Planning new facilities, expanding existing ones, or renovating requires specialized guidance and resources.

The Pre-Development Phases

Pre-Development Toolkit

The Pre-Development Toolkit includes information about the design and construction of a sustainable capital project. Our intent is to provide an overview of the process to assist you, your board, and staff in beginning a strategic conversation on what’s appropriate for your organization and how you will move forward together.

The Capital Project Pre-Development Flow Chart is used as a road map and illustrates typical milestones common within the pre-development phases.

Depending on the needs and capacity of your organization, these tools, combined with professional consultation and existing Foraker resources, can provide information to support you in asking the right questions to get started.

Note that this information does not replace professional consultation. Ideally, this toolkit will improve your understanding of what to expect, help you ask good questions, and put you on a successful path ensuring that your proposed project:

  • Meets a documented need
  • Is consistent with strategic community plans
  • Considers opportunities for collaboration
  • Has appropriate facility and site plans and realistic project budgets
  • Is financially viable in the short and long-term
  • Will not have a negative impact on the current or long-term operations of your organization or collaboration

So you want to embark on a capital project and capital campaign?

Foraker has worked with hundreds of Alaska nonprofit organizations, local governments, and tribes in supporting successful capital projects.

During our time working with the Pre-Development Program, we have observed that the most successful projects incorporate these organizational traits:

  • Commitment from a group of leaders (board, staff, volunteers, etc.) who will see the project through from start to finish
  • Commitment to foster and maintain strong leadership within the organization and externally with all the stakeholders
  • Willingness to do the needed homework and be prepared rather than rushing to build or to raise funding
  • Starting from a place of human, financial, and mission strength recognizing that often there are other areas to work on within the organization beyond the capital project
  • Development of achievable goals that inspire better mission delivery in the community
  • Interest in leveraging the project into more than just a successful building (it’s really about the mission)
  • Desire to obtain and use professional expertise
  • Awareness by all involved that this is a lengthy and time-consuming process
  • Recognition of the potential for collaboration to strengthen community outcomes

We established three primary phases toward the development of a new, renovated, or expanded facility:

  1. Organize and Envision the Project
  2. Define and Validate the Project
  3. Proceed to Development

These phases can be found on The Capital Project Pre-Development Flow Chart. Use this flow chart to track milestones as you navigate the pre-development process.

For best results, complete each step in each phase before moving on.

Additional steps, which should occur before launching into project planning will include focusing on organizational readiness to ensure a strong board, staff leadership, financial position, and integration of the capital project into the organization’s strategic plan. If this project is part of a collaboration between public and private partners, or between nonprofits, then each group needs to attend to its own strength and work to bring its best assets forward to begin the Pre-D process.

Exploring a new or modified facility can help clarify the elements that support the successful operation and longevity of your organization. The right capital project can contribute to its viability while the wrong project can threaten it. Anticipate that Pre-D planning, capital campaign efforts, and physical construction will require a significant commitment of your organization’s time and resources. This process will take longer, cost more, and involve more consultants than you may initially expect. Capital Projects Major Phases and Procuring Consultant Services for a Capital Project are two resources that provide a preview of time, scope, and types of consultants generally associated with a capital project.