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Fundraising communications best practices

Three ways to express your gratitude to donors

By Steier Tips

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” ― Alphonse Karr (1808-1890) As I look back over the Steier Group’s 20 years, I could easily focus on the setbacks, struggles and heartaches. In other words, I could focus on the thorns. But I’m glad to say that when I look at the amazing relationships the Steier Group has developed with our clients, when I survey the good that we’ve achieved together for such noble causes, when I consider the projects accomplished that have borne such fruit for so many, I cannot help but concentrate…

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Engage donors by telling your organization’s story

By Steier Tips

Dr. Seuss could tell a story. So can Stephen King. For me, Harper Lee remains at the top of my list of storytellers. I read “To Kill a Mockingbird” while in junior high school, and the story she told about racism still resonates more than 35 years later. Sharing a story can send a powerful message. Stories put social issues in perspective and give readers a call to action. Stories about overcoming tragedy inspire us. Some stories even make us laugh. Religious and other nonprofit organizations have strong stories to tell. They resonate because, most often, these stories are about…

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Connect with your donors by sharing your organization’s story

By Steier Tips

I’ve always thought that a good story not shared is a missed opportunity to inform people about the good work your parish or organization does. I remember the wonderful stories about heroes that my parents told me as a child. I passed those stories on to my children – I hope they’ll do the same with theirs. Your organization – religious, community-based or social service – does good work. It helps people. That leaves you with stories to tell. I suggest you add sharing those stories to your year-end to-do list. Here are a few ways: Sharing stories about how…

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Take note to write a letter relevant to your donors

By Steier Tips

In the age of constant contact and instant messaging, the art of letter writing can seem quite lost. At one time, writing a letter was the next best thing to a personal visit, as paper passed from the hands of the writer into the hands of the receiver. In efforts to increase delivery speed and reduce consumption, letters are delivered now via multiple channels. Whether in paper or electronic form, letters remain an essential component of business communication. Here at the Steier Group, we rely on letters to introduce, confirm and thank. Letters continue to be a feature of web…

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Don’t forget the thank you note

By Steier Tips

The importance of a well-written thank you note is arguably best defined in this comment by Dale Carnegie: “Writing a sincere thank you note is one of the professional skills that can make a lasting, favorable impression.” Acts of compassion must be recognized. No matter the size of the donation or sacrifice, people appreciate being thanked. They want to be reminded they are making a difference. And in today’s web-driven world, an email, text or tweet does not make the same impact as an old fashion, handwritten thank you note arriving in the mail. When considering who should write the…

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Capital campaign philosophy: people give to people, especially people they know

By Steier Tips

Let’s face it: People typically don’t enjoy asking their friends, neighbors and coworkers for money. At the Steier Group, this approach to fundraising has led to hundreds of successful capital campaigns for our clients. Our clients know our capital campaign philosophy is based on two simple premises: People give to people they know People give when asked Sometimes, our clients shy away from using personal visits as the staple in their campaigns. They would rather ask for support through group gatherings, telephone calls or direct mail. We know that our campaigns are most successful when prospective donors receive a personal…

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Donor motivation provides key to fundraising success

By Steier Tips

In the fundraising world, the phrase “knowing your donors” goes well beyond remembering how many children they have, where they attended school and when they celebrate birthdays. Such biographical information, however, remains important. Be sure to send your donors cards on their birthdays and ask about their alma mater whenever you see them. The reality is, knowing your donors also means identifying where their passions lie. What causes do they support – and why. Determine what motivates them to give before you ask them to give. Experts identified five types of donor motivation that cause people to act: People like…

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Don’t lose touch with donors during migration of snowbirds

By Steier Tips

As you are probably aware, the term “snowbird” refers to a northerner who moves to a warmer southern state during the winter months. The majority of the year they live in the area they consider home, but when the temperature dips, they relocate to a secondary residence to enjoy a milder winter. Generally, snowbirds begin their migration around the holidays and don’t return until late spring. Many organizations in colder climates have supporters that fall into this category, and it is imperative that you implement a plan for maintaining contact with them. Here are suggestions for keeping the lines of…

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Reminders and best practices for end-of-year activities

By Steier Tips

Halloween has come and gone, and before you know it we will be completely immersed in the holidays and the end-of-year activities that come along with the season. Below are several end-of-year initiatives that you may want to consider implementing for your organization: THE IRA CHARITABLE ROLLOVER This provision was originally scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2011, but Fiscal Cliff legislation included a two-year retroactive extension and will now expire at the end of this year, on Dec. 31, 2013. As a result you should consider contacting the older donors in your database. The requirements are: Must be 70.5 years…

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