YoungAssociates serves nonprofits in a variety of fields, including arts, history, and medicine

Feasibility Studies

Many organizations do their own feasibility studies, but there are reasons to turn to independent counsel for help. First, you get greater insight from confidential interviews conducted by a third party. In addition, most development directors are already busy with a broad array of responsibilities as they simultaneously look to the future and run day to day operations. They lack both the time and the expertise to perform an effective feasibility study.

Our feasibility studies are penetrating and extensive in their cultivation process. We understand the delicate balance of capital and endowment fundraising, and the importance of maintaining solid growth in the annual fund during major campaigns.

We’re not in the business of market research. We are paid to motivate people, train volunteers, and raise funds. We do this is by understanding the strategic rationale of all decisions and being willing to question and listen to anyone at any level. We simply do not begin until we know our facts. We understand that donors give to the magic of a vision supported with solid pressure-tested financials.

We thrive on organizations with challenging and audacious objectives. Any firm of quality can determine if a project is feasible, but we feel our charge is beyond feasibility — we show an organization how to achieve its needs.

Baltimore Clayworks

Baltimore ClayworksLeadership: Deborah Bedwell, Executive Director; Sara B. Warren, Development Director
Timeframe: 2007
Made possible in part by the Baltimore Community Foundation.

As a continuation of the long-range planning efforts of the board of directors of Baltimore Clayworks, YoungAssociates was retained to conduct a financial strategy and fundraising feasibility study in respect to meeting capital and strengthening the organization’s balance sheet over the next five years.

All people interviewed were provided materials in advance of the interview. The interviewees were asked to comment on several aspects of Clayworks and the proposed fundraising needs, including (1) Clayworks importance to the community and its effectiveness and recognition of the importance of its services to the community (2) its artistic effectiveness and depth of management strength, (3) confidence in and respect for its volunteer leadership, (4) the proposed capital and operating plan and total funding requirements, its validity and urgency, (5) the potential availability of dedicated and capable fundraising leadership, (6) suggestions for other volunteer leadership outside of the organization, (7) suggestions for prospective donors in view of the summary of needs and gift range table.

Capital City Arts Feasibility Study

Kirkpatrick FoundationLeadership: Susan McCalmont, Executive Director
Timeframe: 2003
The study was commissioned by the Kirkpatrick Foundation on behalf of the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, Ballet Oklahoma, Canterbury Choral Society, Lyric Theatre, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.

This study was a natural outgrowth of the efforts begun in the late 1990s by the Kirkpatrick Foundation to develop a comprehensive cultural plan for Oklahoma City and more recent (2000) work with National Arts Strategies, a Washington, DC,-based arts planning and management group. The scope of the pre-campaign feasibility and directional study was to test the factors required for a success in a major campaign to raise $90.8 million privately for the six arts agencies of Oklahoma City.

The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts

 logoLeadership: L. Kelley Lindquist, Executive Director, Artspace
Timeframe: 1999
Study commissioned by Artspace Projects on behalf of the Minnesota Shubert Performing Arts and Education Center.

After our feasibility study was presented to the Minneapolis City Counsel, funding was approved to move the historic Minnesota Shubert Theatre—physically move the structure, which was dated to 1910, approximately 1,100 feet to the next city block over 12 days. At the time, it was the heaviest building moved on rubber tires and, today, it remains the fifth largest structure to be moved. Featured on the History Channel’s Mega Movers, you can learn more about this amazing feat and view time-lapse photography of the move on the Shubert’s web site.

Artspace engaged YoungAssociates to:

  • Determine the level of confidence that the interviewees have in Artspace and their belief in the capacity of Artspace to accomplish a large scale capital fundraising project;
  • Test the interviewees view of the viability of potential services to be provided, with dance at the premier activity, along with service to mid-sized theatre, and music organizations;
  • Confirm the case for positive private sector response to support the Shubert renovation;
  • Note the interviewees’ penchant to dance, theatre, music, historic preservation, and downtown development;
  • Explore the level of willingness to volunteer on the Shubert project ad solicit recommendations of others who might volunteer at a leadership level;
  • Identify recommendations regarding prospective donors in view of needs and the provisional gift range table;
  • Explore the level of willingness of interviewees to support the project;
  • Establish the number of key benchmark gifts required to proceed with a public announcement of a capital campaign;
  • Reach a decision as to potential gift resources and establish how much could reasonably be expected to be raised in both short and long term efforts.

We commend the serious approach you took in this study and greatly applaud your ability to produce such a substantial report within a restrictive time line and budget.You delivered on the promise that using outside counsel would increase our efficiency, allowing Artspace to engage in additional activities during the entire study.  |  Read full letter

L. Kelley Lindquist
President, Artspace
Lou DeMars
Board Chair

Ocean State Theatre

Providence Performing Arts CenterLeadership: The Providence Foundation, Ron Marsella, Executive Director
Timeframe: 1977
Funding for this study came from The Eva Gebhard-Courgard Foundation, The Mayor’s Office of Community Development, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Providence Foundation, The Rhode Island Foundation, and The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

The principle objective of the study was to determine the feasibility of renovating the Ocean State Theater into a first-class performing arts facility in downtown Providence. Specific objectives were:

  • To determine the physical alterations necessary to make the building a superior facility for the performing arts.
  • To evaluate the potential market in Rhode Island for a broad range of artistic endeavors and to identify the most appropriate programming direction for the facility.
  • To outline the organizational structure and administrative support needed for a performing arts center.
  • To present level cost estimates for the renovation and operation of the theater.

James Stewart Polshik and Partners were the architectural firm of record on this project.

New York Dance Alliance

A division of the Association of American Dance Companies
Leadership: Craig Palmer, Executive Director
Timeframe: 1976

This study responded to the wide ranging problems associated with producing a New York City Dance Season. Beginning in the mid-1950s, there had been an excess of Broadway theatres available for rental. YoungAssociates was asked to suggest post-study a solution to major modern dance companies resident in NYC devoting nearly 25 percent of their annual budget for a one week season in New York, the capital of American dance at that time. What the study projected was not an artistic but an economic alternative to gain greater stretch of the limited dollars available for dance performances in New York City. At the time, by taking a theatre off Broadway, Merce Cunningham removed himself from the probability of broad critical review. The season was ignored by The New York Times.

The study made a wide range of recommendations starting with the economic principles of federation were applicable in fundraising, marketing, theatre ownership for a thirty two to forty week season, and collective bargaining outside of the League of New York Theaters and Producers.

Norman Rothstein of Theatre Now, Inc., was a consulting partner on this study.


More Feasibility clients

Note: Under leadership, we have listed the individuals we worked most closely within each organization, which sometimes is the president or director and other times may be the development staff.

The Steamship Historical Society of America

The Steamship Historical Society of America

Leadership: Matthew Schulte, Executive Director
Timeframe: 2011


Maryland University of Integrative Health

Leadership: Barbara Ellrich, CEO & Executive VP, & Blaize Connelly-Duggan, VP
Timeframe: 2008