Why do a feasibility study if you know good and darn well that you’re going to launch a capital campaign?
Turns out there are two kinds of capital campaign studies — Planning Studies and Feasibility Studies!
Capital Campaign Planning Studies Help You Plan
The question for you may not be, “Is a Campaign Feasible?” Instead, you might want to use a study to check some key campaign ingredients:
- How much will you be able to raise — what’s the right working goal?
- What excites your donors about your campaign objectives?
- Who would be the best campaign chair?
- Who will be willing to volunteer for the campaign?
- Are there other campaigns in the offing that might compete with yours?
All of these questions assume not only that you’ll have a campaign, but you’ll use a study to help you design the right campaign.
This kind of study is a Campaign Planning Study, not a feasibility study.
Large organizations, like universities and hospitals, use campaign planning studies. They are going to go ahead with their projects willy-nilly, funding them in part through other resources.
They want to raise as much money as they can, but the projects don’t live or die according to whether or not they can raise the entire amount.
If that’s the story for your organization, you’ll use a campaign to boost your fundraising and to engage your major donors. Your campaign will ramp up energy and provide a new level of activity for fundraising.
Capital Campaign Feasibility Studies Test if the Project is Feasible
But for some organizations and some projects, if you can’t raise the money, you won’t go ahead with the project — at least not at that scale or in that way.
For this kind of study, you’re actually deciding whether or not you should launch a capital campaign at all. That’s a Feasibility Study — you’ll determine if your project feasible now.
You’ve got a big idea that you can only make happen if your donors are on board. If they’re not, you’ll have to change gears, either shrinking the project or postponing.
5 Reasons You Need an Outside Consultant
Whether you need a Campaign Planning Study or a Feasibility Study, you should hire a qualified outside consulting firm to do it for you. Don’t do it yourself. No matter how smart and effective you are, your results will not be the same.
Here are five reasons why…
1. Capital campaign consultants have an objective eye.
Your donors don’t like to give you bad news. Because they are your donors and have an ongoing relationship with your organization, they will find it difficult to tell you their concerns. They’ll find it easier to share them with a consultant knowing that their views will be shared collectively and not attributed specifically to them.
2. Capital campaign consultants are experienced.
Campaign consultants, if they’re worth their salt, know what to ask and what to listen for. They’ve developed their interviewing chops. And they’ll also know how to translate what they learn into information that will be useful to your organization.
3. Hiring a consultant will engage your board.
The process of selecting and hiring a consultant will get your board members more engaged. When your board members get serious about spending some money on a consultant, they’ll start to get serious about the campaign. No more watching from the sidelines!
4. A consultant will discipline the process.
Once you’ve engaged a consultant, they’ll drive the process. And in the hubbub of your too-busy schedule, you’ll that need to plan and carry out an effective study. You’re hiring a consultant, in part, because they know what they’re doing and in part to make sure it gets done in a timely fashion.
5. A successful professional study will build confidence.
Don’t underestimate the need for confidence. Capital campaigns are big, scary ventures and most board members have little confidence in their ability to successfully carry them out. But when an experienced consultant comes back with the news that, yes, you can raise that money, it will give your board the courage they need to move ahead.
Looking for more information about campaign studies. Take a look at these two posts:
- The Case for Capital Campaign Feasibility Studies (by Alyce Lee Stansbury)
- Do You Really Need a Feasibility Study
Is Your Board Starting to Talk about a Capital Campaign?
If so, we can help you get ready so that by the time you hire a campaign consultant to conduct a study, the chances of your success are high.