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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.

Capital campaigns bolster annual giving programs

By Steier Tips

As Steier Group clients prepare to embark upon major capital campaigns, the fears that they express most often are related to increased workloads for their staff members and the worry that a campaign may negatively impact the organization’s annual giving program. At every development and fundraising conference I have attended during the past 25 years – and within the pages of every capital campaign book or manual I have ever read – experts claim that campaigns actually produce a positive impact on annual giving. So, over the years, as I stood in front of church councils, leadership committees, trustee groups,…

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Keep a successful annual appeal separate from capital campaigns

By Steier Tips

Can you have too much of a good thing? When it comes to an annual appeal the answer is “yes.” The Steier Group works often with nonprofits that pushed too hard and too fast on their annual appeals. “Our annual appeal brings in great returns. Let’s make it into a campaign by increasing the goals and the amount we request. We will have even bigger success!” That’s usually how the thinking goes. Unfortunately for organizations that attempt this, the end result often leaves much to be desired. Not only does it harm your annual giving program in the long term,…

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New Year’s resolutions that could hinder your nonprofit’s fundraising

By Steier Tips

In the last twenty years, I have seen many New Year’s resolutions drafted by nonprofit leaders — some were achieved and others were forgotten. As you plan for the future, here are a few resolutions to avoid, as they could do serious harm to your organization’s mission: This year, we’ll rely on our staff. Managing volunteers is just too messy. At first, it may seem wise to leave the fulfillment of your mission to trained professionals. It is a challenge to manage and retain good volunteers. However, volunteers serve a critical role in your organization. They are ambassadors of goodwill…

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Capital campaign donor recognition is key to fundraising success

By Steier Tips

What donor wouldn’t want his or her name on a building? Capital campaign donor recognition levels are key to fundraising success. There are many ways to recognize a donor, from the simple, like thank you notes, to the complex, like naming opportunities. Done correctly, a donor recognition program can help you dramatically increase the funds raised during your capital campaign. Because of a successful naming opportunity, a recent Steier Group client was able to secure the first of many $1 million dollar gifts. The right opportunity presented to the right donor can build a meaningful, long-term relationship that is mutually…

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Five key steps to launching a planned giving program

By Steier Tips

According to the Center on Philanthropy, donors that make planned gifts also increase their current giving. Planned giving provides short- and long-term benefits to your organization. Starting a planned giving program is a vital step in securing a strong financial future for your organization. Here are five key steps to beginning your planned giving program: Educate your constituents: Between half and two-thirds of Americans do not have an estate plan in place. Encouraging your donors to sit down and map out a plan is good advice for any family and presents an opportunity for your organization to receive a planned…

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Proper planning yields successful capital campaigns

By Steier Tips

In a major fundraising effort, you will face a number of difficult questions and decisions. None may be bigger than this: Where do we begin? Simply put, the planning stages of successful capital campaigns can begin long before your initial call to the Steier Group. We want to be part of your planning process, but we also know we do our best work when we partner with you at the right time. That “right time” for your organization usually means after you have accomplished some, if not all, of the following: Strategic plan: Putting together a strategic plan allows you…

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Funding a new spiritual home in East Tennessee

By Steier Wire

Diocesan capital campaigns are challenging even when the goals have widespread support. When you’re raising money for a cathedral, the challenges can seem insurmountable. The Diocese of Knoxville, a young, vibrant and growing diocese, faced a major challenge: It lacked a true cathedral to call home. The need was obvious, but the benefits of a cathedral can be a difficult sell to those outside the cathedral parish. So how did 51 parishes dispersed across East Tennessee come together and raise more than $44 million? By listening to their pastors and parishioners, adjusting their plan, securing gifts from outside the diocese…

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Powering your capital campaign with data

By Steier Wire

Good data is the cornerstone of a modern, successful fundraising effort. A solid capital campaign database with updated contact information and previous donation information proves vital to a successful effort. The Steier Group helps our clients use wealth research to get a feel for what is possible through a campaign. Then we use that data to design compelling infographics that inspire donors to give. For our diocesan clients, the effective use of data can add millions to a campaign total. Database management An updated capital campaign database is a powerful tool for any diocesan fundraising effort. It’s the key to…

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Are you ready for a diocesan capital campaign?

By Steier Wire

Diocesan capital campaigns are a big undertaking. They require time, energy and often years of planning. They require strong leadership, capable volunteers, competent staff and lots of coffee. Here are five questions to gauge if your diocese is ready to take the next step towards a diocesan-wide effort: Are these really needs? Do we have a pool of capable volunteers and possible donors? YES: Proceed to the next question. UNSURE: A campaign planning study will unlock that knowledge. Proceed to the next question. NO TO BOTH: You are not ready for a diocesan campaign. Can we present a compelling case?…

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Raising mission awareness, ministry and money through capital campaigns

By Steier Tips

Fundraising beyond your organization’s yearly events can be intimidating. Building a new worship space, strengthening an endowment for tuition assistance or reducing debt require extraordinary efforts. You can’t just pass the plate a second time. The idea of a capital campaign is often seen as a major chore; something that you have to do, but don’t want to do. It shouldn’t be that way. Capital campaigns offer a great opportunity to accomplish much more than raising money. When done correctly, campaigns build a sense of community in your donors, sharpen the work you’re already doing and serve as a launching…

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