Feasibility studies are a critical first step in fundraising. Crafting them with care is extremely important. They typically are 20 to 30 questions in length and give you an excellent perspective on your organization: how people view the board, the effectiveness of the team, and who in the community should lead the campaign. So, you might be wondering, which is the most important question to include in your feasibility study?
My answer will probably surprise you … it’s none of these!
The perfect feasibility study doesn’t just answer who, what, and why questions; it gives you a clear picture of the perceptions around your organization and its proposed project. These perceptions, taken together and analyzed carefully, answer the most important question of all: does your organization have the credibility needed to successfully reach your campaign goal?
Feasibility study questions should be carefully designed to exact answers that help determine your credibility, a critical component of your organization’s Asking RightsTM, as it relates to your local community and potential investors.
Let’s face it, individuals and companies will not invest in an organization they don’t trust. Your organizational credibility must be strong to reach your fundraising goal.
Asking questions on your feasibility study such as,
- How effective is the board;
- What are the specific accomplishments and projects of this organization; and
- Is this project the number one civic priority for this community;
can provide the background needed to determine the credibility level of your organization. As your interviews unfold and feasibility study answers come in, the conversations spurred by your initial questions are likely to provide keen insight into the overall level of confidence the community has in your nonprofit.
Often, hearing what isn’t said is just as important. If interviewees as a group cannot rate the effectiveness of the board or identify accomplishments, chances are you have some public relations work to do before embarking on a capital campaign fundraising effort. By listening to what is said and understanding what isn’t said, our nonprofit consultants use your feasibility study to determine if you have the credibility – and the Asking RightsTM – to move to the next step of your campaign. A good fundraising services firm can help you write the feasibility study questions that will get to the bottom of this, truly the most important question.