Tools to stock your fundraising toolkit in 2021


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 growth in the new year, here are five tools to stock your fundraising toolkit in 2021:

Planning studies and capital campaigns: If you have a larger-scale project that can’t be funded through your normal development efforts, now is the time to start the capital campaign process. With the economy stable, the stock market performing well and more hope on the horizon as it relates to COVID-19, it is easier for major donors to plan how they will support the organizations they care about this year. Your needs are real, your strategic vision for the future remains, and you need charitable support to fund it all. Delaying can cost more down the road.

The information gathered during a planning study will shape a responsible campaign plan, taking your supporters’ feedback into account. Conducting a planning study while all the challenges of COVID-19 are happening around us gives you real-time insights into your donors’ priorities.

Sharing your story: A lot has happened over the past year. While your mission remains the same, your process of serving your community likely looks different. Make sure to share that story – the highs and lows of the last year, how the pandemic has changed what you do and the great outcomes you’ve seen recently. Nonprofit supporters enjoy seeing the impact their donations have on the community they love. It is what inspires them to give to your organization. They share in your burdens when you ask for help; don’t forget to invite them to share in the successes as well.

Technology: The fundraising lessons learned in 2020 should still prove valuable going forward. While fundraising in person will be more common, continuing to offer virtual meetings or events that mix in-person with virtual will prove valuable for nonprofits. Meet your donors where they feel most comfortable. We have found the benefits of virtual communication to be a silver lining to running a capital campaign during the pandemic.

Creativity: Fundraising always requires a degree of creativity – an engaging theme, unique matching gift challenges or planning a fun Commitment Weekend. But fundraising requires creativity now more than ever. Finding ways to engage your community virtually or with small group gatherings can be a challenge. Our partners have found a variety of ways to steward donors during the pandemic. Continue to think creatively – it will help you become a better fundraiser and lead to fundraising success in 2021.

Planned giving: Tumultuous times, like the Great Recession or the pandemic, inspire supporters to consider their planned giving options. This is a good time to remind your donors of their various planned giving options.

If you have more questions about the state of fundraising in 2021 or ways that the Steier Group can help, please contact me.

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