What’s All the Fuss About Capital Campaign Assessments?

POSTED BY ELLIOT LEVIN

PRG prepared a feasibility study for the Social Advocates for Youth Dream Center in Santa Rosa. (pictured: Elliot Levin and Andy Eber of PRG)

Holly Hall is just plain wrong. In her inflammatory Philanthropy Today article, “Feasibility Studies Are a Waste,” she implies that even solid organizations are naive in conducting assessments of feasibility for major and often, historic campaigns.

She also asserts that these studies are merely marketing schemes by consultants, used to secure work in fundraising campaigns once they get underway. The article is in advance of her new book and a good sales topic it is.

At PRG, we have conducted feasibility assessments for 24 years. Our clients know these studies have made the difference between successful, and often transformative, campaigns and those that sputter and die. Why? Because a great assessment is more than a survey of a donor market.

A multifaceted assessment

The survey is merely one important element by which PRG (and other high-caliber consultants) create the architecture of a winning campaign. Our campaign architecture also includes:

  • a candid audit of the current fundraising program
  • research into otherwise unknown sources of funds
  • in-depth engagement with the organization’s trustees
  • a scan of potentially competing initiatives in a given locale

A savvy organization would no more enter a high stakes, competitive funding environment without a concrete strategy than they would create a new facility without detailed architectural plans.

Objective and separate from fundraising

Furthermore, at PRG, we never mix our feasibility assessment work with consultation on an active campaign. This approach keeps our assessments objective and without the slightest hint of conflict. Successful campaigns have been conducted by other counsel based on our feasibility studies. Likewise, PRG has served as counsel for campaigns that were studied by other consultants.

There’s truly a great deal of integrity in our work and in our field. We’re as proud of that as we are of 24 years of successful clients. Maybe you want to include our example in your next book, Ms. Hall?

More about PRG’s approach to nonprofit fundraising in a competitive environment.

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