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Embracing stewardship helped Diocese of Hamilton in successful campaign

By Steier Tips

How can we ask for money at a time like this? That has been a common question from nonprofits since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in early 2020. For the Diocese of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada, the question arose as it was halfway through its $35 million One Heart, One Soul Campaign. After a brief pause, the diocese restarted its campaign in fall 2020, despite strict limits on Mass attendance and other COVID-related restrictions. The diocese has no regrets. “When you look at this through the lens of stewardship, through the lens of faith, it became clear that the option…

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Newman Center at Northern Arizona University persevered through pandemic challenges

By Steier Tips

When the pandemic shutdown much of the U.S. last year, campaign leadership with the Newman Center at Northern Arizona University (NAU) did not waver. They never hesitated in their goal to continue raising the funding needed to address their capital needs. “I thought ‘God is with us. We can do this,’” said Angela Vargas, the chief operations officer for the ministry center. She served as a leader for the Together, Let Us Go Forth Capital Campaign. While most Americans viewed the restrictions and a slowed economy through unnerving eyes, Vargas remained confident. Aware that leadership with other campaigns across the…

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How to plan a capital campaign launch

By Steier Tips

I wish I could say that launching a capital campaign was as easy as 1-2-3 – meaning you have three easy steps to follow. The process contains more steps than that – and each is critical to your organization’s success. The first step is to determine the need for a capital campaign. Do you need to build an education center? Do you need to reduce debt or strengthen an endowment? Do you need support for operations? Notice the emphasis on “need.” We know from experience that donors prefer to fund needs rather than wants. Donors will support projects that are…

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Planning study feedback proved vital to St. Pius’ successful campaign

By Steier Tips

Planning studies are intended to set the stage for a successful capital campaign. The 2019 study at St. Pius Catholic Church in Urbandale, Iowa, accomplished just that. The parish took into consideration its parishioners’ feedback, adjusted its campaign goals and ultimately raised over $5 million through the Living Our Mission – Building Our Future Capital Campaign. After beginning a master planning process in 2013, parish leaders developed plans to construct a 28,000-square-foot parish center at a cost of $7.3 million. St. Pius engaged the Steier Group to conduct a planning study to gauge support for the project and prepare for…

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What are the responsibilities of a capital campaign manager?

By Steier Tips

As you consider hiring a professional fundraising and development firm to help with your campaign, you might pause to think: “What will a manager do for me?” Or “How can a manager lead us on the path to success?” Campaign managers play a crucial role in any fundraising effort. They set the lead in planning, executing and monitoring projects. Campaign direction and progress revolves around the manager completing their tasks while assisting others with their work. Here are the key duties you should expect your manager to accept during a campaign. Communicating with donors and leadership: External and internal communication…

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Track these important capital campaign metrics to find success

By Steier Tips

For many, only one metric points to capital campaign success – total funds raised. And that is clearly an important metric. But that doesn’t tell the whole story of capital campaign success. True success comes from maximizing your fundraising efforts and inspiring support from your entire community. Here are three important capital campaign metrics to track to ensure a successful capital campaign: Number of personal visits At the Steier Group, our fundraising approach has always focused on personal visits. That’s because our experience has shown personal visits to be the most fruitful fundraising tool. The personal touch of talking about…

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Supporting parishioners during pandemic helped St. Anne in long run

By Steier Tips

Despite significant challenges, including the pandemic, the St. Anne Catholic Community in Houston, Texas, came together to raise more than $19.5 million to fund a complete transformation of its nearly century-old parish campus. “When we decided to move forward with our campaign, we never imagined we would be facing two hurricanes, a global pandemic, an economic shutdown and a change in parish leadership,” said Fr. David Zapalac, CSB, pastor of St. Anne. In late 2019, St. Anne engaged the Steier Group to direct the final wave of their Generations of Faith Capital Campaign. At that point, the campaign had been…

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Capital campaign fundraising costs explained

By Steier Tips

Warning! This Steier Tips article is laced with clichés and overused statements – but they all are purposely included to make the point that partnering with a professional stewardship, fundraising and development firm to run your capital campaign is a wise investment. Don’t go it alone (cliché No. 1) Launching a capital campaign is important, serious business. Some nonprofits are equipped to run their own – if they have a team of professionals on staff who have the experience and time to manage it. Keep in mind, running a campaign is a full-time job – which is why we assign…

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How JPII Newman Center overcame COVID, debt crisis to run a successful campaign

By Steier Tips

A few months into her new role as director of advancement with the St. John Paul II Newman Center, Susan Gnann knew she would soon begin preparing for a fundraising campaign. “I looked at the debt service line item and saw a deficit of $742,000 on a $1.6 million budget,” Gnann said. “I saw that nearly half of our budget was debt. I knew I couldn’t talk to a donor about mission when their money wasn’t going to support our mission or a retreat. I knew we had to run a campaign.” Faced with a $14.6 million construction debt, Gnann…

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Customized donor recognition is key to maintaining relationships

By Steier Tips

Donor recognition and expressing gratitude for gifts received are important development responsibilities for every nonprofit organization. Acknowledging a donor’s generosity begins with the understanding that receiving a gift is the difficult part. Thanking them, it would seem, should be the enjoyable part. Then why do so many nonprofit organizations skip it – or fail to take time to properly thank their donors? Unfortunately, it is because they have already moved on to seeking that next gift. That is a mistake. There are different ways an organization can recognize donors for their generosity. The first is group recognition. Most organizations do…

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