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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.

Four ways to improve your planned giving program

By Steier Tips

Strong planned giving is the hallmark of a high-functioning development program. While many organizations are able to meet their needs through annual fundraising and capital campaigns, planned giving is often the final element that allows a program to reach its full potential. Deferred gifts offer peace of mind to both the donor and the organization. They allow the organization to escape the hand-to-mouth budgeting cycle and plan for the long term. Is your planned giving program meeting its full potential? Here are four ways to boost the power of your deferred gifts: Catalog the planned gifts that already exist: If you…

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Research demonstrates the value of personal visits to fundraising

By Steier Wire

For 20 years, the Steier Group has relied on data analytics to manage our successful campaigns. Our statistics show what we know from experience: People give more to religious and community organizations when they are asked in person for support. The Steier Group recently embarked on a major, two-year research project to quantify exactly how much more effective personal visits are than other solicitation methods. We tracked 51 campaigns and 22,757 donor decisions, analyzing the size of gifts relative to how prospective donors were asked for support. We found that donors, when asked in person, give 54 percent of their…

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Three ways to express your gratitude to donors

By Steier Tips

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” ― Alphonse Karr (1808-1890) As I look back over the Steier Group’s 20 years, I could easily focus on the setbacks, struggles and heartaches. In other words, I could focus on the thorns. But I’m glad to say that when I look at the amazing relationships the Steier Group has developed with our clients, when I survey the good that we’ve achieved together for such noble causes, when I consider the projects accomplished that have borne such fruit for so many, I cannot help but concentrate…

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Why do development directors only last 18 months on the job?

By Steier Tips

Let’s face it: Not everyone is comfortable asking others – especially people they know – for money. It’s an acquired skill, and it takes a bit of courage. It typically takes someone with an outgoing personality who isn’t afraid to hear the answer “no.” Leaders of nonprofit organizations, including religious ones, often find themselves in an endless cycle of replacing their development directors or stewardship coordinators. Many times they believe they have found the perfect person – only to see him or her leave within a year. Sometimes the grass is greener somewhere else, but often losing a quality development…

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Why do a capital campaign feasibility study?

By Steier Tips

When leaders at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Osage, Iowa, retained the services of the Steier Group, they hoped a capital campaign feasibility study would answer two primary questions. First, do their parishioners support plans to build a new, handicap-accessible church? And second, can they raise enough money to fund the project? The answer to both questions was yes, but with a pair of caveats. Parishioners indicated that they would back plans to replace their 89-year-old church building, but only if the cost was feasible. The capital campaign feasibility study revealed significant financial support – the Steier Group projected that…

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What is capital campaign management?

By Steier Tips

“There just isn’t enough time in a day.” How many times have you found yourself speaking or thinking this statement? How many times have you heard that from your organization’s employees or volunteers? Within your organization, chances are good your devoted employees log more than 40 hours each week so that your organization can continue to serve your community. Now imagine adding an additional full-time job – requiring another 40 hours per week – to your employees’ or volunteers’ plate. That’s what capital campaign management is: a full-time job. Managing a capital campaign includes a variety of jobs that exceed…

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After 20 years, the Steier Group formula for capital campaign success remains the same

By Steier Tips

In 1997, I was 31 years old, Mary and I had recently welcomed our second son without knowing that three more would soon follow. I was discerning a career change from the family-run fundraising consulting firm where I was employed. After my best friend passed away, leaving behind his wife and young daughter, the pull became that much stronger. It was then I decided that life was too short not to take the proverbial leap of faith and I decided to start the Steier Group. From day one, we focused on providing our clients with the best service possible. We…

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Why run a capital campaign?

By Steier Tips, Uncategorized

Your board members are in agreement: It’s time for a capital campaign. For many nonprofit CEOs, the thought of launching a capital campaign is a daunting one. You know there will be months of hard work ahead. There are volunteers to recruit, donors to evaluate, a communications plan to implement and special events to host. The list goes on and on. With so many moving parts in a campaign, it can be easy to lose sight of the benefits to your organization. It begs the question, why run a capital campaign?  A recent study conducted by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative…

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Why do capital campaigns fail?

By Steier Tips

Everyone likes to be part of a winning team. Be it sports or politics, we all want to support a winner. That attitude is alive in the fundraising world, too, as people like to know their investment is paying dividends. The payoff is delivered by seeing their nonprofit of choice continuing its mission. But, just as our favorite sports team doesn’t always win the big game, sometimes capital campaigns fail. It’s an unpleasant reality that CEOs, board members and donors occasionally must face. It can be avoided with proper planning. Why does an organization sometimes fall short of its campaign…

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Volunteers are key to fundraising success; don’t be afraid to ask for help

By Steier Tips

Sometimes, you simply must ask. We all know that volunteers are the lifeblood of any nonprofit. We ask them to pitch in at events, to stuff envelopes and to help clean our facilities. But when it comes to recruiting volunteers to assist with capital campaigns, organizational leaders sometimes get cold feet. They create reasons for not asking: She’s too busy. We rely on him for too many other important roles. She may not want to ask people for money. The key to successfully asking people to assist with fundraising is grounded in getting to know them. Familiarity leads to knowing…

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