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Steier Tips

What is a donor advised fund and how can it help your organization?

By Steier Tips

The world of nonprofit fundraising is filled with assumptions and misconceptions, many of which are held and advanced by professionals within its own ranks. One such example is that foundations are made, maintained and funded by the uber-wealthy, leaving the rest of the population with only traditional gifting vehicles such as multi-year pledges, gifts of cash and stock transfers. This narrative is obviously a generalization. As proof, consider the recent offering by Schwab Charitable that allows prospective donors to open a Donor Advised Fund with a minimal contribution of $5,000. While this vehicle may allow John Doe to feel like…

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Four tips for successful year-end fundraising

By Steier Tips

The end of summer is a great time to review your year-end fundraising program. The fourth quarter is such an important time for nonprofits as donors decide where to send their final donations of the year. Thinking ahead now will put your organization in a great spot for a successful end-of-year appeal. Here are a few things to keep in mind as the end of 2019 approaches: Look back at your yearly goals and evaluate your performance. Were expectations unfulfilled, met or exceeded? Remember to engage your staff, donors and volunteers in this process through a year-end survey or poll….

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What to do between capital campaigns

By Steier Tips

You’ve just finished a successful capital campaign. Time to celebrate! All that hard work has helped you get a long-awaited project off the ground. However, you knew this project was going to take more than one capital campaign to accomplish. You’ve raised enough to get the project started, but you have more pieces that are part of your vision. And your organization needs some time in between campaigns. What do you do in between campaigns to sustain your vision and put yourself in position for a successful follow-up effort? Here are a few ideas: Effectively follow up on the first…

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Capital campaign follow-up leads to even greater success

By Steier Tips

So, your campaign ends with great success. Your effort raised millions, meaning you can address your organization’s pressing needs. You mark the achievement with a donor/volunteer appreciation party, say goodbye to your fundraising counsel, close the door on the capital campaign and wait for the pledge payments to arrive. Scenarios like this play out in the nonprofit community all the time thanks to generous benefactors and dedicated volunteers. But while the sacrifice of donors and the efforts of the campaign team eventually translate into completed projects or funded programs, the fundraising should not end with the conclusion of the active…

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Don’t miss out on donors by ignoring digital giving in a capital campaign

By Steier Tips

For a student, 10 percent is the difference between earning a grade of B or that coveted A. For a baseball player, 10 percent is the difference between being a good hitter or among the best all-time hitters in the game. For your capital campaign – and more importantly, for your cause – 10 percent is the difference between Almost and We did it! In its Charitable Giving Report, the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact reported that nearly 10 percent of fundraising in the Faith Communities sector in 2018 came from online giving. Other sectors, such as Arts & Culture, K-12 Education and Animal…

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Support from staff, volunteers critical to capital campaign success

By Steier Tips

At a recent 10k race, I looked around at the starting line and noticed how many people were there. Not just the runners stretching before the race. There were course marshals, volunteers, spectators and all the people associated with the event behind the scenes. I see a race like this as a great metaphor for running a capital campaign. Before toeing the starting line, many training miles must be run in preparation. By the time most supporters of your organization learn about a proposed campaign, many months, if not years, of planning have gone into this vision. Leaders of the…

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Five capital campaign mistakes and how to avoid them

By Steier Tips

If you’re like many of the nonprofits with which we partner at the Steier Group, it’s been several years – or possibly even several decades – since your last capital campaign. You may be wondering how to start a campaign in the first place. And certainly, you’re hoping to avoid any capital campaign mistakes that could derail your effort. Even the most well-meaning nonprofit CEOs and development directors can make mistakes when it comes to capital campaigns. Many of these leaders conduct only a few campaigns over the course of their careers. Here are five of the most common capital campaign…

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Find your way with Stewardship GPS

By Steier Tips

It’s easy to think of a capital campaign in negative terms. It may seem like yet another request for money, a herculean effort to tax our already busy calendars, or — because it isn’t a regular part of our giving — simply an add-on expense. But these perspectives miss the mark when we consider a capital campaign as another expression of Christian stewardship. As King David exclaimed, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (2 Sam 24:24). Scripture is replete with the call to offer God that which is dear to us….

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Major donor engagement is key to fundraising success

By Steier Tips

How well do you know your major donors? Your answer to that question is key to your organization’s chance for fundraising success, especially during a capital campaign. After 21 years of service and more than $2 billion raised for our clients, the Steier Group has learned that there are three critical success factors of a capital campaign: strong leadership at the CEO level, a compelling project vision and a dedicated volunteer force. Even when these factors are met, however, capital campaign success is not guaranteed. Our campaign managers often encounter nonprofits who have misidentified the engagement level of their major…

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Timing is key during transition from a planning study into a capital campaign

By Steier Tips

Great news! Your organization’s recently-completed planning study found strong support for a capital campaign. Your donors are fired up and ready to support such a transformational fundraising effort. You have interested volunteers and leaders excited to step up. What’s your next step? At the Steier Group, we advise our clients to start the capital campaign immediately – preferably in less than two weeks. We have found that delaying the start of a capital campaign after a successful planning study can hinder the success of the effort. In 194 church capital campaigns over the last 10 years, we found that clients…

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