Four Vital Signs of a Healthy Capital Campaign
Before a surgeon can operate, the surgical team must check the patient’s vital signs to ensure they are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Similarly, a capital campaign is a major operation impacting the financial health of your nonprofit. A feasibility study is a critical first step, checking that the “patient” is ready to embark on a significant fundraising event.
The number one objective of a funding feasibility study is to determine the viability of reaching your fundraising goal. The likelihood of success is directly linked to your organization’s vital signs. So, what are the key vital signs you need to consider during your feasibility study?
- Staff – Potential funders will often alert you to perceived staffing deficiencies, from size to experience to personality and PR concerns. This evaluation is an opportunity for you to consider opportunities for enhancement via staff training and development and/or restructuring.
- Governance board – Having a board with name recognition and a solid reputation within your community is a determining factor in your campaign’s likelihood of success. Prospective funders look for trusted advisors as proof of endorsement. It is easier to recruit campaign leaders (other than board members) when a positive impression of your day-to-day leadership already exists.
- Programs – Does your community have a strong awareness of your current services and their effectiveness? If so, your fundraising effort will benefit whether your campaign is for capital improvements, program development, overhead, or some combination.
- Visibility and awareness – It’s important that both clients and stakeholders in your service area know who you are, what you do, and how to reach you. As the number of nonprofits increase, so does the competition for funding. If your organization has name recognition and a good reputation within your community, you are launching your campaign from a solid foundation.
A feasibility study is similar to a surgeon team’s checklist; necessary for a successful operation. Use it when your organization considers a fundraising campaign.