midwest studies group

Want A Successful Feasibility Study? Be A Trombone!!!

Posted on January 16, 2024 
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My father plays the trombone and absolutely loves it. In fact, it would be fair to say it is probably his number one passion in life.

When it comes to instruments, the trombone is so recognizable that most people know what it is by simply seeing a photo of it.

On the other hand, there is an instrument called the English horn. Ever heard of that? Google it and see if the photo matches up with what you thought it would be. There are musicians who don't even know what the English horn is.

When it comes to running a nonprofit, some staff and board members have the assumption that they are a trombone. They believe that when people see and hear their name, they know exactly who and what they are. So when it comes to doing a feasibility study, they think their capital campaign is going to be automatic because they have a great mission and everyone KNOWS who they are.*

The truth is that a lot of nonprofits THINK they are trombones when they are actually English horns. How do you know if you might be an English horn? Go around town and see how many people have heard of your organization. Look at your donor base and see how many higher-end donors you might have, or even how many donors you have in the first place. Examine your success in local grant writing compared to other organizations.

If you are looking to have a successful feasibility study, make sure you are a trombone. Putting these analogies aside, the point is this . . . too many times, a nonprofit will want to do a capital campaign, starting with a feasibility study, in the hopes that the interviews will magically bring in dollars to the project.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. If there was one piece of advice we would want to give to any nonprofit looking to do a feasibility study, it's to look at your donor base. Examine your support. See if you have donors who would support you at the level you are hoping for*

Taking the time to figure out if you are a trombone or an English horn will make all the difference in your upcoming feasibility study.

*Please note that this topic has nothing to do with the size of an organization. We run into small organizations who have a strong donor base and large organizations who don't have any donor base. If your organization is in need of strategies in becoming more visible in your community, MSG would love to be of service to you.

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