Avoid These! 10 Mistakes in Calls to Action

In her continuing series, we welcome special guest, Stelter Editorial Director, Katie Parker. The classic call to action is “Buy Now!”. This slick phrase hits all the high notes: It’s urgent, clear, actionable and succinct. Every day your donors are bombarded by interruptive marketing and plenty of attempts to call their attention to a brand’s desiredContinue reading Avoid These! 10 Mistakes in Calls to Action

If Your Board Is Bored with Planned Giving Try These 5 Reality Checks

You’ve got a planned giving program in place. Check. You’ve amped up your marketing and generated a healthy pipeline of planned gift prospects. Check. Check. But, you soon realize, you’ve also got a board that thinks planned giving is too hard to understand or simply not an organizational priority. They check out whenever the subjectContinue reading If Your Board Is Bored with Planned Giving Try These 5 Reality Checks

How to Meet Your Donors & Prospects Where They Are

We all have a tendency to gravitate toward the latest shiny new thing. Today’s technologies ring a shiny bell? While it’s true that technology has enabled us to target communications with donors and prospects in ways we never thought possible, even a few short years ago, they can overwhelm. Then we throw out the shinyContinue reading How to Meet Your Donors & Prospects Where They Are

Top 3 Webinars of 2018

We are back. After a long holiday weekend, recharging with family and friends, I hope you are feeling ready to take on 2019.

Now, I could talk about how yet another year has come and gone all too quickly. I could talk about how much we’ve learned and how our industry has changed over the course of 2018, which is all important. But today, I’d rather show you […] Continue reading Top 3 Webinars of 2018

What You Need to Know About IRAs Right Now

Today we welcome back a special guest on the blog: Stelter’s Senior Technical Consultant, Lynn Gaumer, J.D. Lynn returns to share a special IRA update. When it comes to marketing the IRA charitable rollover, is January the new December? Christopher Hoyt, Professor of Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, seems toContinue reading What You Need to Know About IRAs Right Now

How to Fill Your Baskets with Funding Support

We’ve all heard the phrase, ”Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!” The meaning behind this old saying: Don’t put all your efforts into one thing because you could lose everything else—and be left with nothing altogether. The same logic applies to fundraising. While we at Stelter spend majority of our time in theContinue reading How to Fill Your Baskets with Funding Support

How to Save Your Nonprofit Money with Plannual Giving

Last Friday was Black Friday, perhaps you’re familiar with it. It’s a day dedicated to saving money. (As a nonprofit officer you’ve probably made an art of this.) While I stayed out of the stores, it did get me thinking. What are some more ways nonprofits can save? Like where I’m headed? I thought youContinue reading How to Save Your Nonprofit Money with Plannual Giving

[FREE IMAGES] Last-Minute Ways to Thank Your Donors

Hard to believe we’re two days away from Thanksgiving. Your office chatter, like ours, has probably temporarily turned from planned giving to potlucks. Whether you’re enjoying goodies or tying up plans for Giving Tuesday: Press pause and give thanks to those who support your nonprofit’s works through every season. We’re not talking anything big hereContinue reading [FREE IMAGES] Last-Minute Ways to Thank Your Donors

3 Ways to Thank Your Supporters on World Kindness Day

Have you heard? The kindness is catching, and it’s going global. Knowing you, my planned giving friends, you’re already committing random acts of kindness daily. It’s who you are and what you’re inclined to do, especially in the realm of nonprofit work. The good news is that we’re taking it to the streets: World KindnessContinue reading 3 Ways to Thank Your Supporters on World Kindness Day

Why You Need to Hit Your Donor’s Mailbox First Thing in 2019

Is mailing in December a nonprofit do or don’t? Traditionally, sending direct mail in December has been viewed as less-than-ideal in the nonprofit industry. The logic behind this was simple. Donors most likely just donated their year-end gifts—not to mention the added financial strain of the holidays. The assumption: No one wants to think aboutContinue reading Why You Need to Hit Your Donor’s Mailbox First Thing in 2019

Get Social: A Simple Guide to Improve Your Social Media

We get a lot of questions about using social media to promote planned giving. “How should we be using it?” “What’s the real opportunity?” We know that fundraising is all about doing more with less. To help you reach your social potential with ease, we’ve compiled some social media do’s and don’ts. Don’t: Create aContinue reading Get Social: A Simple Guide to Improve Your Social Media

Dear Sir/Madam: Your Marketing Needs to Be More Personal

“It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.” The person who coined this phrase must not have been referring to nonprofit work. As I see it, if we are to continue “doing business” successfully for our nonprofits then we have to make it more personal, especially in how we connect with donors and supporters. Today, it’s notContinue reading Dear Sir/Madam: Your Marketing Needs to Be More Personal

3 Tips to Grow Your Charitable Gift Annuity Program

Today we welcome back a special guest to the blog: Stelter’s Senior Technical Consultant Lynn Gaumer, J.D. Lynn returns to share 3 ways you can grow your CGA program.  One of the key takeaways from the American Council on Gift Annuities Conference held earlier this year was that rapidly growing planned giving programs shifted fromContinue reading 3 Tips to Grow Your Charitable Gift Annuity Program

Inexpensive Ways to Promote Your Planned Giving Program

I’ve been thinking about two stats all week: Only 22 percent of Americans over the age of 30 say they’ve been asked for a planned gift. (Stelter Donor Insight Report: Donors On the Move) An estimated $59 trillion in wealth, with $6.3 trillion in charitable bequests, will be transferred through 100 million estates from 2007-2061.Continue reading Inexpensive Ways to Promote Your Planned Giving Program

How to Make Email Campaigns Work (So They Actually Get Read!)

Quick stat: Ninety-one percent of U.S. consumers check their email daily. For nonprofits, this means countless opportunities to connect with “our people” in meaningful ways, through their inbox. Rise above the other 120 emails office folks like you and I receive every day—and reap the rewards—with these 5 tips. 1. Let’s be clear, here. AboveContinue reading How to Make Email Campaigns Work (So They Actually Get Read!)

10 Tips to Write Better Marketing Materials

How do you capture the attention of your donors in a world crowded with marketing messages? Writing marketing materials that resonate with your donors is not an easy feat. Whether these messages are print or digital, the challenge and competition remain great. To help you, we’ve compiled some pointers from our editorial team at Stelter.Continue reading 10 Tips to Write Better Marketing Materials

‘Giving USA 2018’: Inside the Numbers

Today we welcome back a special guest on the blog: Stelter’s Senior Technical Consultant, Lynn Gaumer, J.D. Lynn returns to give us her analysis on Giving USA’s 2018 numbers.  Why Now Is the Time to Market Planned Giving Between individual donations, corporate donations, bequests and foundation giving, Americans gave a record $410.02 billion in 2017.Continue reading ‘Giving USA 2018’: Inside the Numbers

3 Important Things I Learned from My Father, Larry Stelter

Working with my dad, Larry Stelter, has definitely been a unique family experience—one that I wouldn’t change for the world. Growing up, I assumed that everyone worked countless hours and frequently traveled across the country. My dad never slowed down, and still truly hasn’t. When I was younger, I hoped to grow up to beContinue reading 3 Important Things I Learned from My Father, Larry Stelter

‘Giving USA 2018’: Banner Year for Philanthropy

410.02 billion dollars. That is 2017’s record-breaking number for charitable giving, reported by Giving USA 2018. As you may recall, in their 2017 report, the Giving USA Foundation stated that 2016 reached new philanthropic heights with an impressive $390.05 billion in charitable giving. 2017, not to be outdone, made history—yet again— with their figure generouslyContinue reading ‘Giving USA 2018’: Banner Year for Philanthropy

[Infographic] The Path to a Great Story

In her continuing series, we welcome special guest, Stelter Editorial Director, Katie Parker. Impact stories, donor stories—the fundraising industry offers many compelling storytelling opportunities. However, a poor story can cloud your message and take up real estate that could have been leveraged to drive results. The best stories have three qualities: They communicate, they resonate and,Continue reading [Infographic] The Path to a Great Story

4 Things a Cover Letter Is (And 1 Thing It Isn’t)

In her continuing series, we welcome special guest, Stelter Editorial Director, Katie Parker. Done right, an 8.5×11-inch piece of paper manages an incredible amount of work in your marketing communications. Here are a few powerful things a cover letter can do for your fundraising goals…and one thing it can’t. A cover letter IS: 1. PersonalContinue reading 4 Things a Cover Letter Is (And 1 Thing It Isn’t)

Jeremy and Nathan Stelter sit down for a planned giving chat

A Planned Giving Conversation Between Stelter Brothers

A few weeks ago, my brother Jeremy and I met up at the American Council on Gift Annuities Conference in Seattle. Jeremy is Stelter’s director of business development for the Western U.S. and has helped fundraising professionals grow their gift planning programs through research-based marketing strategies for more than 15 years. While together, we talkedContinue reading A Planned Giving Conversation Between Stelter Brothers

Maximize Your Facebook Reach

5 Tips to Maximize Your Facebook Reach

No doubt, Facebook has the eyes and ears of the people you want—and need—to succeed. Count your donors, fans and clients among the roughly 1.4 billion daily active Facebook users around the globe. But with Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms and recent Cambridge Analytica controversy, where does that leave nonprofits? How can you capitalize on this massiveContinue reading 5 Tips to Maximize Your Facebook Reach

Stelter’s Volunteers: Helping Our Iowa Community

April is National Volunteer Month. For those of you who work in the nonprofit world everyday, volunteers are your lifeline. We can talk all day about targeted campaigns, donor lists and multichannel marketing, but without volunteers to go out into our communities, advocate your mission and support you with their time and service, you’d beContinue reading Stelter’s Volunteers: Helping Our Iowa Community

[Infographic] Generational Giving: Do They Differ?

Today we welcome a special guest to the blog: our own Creative Director, Zach Christensen. Zach inspires and provides vision to Stelter’s creative services team, which serves more than 1,500 organizations nationally. He draws on more than 15 years of experience in marketing and design to produce work for Stelter’s most strategic nonprofit brands. InContinue reading [Infographic] Generational Giving: Do They Differ?

Marketing to Jane Differently Than Joe

In her continuing series, we welcome special guest, Stelter Editorial Director, Katie Parker. If you look at your mailing list and consider it just a collection of names, it’s time for a marketing reboot. Knowing your donors—and talking to them personally instead of globally—is the key to marketing effectiveness. You’ll never have a donor raiseContinue reading Marketing to Jane Differently Than Joe

9 tips for writing successful nonprofit grants

Whether you’re just off the blocks with your fundraising plan or plotting next year’s move, at some point you’ll come up against the question, “Should grants be part of our plan?” The short answer: Yes, but with a caveat and some consideration. Here’s why it’s at least worth starting the conversation: $60 Million: The amountContinue reading 9 tips for writing successful nonprofit grants

How You Know Nonprofit Work Is Right for You

Nearly half of nonprofit leaders left or planned to leave their position within the next two years, according to The Nonprofit Sector’s Leadership Deficit by The Bridgespan Group. More surprisingly, the major reason for leaving wasn’t retirement. Rather, 12 percent of nonprofit leaders left their positions to go to other organizations—making this the leading reasonContinue reading How You Know Nonprofit Work Is Right for You

The Anatomy of a Successful Marketing Program

Today we welcome back guest blog favorite and Stelter’s Editorial Director, Katie Parker. Katie worked for major international consumer magazines and websites for 12 years before joining our Stelter team as the head of our content strategy and execution. Gut-check time. Let’s peek at your upcoming 2018 communications by answering one simple question: Are youContinue reading The Anatomy of a Successful Marketing Program

The Secret to True Love: Giving as a Couple

Hearts, chocolate, roses—love and sweet things are in the air today. The sweetest notion? Couples really do love … giving together. “Giving is a source of agreement among couples.” —2017 Fidelity Charitable survey A 2017 Fidelity Charitable report found that more than 80 percent of its donors make giving decisions as a couple, including whichContinue reading The Secret to True Love: Giving as a Couple

The Great Integration: Marketing Communications

What is true integrated marketing communications anyway? We are all familiar with the term. For most of us, it means logo consistency and, for larger organizations, centralizing all marketing functions; but this doesn’t even begin to encompass all that is integrated marketing communications. It was a term coined by concept-creator and developer Don Schultz, aContinue reading The Great Integration: Marketing Communications

Why Their Voice Is Better Than Yours: The Art of the Testimonial

Today we welcome a special guest: Stelter’s Editorial Director, Katie Parker. Katie worked for major international consumer magazines and websites for 12 years before joining our Stelter team as the head of our content strategy and execution. When it comes to financial decisions in your own life, whose voice do you depend on? For instance,Continue reading Why Their Voice Is Better Than Yours: The Art of the Testimonial

What Do Companies Want from Their Corporate Partnerships?

A great corporate partnership can move mountains—or in the case of Lady Liberty, restore her to her great standing. American Express was among the first companies to partner with a nonprofit in the 1980s, in this case, with a group raising funds to restore the Statue of Liberty. Groundbreaking and rewarding for all sides, theContinue reading What Do Companies Want from Their Corporate Partnerships?

How to Lead like a Boss When the Going Gets Tough

Research from The Bridgespan Group shows that demand for effective nonprofit leaders today is as high as ever. While demands are being met by filling executive director and other senior management positions fairly quickly and fairly well, the challenge still persists: How do we find a leader who is not only good at what heContinue reading How to Lead like a Boss When the Going Gets Tough

Planned Giving Marketing Trends of 2018

With each new year comes a fresh start, whether that be for your physical fitness regime or your planned giving efforts: Use it to your advantage. 2017 was a year of learning, growth and—as always—change. Kickstart 2018, and your planned giving program, with these ideas: 1. Targeting vs. “Spraying and Praying”—Use our research to yourContinue reading Planned Giving Marketing Trends of 2018

Matures to Boomers: Who You Need to Reach Now and How

The future is here. Between 2017 and 2030, an estimated $1.5 to $6 trillion in charitable gifts will be designated to nonprofits in the U.S. In other words, retiree support will account for half of all giving by 2025. While there’s certainly a greater societal sensitivity to the vital work of nonprofits—and many who supportContinue reading Matures to Boomers: Who You Need to Reach Now and How

How to Write Stronger CTAs: Tips from the Pros

“Get in this house right now.” “Stop that.” “Take that out of your nose.” Chances are, you’ve been hearing calls to action since you could walk, talk and squabble with siblings. Moms and Dads, and the other trusted adults who watched over you, were your first exposure to them. They “persuaded” you to take action,Continue reading How to Write Stronger CTAs: Tips from the Pros

How to Use Year-End Numbers to Increase 2018 Fundraising

End-of-year is here, friends. Not news to you, is it? You’re living it, coming off a weekend of thanks and giving to barely catch a breath before heading into the season of goodwill and a surge in year-end giving. Let’s throw in yesterday’s Giving Tuesday and it’s all a flash before your eyes. Brace yourselfContinue reading How to Use Year-End Numbers to Increase 2018 Fundraising

Larry Stelter and Peggy Fisher: Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2017 Outstanding Individual Philanthropists

If you had a chance to read last week’s blog, I shared that our fearless leaders, Peggy Fisher and Larry Stelter, had been selected as the 2017 Outstanding Individual Philanthropists by the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Central Iowa Chapter. On Friday, November 17, the Central Iowa Chapter of AFP held their 32nd Annual Philanthropy DayContinue reading Larry Stelter and Peggy Fisher: Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2017 Outstanding Individual Philanthropists

Philanthropy: It’s What We Do

Americans are becoming increasingly philanthropically-focused, and not just today on National Philanthropy Day®. We are a bunch of worker bees in this country, or rather, giving bees. America’s Charities, in fact, estimates that Americans give about $4 billion annually through workplace giving. What’s more, employees say they want their companies to sweeten the charitable pot,Continue reading Philanthropy: It’s What We Do

Matures vs. Boomers: Who Should Your Planned Giving Game Plan Focus On?

For decades, the planned giving industry has grown on the backs of the silent generation. But just last year, in 2016, the first baby boomer turned 70. As this new generation becomes more active philanthropically, are you equipped to understand the differences between them and their mature (born 1900-1945) parents? BOOMERS VS. MATURES Baby boomersContinue reading Matures vs. Boomers: Who Should Your Planned Giving Game Plan Focus On?

Charitable Gift Planners’ Day on Capitol Hill

2017 marks the 100th year of the income tax charitable deduction.  If signed into law, the current framework for tax reform could change charitable giving as we know it. What will the 101st year of giving look like? Charitable gift planners from across the country met in Washington DC last week to help preserve the full valueContinue reading Charitable Gift Planners’ Day on Capitol Hill

You’re Receiving This Message Because We Are out of the Office

As you may have already gathered from our social media, Stelter is currently taking over Baltimore at the 2017 National Conference on Philanthropic Planning. We look forward to this event every fall. It’s always such a pleasure to meet new peers, see old friends and—of course—talk about what’s trending in the nonprofit industry. Each year,Continue reading You’re Receiving This Message Because We Are out of the Office

Making the Most Out of Every Ask

In the world of fundraising (especially planned giving), we’re in the business of building relationships. Going deeper into people’s interests or intentions and evolving them into purposeful actions, uniting need with source of support, whether as a volunteer, advocate, board member or major donor. It all begins with a question… DO YOU KNOW WHAT ITContinue reading Making the Most Out of Every Ask

Your Email is a Magazine Cover (& 6 Other Marketing Analogies)

Today we welcome a special guest on the blog: Stelter’s Editorial Director, Katie Parker. Katie worked for major international consumer magazines and websites for 12 years before joining our Stelter team as the head of our content strategy and execution. Let’s talk marketing psychology. It’s more than what is in your materials—it’s why. As youContinue reading Your Email is a Magazine Cover (& 6 Other Marketing Analogies)

3 Ways to Make Your Nonprofit’s Presentations Better

It was an early Tuesday morning when a group of us bright-eyed development folks arrived at our “Mobilizing Board Members to Raise Money” workshop. Only we found ourselves with cold cups of coffee listening to a l-o-o-o-o-n-g morning presentation of chart and stats from someone whose delivery was eerily similar to this fictitious teacher fromContinue reading 3 Ways to Make Your Nonprofit’s Presentations Better

Connecting the Dots: Planned Giving, Metrics and ROI

If you’re like any of the other thousands of fundraisers around the country with ‘planned giving’ as part of their job description, you’ve no doubt had the conversation around planned giving ROI with your boss (probably a former major gifts officer), your CFO (the numbers guru), your board (the ‘bottom line’ people) or even yourContinue reading Connecting the Dots: Planned Giving, Metrics and ROI

Shine On! How to Stay On Message and Rise Above

Every nonprofit has a unique personality all its own. To be clear, we’re not referring to the personalities of the people who run or support an organization, although they can be quite colorful too. Instead, we’re talking about a nonprofit’s personality—its brand—and how, among other facets, it “talks” about its mission and message, gives backContinue reading Shine On! How to Stay On Message and Rise Above

4 Tips to Make Your Landing Pages Worth Landing On

This may be the question you’ve always wanted to ask—but were too afraid to ask. Or maybe it’s been lurking in the back of your mind as a something-to-look-into-when-I-have-more-time idea. What is a landing page, anyway? A landing page is a single web page that people “land on” after clicking a hyperlink in a targetedContinue reading 4 Tips to Make Your Landing Pages Worth Landing On

Special Update: Give Your Voice to the Charitable Giving Community

Stelter’s Senior Technical Consultant Lynn Gaumer has been busy keeping up on laws and tax reforms related to charitable giving. A few weeks back, she met with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds for a celebratory signing of the proclamation to recognize October as National Estate Planning Awareness Month in Iowa, and recently she also had aContinue reading Special Update: Give Your Voice to the Charitable Giving Community

Why It’s Time to Re-Think the Self-Mailer

Nonprofits have been marketing planned giving for over 40 years with good success, but advances in technology and a shift in consumer behavior to a more ‘self-directed consumer’ have pushed more nonprofits to try and find the “silver bullet” for planned giving marketing. If you’re looking for one in this post, I’ll save you theContinue reading Why It’s Time to Re-Think the Self-Mailer

Is Your Website Really Up-to-Date?

Psst! Your website isn’t “done” when it goes live. That’s because your organization is ever-evolving, changing. And your website should reflect that change…a fluid story rather than as a static picture. Your donor’s behavior is also constantly changing. In the age of the “self-directed consumer,” it’s critical to ensure your web presence is intuitive, easy toContinue reading Is Your Website Really Up-to-Date?

How to Measure Your Planned Giving ROI

Return on investment—ROI—is a topic that fascinates, baffles, haunts and exhilarates planned giving managers. As our long-time friend and planned giving champion Katherine Swank of Blackbaud wrote last year, nonprofit leaders want numbers. Yet, a big hurdle in generating that ROI number may be the time lag between identifying a planned giving prospect and theContinue reading How to Measure Your Planned Giving ROI

Thank You Gift for Following Our Blog: Free Download

Here at Stelter, we are smack dab in the middle of one of our busiest conference seasons. We’ve got Stelter representatives all over the country at conferences and events—myself included! At many of these conferences, we’ve been presenting the latest findings and application of our latest research from the 2016 NMI Healthy Aging Database® study,Continue reading Thank You Gift for Following Our Blog: Free Download

It’s Get to Know Your Customers (Donors) Day!

A cautionary note: If you’re just not in the mood to hear any of this “appreciating-your-customer” business, may we suggest waiting to read this post later? Maybe you overheard a cranky customer impatiently waiting for their morning coffee, or you were on the receiving end of a co-worker or donor complaint (gasp!). Whatever the case,Continue reading It’s Get to Know Your Customers (Donors) Day!