News & Insights

Thursday, November 01,2018

Can Football Teach Us How to be Better Fundraisers?

It's the most wonderful time of the football season.  One simple lesson from my own college football days has stuck with me all these years, and it's one that applies as much to fundraising as it does to football.  One of my teammates had a vintage cotton liner that he wore all the time.  I don't know where he found it, but the words written on it were powerful: Hit. Tackle. Block.  I still remember this slogan because of how it simply and accurately described what winning football teams do. Even to this day, with... Read More

Posted by: Tim Winkler, Founder and CEO of the Winkler Group on Thursday, November 01,2018

Monday, October 08,2018


Charleston — Two veteran fundraisers, Raymond Carnley and Jay Howard, were named senior consultants this week for the Winkler Group. Together, they have more than 50 years of experience leading capital campaigns and advancement offices for universities, nonprofit organizations, and independent schools. Jay Howard, CFRE Jay Howard has raised nearly $50 million for philanthropic causes during his career. His expertise lies in engaging boards and volunteers in capital campaigns and in strategic planning. Mr. Howard has worked extensively with independent schools... Read More

Posted by: on Monday, October 08,2018

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 donor-centric fundraising—a strategy that... 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 statement to... 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 giving), followed by education (14% of... 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 June 14 when Giving USA is released.  As members of Giving Institute, publishers of Giving USA, the Winkler Group will be among the first to share the results on our website and social media outlets.     Jessica Browning, Winkler Group Senior Vice President, was selected to serve as lead chapter reviewer for this... Read More

Posted by: on Friday, June 01,2018

Tuesday, May 01,2018

Sarah Evans Joins Winkler Group As Senior Consultant

Charleston—The Winkler Group has named noted fundraiser Sarah Evans as its newest Senior Consultant.  Ms. Evans is the former Director of Philanthropy and Donor Relations at Ashley Hall.  While at the independent school, Ms. Evans raised the highest number of major gifts in the school’s recent history and played an integral role in its successful capital campaign. Prior to her tenure at Ashley Hall, Ms. Evans was the Director of Development at Addlestone Academy.  Under her direction, annual giving to the school quadrupled.   ... Read More

Posted by: on Tuesday, May 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 school is wildly... Read More

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

Thursday, March 08,2018

Independent School Receives Third 7-Figure Gift

Christ Presbyterian Academy, a preK-12 independent school in Nashville, Tennessee and Winkler Group client, recently received its third $1 million gift toward its $18 million Transforming Stories campaign.  The gifts have been made by current school families and by the private foundation of a school family.   "These gifts are the result of years of successful cultivation, and also of vision.  CPA leaders have done an outstanding job keeping school families and the community in the loop about where the school is headed," explains... Read More

Posted by: on Thursday, March 08,2018

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 Should Be Invited to Participate? You’ve conducted a wealth screen to narrow down the list of prospective lead donors.  Now, take a look at the list to determine who should be invited to the... 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 billion in gifts... 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 differently and offer new ways for the university to... Read More

Posted by: on Monday, January 01,2018

Monday, December 04,2017

Winkler Group Grows Leadership Team

Charleston—The Winkler Group, a national nonprofit consulting firm headquartered in Charleston, has announced new appointments to its leadership team.  These new appointments come as the Winkler Group experiences its 13th straight year of growth.  Jessica Browning is the new Senior Vice President of Communications for the firm.  In her nine years with the Winkler Group, she has written materials that have successfully raised millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations and institutions.  Ms. Browning is a graduate of Duke University and the... Read More

Posted by: on Monday, December 04,2017

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 were warranted due to the rapid growth in the scale of campaigns, the need for greater transparency…and the growing variety and complexity of revenue sources.” More than 10 years later, the trend towards larger and larger campaigns... Read More

Posted by: on Friday, December 01,2017

Wednesday, November 15,2017

CALL TO ACTION: House Tax Bill

The Winkler Group joins with the Giving Institute in a special request to all philanthropy professionals.   As we know, "The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act" does not include any provision to address the significant loss of charitable contributions as consequence of changes to the standard deduction.  The House is expected to vote on their bill on Thursday, November 16.  We ask that you consider a call AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to your House member and their Chiefs of Staff, asking them to put pressure to either vote NO on the Tax Cuts and... Read More

Posted by: on Wednesday, November 15,2017

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.  This process magically assigns a score to each of our... 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 daunting.  Tiered goals allow for more gradual, but attainable success.  We recommend that any development or advancement office identify key challenges and then institute goals to overcome them.  This is a perfect exercise to conduct before thinking about a capital... 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 sound fundraising principles out the door in the name of bad theology (The Lord Will Provide...).  Too often, we see another bad practice implemented by churches and ministries: misguided stewardship.  In fundraising circles, the word... Read More

Posted by: on Friday, September 01,2017

Tuesday, August 01,2017

Winkler Group Welcomes New Team Members

Four exceptional leaders in the field of fundraising have joined the Winkler Group. Lisa Cottingham, Courtenay Fain, Colby Rankin will serve as Senior Consultants; Nicole Hess as Operations Support Assistant.  Each was recruited for their significant experience and dedication to philanthropy.  Lisa Cottingham, Senior Consultant Ms. Cottingham brings over 25 years of experience serving national and international nonprofit organizations.   As the Director of Development for an international nonprofit, Ms. Cottingham managed a development... Read More

Posted by: Jessica Browning on Tuesday, August 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 their... Read More

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