DIY or don’t? When to call in the fundraising pros

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… Read more »

One thank you isn’t enough for a major fundraising effort

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… Read more »

Designing a winning volunteer team

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… Read more »

Tips for hosting a successful capital campaign event

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… Read more »

Why should our organization conduct a planning study?

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… Read more »

No need to apologize when asking for donations

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… Read more »