For most organizations, there are two questions which encourage the use of a Campaign Feasibility Study – “how much can we raise?” and “in what period of time can we expect to raise it?” However, for most non-profit organizations there are far more important and compelling reasons to choose to conduct a Campaign Feasibility Study.
Determining the amount an organization can raise and in what time period are questions which can be answered simply enough. Sample the top donors, ask how much they are planning to give over a specific time period, add up the amounts and then extrapolate that total amount based on what is known about the organization and the remainder of the database. It’s really a question a calculator can answer for you.
The real value of a Campaign Feasibility Study comes when the person conducting the study is skilled in two important other areas. First, he or she should provide a complete audit with recommendations on the ongoing fundraising and marketing efforts of the organization. What are you doing exceedingly well and in what areas do you need improvement? This “internal” audit should also assess the current staff structure and its ability to successfully conduct a campaign. In essence, a study should answer the question, “How prepared is the organization to execute a successful campaign?”
Second, a value-enhanced study should do more than simply sample your top donors. The conducting of a smart study should encourage those very donors to give more to the organization. In this way, the study is really about donor inspiration and cultivation. In fact, if the collective amount that is ultimately given by those interviewed for the study is not more than what they said at the time of the interview, your study didn’t achieve this important goal. Under the direction of a skilled consultant, top donors interviewed for the study should walk away more convinced than ever that the organizational brand is compelling, that the priorities are important, and the vision for the future is clear and exciting. These are the value-additions of a study.
At Gonser Gerber, we conduct “Campaign Readiness Studies” (as opposed to “Feasibity Studies). The difference in terminology is not semantics. Our aim is to provide information so that the entire organization (both internally and the donors) are fully prepared or “ready” to go beyond their campaign goals.