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The Hearing Foundation of Canada (THFC)

Evaluating Potential New Income Streams Targeted to Improving Canadians’ Hearing Health

It was a test. And an important one.

The Hearing Foundation of Canada is funded primarily by private donations, most of which are restricted funds tied to specific uses. THFC wanted to broaden its income streams to develop a more sustainable funding model. A charitable organization dedicated to eliminating the devastating effects of hearing loss on Canadians, the Foundation promotes prevention and early diagnosis and supports leading-edge medical research to improve treatment.

“We engaged Endeavour because we needed answers before we decided to pursue our idea of establishing a sustainable funding initiative, but did not have the funding for a feasibility study.”

The Challenge

While the board and management of THFC had a number of ideas for establishing new income streams, there was a twist. There were no funds for a feasibility study.

Enter Endeavour. Could Endeavour Volunteer Consulting for Non-profits, they hoped, test the viability of the potential ventures? These included a website that would provide ads and online services such as a store locator and co-operative advertising with industry and media partners.

Our Approach

Endeavour was up for the task. But first, the consulting team wanted to determine what constraints could impact this litmus test for success. They started by conducting preliminary research and interviews, which revealed several issues that could affect the results of the feasibility study. First, the project was being conducted during a severe global economic downturn. Second, limited resources restricted interview sample sizes, affecting the margin for error. And third, each income stream was being assessed as a stand-alone solution whereas they might not be implemented this way.

With these considerations in mind, the Endeavour team moved forward, conducting interviews with prospective industry and media partners to assess interest in co-op advertising. They also investigated start-up and operating costs for each potential income source, preparing detailed projections.

Ultimately, Endeavour recommended both a website and print materials to address needs for awareness and information accessibility. However the team tempered the recommendation by cautioning these initiatives would require substantial investments of cost and time – important considerations in light of the existing economic climate and THFC’s limited human resources.

“The consulting team was great, very tenacious. We absolutely see the benefit in working with Endeavour again, especially when we have another project like this one, where it might work, but then again, it might not.”

The Outcome

Based on the results of the feasibility study, The Hearing Foundation of Canada decided the marketplace response was not strong enough to divert the resources required to launch the initiatives. By clearly pointing out the pros and cons of the proposed projects, the study reduced THFC’s risk of failure. As well, several of Endeavour’s suggestions for the Foundation’s website will be implemented in the next upgrade.

This litmus test was a definite success.

“I would recommend Endeavour to both small- and medium-sized charities. Working with Endeavour will allow them to ask more “what if” questions without spending big dollars on something that might not be feasible in the end.”

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