Campaign Feasibility Studies

Our capital campaign feasibility studies are the most robust in the industry. They’re the reason Winkler Group campaigns raise more money in less time. We cultivate your campaign donors for you. We share your vision and then listen for your donors’ feedback, perspective, and input..

We build a campaign strategy that comes straight from your donors—it’s why our clients’ capital campaigns raise, on average, 117 percent of their original goals.

We give you the road map to fuel your vision. And our hands-on approach means we share the workload with you. 

Campaign Feasibility Study Q&A

A campaign is a transformational undertaking and a process that is new to many development fundraisers, leaders, and boards.

To help you understand our process, we’ve answered the questions we commonly hear. Don’t see the answer to your question below? Email or call us to have one of our campaign experts give you customized advice.

Winkler Group-led studies take 13 working weeks to complete. Our studies take less time because of the level of hands-on counsel we provide and our team’s ability to do many of the action items for you.  

Our campaign feasibility studies are customized within the three-phase framework described below:  

Phase I: Interview Preparation   

•  Finalize the campaign priorities and test campaign goal.   
•  Identify the right prospective campaign lead donors through an extensive qualifying process. Our qualification process is explained in the next question.  
•  Draft the case prospectus and interview questions.   

Phase II: Interviews and Donor Insight Survey  

•  Conduct one-on-one interviews with prospective lead donors.   
•  Send online donor insight survey to a broader cross-section of donors.  

Phase III: Analysis and Campaign Strategy   

•  Deliver recommended campaign goal amount and funding priorities.  
•  Outline campaign strategy, messaging, and timeline to inspire donors to stretch their giving levels.  
•  Finalize initial list of prospective leadership campaign donors and volunteers.  

1. How do you develop the interview list? Determining who to interview is one of the most critical functions of a robust feasibility study. Many firms simply interview an organization’s largest donors or a list of names provided by the organization. Because this simplified approach has the potential to overlook donors with capacity who could impact your campaign, we go beyond and lead our clients through a thorough qualification process.   

We start by having our data analysts review your donor list with an eye for RFM—those donors who have given most recently, most frequently, and have made the largest gifts. Next, we run an electronic wealth screening of the top 1,000 prospective donors to determine who has the most capacity and propensity to give to the campaign. Usually, this process identifies your under-the-radar-donors—prospects who are giving far below their capacity.   

We then assemble a peer review committee to analyze the final prospective list of interviewees and confidentially rate their potential as campaign donors.  

2.  How many people will be interviewed and is there a cost for additional interviews?There is a strong correlation between the number of interviews conducted and the accuracy of a campaign study’s financial goals and strategic recommendations. We also know that prospects who are interviewed during the study tend to make larger campaign gifts. For these reasons, the Winkler Group strives to interview as many prospective campaign lead donors as possible. We never charge extra for additional interviews because of their importance.  

3.  Which tasks are you responsible for as the client and which ones are the consultants responsibilities?There are many different feasibility study models; some consulting firms offer full-service, hands-on assistance while others simply assign tasks for the organization to complete with little oversight. There is no right model, just the one that fits your needs.   

Absolutely. Starting a campaign with a campaign feasibility study raises more money…in a shorter amount of time. That’s because a Winkler Group-led campaign study cultivates your donors, listens to what they want to fund and provides insight into how they might stretch their investment, and identifies the steering committee leaders who will influence and encourage their peers to give. The study becomes the road map—the strategic basis for every aspect of the campaign plan.

The most successful campaigns have four things in common: priorities that resonate with donors, confidence in the organization or institution leading the campaign, donors who will give transformational gifts, and enough volunteers who are willing to ask their peers to join them in giving to the campaign.

The only way to know for sure if you’re ready is to conduct a campaign feasibility study. In the meantime, this self-assessment will help you determine how you measure up against the four categories of campaign readiness.

A campaign feasibility study is as critical to a campaign as an architectural plan is to a new building. We feel so strongly about the importance of a study that we will not manage a capital campaign that does not start with a Winkler Group-led study. Read how a campaign study increases the amount that can be raised in a campaign.

Starting with a campaign feasibility study—one that engages a robust sample size of donors—is the best way to ensure campaign success. For this reason, the Winkler Group interviews as many of your potential leadership donors as possible; we never cap the number of interviews we conduct, and we never charge for additional interviews.

During these interviews, we measure your organization’s campaign readiness against four benchmarks:

•  Are your campaign priorities compelling to donors?
•  Do your donors have confidence in the organization and its leadership?
•  Are your donors willing to invest in the campaign at significant levels?
•  Are your donors willing to volunteer to solicit others for the campaign?  

If you score above 70 percent against the first three benchmarks, and above 20 percent against the fourth, we are confident that your campaign will be successful.

Read how a campaign feasibility study ensures campaign success.

We find that three to five priorities are ideal. This number gives your prospective donors enough choices to provide input, but not too many to overwhelm them.

To determine the right number and the right mix of prospective campaign projects to test, we work with you and your team. We will also tell you which ones are most likely to garner donor support based on similar campaigns we’ve led.

If you are struggling to determine which priorities to test with donors, we offer internal needs assessments. 

It’s important during the campaign feasibility study to test a campaign goal that is aspirational yet attainable. We will work with you to identify the ideal amount based on the cost of the proposed projects as well as your annual giving levels.

Your major donors are important to you, and we understand your desire to put the right consultant in front of them for a campaign study interview. Our Winkler Group consultants have an average 15 years of fundraising experience—many have more than 20 years; they have been VPs of development and advancement, major gift officers, and nonprofit executive directors. They are trained to ask the follow-up questions to uncover the strategy and identify the messaging that will encourage your donors to give as much as possible to your campaign. 

Ready to launch a campaign feasibility study?

Find Lead Gifts

Our methodology encourages stretch gifts and uncovers hidden donors.

Protect Viability

Our counsel keeps you on track towards an aspirational, yet attainable, goal.

Fuel Your Vision

A Winkler Group campaign feasibility study is the first step in achieving your vision.


Are you ready to launch a capital campaign?

While a campaign study is the best way to determine the likelihood of a successful campaign, answering these ten questions will provide insights into your campaign readiness.

As our client partner, you will quickly notice a difference working with us.

What can we help you find?

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