Blog

Friday, August 31, 2018

Mastering Nonprofit Communications: Three Short Lessons

Messaging in the nonprofit world is just as important as in corporate America. But instead of getting someone to buy a product, our goal is donor investment in our communities, our universities, our churches.   Embrace Vanity In today’s donor-speak, a three-letter word is all the rage.  The word is not “now,” although conveying a sense of urgency is always important.  It’s not “yes” or “why.” The word of the day is “you.” It’s called don...Read More

Posted by: Jessica Browning on Friday, August 31, 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

Never Underestimate the Power of Planning

As many of us who’ve worked in development know, there is never really a downtime when it comes to raising money. And, no matter how successful you were over the past year hitting your goals, it always seems like the celebration is short lived before the conversation turns to what needs to be accomplished next year. When I first started in fundraising almost 30 years ago, a senior advancement officer told me that 90% of fundraising is planning, and the other 10% is working your plan. While that might be a bit of oversimplification, I have found that st...Read More

Posted by: Lindsay McDaniel on Monday, August 13, 2018

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Giving USA 2018: Record giving again in 2017, but warning signs ahead

Giving in 2017 was the highest-ever inflation-adjusted level. Total US philanthropic giving exceeded $400 billion for the first time ever—reaching $410 billion in 2017.  Giving increased 5.2% in 2017 (or 3.2% adjusted for inflation).  Giving to all sectors increased, except giving to international affairs which declined by 4%.  The decline is largely due to donors who chose to give to the unprecedented natural disasters at home rather than abroad. Giving to religion was the largest sector (31% of total givin...Read More

Posted by: Laura Taylor on Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Friday, June 01, 2018

Only 10 Days Until Giving USA Release: Be the First to Know

  Did philanthropic giving continue its record growth again last year?  Did giving to education slow for the second year in a row?    The answers will be revealed on Read More

Posted by: on Friday, June 01, 2018

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Contributing to the Madness -- March Madness

  The Winkler Group, like so many companies across the country, goes a bit crazy in March.  As the newest member of the team, I wanted to make a bold statement this year.  I wanted to solidify my spot as Rookie of the Year and see my name engraved on the firm’s NCAA Bracket Challenge trophy. My sense of euphoria was quickly trampled by the blood bath and upsets that marked this year’s March Madness.  In my disappointment, I began looking for a bright side, the lessons to be learned. I started thinking:  when a s...Read More

Posted by: Sarah Evans on Thursday, April 05, 2018

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Best Practice: The Perfect Prospect Qualification

Part II Part I in this series on the perfect prospect qualification process focused on wealth screening and using technology to begin your search for lead and major gifts. Today’s post will delve even deeper into the process and will introduce some of the best practices we’ve developed while leading hundreds of prospect qualification sessions. Who Shoul...Read More

Posted by: on Thursday, February 01, 2018

Monday, January 15, 2018

Tax Reform: Turn Uncertainty into Opportunity

The tax reform bill that passed last month has the potential to transform the philanthropic landscape by altering the financial incentive to give.  As professional fundraisers, it’s more important than ever before that we proactively make the case for the organizations and institutions we lead. The War Revenue Act of 1917 established the charitable giving deduction to encourage private philanthropy.  Congress’ action has fueled a philanthropic culture dominated by individual giving (Giving USA cites 72 percent of 2016’s $390 billi...Read More

Posted by: on Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday, January 01, 2018

In Pursuit of the Perfect Stranger: A New Model for Higher Ed Campaign Prospecting

The Winkler Group is proud to feature Farhana Mather, Director of Development, External Relations, and Strategic Initiatives, Columbia University, New York, in this month’s blog. University campaigns have traditionally been built on faculty, school and unit-based priorities and by tapping into their alumni affiliations based on the grateful mindset of graduates who want to give back to their alma maters.  But several leading universities are undertaking a new breed of campaign.  Ones that are organized diffe...Read More

Posted by: on Monday, January 01, 2018

Friday, December 01, 2017

False Expectations: The Danger of Creative Campaign Reporting

In 2006, CASE created a campaign standards working group the nature of fundraising campaigns was changing, and CASE recognized the need for standards that schools, colleges, and universities could use to benchmark their campaigns against peer institutions. John Lippincott, CASE President at the time stated, “revisions w...Read More

Posted by: on Friday, December 01, 2017

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Best Practice: The Perfect Prospect Qualification

Part I As a seasoned development professional, you already know that your campaign’s lead donor—or even your next major gift donor—is already in your database.  But your database contains thousands of prospects.  In this vast sea of oysters, how do you find the pearls?  Today, we begin a two-part blog that explores a successful prospect identification and qualification process. Technology gives us a great start to the prospect identification process: wealth screening. ...Read More

Posted by: on Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Monday, October 02, 2017

Measure Your Fundraising Success through Key Performance Indicators

Written by Jim Bush, Vice President, Winkler Group Effective development and advancement offices assess quantifiable metrics each year—and these metrics go far beyond just total giving.  Without goals, success is hard to define.  In certain areas, the end goal may be too daunti...Read More

Posted by: on Monday, October 02, 2017

Friday, September 01, 2017

Stewardship: Ministry's Most Missed Opportunity

Written by Timothy M. Winkler Sr., CFRE; CEO, Winkler Group Stewardship: Ministry’s Most Missed Opportunity This blog is the fourth in a series exploring the challenges facing fundraising in churches and ministries today.  A couple weeks ago I wrote about how churches and ministries too often throw...Read More

Posted by: on Friday, September 01, 2017

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Winkler Group and SUNY Adirondack Win CASE Circle of Excellence Award

Winkler Group client SUNY Adirondack edged out the Indiana University and Iowa State University to receive top CASE Circle of Excellence honors in the Case Statements & General Cultivation Publications category.  Winkler Group Vice President for Communications Jessica Browning wrote the case to support SUNY Adirondack’s capital campaign. “This award reflects the Winkler Group’s unending commitment to our clients.  Our team is filled with some of the fundraising profession best and brightest, but what really sets them apart is ...Read More

Posted by: Laura Taylor on Saturday, July 01, 2017

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Giving USA 2017: Record Philanthropic Giving Again in 2016

  Record Philanthropic Giving Again in 2016 Americans gave a record $390.05 billion in 2016, according to Giving USA, released today.  Giving grew for the third year in a row, but at a slower rate than the past two years.  Giving to all nine nonprofit sectors grew — only the fifth time in the 40-year history of the report that all sectors saw growth. Giving by individuals (72% of all gifts) continues to fuel philanthropy.  Individual giving rose by 2.6% over 2015. Giving b...Read More

Posted by: Jessica Browning on Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Lord Will Provide… (and other misguided statements from people in churches and ministries)

Written by Timothy M. Winkler Sr., CFRE; CEO, Winkler Group In 2008 and 2009, our phones were ringing off the hook with calls from churches that had recently built new sanctuaries or fellowship halls.  The recession was making it difficult to sustain their debt loads.  Despite good intentions, they had let their architect—not a strategic feasibility study—drive their project...Read More

Posted by: Tim Winkler on Thursday, June 01, 2017

Monday, April 03, 2017

Fundraising as Ministry: Overcoming the Oxymoron - Part Two

The Winkler Group’s last blog introduced the disconnect between philanthropy and ministry, and the perils of their separation.  In today’s blog, we’ll explore four concepts that fuse the best practices of the fundraising world with the Biblical concepts developed into stewardship principles.   #1: Building Relationships. Relationships position fundraising and ministry as complementary. The fundraiser’s mantra: people give to people. Our bookshelves are lined with titles like Read More

Posted by: Nikki Rach on Monday, April 03, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fundraising as Ministry: Overcoming the Oxymoron - Part One

Jesus talked about money and possessions more than any other topic except the Kingdom of God.  Theologians over the centuries have linked philanthropy (stewardship) to discipleship.  And the latest Giving USA revealed that 55% of all donations are motivated by spiritual convictions. So why do we, as fundraisers, neglect the spiritual aspects of philanthropy.  And why do far too many people in ministry shy away from fundraising? Today, there is such a disconnect between these two worlds of philanthropy and ministry.  For...Read More

Posted by: Nikki Rach on Monday, March 27, 2017

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Plain Envelope vs. “Annual Fund Enclosed.” Which wins?

  Competition for the philanthropic dollar is fierce.  As annual fund season is in full swing, how do you make sure your end-of-the-year appeal stands out in a crowded field? Yes, your message must engage the reader and demonstrate a strong social ROI.  But almost more important is the way your message is delivered.    To illustrate this p...Read More

Posted by: Jessica Browning on Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Generosity Starts with Gratitude

Giving USA 2016 reported a new high in giving to religious institutions at $119 billion, year over year.  Good news, yes, but giving grew by only 2.7%, making giving to religion one of the slowest growth sectors. In fact, as total donations to nonprofits have risen steadily, church donations have struggled to keep pace with inflation. As the total philanthropic pie grew to over $373 billion, the portion going to churches declined once again. In 1981-1985 religious institutions received more than 58% of all donations to charitie...Read More

Posted by: Nikki Rach, Senior Consultant on Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thursday, September 01, 2016

New IRS Rules May Impact Your Fundraising Future

The IRS has made some new rules that will impact the nonprofit sector.  Here are a few issues we’re keeping our eyes on: More nonprofits.  The IRS lowered the exempt status application fee from $400 to $275 for nonprofit status using Form 1023-EZ.  Additionally, the new EZ form makes for quicker approval of exempt status.  Many believe these changes stem from backlash to the IRS’s 2013 Tea Party scandal (in which the ...Read More

Posted by: Jessica Browning on Thursday, September 01, 2016