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Feasibility Study Archives - Steier Group

How to plan a capital campaign launch

By Steier Tips

I wish I could say that launching a capital campaign was as easy as 1-2-3 – meaning you have three easy steps to follow. The process contains more steps than that – and each is critical to your organization’s success. The first step is to determine the need for a capital campaign. Do you need to build an education center? Do you need to reduce debt or strengthen an endowment? Do you need support for operations? Notice the emphasis on “need.” We know from experience that donors prefer to fund needs rather than wants. Donors will support projects that are…

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Now’s the time to consider a capital campaign

By Steier Tips

The idea of running a planning (feasibility) study or fundraising campaign while society adjusts to life with COVID-19 may seem a bit crazy. But is it? Over the past several months, the Steier Group has seen a significant evolution in thinking about fundraising during this crisis. In March and April of 2020, nonprofits were rightfully hesitant and unsure about how to proceed. Many determined it was best to weather the storm, hoping that as the situation improved, things would return to normal. We all now recognize “normal” has taken on a whole new meaning and, if we don’t adapt, it…

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Four traits of a successful feasibility study

By Steier Tips

What if you could predict the success of your capital campaign in just a few short weeks? Good news – you can. A well-managed, successful feasibility study can help you test interest in your proposed plans, identify volunteers, hear from your key donors, and, most importantly, forecast the funds you’ll raise in your capital campaign. However, not all planning studies are created equal. Here are a few key characteristics of a fruitful study: A strong response rate: A well-managed planning study gathers a wide response across all groups of constituents. A good mantra to follow is: if you are going to…

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Support from staff, volunteers critical to capital campaign success

By Steier Tips

At a recent 10k race, I looked around at the starting line and noticed how many people were there. Not just the runners stretching before the race. There were course marshals, volunteers, spectators and all the people associated with the event behind the scenes. I see a race like this as a great metaphor for running a capital campaign. Before toeing the starting line, many training miles must be run in preparation. By the time most supporters of your organization learn about a proposed campaign, many months, if not years, of planning have gone into this vision. Leaders of the…

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Five capital campaign mistakes and how to avoid them

By Steier Tips

If you’re like many of the nonprofits with which we partner at the Steier Group, it’s been several years – or possibly even several decades – since your last capital campaign. You may be wondering how to start a campaign in the first place. And certainly, you’re hoping to avoid any capital campaign mistakes that could derail your effort. Even the most well-meaning nonprofit CEOs and development directors can make mistakes when it comes to capital campaigns. Many of these leaders conduct only a few campaigns over the course of their careers. Here are five of the most common capital campaign…

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Timing is key during transition from a planning study into a capital campaign

By Steier Tips

Great news! Your organization’s recently-completed planning study found strong support for a capital campaign. Your donors are fired up and ready to support such a transformational fundraising effort. You have interested volunteers and leaders excited to step up. What’s your next step? At the Steier Group, we advise our clients to start the capital campaign immediately – preferably in less than two weeks. We have found that delaying the start of a capital campaign after a successful planning study can hinder the success of the effort. In 194 church capital campaigns over the last 10 years, we found that clients…

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How to start a capital campaign

By Steier Tips

For most nonprofits, a capital campaign is the result of many months, if not years, of strategic planning and preparation. Typically, an organization has established some long-term goals and projects that are too large to be funded through normal operating revenue. Now, what are the next steps? How do I start a capital campaign? Here are the five key steps in transitioning from strategic planning to conducting a campaign: Identify your organization’s needs: Before moving forward with a capital campaign, you should be able to answer “yes” to this question: Is the need – as defined by leadership – real?…

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Why do a capital campaign feasibility study?

By Steier Tips

When leaders at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Osage, Iowa, retained the services of the Steier Group, they hoped a capital campaign feasibility study would answer two primary questions. First, do their parishioners support plans to build a new, handicap-accessible church? And second, can they raise enough money to fund the project? The answer to both questions was yes, but with a pair of caveats. Parishioners indicated that they would back plans to replace their 89-year-old church building, but only if the cost was feasible. The capital campaign feasibility study revealed significant financial support – the Steier Group projected that…

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Why do capital campaigns fail?

By Steier Tips

Everyone likes to be part of a winning team. Be it sports or politics, we all want to support a winner. That attitude is alive in the fundraising world, too, as people like to know their investment is paying dividends. The payoff is delivered by seeing their nonprofit of choice continuing its mission. But, just as our favorite sports team doesn’t always win the big game, sometimes capital campaigns fail. It’s an unpleasant reality that CEOs, board members and donors occasionally must face. It can be avoided with proper planning. Why does an organization sometimes fall short of its campaign…

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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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