Non-Profit Feasibility Studies: Must-Have or Scam?

With over 25 years of service to nonprofits nationally, Carlton and Company knows all the competing theories regarding fundraising feasibility studies. The best advice: some nonprofits benefit significantly from a well-designed study, especially when first needs seem obscure or staff and Board need more definite data to move forward with confidence. But a poorly designed study never represents a shrewd step. (If, in fact, your leadership has “set the table” with strong preparatory work, you might be able to transition directly into a leading solicitation with no Study– but be careful not to overestimate progress to date!)
Whatever your circumstances, the main aim always should include getting the assignments right for ultimate success. A in-depth feasibility study may be your greatest step (contrary to gimmicks that claim to shortcut studies with apt messaging and staff training alone). Done properly, capital campaign feasibility studies bring increased clarity and trust and contribution – all worth the investment that is early. Therefore, a successful study should be regarded as a primary tool in any campaign that was major that was successful. Having said that, you might want to ignore any “expert” who says a study should ALWAYS or NEVER be required!

What should you do as part of your due diligence in capital campaign preparation?
Capital campaign feasibility studies represent months of preparatory research and work. Ask for a recent sample copy, when assessing potential companies that conduct fundraising feasibility studies. As with absolutely any procedure based on data, look formatting and previous colors. Look carefully at what forms the foundation for recommendations.
Just how many assistants or leaders had input signal? How were they asked or contacted? Were married pairs counted as two different interviews or one if interviewed as a couple? Were interviews raced in brief sessions that operate just as directed “fill out a form” assemblies?
The Carlton fundraising feasibility procedure comprises the broadest possible input from stakeholders, based on respectful, personal face-to-face interviews (not mass emails or fill in bubble surveys). This approach invests significant time to learn about a nonprofit organization’s unique history and donors, including subtle but vital details readily overlooked or discounted.
Capital campaign feasibility studies shouldn’t be considered mandatory in every capital campaign, nor should they be considered pricey scams. They are well worth the investment when they produce clear recommendations wanted, supported by a procedure that is sure along with hard data.
Remember that, above all, a Carlton and Company campaign feasibility study produces what your decision makers have to move forward and meet your target with total trust.
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