I am in my 18th year of working in the stewardship field and one thing I have learned is that successful capital campaigns start with a feasibility study! Few in my industry really do this in part because it takes time, skill and effort. Without a well put together plan for a feasibility study you are risking the success of your campaign upon what you think not what you know.
“I think our leaders will be in favor of this.” That was a comment I heard from a Sr. Pastor a few years ago. I was asking him about an element of the campaign that to me seemed fuzzy. If I a former pastor could not capture the vision of what he was proposing I wondered how the donors who would potentially give to the campaign could understand it. I replied, “This is too important of an issue not to know. Let’s take “think” out of the equation and find out exactly what your leaders are thinking.”
Gail Perry is a professional that works with non-profits helping them raise funds. She wrote an article entitled, “Who Needs a Capital Campaign Feasibility Study? You Do!” You can read it here at, http://capitalcampaignmagic.com/who-needs-a-capital-campaign-feasibility-study-you-do/
She wrote, “You know what your organization needs. It might be a new program, a new building, or something else. After all, that’s why you’re doing a capital campaign in the first place. And you feel like you’ve made a good start. You’ve drafted a case for support and have put together what seems to be a solid plan and campaign timetable. After doing all that, why go to the expense of hiring a consultant to do a feasibility study? Because you need to be careful. The stakes are high. Nothing looks worse for a nonprofit organization than a capital campaign that falls far short of its goal. And if you go ahead with your campaign without first doing a feasibility study, that’s exactly the risk you’re taking.”
What is the value of a feasibility study? Let me list what in my experience is the value of feasibility studies.
- A reasonable indication of the commitment level; the degree to which Supporters understand and are committed to the church and the current as well as future capital stewardship campaigns.
- A key listing of members views regarding the church’s present status and future development.
- A more defined idea of the potential donor universe.
- A heightened level of excitement about the church’s future.
Why hire outside help to do this? Let me again quote Gail Perry who gives these three reasons…
“The most important reason. So why is an outside consultant so important? Because your donors will feel more comfortable talking “off the record” to her about issues that concern them. Your consultant will present the feasibility results as sets of data, without identifying who said what. This anonymity gives donors permission to be completely honest, not just about why an organization excites them, but also about any concerns that they have.
There are two other important reasons to hire an outside consultant to conduct your campaign’s feasibility study:
- To send a loud and clear message that an organization is doing due diligence before going to the expense and labor involved in a capital campaign; AND
- When an outside consultant contacts major donors and volunteers for an interview about an organization, it makes those future donors feel highly valued. And isn’t that exactly how you want them to feel at the start of your campaign?”
Your capital campaign is too important to be left up to chance. A well done feasibility study will help you know the lay of the land BEFORE you start the campaign thus giving you a better chance for success. To assure that you have adequate time for a feasibility study get started sooner rather than later on preparing for your successful campaign. We are ready to start now! Are you?
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach