In Campaign Planning Today It’s About Readiness, Not Feasibility

Whether an organization is large or small – whether it’s a large university or a small community organization – a campaign planning study plays a critically important part in revealing the organization’s likelihood to succeed in a fundraising venture.

Let’s be clear: I don’t mean answering just the ‘if’ question – “…if we start a campaign, are there enough people of means and interest who may support our cause?” I mean all the ‘how’ and ‘when’ questions too. I mean a thorough assessment of the organization’s readiness to be embark on a fundraising venture. Indeed, the focus must be all about readiness.

Does the organization have the business process in place, the infrastructure, the policies and procedures, the staff and budgetary resources? Is it ready to start down this road? And if it is not, then it does not matter that some firm has reported that its feasibility study says ‘you’re good to go.’ Because you’re just not.

My concern these days is that there are some who seem to be saying an organization can do this all on their own. And they can’t. They have neither the objectivity nor the expertise to be their own client. And I believe it is ill-advised to encourage organizations to conduct Do-It-Yourself campaign planning studies – it’s neither pound wise nor penny foolish, it’s just a bad idea.

No one wants to witness a campaign that might otherwise have been successful stall or crash shortly after launch. Such outcomes happen. Too frequently. These are outcomes that can be avoided. Launching a fundraising initiative with confidence that it’s the right time to do so and when all indicators are pointing in the right direction – that’s readiness. That’s the conditions conducive to a successful campaign. And that’s the value of a readiness-focused campaign planning study. It’s what I do.

If you would like to learn more about campaign planning studies, I welcome your contact.


About ted sudol

Ted Sudol brings a cross-disciplinary perspective to his work in philanthropy & fundraising. Currently Managing Director at CARTER, a professional firm dedicated to advancing philanthropy worldwide, he has nearly four decades as a fundraiser, lawyer, executive, communicator and consultant in the voluntary, public and private sectors. From local to global, his work with educational, healthcare, arts & cultural, and community organizations ranges from designing new ventures, campaign readiness plans, and complex gift strategies for high net worth families to rebuilding and repositioning projects. His specialty is bringing together diverse parties in innovative collaborations. He devises simple approaches for complex matters to achieve successful outcomes. A graduate of Georgetown and Temple Law School, he currently serves on the board for AFP Shenandoah Valley Chapter, the AFP International Education Advisory Council, and the Virginia FundRaising Institute's Planning Committee. He has been a long-time board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County, Virginia.
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