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

Pre-Development Self-Assessment Form

Planning a sustainable capital project may be one of the biggest tasks that an organization undertakes. It often requires more time and resources than anticipated. The most successful projects occur when planning begins early and considers community needs, potential collaboration, organizational capacity, and sustainability.

A successful capital project requires a strategic and integrated approach. Organizations must look for community support and be realistic about what they need, what they can afford, and what they can reasonably expect to raise.

Assuring that a project is the appropriate size to meet the needs of the community begins with initial conversations and continues through the ribbon cutting. At every step, organizations should ask themselves “what is the least amount we can fix, build, or buy to achieve the greatest community impact?” This question is a new way of framing a capital project in Alaska, but it is key to our collective success. It will ensure that we build the appropriately sized building, and it will keep us all grounded in the true needs of our communities.

The following questions will help you and your board determine your starting point so you can begin a strategic conversation on what is appropriate for your organization and how you move forward once you’ve started.

A. Organizational Considerations

A1 What is your organization’s core mission?
A2 How does this project fit into your core mission?
A3 Does your organization/community have a strategic/community plan? If so, how does this project fit into the plan?
A4 Has your board expressed support for this project? How?
A5 Has a project management team been established for this project? Who is on it? What is their expertise? Are you missing some skill sets to plan a successful project?
A6 Has funding been identified for Pre-D activities? How much? Is it enough?
A7 Is your organization using a balance sheet and audit format that specifies unrestricted and restricted assets?
A8 How many months operating reserves do you maintain?
A9 Have you explored opportunities for collaboration with other organizations on this project? Which organizations? What is their role in the collaboration?

B. Program Considerations

B1 What are your current services and how will the project enhance or expand your services?
B2 Has the target population been identified? Describe its characteristics. How will it benefit from this project?

C. Site Considerations

C1 Has a site been identified for this project? Describe how its characteristics make it appropriate for this project.
C2 Were alternative sites fully evaluated? Why were they not chosen?
C3 Has the selected site been evaluated for appropriate size, access, utilities, and environmental constraints? What concerns do you have about any of these considerations?
C4 Has a site plan been completed?
C5 What is the status of site ownership?

D. Facility Considerations

D1 Explain why you need a new, expanded, or remodeled facility.
D2 Have concept plans been developed?
D3 Has a construction cost estimate been prepared? Who prepared it?

E. Financial Considerations

E1 Is the full cost of the project identified?
E2 What funding has been identified for different stages of the capital project?

  1. Pre-development research and planning
  2. Capital campaign
  3. Design & build
  4. Operating & maintenance
E3  How will you fund the project?

  • Equity
  • Debt (try to avoid)
  • Government sources (federal, state, & local)
  • Capital Campaign (foundations & individual giving)
E4 How will increased operating expenses be covered?