Carefully Consider Donors for Capital Campaign Success
Your donors are vital to your capital campaign success. While traditional feasibility studies determine whether your goal is reasonable, they may not give you all the information you need about your donors and their giving interest. A comprehensive pre-campaign planning study combined with a feasibility study will properly prepare you to launch a capital campaign.
Your study should include everything normally associated with a feasibility study plus it should create a detailed fundraising plan and case for support while actively cultivating potential leaders and donors. It should be considered the "first step" in launching a capital campaign.
1. Feasibility: Determination of the expected maximum and minimum amounts that could be raised in a capital campaign.
2. Fundraising Plan: A written fundraising plan outlining, month-by-month, how a campaign will unfold. This plan includes a full disclosure of potential donors and suggested request amounts, a synopsis of the availability of key leaders, costs for the campaign, timetable, constituency goals, chart of gifts and organizational structure. This plan includes the identification of the conditions and steps needed to maximize the campaign’s chances for success.
3. Case for Support: In addition to feasibility and the campaign plan, the feasibility study should include an initial draft of a comprehensive case for support. This case for support suggests how the case should be presented to attract the highest level of support possible.
4. Cultivation and Education of Donors and Donor Constituencies: Instead of interviewing only 30 or 40 community leaders (as is often done in the more limited feasibility study), your study should include an unlimited number of interviews, focus groups, direct mail surveys, and research into corporate and foundation prospects. By focusing on cultivating and educating potential leaders and donors, the organization can be assured that the greatest degree of buy-in from the constituent community is received prior to even launching the campaign. From this point, the rest of the campaign will strengthen these connections with prospective donors and leaders.
The pre-campaign planning and feasibility study is the launching point of the campaign. Without this information, the organization will be running campaign without a fundraising plan, which is a little like building a house without blueprints.
A good feasibility study should have a pre-campaign planning element that can help launch a campaign quickly and efficiently. It should also keep an organization from making a mistake in attempting things it cannot accomplish from a fundraising standpoint. It’s important to have an objective evaluation of the potential and not create an environment where the study is just a sales vehicle for the consultant.
Logic should rule in evaluating a feasibility study report. Don’t be fooled by generalities and vagaries. Reports with unlimited anonymous quotes and generic plans are more about a consultant selling its services than preparing an organization for a campaign.