Friday, September 17, 2010

The Feasibility Study - Take the Guesswork out of your Capital Campaign

Your non profit organization decides it needs to raise a significant amount of money for various projects and you want to run a capital campaign (also known as a comprehensive campaign). The cost of all the projects becomes your campaign goal. But how do you know if your goal is realistic?

One way of gauging your goal is to conduct a feasibility study. You can test various things in the study, including your case for support, your organization's reputation and recognition in the community and your campaign components and goal as well as your campaign readiness. The results of the study may surprise you.

One post-secondary institution was convinced they were ready to launch a major campaign for various projects on campus. They wisely decided to invest in a feasibility study to be as confident as possible in their decision to launch the campaign. They polled 50 prominent citizens who were top prospects and were astonished at the results.

The respondents felt they were not ready to launch a campaign, for many reasons:
- their reputation in the community was not as favourable as they assumed
- they would have had difficulty recruiting a campaign cabinet because of their community image - few wanted to be associated with their brand
- they felt their goal was 10 times too ambitious
- only 20% of respondents said they would donate to the institution.

Once the reality set in, they regrouped and spent the next 5 years turning things around. They built relationships, improved their image by investing in the community and recruited board members from leading corporations and institutions. The result? They were able to launch a highly successful multi-million dollar campaign to build new campus infrastructure and fund research, scholarships and bursaries. They continue to receive community support for their initiatives - their efforts made everyone sit up and take notice. All because they invested in a feasibility study!

Laura Mikuska
Fund Development & Event Specialists

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