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The top five fears of development directors

By Steier Tips

Launching a campaign can seem daunting. Through the years, we’ve faced plenty of challenges that have the potential to derail campaigns and haunt development directors. Here are some of the top fears of development directors and how to overcome each: A Bad Donor Database: You don’t want to go to a cupboard you think is stocked only to find nothing on the shelves. Donors come and go, so your database must be equally fluid. An outdated donor database wreaks havoc on a campaign. When there is no list of potential donors and no giving history, it makes accurate donor evaluation…

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Giving is personal: Cookie-cutter approaches to fundraising don’t work

By Steier Tips

It typically starts something like this: Campaign leaders are talking strategy with their campaign manager about how to raise the necessary funds to meet their goal, when someone asks: “How many – take your pick: parishioners, members, donors – do we have?” Followed by: “How much money do we need to meet our goal?” Next comes a moment of silence as the person who started the conversation does some quick division. “That means if we asked everyone to give – fill in the amount – we would reach our goal.” If only it was that simple. For the past 19…

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In-kind support is just one way to fundraise outside the box

By Steier Tips

Nonprofit organizations face the constant and ongoing challenge of raising dollars to fund their missions. Oftentimes, donors complain that they are approached too often or that nonprofits should look to other sources in order to obtain support. While those closest to your organization will always be the strongest givers, there may be other opportunities worth considering. LOCAL BUSINESSES AND VENDORS Most nonprofits have a list of vendors with whom they work on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. Approaching those vendors for occasional support is another good way to help your nonprofit. Typically, if the vendor wants to maintain a…

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Avoid losing touch with your donors by conducting a census

By Steier Tips

A common dilemma facing nonprofits prior to the start of a capital campaign or planning study is an out-of-date database. Despite the fact that the database is among an organization’s most valuable fundraising tools, it often goes neglected with thoughts of updating it ignored until a large stack of “return to sender” surveys or letters arrives in the mailbox. Such an approach can prove costly, not only in lost postage and materials, but more importantly, lost contact with a nonprofit’s most valuable resource, its donors. To avoid such a predicament, it is wise to take a periodic roll call of…

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A different IRA conversation

By Steier Tips

Donors may be asking if the popular IRA Charitable Rollover will become available before the end of the year. The short answer? We don’t know. For the foreseeable future, this is a question your donors may have to ask on an annual basis, and you are wise to have an answer ready for them. Donors age 70½ and older will spend the next two months waiting to see if Congress will pass legislation allowing for outright gifts from their IRAs. And every day that passes is an opportunity to have a different kind of IRA conversation. While focusing on the…

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Connect with your donors by sharing your organization’s story

By Steier Tips

I’ve always thought that a good story not shared is a missed opportunity to inform people about the good work your parish or organization does. I remember the wonderful stories about heroes that my parents told me as a child. I passed those stories on to my children – I hope they’ll do the same with theirs. Your organization – religious, community-based or social service – does good work. It helps people. That leaves you with stories to tell. I suggest you add sharing those stories to your year-end to-do list. Here are a few ways: Sharing stories about how…

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DIY or don’t? When to call in the fundraising pros

By Steier Tips

I admit I can be a bit of a weekend warrior when it comes to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects. Many of which I have started and have yet to finish. I have learned the hard way that there are definitely times when it is best to call in an expert. The same can be said of DIY fundraising efforts. Recently a former client shared the scenario that led his parish to the Steier Group: When we first started planning the campaign, the entire core group was of the opinion that we could run this campaign ourselves. As the process progressed, we…

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One thank you isn’t enough for a major fundraising effort

By Steier Tips

Think back to a time when you were engaged in a major fundraising effort, meeting with donors on a daily basis, sharing your vision for the future and inviting them to be a part of your organization’s success. With any luck, your supporters answered the call, you thanked them, and your initiatives and projects benefitted from their generosity. How long ago was that? Beyond your initial thank-you, have you reached out to update donors on the progress of the projects they supported? Have you communicated the impact your donors’ gifts have made? If you haven’t practiced consistent follow-up, I invite…

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Designing a winning volunteer team

By Steier Tips

Throughout history, successful armies have received wise leadership from their generals who coordinate positions and strategies, working to win a war. However, while an army’s leaders may spend hours discerning, studying and calculating before making a decision, it’s the frontline troops who put a plan into action. When reviewing the organizational structure of your campaign, you may consider your volunteer team in the same light. A pastor, CEO or president represents the five-star general, while the volunteer team serves as the troops, the foot soldiers responsible for enacting campaign strategy. And just as a successful army requires dependable troops so…

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Tips for hosting a successful capital campaign event

By Steier Tips

Campaign events can be tricky. Your guests know they’ve been invited for a reason – you’d like them to consider making a gift. But you also want to show your deep appreciation and gratitude. It’s a delicate balance because these gatherings are cultivation events and also platforms for your request for support. Donors expect a lot from you at these events. Noting that these gatherings are a representation of your overall fundraising effort, donors want to see an organized yet thoughtful occasion. When planning your next campaign event, consider some of the following tips: Engage your volunteer team and ask…

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