7 Goals of a Feasibility Planning Study
There are several things to take into consideration when planning for a capital campaign. Constructing a new facility is a difficult task for any organization, it goes without saying that major donors and Board members should be in full support. However, it is outside the organization where the success of a capital campaign will be determined. Planning for success requires interviewing key community stakeholders, I recommend a targeted group between of 40-60 people, depending on size and scope of the project. This interview process will provide the information needed to decide whether or not an organization is ready. Being financially strong does not always insure a successful campaign, other factors come into play when physically growing an organization.
All capital campaigns requires an organization to leverage its strengths and overcome some challenges. The most common obstacles for a capital campaign include; donor education and giving potential, organizational leadership, internal readiness, economic climate and timing, and community support. A feasibility planning study will detail any challenges and positives of an organization through the remarks of the targeted interviews. If there is a “no go” determination of a capital project, the planning study should make recommendations to the organization on how to improve their “case for support” and identify the areas where improvement is needed.
A well researched feasibility planning study seeks to determine the organization’s readiness to conduct the capital campaign and the communities receptiveness for such an effort. Primary goals of a feasibility planning study should include:
- To evaluate the public’s perception of the need for such a project
- To establish an achievable goal for the project based on the responses to the study, the community’s perceived need, and the economic climate of the community
- To establish a baseline of the community’s image of the organization and it’s leadership
- To gather as much information as possible concerning the communities identification of its leadership (Executive & Board leadership)
- To determine the campaign’s chances for success
- To determines the public’s awareness of the project
- To determine what corporations, businesses, and philanthropic individuals necessary to support the campaign
Two important conclusions of a feasibility study are identifying the outstanding community leaders from outside the Board of Directors to be included on the capital campaign steering committee and which leading philanthropist in the area will the organization be successful in securing a leadership gift from. No matter what target amount is determined through the study if these two pieces are missing there is little chance an organization will reach its campaign goal.
A comprehensive marketing and public relations plan should be put into place using the results of the feasibility planning study that reflect specific goals and objectives of the organization. Organizational leadership will determine the methods used to measure success at the outset and be included in the campaign action plan. Educating the public and working with community groups is essential in the beginning of any campaign to rally support for addressing “the need” of a new facility and expanded services.
When it is all said and done the kind of fundraising an organization takes on is not the most important key to success- people are. People deeply committed to the organization and who will work enthusiastically on its behalf and whole heartedly believe in its impact on their community.