If you don’t want to blow your leg off with your next capital campaign you had better know how a feasibility study can save your campaign. What is a feasibility study? Here is Wikipedia’s definition, “The feasibility study is an evaluation and analysis of the potential of a proposed project which is based on extensive investigation and research to support the process of decision making.”
At The Charis Group we never want to enter into a campaign without an extensive feasibility study. Going without one means launching into the deep in almost total darkness. Starting a campaign without first evaluating the lay of the land is a recipe for disaster. Let me give you a real life example.
“We don’t need this study everyone is on board.” Those were the words of a pastor as I tried to convince him that it was essential for my team to meet and talk with his leaders about the proposed project we were going to help him raise funds for. I argued my points and lost. After all you are the client and while the client might not always be right they are the client.
So without talking to his leadership we assumed they were all on board. I will never forget that Sunday after the services when his staff counted up the commitments cards and the amount fell far short of what was needed to move forward. It was not the rank and file members that sat out the capital campaign that hurt the totals so much, it was the lack of support from his leaders. Months earlier IF he had allowed us to do the work he paid us for we could have identified the issues that were keeping his leaders from making a commitment. By the time we were counting the pledge cards it was too late. Over a year later and their project has not gotten off the ground.
Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know! I suspect that at the heart of the pastors refusal to allow us to do the feasibility study was the fear that he just might hear negative comments. There were issues in the minds of his donors that needed to be addressed. We found out too late that we had trouble in the church and those the campaign failed. It could have all been averted with a feasibility study.
What does a feasibility study do for you? Here are some keys…
- Tests the level of understanding and enthusiasm for the vision that needs funding/future capital fund drives.
- Surface anything (actual or potential problems) that must be addressed before they impact results negatively.
- Helps to cultivate potential donors.
We combine our financial analysis which looks at your giving capability with real conversations with your leaders to arrive at an accurate view of the donor climate of your church. Our reports are powerful tools in the hands of pastors. Shane Bishop who pastors Christ Church one of the fastest UMC churches in America once told me, “This report has given me the best intelligence going into a capital campaign than I ever have had before. It allowed me to know what the concerns of my leaders were and address them ahead of time.”
That is it in a nutshell. Knowing what questions are in the minds of your donors, and they do have questions, allows you to fine tune your vision in such a manner as to address those concerns. A feasibility study can save your campaign. Never do a capital campaign without first doing a feasibility study!
One more thing, feasibility studies take time. So start now so that you will have the time to do your campaign right. As always we are ready to help.
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President
The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions