Three questions to ask when donors remember you in their will

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… Read more »

Why pay for capital campaign counsel?

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… Read more »

Is this the right time for a capital campaign?

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… Read more »

Communicating success to donors cultivates stronger bonds

Raising large sums of money can be a strenuous process. There must be a focused investment of time and resources in order to communicate your needs to donors and ultimately secure a gift. Oftentimes, organizations get so caught up in securing the actual commitment that they neglect one of the most important steps in donor cultivation: communicating your success. Donors want specifics. They want to know how their gift is being used to further your… Read more »

Don’t leave your staff out of capital campaign loop

The decision has been made, and it’s a big one: your organization will move forward with a capital campaign. These are exciting times, but your to-do list is about to grow considerably. First things first: Don’t forget your staff. Make sure employees, at every level, are notified first about this big decision. Don’t let them hear second-hand from a volunteer or donor. They deserve to hear this important news from you. Their buy-in and support… Read more »

Calm should reign during challenging capital campaigns

Capital campaigns are often times of celebration in an organization’s history. The need for funding can mean the organization is growing, expanding, serving more and doing more. From the satisfaction of securing those first large gifts, to confirming key leaders, to publicly kicking off the effort and building excitement around the long-term vision, a campaign brings a community together in the spirit of stewardship, generosity and, ideally, sacrificial giving. There are times, however, when a… Read more »