Feasibility studies are investigations into the potential benefits associated with undertaking a specific activity or project. Before your community group begins a new project or development, you should consider all the pros and cons, look at any potential threats to your proposals and be in a position to identify solutions. A feasibility study will help your group to do this.
The main purpose of a feasibility study is to consider all the factors associated with the project, and determine if the investment of time and other resources will yield a desirable result. Although very often feasibility studies are preliminary investigations, they can end up being highly detailed.
As well as looking at potential costs and value, feasibility studies should also offer comment on the impact the project may have on the community, local economy and environment and should suggest ideas for long-term development. Weighing all these things up will determine whether or not the proposal or project is feasible.
Who should carry out the feasibility study?
Start with what you already know. Your group may already have some of the information it needs to help pull a feasibility study together itself. If the scale of the project means that the feasibility study needs to look beyond the scope of information you already hold, then consider commissioning a consultant. Your local Third Sector Interface will be able to make suggestions to help with this.
Things to include as part of a feasibility study
Your feasibility study should start with an overview of the project proposal, your group’s background and a description of the project - outlining objectives, key features, location, links with other projects.
Your group may have already carried out an assessment of the demand for your proposal. Perhaps you have conducted a community consultation which can offer evidence that you have listened to the community and can prove that there is a need or demand for your proposals, as well as community support. These findings can be included in the feasibility study. You will also want to consider:-
- how you intend to market your project to potential users
- how will the project be financed? Have you identified any potential funding sources? Include details of your group's own contributions (which may be in-kind and/or in cash), donations, loans, charitable trusts, grants etc
Next, think about the finances of the proposal or project. What are the potential development costs - buildings, equipment, etc.? Have you included a contingency allowance? Do you have projections for income and expenditure including potential running costs related to the scale of expected demand, including staff, rates, rent and insurance, equipment and materials, etc.
You will need to outline how your group will manage the project and who will be responsible for what. This includes your management structure, day-to-day management, reporting procedures, policies, etc.
What legal requirements have you identified? Are there any planning applications to submit? Have you considered things like Health and Safety implications? Does you group have an Equal Opportunities or Diversity Policy?
Will you be liable to pay any tax associated with the project costs?
If the feasibility study concludes that the project or proposal is viable, your group can use it as the basis to write a business plan, and/or funding application.
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Last Updated 04/02/2013 11:51