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Capital campaign strategy best practices - Steier Group

Campaign planning studies are vital for successful campaigns

By Steier Tips

A well-run campaign planning study is the launching pad for a successful capital campaign. Many organizations question the reasoning and value behind a planning or feasibility study. At the Steier Group, we almost always advocate for conducting this important exercise before jumping into fundraising. The goal of a study is to interview or survey as many of your potential donors as possible during the study. The feedback you receive sets the table for a successful campaign. The insights shared by your supporters allows an organization to customize a plan that will be most successful for your community. Here are five…

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Successful capital campaign led to bolstered annual fund for Paulist Fathers

By Steier Tips

Are you concerned that a capital campaign will negatively impact your organization’s annual giving program? Contrary to this common belief, the evidence is clear that capital campaigns have a positive effect on overall annual giving. Here are a few reasons why a capital campaign will increase your yearly support: Increased donor engagement. Capital campaigns involve engagement from donors in many ways. Whether it’s participating in a study, serving on a campaign team, making a financial commitment, or attending events and celebrating milestones, this increased engagement builds stronger relationships with donors and benefactors, which leads to increased ongoing support. New donor…

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How to write a strong case for fundraising support

By Steier Tips

Every successful capital campaign needs a strong case for support. But writing the perfect case statement can seem daunting, especially if your task isn’t an obviously big draw like building a new church or adding a school wing. A case statement is the core communication for a successful capital campaign. It is an organization’s prime opportunity to toot its horn about successes and positive impacts. It is also an open door to demonstrate the need for the organization and explain its current plan to strengthen its mission-based work. Capital improvements, increased funding, new programs and enhanced services all deserve donor…

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Paulist Fathers’ focus on mission leads to successful $30 million campaign

By Steier Tips

Through the Hope for the Future campaign, the Paulist Fathers raised over $30 million, far exceeding the initial public goal of $20 million. The key? The Paulists never made their campaign about money. Instead, the campaign focused on the Paulists’ mission. “Because people have been accompanied so well by Paulists over the years, people just responded,” said the Rev. Eric Andrews, CSP, who served as president of the Paulist Fathers from 2014-22. “Obviously if you don’t feel pastorally fed, accompanied and cared for, (fundraising) is going to be a heavier lift. But clearly people have benefited from the Paulist mission…

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How to craft an effective fundraising speech

By Steier Tips

Getting your message across is paramount in fundraising. But there’s a communication paradox before us: On the one hand, there are now more means to share your fundraising needs than ever before. On the other hand, getting your message across to your donor base is harder than it’s ever been. Every day we encounter a deluge of information, and our brain is very selective. It takes in, filters and readily disposes of information it doesn’t need. But, along the way, key pieces of information do get stored and cemented. How can you get your message through the brain’s filtering process?…

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Prayer, communication helped Epiphany of the Lord succeed during the pandemic

By Steier Tips

Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Community in Katy, Texas, kicked off its capital campaign in October 2019. The campaign combined the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s archdiocesan campaign with its own needs. The community faced debt from the construction of a new school plus parish improvements and supporting the expanding school. Four months into the campaign, the world came to an abrupt stop due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fr. Tom Lam made two critical moves during what amounted to be an 18-month campaign pause. He encouraged parishioners to sign up for periodic messages through the parish email system. Signups exceeded the parish…

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What has the Steier Group learned in our 25 years of running capital campaigns?

By Steier Tips

Twenty-five years ago, I took a leap of faith in starting the Steier Group. I’d spent time as a journalist, working as an alum in the institutional advancement office of my Catholic high school and then running capital campaigns for a small Omaha-based family fundraising firm. After five years there, I knew it was time to make the next step in my career. In the back of my mind, going out on my own seemed like a promising opportunity but also a big risk with a two-year-old son and newborn at home. Then my best friend, who I grew up…

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Endowment campaign strategies that work

By Steier Tips

For many nonprofits, raising money for an endowment is the ultimate dream. To have the resources and support necessary to increase an endowment beyond an organization’s operating needs seems like a challenging, yet desirable goal. When you think of an endowment campaign, you might generally think of large nonprofits with endowment funds in the hundreds of millions. While those large institutions are often the most prolific endowment fundraisers, more modest sized nonprofits can and should raise endowment dollars when they are able. Small nonprofits, those raising $5 million per year or less, should generally focus on expanding their general and…

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Despite challenges of pandemic, parishioners propelled dioceses to campaign success

By Steier Wire

Strong parishes, strong diocese. This mantra, from the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton, during its capital campaign, sums up the benefit of a diocesan-wide capital campaign. When the Catholic faithful of a diocese comes together to support one another and the Church as a whole, a rising tide truly lifts all boats. Never was this truer than during the pandemic. In addition to the usual challenges of a diocesan campaign, dioceses faced navigating the rough waters of lockdowns, virtual Mass, social distancing and economic hardship. By following capital campaign best practices and adjusting to pandemic…

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Newman Center at Northern Arizona University persevered through pandemic challenges

By Steier Tips

When the pandemic shutdown much of the U.S. last year, campaign leadership with the Newman Center at Northern Arizona University (NAU) did not waver. They never hesitated in their goal to continue raising the funding needed to address their capital needs. “I thought ‘God is with us. We can do this,’” said Angela Vargas, the chief operations officer for the ministry center. She served as a leader for the Together, Let Us Go Forth Capital Campaign. While most Americans viewed the restrictions and a slowed economy through unnerving eyes, Vargas remained confident. Aware that leadership with other campaigns across the…

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