Why should we conduct a debt reduction campaign?


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 a tough time to run a debt reduction campaign, fiscal responsibility is typically well-received by supporters. Any amount raised will help your organization in the long run – cutting interest costs and lowering or eliminating debt payments. Think of everything your organization could do without recurring debt payments!

For organizations worried about the expense of running a campaign, in most cases, you would incur much more in interest on the debt than the amount it would cost to run a campaign – and the results are achieved in a much more productive, inspiring and timely way.

Here are the stories of two Steier Group partners who reduced or eliminated their debts through debt reduction campaigns:

St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church in Roswell, Georgia
Total raised: $9 million over two campaigns

This parish in the Archdiocese of Atlanta has grown quickly. St. Peter Chanel built a beautiful complex to meet the needs of a growing community but, despite two successful building capital campaigns, the parish remained $8.6 million in debt. The parish hired the Steier Group to conduct a debt reduction campaign with a baseline goal of $2.9 million. As new pledges and gifts came in and the capital campaign thermometer grew, reluctant donors came around to provide support. The effort proved highly successful by surpassing its $4.25 million challenge goal.

After the success of the first campaign, the Steier Group partnered with St. Peter Chanel for a second campaign. This second effort proved even more successful as the parish raised more than $4.7 million. Now, the St. Peter Chanel community is debt free and can focus funds on the mission of the church, not paying off debt.

St. Therese Catholic Parish and School in Deephaven, Minnesota
Total raised: $5.6 million

After two unsuccessful campaigns and 15 years of heavy debt, St. Therese Catholic Parish and School in Deephaven, Minnesota, faced a critical juncture. Mortgage payments were already a challenge and would double. The $4.8 million in debt was not sustainable for this community. Debt reduction capital campaigns require extra finesse. Major gift donors stepped forward with a $1 million matching gift challenge at the start of the public phase and an additional $400,000 challenge. These two efforts helped sustain momentum as the parish and school raised more than $5.6 million, eliminating its debt and easing a major burden on the community.

If you have more questions about running a debt reduction campaign or ways that the Steier Group can help, please contact me.

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