A feasibility study determines whether a nonprofit project is possible, practical, and valuable. The study also identifies the best way to proceed with the project, whether it’s a capital campaign or a major fundraising effort.
For a nonprofit organization, a well-executed feasibility study provides a clear, objective assessment of a proposed project. It helps you set a fundraising goal, determines community support and chooses the best timing. The study also scrutinizes internal organizational issues, determines whether your nonprofit has the infrastructure and financial stability to operate the campaign successfully, and identifies the most effective leaders for each role based on interest and proven abilities.
Nonprofit feasibility studies are only useful when they are conducted carefully and strategically. For a truly objective study, hire an outside consultant who is not affected by emotion and unconscious bias. Consultants use interviews and hard data to analyse the project and deliver an unbiased study that can help your organization determine whether it should move forward. Given the time and associated costs, you need the support of the board from the beginning; this step can head off a range of problems down the road.
Once your feasibility study is complete, it’s important to keep an open mind. When the results are unexpected, or when they conflict directly with commonly held institutional beliefs, it’s easy to disregard them. To counteract this tendency, it can be helpful to sit down with the board and leadership team in advance to discuss the possibilities and pledge as a group to abide by the study’s recommendations. In doing so, your organization can proceed effectively and maintain trust with the community it serves.