by Ted Grossnickle
Our JGA team was discussing feasibility studies recently. We were reminded how important it is to get the mechanics of the study done well up front to make the most of the ensuing interviews and ensure that the best, most valuable information can be learned for the client.
The Presidents, CEOs, Chief Development Officers, Board members and others naturally want what we learn to be strategic, sound, insightful and detailed. And that is our chief aim as well.
What is remarkable is how often all of that is put at risk when the mechanics of interviewee scheduling, good case writing, and basic meeting logistics are given only second thought.
It is easy for a Chief Development Officer to not "own" the study process, to just delegate all of those hard work details to an assistant or someone else - and then to not think about it too much more.
The smart Development Chiefs and CEOs are the ones who delegate but make sure the person tasked with scheduling and logistics is given LOTS of support, plenty of dedicated time, and a full understanding of how their work impacts the future of the organization.
The staff person in this role will be making direct contact with people you perceive to be your most important community stakeholders and will have a direct impact on the efficient and effective progression of the study and campaign. The scheduler will play a key role in ensuring that those identified for interviews actually participate and do so in the defined timeframe. A delay in the interview process can impact the study schedule and, ultimately, progress toward your goals.
In choosing someone to be in charge of the logistics and scheduling for your study, JGA suggests that you look for the following qualities:
- Availability: The scheduling process is time consuming, and it is critical that the person chosen have sufficient time and be available throughout the study process.
- Articulate: Some potential interviewees may not be familiar with the feasibility study process. It is important that the scheduler be able to clearly explain the process and its importance.
- Professionalism: The scheduler may be the only direct representative of your organization an interviewee interacts with during the study—be sure the impression they leave will be positive.
- Persistence: A feasibility study is often low on an interviewee’s priority list, and as such, a certain level of persistence is necessary to secure and finalize a time for an interview. The scheduler should be someone comfortable with and skilled at making such requests and following up multiple times, as appropriate.
JGA puts a lot of effort into supporting these people and always sees clients with better results at the end when the person handling the arrangements for the client has done a good job.
We are conducting many studies this year and this has come to front of mind. If you're considering a study, be sure to think through carefully how the process will be supported in your program or office. It will pay off!