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Olympic Peninsula Feasibility Studies

The Challenge

Determine the brand of two related non-profits.  Assess the feasibility of a joint capital campaign

The Results

SparrowHawk Consulting Company, Inc. was selected by two regional non-profit organizations to conduct a joint feasibility study. The Boards of both organizations had been considering capital campaigns, and wished to explore the feasibility of a joint campaign.  Both also wanted to evaluate the option of separate, possibly concurrent campaigns.
SparrowHawk’s recommendation was to conduct an Organizational Review for both organizations as a first step in undertaking the feasibility study. The Organizational Review identified organizational strengths and weaknesses and examined the development program of both organizations. As part of the Organizational Review, SparrowHawk conducted interviews with representatives of each organization’s Board and key staff, and reviewed and analyzed organizational documents, financial statements and donation records. SparrowHawk also evaluated supporting activities such as marketing, communications, and public relations for the two organizations.
Challenges to our work included:
* The two organizations had no history of successful collaboration. Both Boards had some resistance to undertaking a joint project.
* Both organizations were concerned about protecting the confidentiality of their donor lists.
* Both organizations acknowledged that they might pursue separate capital campaigns at the conclusion of the study, or that only one group might go forward with a campaign.
* One of the organizations was an all-volunteer organization at the time. The other organization had a nominal Executive Director, a woman in her eighties who received a small salary.
SparrowHawk’s Solutions:
* SparrowHawk created and facilitated a Memorandum of Agreement between the two organizations.
* SparrowHawk contracted separately with each organization to perform independent, confidential Organizational Reviews.
* SparrowHawk conducted separate Organizational Reviews of each organization, including Board interviews, document review, and review and analysis of marketing, fundraising and advertising materials. SparrowHawk then presented each organization with a report of findings and recommendations developed designed to strengthen each entity’s development position in its own right.
This approach enabled each organization to evaluate its development position and make necessary adjustments well in advance of formulating a decision about a possible joint or independent campaign.
* SparrowHawk suggested that an ad hoc steering committee comprised of representatives of both organizations be formed for the contract period. Additionally, each organization nominated a contact person to serve as the single point of contact to facilitate scheduling Board interviews and meetings.