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Strong leadership allows Rice Memorial High School to fundraise through pandemic

By Steier Tips

COVID-19 was officially deemed a pandemic on March 11, 2020. That day all aspects of American life began retreating from the public square, exemplified by a 1,200-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average — a plunge that ended an 11-year bull market. A week later, on March 18, the leadership at Rice Memorial High School in Burlington, Vermont decided to continue their fundraising campaign. Similar projects across the country were paused out of concern for the impending social and economic fallout. But Rice Memorial’s leaders went on to run a successful campaign thanks to their vision, skill and boldness. “We had…

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Tools to stock your fundraising toolkit in 2021

By Steier Tips

The fundraising landscape changed dramatically in 2020. But the Steier Group’s message to our partners has remained the same – keep communicating, keep sharing your story, keep shaping your vision and keep asking for support. Do not leave these most important tools in your arsenal on the sidelines. Your donors want to support your organization and are eager to help. Your needs are real and aren’t going away. Whether it is a debt reduction campaign or a campaign to expand your campus, address deferred maintenance, or strengthen an endowment, nonprofits across the country are finding success. As you strive for…

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Holy Trinity Parish found fundraising success during pandemic

By Steier Tips

The easy out when COVID-19 hit would have been for Holy Trinity Parish to delay its capital campaign until the pandemic had passed. With that approach, the Catholic community in Eldorado Hills, California, would still be waiting to relaunch its campaign. Instead, the parish continued with its effort to reduce historic debt with a temporary redirect to shore up its offertory during the initial wave of the pandemic, said Jeremy Youngers, parish life director. “Our parish responded in amazing ways,” he said. “Our approach was intentional in every step. It came down to our pastor communicating the message.” Holy Trinity, months earlier,…

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Why should we conduct a debt reduction campaign?

By Steier Tips

Is debt holding your organization back from reaching its full potential? Debt can be unavoidable – constructing a new facility or expanding your campus is vital yet expensive. But, often, organizations struggle under the weight of debt – holding back expansion and growth or services offered. Servicing debt can be a daunting challenge for a parish and a strain on the operational budget. Through a debt reduction campaign, nonprofits can eliminate a substantial amount of debt (or all of it) in a short period of time and repurpose those funds toward other essential priorities. While the pandemic may seem like…

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Lessons learned during the pandemic will stick with fundraisers

By Steier Tips

The extreme nature of the changes to society during the pandemic challenged fundraisers to evolve our strategies – almost overnight – in ways that were and still are unimaginable. In our current environment, with social distancing restrictions, quarantines and face masks, there is one constant – there is no magic recipe for fundraising. There are, however, many tools that can be adapted strategically by an organization to ensure fundraising success. They helped many nonprofits stay above water in 2020 and will be just as important in 2021 and beyond as vaccines roll out and things evolve into a new normal….

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Five ways to steward your donors from a safe social distance

By Steier Tips

Each Thanksgiving, millions of Americans share what they’re thankful for. Perhaps your family even went around the dinner table (or Zoom call) and individually expressed gratitude. During this holiday season, nonprofit organizations should be doing the same: expressing gratitude. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a more important time to steward your donors. Though millions of Americans remain out of work and millions more have experienced reductions in pay, donors have stepped up to support charitable causes. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that charitable giving increased by 7.5% during the first half of 2020 when compared to…

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Don’t ignore the benefits of planned giving

By Steier Tips

When we met with Bob and Cecilia as part of their parish planning study, we asked them 12 questions. Question 10 was: “Have you considered St. Mary’s in your will?” They looked at each other and said, “we’ve thought about it, but we’ve never gotten around to it, can you help?” Yes, we can. With a phone call from a grateful pastor and a helpful diocesan employee in the development office, Bob and Cecilia completed their will bequeathing St. Mary’s their home, valued at $450,000. Would you be willing to spend a little time and money if it resulted in…

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Four ways to increase your annual giving during the pandemic

By Steier Tips

A physician was once seeing his patient, the principal of his high school alma mater. Asking how the school was doing, the principal shared they were trying to raise money to improve classroom technology. The doctor asked, “How much would that cost?” to which the principal replied, “We think around $50,000.” At the end of the appointment, the doctor offered to write the school a check to cover the full cost. Surprised, the principal asked, “Are you sure?” “My friend,” the doctor replied, “if someone says they want to give you $50,000, don’t ask them if they’re sure. And yes,…

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What to do if your PPP money is running out

By Steier Tips

For many nonprofits, the Paycheck Protection Program provided a much-needed life raft during the early days of the pandemic. Religious organizations have received an estimated $6 billion to $9 billion in COVID relief funds. Catholic dioceses received $1.4 billion. These loans, many of which will be forgiven, have provided urgent relief, saved four million jobs and enabled nonprofits to continue to serve their communities. However, because initial PPP recipients were required to spend their loans within eight weeks, a time period which was later extended to 24 weeks, the funding is quickly running dry for an increasing number of organizations….

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Now’s a great time to conduct a census

By Steier Tips

Remember when you cancelled your landline or got a new email address? Did you call this change into your parish office? Did you alert your church administrator? Likely no. Parishes and congregations are finding out during COVID-19 that membership rosters are ready for a refresh. It may be time to conduct a census. The outcome will be a roster that contains current email addresses, mailing addresses and cell phone numbers for your supporters. You also may discover that some constituents have moved away – and didn’t leave a forwarding address. The result will be a more accurate database. Is it…

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