After 20 years, the Steier Group formula for capital campaign success remains the same

Steier Group | Capital Campaign Success

In 1997, I was 31 years old, Mary and I had recently welcomed our second son without knowing that three more would soon follow. I was discerning a career change from the family-run fundraising consulting firm where I was employed. After my best friend passed away, leaving behind his wife and young daughter, the pull became that much stronger. It was then I decided that life was too short not to take the proverbial leap of faith and I decided to start the Steier Group.

From day one, we focused on providing our clients with the best service possible. We quickly realized that to accomplish that goal, the Steier Group needed to hire great people to carry out our campaign model.

The Steier approach is one of personalized, attentive service with customized fundraising strategies. We found that assigning our campaign managers to one project at a time and serving our clients on-site three days per week allows our employees to maintain a healthy balance between work and family. This model allows us to hire the best people who provide top-notch services to our clients. This leads to capital campaign success.

As word of the Steier Group’s commitment to quality service spread, our company continued to expand. As we grew, we improved on the services we provide by adding specialists in planned giving, copy writing, foundation research, grant writing, wealth research and graphic design. We are proud that our firm is viewed as an industry leader by offering a one-stop shop for professional development services.

A major key to our fundraising model has been personal contact with donors. Personal contact leads to capital campaign success. A 2009 survey by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University found that donors give 42 percent more when approached with a personal request by someone they know. Using this knowledge as the foundation of our efforts, while adjusting to meet the unique needs of each client, the Steier Group has raised 115 percent of goals on average.

With every project, we stay focused on delivering the right set of services for a client’s specific needs. A one-size-fits-all model will never work well for fundraising efforts. Every organization has its own culture, personalities and leadership styles. Fundraising firms must adjust to incorporate an organization’s uniqueness, while still striving to maximize charitable contributions.

Though blessed by all that the last 20 years have brought, our eyes always look toward the future. We hope to continue providing our clients with even better service. To do this, we hope to add to our already robust offering of services while continuing to attract top development talent to our firm. We constantly strive for improvement so that we can continue to serve you best.

As we enter our next 20 years, I am grateful for the dedicated members of our team. Our campaign managers work directly with our clients and the rest of us provide support so that our campaigns surpass their goals. I am also grateful to the clients we have served through the years and the opportunities they have afforded us. It has been a privilege to help so many wonderful organizations fulfill their missions and positively impact the lives of so many.

Finally, I recognize that my career has been made possible through the generosity of others. It still moves me today when I witness the charitable giving made by supporters to worthy causes. Fundraising, when done poorly, can bring out the worst in people. When it is done well, however, it magnifies everything that is good about people. I choose to focus on that.