For Impact


No More Feasibility Studies

For Impact Ideas | | Tom Suddes

We’re doing some really ‘good stuff’ right now with ‘Non-Traditional’ Campaigns.

We’re calling them S3: SPEED + SIMPLICITY = SUCCESS.

One of the first recommendations is to forget about Feasibility Studies. Here’s why.

Having watched hundreds (maybe even thousands) of ‘NONPROFITS’ do FEASIBILITY STUDIES… I still don’t get it!

INTERNAL staff gets together. Agree they need more money. INTERNAL group decides to do a campaign to raise more money. INTERNAL leaders enlist EXTERNAL consultants to do a feasibility study… for justification, CYA and backup.

Think about this ‘feasibility’ scenario:

  • No Sharing of Vision.
  • No Engagement.
  • No Dialogue.
  • No Involvement.
  • No Presentation of an Opportunity.


If ‘XYZ NONPROFITORG’ were to do a HYPOTHETICAL Campaign with a HYPOTHETICAL goal… how much HYPOTHETICAL money would you HYPOTHETICALLY give to this HYPOTHETICAL Campaign?

Instead, we create opportunities that get TOP STAKEHOLDERS INVOLVED in building the PLAN… for both IMPACT and INCOME!!!

This OWNERSHIP will translate into a HUGE RETURN on the time, energy and resources
you INVEST in this process.

I’ve chosen these 3 words carefully, and used this process effectively for the last 20 years.

    1. LEADERSHIP. It is what it is. It is what it says. ENGAGE your best LEADERS in this PROCESS of MESSAGE CLARIFICATION, PRIORITIZATION, and the FUNDING PLAN.
    2. CONSENSUS. CONSENSUS is about the RIGHT DECISION… NOT (necessarily) about ‘UNANIMOUS’ AGREEMENT on a politically correct, watered down, something-for-everyone MISSION STATEMENT/PLAN. CONSENSUS (on Vision/Priorities/Goals) CREATES COMMITMENT… GENERATES MOMENTUM… and FORCES ENGAGEMENT (vs. passive participation).
    Nota Bene: “PASSION IS CONTAGIOUS!” (Nick Fellers)
    3. BUILDING. This is the kicker. This is the ‘action word’ that makes this idea worth MILLIONS!!! You must provide a FRAMEWORK to let your STAKEHOLDERS help BUILD!!!

*This approach also serves as ‘THE‘ most powerful form of PREDISPOSITION: