Financial Feasibility Study

financial feasibility study

Overview

A Financial Feasibility Study (FFS) is a vitally important part of any successful capital or special campaign for any organization. An FFS is based on extensive  in-person interviews and analysis to help assess preparedness and surface other useful information for a campaign, before it is launched. FFSs need to be conducted by a neutral outsider who is a skilled interviewer, so that the responses are candid and complete, and the resulting data is valid and useful. Consultants from the Stewardship  for Us Team have worked with many congregations using this process, supporting campaigns for large and small capital projects, ranging from less than $1M to in excess of $2.5M.

Financial Feasibility Studies deliver a wealth of information:

  • Determine potential response within discrete demographic or activity groups
  • Assess familiarity with plan and rationale
  • Test key messages and identify effective language
  • Surface challenges, opportunities, or barriers that may arise during the campaign
  • Identify potential volunteers and willingness to participate
  • Discover major-gift prospects and people to be included in the Leadership Phase of the campaign
  • Solicit potential contribution amounts so an appropriate campaign goal can be determined and targeted “asks” can be determined
  • Identify people who have made planned/legacy gifts or would be interested in doing so

Benefits:

  • Prepares congregants, most of whom have never participated in a capital campaign, for considering major gifts as growth in thier understanding of stewardship
  • Creates an appropriate context for financial commitment levels
  • Helps refine the communications messages and strategies
  • Identifies areas where further education and engagement are needed, or where building plans might be refined to inspire increased giving
  • Inspires confidence in the congregation for the campaign
  • Provides valuable data and intelligence for the leadership
  • Participants feel honored to be included and have their information contribute to the study

What we Offer:

Our support includes the orientation of the lay leaders who help coordinate the process for the congregation. We work with them to identify participants for the study group so that the information is provided by a representative demographic. We coordinate with lay leaders to craft questions specifically for your campaign and congregation. We provide recommendations and samples for the invitation to participate in the study, and to inform the broader congregation about the process. We conduct the interviews with discretion and maintain strict confidentiality except where people give express permission to share specific information. We compile and analyze the data, providing both a written and verbal report to congregational leadership.  Finally, we consult with leadership to help inform governance and congregational polity processes using the results.

Because the process of a Financial Feasibility Study is intensive, and valuable to a campaign itself, the timing of an FFS is important. A Next Steps Weekend provides more general indicators of preparedness and helps identify timeframes and action items leading up to your FFS. Contact us to discuss your particular goals and circumstances.

Reviews of Financial Feasibility Study Services

Worked well with leadership

“Barry is a great communicator with good experience in supporting Capital Campaigns. He has worked well with leadership and has been well received.”

George Belsey, CC Co-chair, First Universalist, Denver

Extremely accurate predictions

“Barry was very effective in his work with our campaign staff, and was extremely accurate in his predictions about our fundraising potential. His interviews with our leadership donors were also very effective. I have had several opportunities to speak with leaders in other congregations around the country about Barry’s abilities. I and others at First Unitarian recommended him highly without hesitation.”

John Hartgering, Treasurer, First Unitarian Church of Orlando.

A really good fit for us

Barry’s work with us “…provided a clearer picture of our strengths, weaknesses and how to address both as we move forward toward a capital campaign. I heard many people say they thought Barry was a really good fit for us. I happen to agree.

Jane Mayer, Board President, UU fellowship of Athens GA

Fired up and ready

“Barry presented a training session for our visiting stewards that got them fired up and feeling ready to contact their assignees.”

Linda West, Stewardship Leader, First Parish in Cambridge

Skills and tools to bring to congregation

“Barry Finkelstein’s keynote on Stewardship was the most valuable feature. It was thought-provoking while also giving me skills and tools to bring back to my congregation.”

SLD Leadership Day attendee

Pledge increased by 50% directly after the training

Barry “helped us with the training for the capital campaign and the stewardship drive. That training actually caused a capital campaign pledge to increase by 50%, directly after the training. Barry was exceptionally well tuned into who we are and what our needs were.”

Conrad Paul, Stewardship Leader, Mountain Vista UU Congregation, Tucson, AZ

Exceeded our goal

Barry Finkelstein gave our recent capital campaign a needed boost of expertise and coaching. From the initial “Next Steps Weekend” that determined our readiness to take on a major capital project to my final call over a year later that we had, in the end, exceeded our fund-raising goal, he was with us every step of the way. Now we are working with our architects on final building designs and will soon break ground, thanks to Barry’s guidance.

Bob McArthur, Chair, Building Project Steering Committee and Board of Trustees member,

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens, Athens, GA.

Guidance about how best to proceed

“The service was a very good value for the cost and helped us a great deal. [Kay provided] direct advice about the state of our financial picture and guidance about how best to proceed.”

– Amanda Cater, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman

Looking forward to financial feasibility study

Stewardship consulting review

Steve Clem

“Kay was excellent [and] provided a great deal of information. We’re looking forward to the next phase – the Financial Feasibility Study. ”

– Steve Clem, Cascade Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Expert advice, training, report

Stewardship Consulting Service Review

Rachel Maxwell

“Expert advice and deep experience of advisor. Training of stewards. Final report. Really the question might be “What wasn’t helpful?” Because EVERYTHING was helpful!”

– Rachel Maxwell, Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation

 

Increased our confidence

Stewardship Coaching Client Review

Liz Bredeson

After several successive campaigns that struggled to recruit volunteers, generate excitement and increase pledges; we were in need of an injection of enthusiasm. Mark increased our confidence in our ability to run a cottage-meeting pledge drive. I appreciated Mark’s approach in making sure the team understand not only what to do, but why we should follow the steps he advised.

Liz Bredeson, Stewardship Lead Volunteer, First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, IA

Very easy to work with

Overall, Mark is the best consultant with whom I have worked with in our congregation over the years. He is very insightful, direct and helpful. It is very easy to work with Mark and he is very efficient with his time. And, he interfaces well with congregational members and friends.

Creighton Cray, Stewardship Leader, Community UU Church of White Plains, NY

Enthusiastic thanks

Let me add my enthusiastic thanks for your very wise assistance to us. You helped us sort through some ideas and get the big picture, as well as getting some thorny details figured out. You also confirmed our basic approach to stewardship that increases our confidence and, indeed, energy going into the next campaign. We contrasted our meeting last night with the meeting two years ago and celebrated our progress.

Sue Wilson, Past President Universalist Church of West Hartford

Webinar… hanging on every word

Thank you so much. We had five members of the Board of Trustees from NWUUC – Atlanta, present in my living room for your webinar. We were hanging on every word, and we’ll be discussing your thoughts in greater detail at our upcoming board meeting, and going forward.

David Zenner, Board member, Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Sandy Springs, GA

Webinar very helpful

I found the webinar very helpful and informative. The sound quality was excellent and the slides/graphics were a real enhancement and easy to read. I would like to thank your moderator, Mark Ewert, for an excellent job.

Frank Holstein, Board member, Unitarian Universalist Church at Washington Crossing, NJ

Capital campaign much more successful

Our capital campaign was much richer and more successful from having your guidance.

Jamie Sharp, Capital Campaign volunteer UU Society of Iowa City, IA

Amazing knowledge base

As Mark promised, the visioning weekend sessions were full, busy and very energizing. We have received great feedback from those who participated and several newer community members and folks who had been involved in other efforts, emerged as true leaders and are enthusiastic about taking the results of the visioning weekend to the next step. We appreciate Mark’s amazing knowledge base and his humorous and effective leadership style!

John Lyons, President, First Religious Society in Carlisle, MA

Best training… delighted

Stewardship Consulting Testimonial

Barb Robinson

I have heard so many people say that your training was the best they’ve ever had. Others who were nervous were delighted with the opportunity to go make visits.

Barb Robinson, UU Congregation of the Quad Cities

One word… Outstanding

I would sum up the weekend with one word … outstanding! Thanks to you and the UUA for making such an excellent resource available to us here in Stow.

Roy Miller, Stewardship Chair, First Parish Church of Stow and Acton

Insights are right on

The overwhelming response has been positive to not only your small group and one-on-one meetings, but various members of the congregation have given unsolicited responses in praise of your presentation following Sunday’s service – that you are knowledgeable – and “expert”, that you come across as warm, caring and empathetic, and that your insights are/were valuable or “right on.”

Administrator, UU Church of Asheville

Stewardship culture already shifting

Stewardship Coaching Review

Rev Tim Temerson

Thanks so much for your good words and for your very good work with our congregation. I feel your visit was an enormous blessing and that no matter what the final totals of the budget drive may be, the stewardship culture of this congregation is already shifting. And we owe you an enormous of debt of gratitude for that!

Rev. Tim Temerson, UU Church of Akron, OH

Excellent summary report

We are all looking forward to your onsite presence. I was blown away when you paid us your Next Steps Visit last year. I came to attend one meeting early on Saturday and ended up staying for most of the day. I pick up your excellent summary report whenever the need arises — it is the most thorough, impartial and informative guideline that we have. Especially now that we are shaking so many trees simultaneously, many of those old leaves want to continue hanging on to their old familiar branches.

Finance Trustee, North Shore Unitarian Church, Deerfield, IL

ABOVE even our stretch goal

It has been a good drive. Lots of great things have come from this drive and there continues to be lots of outreach…. We are ABOVE even our stretch goal for donors of $3000 and up…. Our stewardship committee newcomers (3!) are awesome and riled up It is fun to see and I think they’ll be ready to take over the committee next year!

Almost all the pledges we received were at least the same or moderate to significant increases.  Also, many started their increase now instead of waiting until July.

Thanks, Bill, for all your help.  BTW, we are planning to use some words from your sermon in our newsletter since it was so inspiring to those that heard it!

Stewardship Co-Chair, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Anchorage

Made tasks much easier

Bill, thank you for all your advice and guidance.  It made our tasks much easier.

Capital Campaign Co-Chair, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Anchorage

You light chalices of the heart

Bill, what a pleasure it was to finally get to meet you face to face and hear you in person. Thanks for all your good work. You do indeed light chalices of the heart and spirit!

Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta

Nothing but good comments

Bill, we are slowly digesting your report.  I think that we had you come at a very opportune time. I have heard nothing but good comments about the Next Steps Weekend. What – no one wants to complain????  Amazing!

Stewardship Chair, Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church

Above and beyond expectations

Bill,

Thank you so much for all your help — you definitely went above and beyond our expectations.

Stewardship Chair, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, NC

One of the best years I have seen

Bill, the ministry is going very well. With the enthusiasm you generated during your visit and the work of many local folks, we have experienced one of the best years I have seen in a long time. Following your recommendations, we have moved to a twelve-month stewardship committee and we have added the minister and president as advisors to the endowment committee. Plans are underway to promote endowment and begin a legacy program. We are planning multiple years for stewardship.

Board Chair, Unitarian Universalist Church of Chattanooga, TN