Although there are some circumstances which warrant bringing in an outside consultant to conduct feasibility study interviews, it’s likely that you can (and should) meet with your own prospective donors prior to a campaign.
As you read in last week’s post, here at the Capital Campaign Toolkit, we’re encouraging nonprofit leaders to consider conducting their own interviews. You would meet with your most prominent supporters to determine the feasibility of a potential campaign rather than an outside consultant.
In light of that, it’s important that you know what to ask and the general flow of the conversation.
17 Questions to Ask While Conducting a Feasibility Study
Begin with questions about the organization and its leadership. Next, you’ll ask about the case for support and the feasibility of the campaign itself. Finally, you’ll wrap up with specific questions about their own potential support and participation in the campaign.
Questions 1-2: About Your Organization
What are the organization’s strengths and weaknesses?
What is the reputation of the organization in the community?
Questions 3-4: Campaign Leadership
What do you think of the organization’s ED / CEO?
If you are the one asking the questions, ask if they have any concerns about your leadership style in terms of leading a campaign. Invite them to be open and honest, as you wish to make improvements whenever possible.
What do you think of the organization’s board? Are they positioned to lead a major fundraising campaign? Why or why not?
Questions 5-7: Case for Support
What do you think of the case for the campaign? Does it make a convincing case for expanding the organization?
Do you personally believe in the project outlined in the case? What appeals to you most? Is anything not interesting?
What questions or concerns do you have about the project?
Questions 8-10: Campaign Feasibility
In order to expand programs and services as outlined in the case for support, we will need to raise $XXX in the next 3 years. In your experience, do you think our organization could raise those kinds of funds?
Here is our gift range chart, outlining the number and size gifts we would need to succeed. As shown, we would need a minimum of X gifts over $XXX. Do you think the community could support that effort?
Do you think we could start in the next six months and do you know of any reason we shouldn’t?
Questions 11-13: Leadership Roles and Donors
Who do you think would be critical to get on board for this campaign to succeed? Who should we be thinking about for leadership roles in the campaign?
Who else should we be speaking with about this campaign?
What foundations, corporations, and individuals do you believe the top gifts will come from?
Questions 14-16: Participation and Commitment
Among your philanthropic priorities, where is our organization?
Do you see yourself making a gift to the campaign? Would you be willing to share what level?
Would you be interested in volunteering for the campaign? In what capacity?
The Final Question
What else should we consider before moving ahead with a campaign?
Analyzing the Feasibility Study Responses
Once you have the answers to these 17 questions, you’ll be in good shape to know whether or not you can move forward with a capital campaign.
Looking back on the collective answers, were the responses more positive or negative?
- Were participants willing to share information and names of others?
- Were they excited about the case for support?
- Did they indicate they would be willing to give at a leadership level and volunteer for the campaign?
If the answers were generally positive, you’re likely ready to move ahead.
However, if the answers were mixed or somewhat negative, you may have some work to do before launching a campaign.
But before you consider leading your own feasibility study interviews, check out how a Guided Feasibility Study works. You get all the benefits of building relationships with your donors, plus the support of an experienced campaign expert to guide you through the process, from start to finish.
Are there any other questions you would ask potential campaign supporters? Let us know in the comments below.