This article can help you determine if your organization has the resources and capacity to pursue a new endeavor. You will learn questions you need to consider before committing to a large project or campaign and get access to templates to help you get started.
Who is this template for?
This template is for all nonprofit organizations.
What are the main sections covered in this template?
The main sections of the nonprofit feasibility study template include a framework for analyzing your program component and activities, identifying issues and actionable solutions, evaluating your organizational capacities, and more.
It's no secret that nonprofit organizations run on tight budgets—so when considering whether to launch a new project or initiative, it pays to be prepared. But where can you begin?
A nonprofit feasibility study template can help you determine if your organization has the resources and capacity to pursue a new endeavor. In this article, you’ll learn the questions you need to consider before committing to a large project or campaign and get access to templates to help you get started.
What Is a Nonprofit Feasibility Study?
Those involved in the nonprofit sector are often dreamers. As a result, sometimes you need to pull back the reins and ask yourself, "Is this really possible?" That's where a nonprofit feasibility study template comes in handy.
A feasibility study is essentially a tool that helps your nonprofit determine the viability of a large project or capital campaign.
For example, an organization like yours might conduct a feasibility study to determine if starting a new initiative, like expanding to a new facility or launching an innovative new program, is within the organization’s reach. A feasibility study can also help you establish the likelihood of success of the project and gain stakeholder confidence and buy-in.
On the flip side, a feasibility study can also help you and your team avoid wasting resources on a project that's not going to work.
Note that it is not unusual for organizations to outsource feasibility studies to third parties (like a consulting agency). However, if you wish to conduct your study internally, our templates can help!
It's important to familiarize yourself with nonprofit feasibility studies before launching a huge new project or campaign. It will help you and your team identify potential challenges and determine the best way to overcome them. Feasibility studies can also provide valuable insight into how your supporters perceive your nonprofit and what kind of response you can expect from stakeholders if you move forward with the project.
Purpose of a Nonprofit Feasibility Study
The primary purpose of a nonprofit feasibility study is to help you determine the success rate of any given project or campaign.
In other words, a feasibility study will tell you if your idea is worth pursuing or if you should look elsewhere for opportunities. The study can also provide invaluable data on how much support exists in your nonprofit's community and what kind of financial resources may be necessary to launch a successful project.
The best feasibility study will help you answer these questions:
Who are the primary beneficiaries of this project?
Is there sufficient demand for this program in our community?
How much fundraising will we need to launch and sustain the project?
What kind of competition exists for similar services or programs?
By answering these feasibility study questions, you and your team can make better-informed decisions for your organization and increase the chances of success for any project or campaign.
Key Steps of a Nonprofit Feasibility Study
A nonprofit feasibility study serves as a roadmap to determine if pursuing a given project is worth the time and effort.
Understanding the key steps of putting together a nonprofit feasibility study template can help you ensure the success of your nonprofit's projects and campaigns.
Let's take a look:
1. Set attainable goals
Before you launch your feasibility study, it's important to know what success looks like.
Set realistic goals and expectations for the project so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to timelines, costs, and outcomes. Nothing is worse than a project so large that it just sits on the back burner for months with no actual progress.
2. Consider hiring a professional fundraising consultant
Whatever the makeup of your team, it can be beneficial to have outside eyes. A professional fundraising consultant can bring fresh ideas to the table and provide valuable feedback on your project that your team may be just too close to the issue to see.
3. Assess organizational capacity
Do you have the staff and financial resources to make this project successful? If your team is still feeling the staffing effects of COVID and is running on a bare-bones crew, you may need to outsource additional help.
4. Conduct market research
Next,it's important to assess the existing market. Have similar projects been done in your area? How did they turn out? What can you learn from their successes and mistakes? The answers to these questions will help guide your fundraising feasibility study.
5. Narrow down your key stakeholders
It is likely that many people are affected by your nonprofit's work, from donors to volunteers to the actual people you serve. You must identify who your key stakeholders are and ensure that their needs and concerns are taken into consideration throughout the fundraising feasibility study.
6. Calculate any financial projections
Nonprofit leaders need to determine what the proposed program is going to cost. Will it be funded through donations, grants, or other sources of income? It's vital to assess the financial viability of your proposed project and make sure that you have enough funds available. Include any potential revenue sources and expenses that are created by the proposed project or campaign.
7. Conduct a risk assessment
It's said that nothing good comes without risk. A nonprofit feasibility study template helps you identify the potential risks associated with any given project.
For example, what kind of impact will this project have on your organization's reputation, or how might current regulations affect the success of your campaign? These are the types of items that must be considered.
8. Organize a case statement
As a culmination of the above steps, leaders need to create a compelling case statement that outlines the project goals and objectives. This document will be used in fundraising efforts and should contain the answers to the feasibility study questions along with any financial projections or risk assessment information.
Free Nonprofit Feasibility Study Templates
To help nonprofit leaders get started, we've put together two nonprofit feasibility study templates to serve as a starting point. Let's dive in:
Basic Feasibility Study Template
[Insert evaluation of staff capacity for project]
[Insert identified issues/potential challenges]
[Insert action items: i.e. hiring a consultant]
Conduct Market Research
[Insert evaluation of similar programs in the area/market]
[Insert results: have they been successful?]
[Insert what worked/did not work for other nonprofits]
Identity Key Stakeholders
[Insert who the proposed program is serving]
[Insert potential issues your stakeholders may have]
[Insert how you will address stakeholder issues, and better serve them]
Conduct a Financial Evaluation
[Insert evaluation of organizational funds]
[Insert if projects suggest a shortage? A surplus?]
Conducting a nonprofit feasibility study can help leaders get the information they need to make informed decisions about their projects and programs.
A nonprofit feasibility template will help leaders:
Ask the right questions
Look at potential risks
While nonprofit feasibility studies can be intimidating, they don't have to be! Our nonprofit feasibility study templates offer nonprofit leaders a starting point for their research and development process.
If you're looking for more information or insight into nonprofit strategies, the Instrumentl blog is the perfect place to start. We have resources on a wide range of topics—-from how to build a better board to the basics of grant writing—that can provide you with the guidance you need to succeed in your nonprofit endeavors.
With the right tools, nonprofits can quickly scale fundraising and programming and take back their time. But, what makes something the “best” tool? And how do you justify an additional expense in a resource-constrained organization? Download this guide to learn more.