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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.

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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Why should our organization conduct a planning study?

By Steier Tips

There has been a lot of discussion recently, on blogs and in trade journals, as to the value of a planning study for an organization that is about to embark on a capital campaign. A friend and former client asked for my thoughts on the matter, “Do you think planning studies are still necessary?” My answer was an unequivocal “yes.” A professional planning study is critical to the success of a capital campaign. WHAT DOES A CAMPAIGN PLANNING STUDY PROVIDE? A good planning study involves questioning, measuring, testing and, above all, listening to what your donors are saying about your…

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No need to apologize when asking for donations

By Steier Tips

Some apologies are a must: neglecting to take out the trash on garbage pick-up day (guilty) and accidentally breaking your child’s favorite toy (guilty again). Some apologies, however, should remain unspoken. A request for support for an organization that does good work resides at the top of this list. Too often, development directors, stewardship coordinators and volunteers with a passion for a cause feel compelled to piggyback a request for support with an apology for asking. “Sorry to bother you.” “Sorry to ask you for such a large gift.” “Sorry to ask you for support when times are so tough.”…

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Passing on the torch to millennials

By Steier Tips

There is a good chance your organization has discussed the idea of how to reach the millennial generation. Smart leaders recognize the importance of keeping young people integrated and active within churches, schools and community nonprofits. It is critical to engage young constituents – one day they will serve as the next generation of leaders. Without young, dedicated people in our communities, our missions and organizations would cease to exist. I’ve identified three areas on which to focus when it comes to engaging this unique and sometimes hard-to-reach generation. CONNECT Start with active members. These individuals may have children in…

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Boost your planned giving program with a legacy society

By Steier Tips

A legacy society is an effective planned giving program that thanks your current planned giving donors and creates a vehicle to cultivate and encourage new donors. A legacy society also allows you to deepen your relationship with existing donors, which could lead to new gifts or plant the seeds for larger gifts in the future. Before you introduce a legacy society, designate a special name that is meaningful to your organization. Considering naming the society after your founder or an important figure in your organization’s history. Once you have a name in place, it’s time to recruit members. Have the…

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Two questions to ask yourself before you start a capital campaign

By Steier Tips

As the calendar turns from year to year, you may be tempted to closely examine your master plan with the desire to take the next step toward fulfilling that strategic blueprint. Such intentions, designed to ensure or enhance the integrity of an organization’s mission, invariably lead to a discussion of a capital campaign and the best time for leadership to accept a major undertaking. Before moving forward and accepting the challenge, all nonprofits need to answer two capital campaign questions. First, study the validity of the project. Whether considering the construction of a new building, the expansion of the current…

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IRA Charitable Rollover – what you need to know

By Steier Tips

The IRA Charitable Rollover, a popular charitable giving tool for donors age 70½ and older, is available from now until the end of the year. On December 16, Congress passed legislation that included the IRA Charitable Rollover and the president is expected to sign it soon. However, this opportunity is only available through December 31, 2014. Donors age 70½ and older may transfer up to $100,000 from their IRA to a qualified public charity. The transfer is free of federal income tax and the gift qualifies for the donor’s 2014 required minimum distribution (RMD). Unfortunately, time is short to take…

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