Posted , by . Topic: Fundraising.

Is a Campaign Planning Study Worth the Effort?
Rachel Kimble 2By Rachel Kimble, Consultant

Embarking on a fundraising campaign is a significant endeavor for any nonprofit organization, often requiring substantial resources and strategic planning. One crucial step in the process is conducting a campaign planning study (sometimes called a feasibility study) to assess your organization’s readiness and potential for success.Typically, nonprofits enlist the expertise of fundraising consultants to conduct an unbiased campaign planning study. This is a collaborative process, so your organization will be a key player in a successful planning study.

Who should consider a campaign planning study?
Whether your organization has a history of successful major gift fundraising campaigns or whether you will be embarking on a campaign for the first time, a campaign planning study will assess your aspirational goals and instill confidence in board and staff decision-making. Each fundraising campaign for your organization is unique with its own specific priorities, prospective donors and internal/external influencing factors. Investing in a campaign planning study allows for a deep look at your organization’s positioning to take on a campaign at this unique moment in time.

What does the study process entail?
A campaign planning study is a comprehensive analysis that evaluates your capacity and potential for launching a fundraising campaign outside of your day-to-day fundraising operations. This is often accomplished by interviewing key donors and staff; conducting wealth screening and prospect research; disseminating an electronic survey; and[SB5]  analyzing giving history, past trends, your infrastructure and donor messaging and communication.

The Four Benchmarks of Success
 1. Case for Support – How is your organization perceived? Are there people invested in helping you meet the proposed campaign’s compelling need?

2. Leadership – Are your board and senior leadership capable and willing to lead a major fundraising effort? Are there additional volunteers who could become volunteer fundraisers?

3. Internal Readiness – Do you have the infrastructure, structures and systems in place to manage a campaign? Does your fundraising staff have the experience and bandwidth to manage a campaign?

4. Donor Potential – Do you have a donor pool with the capacity to give at the level necessary to achieve your goal? Are your donors cultivated and informed about your organization and its needs?

While conducting a planning study requires an investment of time, resources and effort, the potential return on investment will be substantial. A well-executed study provides your nonprofit with actionable insights, informed decision-making and a strategic roadmap for fundraising success.

What Should You Be Doing Now to Get Ready for a Future Planning Study or Campaign?

1. Enhance Data Management and Analysis Capabilities: Effective data management is essential to informed decision-making and targeted fundraising strategies. Nonprofits should invest in robust systems and processes for collecting, storing and analyzing donor data, even beyond gifts. Start tracking donor preferences, contacts, and cultivation efforts.

2. Strengthen Board Governance: A strong, engaged board is instrumental in guiding your fundraising efforts. You should focus on recruiting diverse board members with relevant expertise, a passion for your mission and the ability to give and get major gifts. Additionally, provide ongoing training and support for board members to enhance their effectiveness and strengthen your organization’s culture of philanthropy.

3. Develop Clear Goals and Messaging: Setting clear objectives and creating succinct messaging points around those goals will set your organization up for future success. Begin engaging key stakeholders in conversations about these goals, creating additional stewardship opportunities and generating excitement and buy-in.

4. Invest in Professional Development and Capacity-Building: Nonprofit staff will play a critical role in executing your campaign. Investing in their professional development, training and other capacity-building initiatives will strengthen your organization’s human capital and ensure a skilled team capable of leading your campaign. From fundraising best practices to communication skills, ongoing learning empowers your staff and reduces turnover.

5. Meet with Potential Consultants: Consulting is not a one-size-fits-all business. Your consultant should fit the culture of your organization and make you feel heard and valued. Check out these FAQs about choosing a consultant before scheduling any meetings.

As you plan the growth of your organization, we would welcome the chance to talk to you about your goals and strategize about the best way to get you there.
Reach out to The Curtis Group, and let’s brainstorm together!
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *