News & Insights

Monday, May 06,2019

Winkler Group CEO Earns Masters Degree

Tim Winkler, Founder and CEO, received a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Columbia Biblical Seminary last Saturday.  The graduation coincides with Winkler's recent announcement that he will take a two-year sabbatical in 2020. He and his wife Deborah will serve as missionaries in Ecuador.  Managing the firm during this time will be an established and expanded leadership team headed by Jim Bush, Principal and President, and Jessica Browning, Principal and Executive Vice President.  Both have been serving clients and guiding the firm’s... Read More

Posted by: on Monday, May 06,2019

Thursday, April 18,2019

Winkler Group Announces Leadership Team Promotions, Sabbatical, and Firm Expansion

Charleston, April 18, 2019–The Winkler Group, a leading campaign consulting firm with offices in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, today announced the promotion of veteran consultant Jim Bush to Principal and President. A thought leader in the field of philanthropy, Bush’s fundraising career includes numerous executive leadership roles spanning nearly 30 years.  He has held leadership positions at Blackbaud, Omatic Software, the YMCA, and is a former nonprofit executive director.  A highly sought-after speaker, Bush regularly... Read More

Posted by: on Thursday, April 18,2019

Friday, April 05,2019

WG Leads AFP Campaign Workshop

Winkler Group Principal Jim Bush and Senior Consultant Courtenay Fain last week co-presented "Are You Ready for a Capital Campaign?" to an audience of AFP Members.  They covered new ways to increase board involvement in fundraising, the importance of moves management, and what to do now to get ready for a campaign down the road. Mr. Bush has been named best speaker at numerous national and international conferences.   Ms. Fain is a recognized leader in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector and a past president of the Association of Fundraising... Read More

Posted by: on Friday, April 05,2019

Friday, March 15,2019

Winkler Group Opens Charlotte Office

The Winkler Group has expanded to North Carolina; Rex Otey, a career nonprofit fundraiser with nearly 30 years of experience, will lead the firm’s new Charlotte office.  Mr. Otey brings substantial development knowledge to Winkler Group Clients.  He has raised more than $70 million for universities, independent schools, churches, and nonprofits.  He is the former Vice President of Development for Catawba College, where he led the college’s $46 million campaign and overhauled the college’s annual giving program to exceed its $1.2 million... Read More

Posted by: on Friday, March 15,2019

Friday, March 01,2019

Crowdfunding's Gruesome Origins

Crowdfunding is not new.  It can be traced back 156 years to one of the darkest times in our nation’s history. Today, small contributors can raise large sums of money for a particular purpose with ease thanks to the Internet. But the first crowdfunding project actually occurred in 1863…long before the world wide web.    It was then that crowds of ordinary people were asked to voluntarily contribute to a project of national importance:  the medical care of soldiers on the battlefield and their transition back home. During the... Read More

Posted by: Lee Mikell, Senior Consultant on Friday, March 01,2019

Tuesday, February 26,2019

2018 Giving Results: Don’t Be Fooled by the Increase

Charitable giving was up once again in 2018; however, the numbers should be a wake-up call to everyone in development and advancement. Giving in 2018 was up 1.6% over the prior year.  But remember, it increased by 8% in 2017. The increase in giving came from gifts of $1,000 and above (which rose 2.6% over 2017).  The number of gifts below $1,000 fell by 4%.  Philanthropy leaders expected mid- and low-level gifts to decrease after the new 2017 tax law increased the standard deduction threshold. According to the Tax Policy Center, 8% of households now... Read More

Posted by: on Tuesday, February 26,2019

Saturday, February 02,2019

WG Leads Two Sessions at SUNY Conference

Winkler Group Principal Jim Bush and Senior Managing Consultant Nikki Rach were featured presenters at the SUNY Community College Chief Advancement Officers conference in Latham, New York, last month.  Designed to bring together college presidents, foundation board members, and advancement staff, the conference was an opportunity to share best practices in fundraising for two-year colleges.   Mr. Bush presented "When Campaigns go Sideways," a lighthearted look at overcoming the unexpected challenges that arise during any... Read More

Posted by: on Saturday, February 02,2019

Thursday, January 17,2019

Lessons from America’s First Hospital Capital Campaign

As we begin a new year, it’s the perfect time to look back even as we look ahead.  Philanthropy in America is as old as America itself, and it’s one of our country’s greatest strengths. Come with us as we recount the first hospital campaign—one that was launched even before we declared our independence.  We think you’ll find inspiration in its familiar lessons.   Our story begins in Philadelphia with the Founding Father who displayed his American authenticity by wearing a coonskin cap among European royalty . . .... Read More

Posted by: Lee Mikell, Senior Consultant on Thursday, January 17,2019

Monday, December 03,2018

Your Annual Fund And Capital Campaign Should Be Partners, Not Competitors

The holidays are here, and excitement is buzzing as we set-up decorations, visit our loved ones, find the perfect gift, and snap the family holiday card. But all this holiday cheer is also coupled with sheer exhaustion. In the season of giving, are we asking our donors to give to too many initiatives, particularly if we’re in a campaign?  And how do we make sure our capital campaign doesn’t cannibalize our annual giving—the lifeblood of most organizations? In this month’s blog, we’ll prove the symbiotic relationship between annual... Read More

Posted by: Sarah Evans, Senior Consultant for the Winkler Group on Monday, December 03,2018

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