Your nonprofit has toyed with the idea of starting a
capital campaign for a while now, and you’ve finally decided to take the leap—congratulations!

However, after considering the long road of planning, teamwork, and execution ahead, you may be wondering (and rightfully so) if this ambitious endeavor will ultimately deliver in the end.   

That’s why many nonprofits will issue a feasibility study to make sure all of their fundraising efforts pay off in the long run before making a solid commitment to the project.

Contrary to popular belief, a feasibility study isn’t just for setting a fundraising goal, but rather to see if your dream project can go the distance at all.

To ensure your fundraiser is a wise investment, it’s important for your nonprofit to reflect on these three outcomes when administering a feasibility study:

  1. Which fundraising strategies will be most effective.
  2. How your donors perceive your nonprofit’s reputation.
  3. How to identify strong candidates for leadership positions.

If your project can meet all of these criteria, then your nonprofit will have a fundraising success on its hands in no time.


1. Which Fundraising Strategies Will Be Most Effective

The first (and arguably chief) concern of a feasibility study is to establish which fundraising method will accommodate your capital campaign the best.

A good way for your nonprofit to narrow down these options is to look over past fundraising triumphs that had the greatest impact on your community and cause.

While taking this walk down memory lane, here are a few key questions to mull over:

  • Which fundraisers generated the most revenue?
  • Which fundraisers had the best online marketing response?
  • Which fundraising events had the biggest turnout?
  • Which fundraisers had the smoothest planning and execution process?

After reviewing what made your previous fundraising campaigns tick, it’s time to plug that information into a strategy that will best suit your new fundraising project’s needs.

These factors will help you determine your upcoming capital campaign’s goal and budget as well as discern the overall scope of the project.   

Your nonprofit must consider all of these facets at length to develop an eloquent case of support that details everything your fundraiser needs to survive and thrive. For advice on creating such a report, check out these handy tips from Aly Sterling.   


2. How Your Donors Perceive Your Nonprofit’s Reputation

Another benefit of holding a feasibility study is that it will help your nonprofit confirm exactly how your donors feel about your reputation and past work.

To accomplish this, your nonprofit should conduct a range of interviews on everything your reputation may encompass such as:

  • If your donors perceive that your nonprofit achieves routine goals.
  • If your donors trust that their funds are being used for their intended purposes.
  • If your donors agree that your nonprofit has a valuable role in the community.

By the end of it, your feasibility study should reveal exactly what your supporters like and what they want to change about your nonprofit. This in turn gives you the chance to address negative public perceptions and capitalize on strengths you may not have been aware of.

Seek Diverse Opinions in Your Donor Interviews

To being with, your feasibility study should take place roughly 3-4 months in advance and comprise  a sample size of about 30-40 interviewees total.

When considering potential interviewees, your nonprofit should look for supporters who have already demonstrated their passion for your nonprofit through previous volunteer work or donor support.

These key stakeholders can range from board members to past and present donors, but should always feature a diverse pool of candidates who can provide varied feedback on your work.

In this way, your nonprofit can gather various insights on both your general goals as well as the viability of your latest fundraising project.

Hire a Fundraising Consultant

You may be tempted to have an in-house person oversee your feasibility study interviews. However, this decision may run the risk of a conflict of interest due to your employees’ potentially biased perspectives.

By bringing in an outside fundraising consultant, your nonprofit will gain an observant, third-party point-of-view to help you optimize your fundraising strategy and impact.

This alternative will help your capital campaign avoid any unintentional favoritism within your nonprofit and instead take off with fresh ideas that capture your donors’ interests.    

For insights on where to find top nonprofit fundraising consultants, check out these recommendations from DonorSearch.   

Above all, by valuing your supporters’ opinions on all of these important fronts, your nonprofit can take the necessary actions to repair or revitalize your standing within the community.


3. How to Identify Strong Candidates for Leadership Positions

What many nonprofits don’t realize is that your feasibility study is not only meant to establish what goes into your capital campaign, but who will ultimately make it happen.

To track down these qualified leaders, your nonprofit should target people who are looking to grow as volunteers and possibly already have a refined reputation for do-gooding.

Some of these promising figures may include board members, community leaders (business owners and vendors), and your most heavily involved supporters.

Your nonprofit will also have better luck weeding out contenders by posing such questions as:

  • What does this project mean to you?
  • Who do you envision as a good leader?
  • How would you delegate tasks to utilize each team member’s strengths?
  • How much time can you commit to this project?

Above all, a feasibility study is the perfect time for your nonprofit to cultivate donor relationships by getting them directly involved in your next big fundraiser.

When it comes to developing a mighty capital campaign, every nonprofit tends to dream big. By running an extensive feasibility study first, your nonprofit can guarantee your major project  will have liftoff.  



Written By:

Ryan Woroniecki

Ryan Woroniecki is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at DonorSearch, a prospect research, screening, and analytics company that focuses on proven philanthropy. He has worked with hundreds of nonprofits and is a member of APRA-MD. When he isn’t working, he is an avid kickball player.

by Mike Herceg

Jul 13 17
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