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  • Kelsey Kuske

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020!

As we wave goodbye to 2019 and welcome the beginning of a new decade, we reflect on the past year with gratitude and excitement. Because we are so thankful for 2019 and the people that entered our lives, we are doing a New Year’s Giveaway so be sure to read to the end for the details.


What did 2019 look like in philanthropy? Philanthropic giving continues to thrive. However, organizations and those in development should be prepared to adapt their strategies. Demographic changes, growth in corporate giving trends and the dominance of mobile web browsing should be taken into account when developing updated fundraising strategies. The good news is that interest in philanthropy continues to mature, but let’s take a look at some giving trends from 2019.

  • Online giving grew by 12.1% over the past year

  • 45% of worldwide donors are enrolled in a monthly giving program

  • Female donors are more likely to make a donation because of social media marketing, while male donors are more likely to give because of email messages

  • Generational differences between donors can have considerable influence[1]


With the generational shift and the increase in social media marketing, it is essential for organizations to modify their approach. The new decade will surely bring growth and change in philanthropy!


While we had a lot to celebrate and give thanks for in 2019, we, like many organizations, had to work through tough changes. Growth brings challenges, but the right team ensures that you will be stronger and better in the end.


2019 was a transformational year for the Abbey Group team. We celebrated growth, consistency and exciting new ventures. Check out our top 5 “glows” from 2019!


Glow #1: We welcomed two new team members, Kelsey and Tom.

Kelsey is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison and she recently completed her Strategic Management and Innovation certification. She has a background in volunteering with many non-profits and has a passion for helping others. Kelsey joined Abbey Group on July 1st and is jumping in by leading a Development Audit and a Campaign Readiness Assessment for two Abbey Group clients. Kelsey is a strong community supporter, avid volunteer, successful leader and has served on a wide variety of leadership committees, both professionally and personally.  Recently Kelsey joined two Milwaukee young professional boards: the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and SHARP Literacy. For this new year, she has accepted the challenge to compete for the 2020 Woman of the Year with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We wish her the best of luck in her fight to support this meaningful cause.


Tom is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, St. Louis University, and Boston College. He is passionate about development and helping people guide their philanthropic stewardship in the most meaningful and effective ways possible. He joined Abbey Group on October 1st and has much experience to share having envisioned, organized, and participated in the creation and execution of successful advancement plans, including board and vision development and prospect research. Tom has successfully stewarded donor commitment and cultivated major gifts for a variety of organizations over the years, including former Abbey Group client St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Tom is a published writer in public policy research and other philanthropic topics. We are thrilled to have him on board!


Head over to our website to read more about Kelsey, Tom and the rest of the Abbey Group Team!


Glow #2: Our office administrator, Cindy, celebrated her sixth anniversary with Abbey Group.


As Abbey Group’s Office Administrator, Cindy is in charge of the office and keeping the team updated and on task! “I’ve gotten to work with a lot of different people over the past six years and our clients become more like family by the time we’ve concluded our work with them!” says Cindy. We are so thankful for all of the work Cindy does for and with the entire Abbey Group team.


Glow #3: We launched our email newsletter, the Abbey Arrow.


The Abbey Arrow is specifically designed to help you and your organization gain skills and insights that will help you be stronger and better than ever. We want you to Experience Excellence. Let the Abbey Arrow help guide you.


Glow #4: With our email newsletter we launched the Abbey Group Blog.


Our goal for the blog is to create content that is helpful to all development professionals, board members, staff and volunteer leaders. If you have a topic that you want to learn more about, send it our way! We enjoy creating content for you. In the meantime, be sure to check out our top 4 posts from this year!

How to Take Your Case Statement Beyond Good to Great

A Simple Guide to Kickstart Your Social Media Marketing

6 Steps to More Effective Asks

Tis’ the Season of Generational Giving


Glow #5: Our clients led their development efforts to new heights.


"LifeScape was on the cusp of a major decision that would involve significant philanthropic resources.  Abbey Group helped evaluate our fundraising program and has been able to make recommendations on staffing and activities that will help us to be more efficient and effective in a campaign. Partnering with Abbey Group has enabled LifeScape Foundation to stretch beyond our safe success zone and into a truly transformational frame of mind as we approach this new campaign." - Jessica Wells, President, LifeScape Foundation



In July we had the opportunity to facilitate a board retreat for a very special client, Horizon Health Foundation. At this retreat, we focused on creating a strategic plan and action steps for the implementation of this plan. It was a special moment as many of these board members were meeting in person for the first time, eager to dive into planning for a year of growth. When asked how they felt about the retreat, one board member stated that it was "very informational and lit a fire!"


We are excited to see what the “Roaring 20’s” of the 21st Century have in store for us, for our clients and for you! We’ve been working on something big that will help you take your fundraising from good to great. Stay tuned!

We want to hear from you. Here are the rules:

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3. Comment on the post that shares this blog. Tell us, what are your top “glows” from 2019 and what are you most excited for in 2020?

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[1] “Nonprofit Fundraising Statistics [Updated for 2019].” Double the Donation, https://doublethedonation.com/tips/matching-grant-resources/nonprofit-fundraising-statistics/.

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