Conventional wisdom dictates that organizations considering capital campaigns should undertake a "feasibility" study to determine if their
goal is reasonable.
While this is still true, old-fashioned, traditional feasibility studies can be too limiting. A more comprehensive "pre-campaign planning study"
can offer more information and is a better place to launch a campaign.
Your feasibility study should include everything normally associated with a "feasibility study" PLUS create a detailed fundraising
plan, case statement, and cultivate potential leaders and donors. It should be considered the "first step" in launching a capital
Most traditional "feasibility studies" are very limited in scope – focusing on whether a particular goal can be reached instead
of focusing on how a campaign should be undertaken to achieve the pre-determined goal.
Your feasibility study should include all of the following:
1. Feasibility: Determination of the expected maximum and minimum amounts that COULD be raised in a capital campaign.
2. Fund Raising Plan: A written fundraising plan outlining, month-by-month, how a campaign will unfold. This plan includes a full
disclosure of potential donors and suggested request amounts, a synopsis of the availability of key leaders, costs for the campaign,
timetable, constituency goals, chart of gifts and organizational structure. This plan includes the identification of the conditions
and steps needed to maximize the campaign’s chances for success.
3. Case Statement: In addition to feasibility and the campaign plan, the Feasibility Study should include an initial draft of a
comprehensive Case Statement. This Case Statement suggests how the case should be presented to attract the highest level of support
4. Cultivation and Education of Donor and Donor Constituencies: Instead of interviewing only 30 or 40 community leaders (as is
often done in the more limited feasibility study), the Feasibility Study should include an unlimited number of interviews, focus
groups, direct mail surveys, and research into corporate and foundation prospects. By focusing on cultivating and educating potential
leaders and donors, the organization can be assured that the greatest degree of buy-in from the constituent community is received PRIOR
to even launching the campaign. From this point, the rest of the campaign will strengthen these connections with prospective donors
The Pre-Campaign Planning and Feasibility Study is the launching point of the campaign. Without this information, the organization will be running a
campaign without a fund raising plan, which is a little like building a house without blueprints.
A good Feasibility Study should have a pre-campaign planning element that can help launch a campaign quickly and efficiently. It should
also keep an organization from making a mistake in attempting things it can not accomplish from a fund raising standpoint. It's important
to have an objective evaluation of the potential – and not create an environment where the study is just a sales vehicle for the consultant.
Logic should rule in evaluating a Feasibility Study Report... don't be fooled by generalities and vagaries. Reports with unlimited
anonymous quotes and generic plans are more about a consultant selling its services than preparing an organization for a campaign.