What is the Value of A Feasibility Study?

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In the midst of the ongoing social and political crisis and the considerable economic hurdles we face, the significance of our nonprofit endeavors has become exceptionally crucial. As the philanthropic sector wrestles with determining the way forward in this unique time, the Feasibility Study (or Planning Study) assumes an even more vital role. It offers indispensable direction, insights, and a roadmap to aid your leadership in traversing this unfamiliar terrain. It is imperative to have faith in your initial planning instincts and recognize the importance of conducting a feasibility study.

It is natural to question whether it is needed, the difference between a feasibility study and a planning study, what new insights it can offer, and whether it is a wise investment compared to launching a campaign immediately. While many organizations primarily view a planning study in terms of the campaign’s success, such as resonating with donors, fundraising potential, and duration, a comprehensive study goes beyond these aspects. 

It also answers a multitude of other questions and helps identify potential obstacles that may arise during the development process. Ultimately, a well-executed study equips your organization with a blueprint for a successful capital campaign. It serves as a foundation for planning and enables your organization to achieve its goals while navigating our current realities.

  1. Evaluating market demand: A feasibility study enables nonprofits to gauge whether there is sufficient interest and support for their project or campaign in the current economic and political climate. It offers valuable insights into the level of demand that exists for
    their cause. 
  2. Assessing financial viability: By conducting a feasibility study, nonprofits can assess the financial feasibility of their campaign. It helps determine if the organization can realistically raise the necessary funds within the given economic conditions and political landscape. 
  3. Identifying potential donors and supporters: The study assists in identifying potential major donors, campaign leadership, and other key stakeholders who may be interested in supporting the campaign. This information allows nonprofits to effectively strategize their fundraising efforts.  Who are likely candidates for campaign leadership roles? 
  4. Analyzing the competitive landscape: A comprehensive feasibility study analyzes the competitive landscape and identifies similar initiatives or campaigns that may be running concurrently. Understanding the competition helps nonprofits position themselves effectively to stand out and secure the necessary support. 
  5. Engaging key stakeholders: The study provides an opportunity to engage important stakeholders such as board members, staff, volunteers, and community leaders. Their input and insights can inform the campaign’s design and increase overall buy-in and support. 
  6. Testing campaign messaging: Through a feasibility study, nonprofits can test their campaign messaging and gauge its resonance with potential donors and the wider community. This feedback allows them to refine their messaging and ensure effective communication of the project’s importance and impact. 
  7. Identifying potential challenges and risks: The study helps identify potential challenges or risks that may hinder the campaign’s success. This awareness allows nonprofits to develop mitigation strategies and contingency plans to address these issues upfront. 
  8. Determining resource requirements: A feasibility study assists nonprofits in estimating the resources required to successfully execute the campaign. It provides insights into staffing needs, marketing expenses, and other logistical factors that need to be considered before launching.
  9. Establishing realistic goals and benchmarks: Through the study, nonprofits can establish realistic fundraising goals and benchmarks for the campaign. This ensures appropriate expectations are set and progress can be effectively measured. 
  10. Boosting confidence and credibility: By conducting a feasibility study, nonprofits demonstrate their commitment to responsible planning and decision-making. This enhances their credibility among potential donors and supporters, thereby strengthening their fundraising efforts. In today’s economic and political environment, a feasibility study becomes even more crucial as nonprofits navigate uncertainties and challenges. It allows them to make informed decisions, optimize resources, and maximize their chances of running a successful campaign.
About the Author
John Martin has more than 30 years experience in the not-for profit field, on both the organizational and consulting sides. Through his consulting work with clients seeking counsel for major capital and endowment campaigns, Mr. Martin has earned a reputation as one of North America's top strategists for the not-for-profit sector. His brash mix of social concern and aggressive business smarts has helped raised hundreds of millions of dollars for colleges, hospitals, human service organizations and arts and cultural groups throughout North America. John Martin was chosen the 2007 Professional Fund Raiser. He can be reached via email: martinmgi@cs.com