Don’t hold a capital campaign without a feasibility study! That is perhaps one of the wisest pieces of advice I ever learned. I had just started my company and was wanting a better and more effective way to help churches assure successful campaigns. I had won a contract to raise funds for a Christian school and they wanted a feasibility study. Even though I had been in the stewardship industry for nearly a decade I had no clue how to hold a feasibility study. I actually hired an independent consultant to teach me the process.
You see, at my old firm we never took the time to do feasibility studies. Part of the reason was we were doing too many campaigns and didn’t have any more time to spare.
Take time for the important things. Getting “it” right the first time is crucial towards success. It builds confidence in your donors that the church can actually accomplish the vision. Why rush something so important? My advice is, take the time to do a feasibility study well before you hold your capital campaign.
I wrote this post the night before I left for two days of interviews with ministry and giving leaders. It is one part of our Feasibility Study Process. We simply don’t do campaigns without them. That is how important we deem them to be.
Feasibility studies take the “think” out of the campaign. Ever ask a pastor if his leaders are on board only to hear this response, “I think so.” You “think” so? Why for something so important, raising mega dollars, be left up to chance? Why not KNOW before the campaign kicks off what issues you face, what questions must be asked, etc. That is just one advantage a feasibility study gives you.
“The best intelligence I ever had going into a capital campaign!” Rev. Shane Bishop Christ Church one of the fastest growing UMC churches in the U.S.
That is what Pastor Shane told me after we completed a feasibility study for him. The information we gleaned allowed him and his leaders to fine craft their message. This allowed them to better connect with their members.
The Pros Use Them! Non-profits utilize feasibility studies as a standard practice. Listen to one of the leading non-profit guru’s Gail Perry speak to this issue…
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 anonyn1ity gives donors permission to be completely honest, not just about why an
organization excites them, but also about any concerns that they have.”
OK, basically she said, “They’ll tell us stuff they would never tell you.” No offense, but that is basically it. We can discover what a donor truly feels about that future project. Donors who are not excited are far less likely to give a significant gift on any level.
Oh, one last thing. It’s October 1st as I write this. Your window of opportunity for a feasibility study for a pre-Easter campaign is closing fast. The sooner we can get started the more options you will have!
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach