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Steier Tips

After nearly a quarter century of helping nonprofits plan, reach and exceed their fundraising goals, we’ve accomplished a lot – and learned a thing or two. Our Steier Tips page features the latest Steier Group fundraising advice from our team of experts, case studies and helpful insight to consider as you plan your next campaign.

Take note to write a letter relevant to your donors

By Steier Tips

In the age of constant contact and instant messaging, the art of letter writing can seem quite lost. At one time, writing a letter was the next best thing to a personal visit, as paper passed from the hands of the writer into the hands of the receiver. In efforts to increase delivery speed and reduce consumption, letters are delivered now via multiple channels. Whether in paper or electronic form, letters remain an essential component of business communication. Here at the Steier Group, we rely on letters to introduce, confirm and thank. Letters continue to be a feature of web…

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Social media has a campaign role, just don’t expect Ice Bucket Challenge level of success

By Steier Tips

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Relief Effort represent philanthropic home runs. Employing social media platforms, both campaigns secured an unprecedented number of modest contributions from an international pool of donors and raised tens of millions of dollars. If you are tempted to replace personal visits with social media to secure gifts to your capital campaign, ask two practical questions: How many $10, $50 or $100 gifts do you need to fund your upcoming project? How long is the list of donors likely to give to your campaign? The ALS and Red Cross campaigns succeeded with…

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A few ideas for year-end planned gifts

By Steier Tips

It’s time. As we enter the homestretch of the year, charitable organizations are turning their focus to year-end giving strategies. Often overlooked during this time are opportunities to present specific (sometimes creative) charitable gift planning ideas. Your donors are making plans to review their estates with accountants, attorneys and financial advisors – now is the season to educate them and present opportunities for gifts in wills, charitable trusts, life insurance policies or other deferred giving methods. Here are some ideas to enhance the marketing of planned gifts as the year comes to a close: Send a Thanksgiving Day note of…

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Don’t forget the thank you note

By Steier Tips

The importance of a well-written thank you note is arguably best defined in this comment by Dale Carnegie: “Writing a sincere thank you note is one of the professional skills that can make a lasting, favorable impression.” Acts of compassion must be recognized. No matter the size of the donation or sacrifice, people appreciate being thanked. They want to be reminded they are making a difference. And in today’s web-driven world, an email, text or tweet does not make the same impact as an old fashion, handwritten thank you note arriving in the mail. When considering who should write the…

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Inspiring support in capital campaigns

By Steier Wire

Early this year, I challenged my team to take a critical look at our strategic plan and to share their most honest feedback about areas in need of growth. Our online presence and the overall Steier Group brand emerged as a topic of discussion over and over again. I must admit, the initial recommendations to revamp both our brand and website made me leery. But today, I can tell you with certainty that it was the right decision. Since 1997, we have grown from one to 50 employees with loyal clients stretching from coast to coast. And over the last…

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Beware the bake sale

By Steier Tips

The building project has finally been approved and it’s time to raise funds to turn this long-awaited dream into a reality. You put your apron on because you know you’ll need to sell more than a few desserts to get where you want to go. After you, and countless others, have put in hours, days and weeks of planning and baking, you’re finally ready for the annual bake sale. When it’s all said and done, you netted $900 toward your multi-million dollar project. Sound familiar? I love a good piece of apple pie, but when your organization needs to raise…

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Capital campaign philosophy: people give to people, especially people they know

By Steier Tips

Let’s face it: People typically don’t enjoy asking their friends, neighbors and coworkers for money. At the Steier Group, this approach to fundraising has led to hundreds of successful capital campaigns for our clients. Our clients know our capital campaign philosophy is based on two simple premises: People give to people they know People give when asked Sometimes, our clients shy away from using personal visits as the staple in their campaigns. They would rather ask for support through group gatherings, telephone calls or direct mail. We know that our campaigns are most successful when prospective donors receive a personal…

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Three questions to ask when donors remember you in their will

By Steier Tips

When you learn your organization has been named in a donor’s will it can be a very exciting, but sometimes confusing, time. The planned gift may be from a faithful donor who is well known to you and your organization. But sometimes it’s from a donor who has no apparent connection to your organization, and you have no record of them in your database. In either case, you should ask three important questions after learning that someone has remembered your organization in his/her will: “Who is the personal representative?”: The personal representative (or executor) is the person named in the…

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Why pay for capital campaign counsel?

By Steier Wire

Former clients often have a confession: They never imagined conducting a capital campaign would take so much time and effort. These same clients originally wondered whether they could run their campaigns without outside counsel. I’m routinely asked why organizations should incur the cost of hiring an organization, such as the Steier Group, to run their campaigns. I typically answer their question with a few of my own: Does your organization have a staff member who can devote 100 percent of his or her time to the campaign for the next six months (or longer)? Our campaign managers typically devote up…

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Is this the right time for a capital campaign?

By Steier Tips

It’s often the first question I am asked when I sit down with a potential client, “Jim, are we ready for a campaign?” The question, in theory, should be a straight forward “yes” or “no.” But as anyone who works in development knows, there are far more factors to be considered before you can make an educated answer. As you begin to consider the possibility of a capital campaign, do a quick inventory and ask yourself a few questions, but make sure you give honest answers. It’s a simple and quick exercise that will benefit you in the long run….

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