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Assessing financial strengths for fundraising or a capital campaign


Given the increased competition for charitable dollars, both in not-for-profit and municipal sectors, development activities and functions must be examined closely for their effectiveness and efficiency.


Giving bounced back after Great Recession declines in 2008 and 2010. The nonprofit sector and philanthropy have had a resurgence to pre-recession giving which, has seen dramatic returns of giving to more than $390 billion in 2017.


The first step in any large fundraising effort is determining and analyzing the importance of the project, sometimes referred to sometimes as the feasibility of a fundraising initiative. Feasibility is defined as “capable of being done, effected, or accomplished.”


However, the term feasibility does not accurately portray the most important role of such a study, which is determining the unique strategy necessary to reach success for each specific community, project or organization.


Through growth of the fundraising sector over the last 20 years, other terms have better embodied the full capacity of this critical step. Those terms include planning study, community assessment study, campaign readiness study, or development/ advancement audit which are comprehensive research studies to determine not just philanthropic support but a host of important elements.


Whatever term it is called, the key roles of a planning study for a capital campaign are:

  • Introducing the project to key stakeholders in a professional and non-biased manner

  • Establishing a first front connection to the consultants to provide credibility for the project under review.

  • Identifying favorable factors

  • Identifying the potential for challenging circumstances or obstacles to reaching the proposed goal

  • Assessing an attainable goal or range a campaign may meet with proper cultivation of donors

  • Defining recommendations outlining strategic steps for a capital campaign

Now that you have read some of the fundamental roles of the planning study, are you ready to take the next step? We hope to hear from you to discuss how we can partner with you to build your dream. Contact ellen@crescendollp.com for a free, no obligation discussion of your specific needs.


Chippewa Falls residents did, in fact, dream big with their $3.25M zoo renovation campaign.

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