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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.

Supporting parishioners during pandemic helped St. Anne in long run

By Steier Tips

Despite significant challenges, including the pandemic, the St. Anne Catholic Community in Houston, Texas, came together to raise more than $19.5 million to fund a complete transformation of its nearly century-old parish campus. “When we decided to move forward with our campaign, we never imagined we would be facing two hurricanes, a global pandemic, an economic shutdown and a change in parish leadership,” said Fr. David Zapalac, CSB, pastor of St. Anne. In late 2019, St. Anne engaged the Steier Group to direct the final wave of their Generations of Faith Capital Campaign. At that point, the campaign had been…

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Capital campaign fundraising costs explained

By Steier Tips

Warning! This Steier Tips article is laced with clichés and overused statements – but they all are purposely included to make the point that partnering with a professional stewardship, fundraising and development firm to run your capital campaign is a wise investment. Don’t go it alone (cliché No. 1) Launching a capital campaign is important, serious business. Some nonprofits are equipped to run their own – if they have a team of professionals on staff who have the experience and time to manage it. Keep in mind, running a campaign is a full-time job – which is why we assign…

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How JPII Newman Center overcame COVID, debt crisis to run a successful campaign

By Steier Tips

A few months into her new role as director of advancement with the St. John Paul II Newman Center, Susan Gnann knew she would soon begin preparing for a fundraising campaign. “I looked at the debt service line item and saw a deficit of $742,000 on a $1.6 million budget,” Gnann said. “I saw that nearly half of our budget was debt. I knew I couldn’t talk to a donor about mission when their money wasn’t going to support our mission or a retreat. I knew we had to run a campaign.” Faced with a $14.6 million construction debt, Gnann…

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Customized donor recognition is key to maintaining relationships

By Steier Tips

Donor recognition and expressing gratitude for gifts received are important development responsibilities for every nonprofit organization. Acknowledging a donor’s generosity begins with the understanding that receiving a gift is the difficult part. Thanking them, it would seem, should be the enjoyable part. Then why do so many nonprofit organizations skip it – or fail to take time to properly thank their donors? Unfortunately, it is because they have already moved on to seeking that next gift. That is a mistake. There are different ways an organization can recognize donors for their generosity. The first is group recognition. Most organizations do…

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Strong leadership allows Rice Memorial High School to fundraise through pandemic

By Steier Tips

COVID-19 was officially deemed a pandemic on March 11, 2020. That day all aspects of American life began retreating from the public square, exemplified by a 1,200-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average — a plunge that ended an 11-year bull market. A week later, on March 18, the leadership at Rice Memorial High School in Burlington, Vermont decided to continue their fundraising campaign. Similar projects across the country were paused out of concern for the impending social and economic fallout. But Rice Memorial’s leaders went on to run a successful campaign thanks to their vision, skill and boldness. “We had…

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Tools to stock your fundraising toolkit in 2021

By Steier Tips

The fundraising landscape changed dramatically in 2020. But the Steier Group’s message to our partners has remained the same – keep communicating, keep sharing your story, keep shaping your vision and keep asking for support. Do not leave these most important tools in your arsenal on the sidelines. Your donors want to support your organization and are eager to help. Your needs are real and aren’t going away. Whether it is a debt reduction campaign or a campaign to expand your campus, address deferred maintenance, or strengthen an endowment, nonprofits across the country are finding success. As you strive for…

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Holy Trinity Parish found fundraising success during pandemic

By Steier Tips

The easy out when COVID-19 hit would have been for Holy Trinity Parish to delay its capital campaign until the pandemic had passed. With that approach, the Catholic community in Eldorado Hills, California, would still be waiting to relaunch its campaign. Instead, the parish continued with its effort to reduce historic debt with a temporary redirect to shore up its offertory during the initial wave of the pandemic, said Jeremy Youngers, parish life director. “Our parish responded in amazing ways,” he said. “Our approach was intentional in every step. It came down to our pastor communicating the message.” Holy Trinity, months earlier,…

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Why should we conduct a debt reduction campaign?

By Steier Tips

Is debt holding your organization back from reaching its full potential? Debt can be unavoidable – constructing a new facility or expanding your campus is vital yet expensive. But, often, organizations struggle under the weight of debt – holding back expansion and growth or services offered. Servicing debt can be a daunting challenge for a parish and a strain on the operational budget. Through a debt reduction campaign, nonprofits can eliminate a substantial amount of debt (or all of it) in a short period of time and repurpose those funds toward other essential priorities. While the pandemic may seem like…

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Lessons learned during the pandemic will stick with fundraisers

By Steier Tips

The extreme nature of the changes to society during the pandemic challenged fundraisers to evolve our strategies – almost overnight – in ways that were and still are unimaginable. In our current environment, with social distancing restrictions, quarantines and face masks, there is one constant – there is no magic recipe for fundraising. There are, however, many tools that can be adapted strategically by an organization to ensure fundraising success. They helped many nonprofits stay above water in 2020 and will be just as important in 2021 and beyond as vaccines roll out and things evolve into a new normal….

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Christmas Communications Toolkit

By Uncategorized

We invite you to share this Christmas Guide with members of your parish, as a way to further engage your people and help everyone celebrate Christmas whether at home or in church. Here are a few suggestions to help you distribute this resource to your parishioners: Post the guide to your parish website; include a link to download. Promote it on social media; include a link to download (sample message below). Send it out through FlockNote or similar email platform (sample message below). Print hard copies and distribute at Masses or leave in the back of church. Develop daily social…

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