carefully selected potential donors to assess their willingness and capacity to support the project described in the draft case for support.
These interviews must be undertaken by a knowledgeable, impartial consultant who can objectively evaluate the responses of potential donors. Outside help is especially critical because individuals who have supported the organization in the past may not be willing to express doubts about a project to executive staff or board leadership. Some particularly engaged donors or community members may also be asked to join the project’s leadership team at this stage.
Estimating the campaign’s potential
Through the confidential interviews, the potential for support at the leadership and major-gift levels can be ascertained. Along with information about board giving and other factors, this will provide the basis for estimating the campaign’s potential.
A well-executed fundraising feasibility study:
- attracts community support and larger lead gifts
- enables an organization to set achievable goals
- lowers the risk of an unsuccessful campaign
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