Capital Campaign Specialists

Do We Really Need A Feasibility Study?

Is a feasibility study a necessary and vital step prior to a capital campaign? Well, if you ask most consulting companies eager to collect $20,000-$30,000 they will probably say yes. But the reality is that in recent years feasibility studies have become one of the greatest wastes of non-profit resources (a bit like unnecessary medical tests or the car part your mechanic replaced that was actually working fine - harmful, no... wasteful, absolutely). Surprised to hear this? Sound controversial? Well the truth will set you free!

The fact is sometime in the 1950's the notion of a feasibility study took on a certain allure. Not only was it considered wise planning but for the times it made perfect sense. Who knew whether people would respond to a community drive? Getting out and talking to people prior to asking was a novel and valid concept. Campaigns and studies "was like peas and carrots."

But as we all know, the fundraising landscape has undergone dramatic change over the past half century - for the donor, the organization and its staff. Yet the feasibility study process has remained virtually unchanged for over 50 years - same questions, same process and the same reports (whose findings are predictable before the first interview ever takes place). Do you want to know a secret? The "evaluation and recommendation" sections of the study reports prepared by most firms are almost identical from client to client. How do we know this? Because back in the 20th century we unwittingly participated in this antiquated process ourselves. Many firms continue the practice today simply because it's a relatively easy way to get their foot in the door with you and collect a large fee, regardless of whether the process serves your needs (and is worth your investment). Or perhaps change comes slow for some or it's just easier to do what we've always done.

What was a helpful planning tool into the 1980's has far outlived its usefulness. The reasons are many: better trained and equipped development professionals; experienced non-profit executives; boards that are educated and engaged; a proliferation of fundraising campaigns - you could add to the list ad infinitum!

At PCA, we believe there is a far more effective and financially prudent way to accomplish advance planning for your capital campaign. Since the mid-1990's we have been utilizing a unique "Planning/Action" approach for campaign preparation. Some of the benefits are as follows:

These are just a few of the reasons you should consider taking a closer look at PCA before you invest thousands of your donated funds in a feasibility study, the great dinosaur of our industry. Please see our offer for a "free campaign readiness assessment" on our Home Page or contact us directly to learn more about our progressive, 21st century approach to campaign planning.