top of page


8948 Watertown Plank Road

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226-4802



“...we also announced
that we had exceeded our fund raising campaign goal of $7,000,000.”


To Whom It May Concern: 

Our Ronald McDonald House just celebrated the groundbreaking for our $10,000,000 expansion. What a joyous day to share with our major donors, volunteers and families. At this time, we also announced that we had exceeded our fund raising campaign goal of $7,000,000.  

The leadership team of the Ronald McDonald House had no previous experience in fundraising or in running a capital campaign. We could not have accomplished this without the wise counsel, enforced discipline, and guidance of Michael McNeely and the Abbey Group, Ltd. 

I can recommend, without reservation, the Abbey Group for philanthropy counsel services. Michael and his staff are consummate professionals that take time to understand their clients, help them exceed goals that initially seem unattainable. Under Michael's leadership, the Ronald McDonald House received direction for three $1,000,000 gifts, including a complicated "challenge" gift.  

Abbey Group has helped in all areas of development while working with us. Sandra McNeely was a willing partner as well, assisting us in implementing a CEO review process, helping us in creating a strategic plan, and has provided me, as board chairman, much guidance. The Abbey Group team has helped us with every step in our capital campaign, including defining the proper "ask" with our very diverse donor group.  

I share the leadership of "Opening More Doors", our capital campaign, with a very dedicated steering committee. We are very impressed with Abbey Group. In fact, I have recommended Abbey Group to other organizations I serve.  

Be assured, Abbey Group will help you achieve your philanthropy goals. They stand above others in integrity, counsel and compassion.


Robert Monday

Board Chairman, Ronald McDonald House

Chairman Steering Committee Chair, "Opening More Doors" Campaign

“The Abbey Group gave us the courage and confidence to proceed with the appeal at a time when the economy was at its lowest level in years...”

606 Cathedral Drive

Rapid City, South Dakota 57701




I am very pleased to write a letter of recommendation for The Abbey Group, Ltd.


As chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota, I gained first hand knowledge of the work of Abbey Group early in 2008 when the diocese contracted with them for professional development services for a special appeal to raise $12.5 million. To raise that amount in a mission diocese was a tall order given that the diocese encompasses three of the six poorest counties in the United States and is also home to five Indian reservations where poverty is rampant.


Initially, Michael McNeely, President and CEO of Abbey Group, took the time to get to know not only the needs of the diocese but also the priests and people within the diocese to enable him to develop a detailed road map to launch the appeal and ensure a successful outcome. My role in this process was to facilitate communication between Abbey Group and the diocesan staff involved in the appeal and to serve as secretary to the steering committee which was the bishop's cabinet for the appeal.


The success of this appeal, which actually exceeded the $12.5 million goal, is a direct result of the generosity of the people of the diocese and the professionalism, competence and work ethic of the Abbey Group in carefully guiding the leadership through the appeal process. They conducted a feasibility study that set the parameters for developing a comprehensive plan that provided the mechanics of the entire appeal. Michael McNeely worked with, and was present to, the bishop and the leadership team throughout the three year span of the appeal. He provided training, motivation and support to those who graciously served as solicitors of major gifts in the quiet phase as well as to those who served during the public phase. Michael was with us every step of the way giving sound advice, smoothing out bumps in the road and offering follow-up strategies.


The Abbey Group gave us the courage and confidence to proceed with the appeal at a time when the economy was at its lowest level in years and the financial forecast for securing pledges was poor. The resulting over-goal achievement is testimony to the quality of service the Abbey Group, especially Michael McNeely as appeal counsel, brought to the table as the diocese pulled together to meet the goals of the appeal.

I have no hesitation in recommending The Abbey Group Ltd., as a competent, ethical and professional organization with a proven track record in the field of financial development.


Sincerely yours,

Margaret S. Simonson


520 Cathedral Drive

Rapid City, South Dakota 57701


“ my experience, what really stands out about the Abbey Group is their total commitment to the success of our project.”

To whom it may concern,

I have had the privilege of working with Mike McNeely and the Abbey Group in a capital campaign to raise funds to build a new Newman Center near the campus of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota.


They brought to the campaign a clear vision and understanding of fund raising grounded in a wealth of experience. They were very professional and timely in their response to questions and concerns. They were efficient and thorough in their approach. In addition, in my experience, what really stands out about the Abbey Group is their total commitment to the success of our project. From the very beginning, it was evident that they cared about the success of our appeal. They also cared about the people who were involved. They took time to listen and understand our needs and concerns, they addressed problems that arose and were constantly encouraging to us. They were more than generous in their time and commitment to our project. Most importantly, they saw the process through to its completion. I would certainly recommend them to anyone who asks. Their professionalism is matched by a passion for what they do.


Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like to know more about the work they did for us.

Fr. Michel Mulloy, Rector

Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Hope

Lead Area Chamber of Commerce

160 W. Main Street

Lead SD 57754 


“ was a game changer for the direction of our organization.”

To Whom It May Concern:


I am writing a Letter of Recommendation to anybody who is thinking about using the Abbey Group. I have recently have had the pleasure of working with Sandra L. McNeely, and the Abbey Group during a strategic board planning session. She and her team were professional, amicable to scheduling, and undoubtedly very knowledgeable about non-profit and strategy development.


Board members described Sandra as: prepared, pleasant, knowledgeable, energetic, motivating, and an overall great facilitator of the meeting. Being a smaller chamber of commerce, and not having the opportunities to have done this before, it was a game changer for the direction of our organization. It helped facilitate goals and objectives in a clear and concise manner.


I would highly recommend Sandra and the Abbey Group to any other organization or business to facilitate their future planning efforts or other ventures. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at or 605.584.1100.

Melissa Johnson

IOM Executive Director

1969 West Hart Road

Beloit, Wisconsin 53511


"What makes The Abbey Group different from other campaign counsel firms? Integrity, reliability, accessibility, personal service and a customized 
approach, not only for each individual client, but also for each individual campaign."

For the past 10 years, Beloit Memorial Hospital Foundation has had the privilege of working with The Abbey Group, Ltd. as our fundraising counsel. We first selected The Abbey Group from a filed of seven national firms to conduct a feasibility study for what we believed would be a $3 million capital campaign. Despite the fact that the other firms were much larger and more well known, and that one of the firms had conducted a previous campaign for us, The Abbey Group was the unanimous choice of the committee. We were all extremely impressed by Michael McNelly's calm and confident demeanor as he answered each of our questions in a thorough and very detailed manner. We believed . he would represent us well in the personal interviews he would conduct for the campaign. 

Not only did Michael fulfill that belief, he also provided us with news we were not expecting. Based on his findings, we were told that we should expand our dollar horizons to a target of $6-7 million, and that the amount was attainable if we were to wait one full year before beginning our campaign. Additionally, he advised us to listen to our donors and extend our pledge period to 5 years, and to do a blended campaign to include both capital and endowment funds. We engaged The Abbey Group as our campaign counsel, wisely following his advice and delaying the campaign. We revised our case statement to include both capital and endowment opportunities, strengthened our steering committee, and trained our solicitors. With the guidance of The Abbey Group we raised $6.2 million and wrote off only $85,000 over 5 years.

Confidently and without hesitation, we employed The Abbey Group to conduct an endowment feasibility study for us in 2004. Again the outstanding counsel we received made it possible for us to double our endowment in a period of two years.

The Abbey Group has just completed a third feasibility study for us regarding an $11 million project to expand and renovate our Emergency Department. We were testing a $4 million campaign goal, but it is clear that number will be very difficult to attain. While that is hard and challenging information to hear, Michael and his team have again provided us with a strategy to maximize the potential dollars available. Implementation will take work and creativity, but we have every confidence that we can be successful.

What makes The Abbey Group different from other campaign counsel firms? Integrity, reliability, accessibility, personal service and a customized approach, not only for each individual client, but also for each individual campaign. Raising money in today's environment is not easy. Competition for charitable dollars it tough. No organization can assume that their donor base will remain constant and eternally committed to their special cause. Of the donors I needed to reach for my campaign 10 years ago, 30% have either died or moved away. The donors I've solicited for my endowment fund are not the same donors who will support my ER campaign. There is no cookie cutter approach, and The Abbey Group recognizes that fact. Yet they approach every campaign with their years of experience, the latest fundraising strategies, and the most current technologies to help us define and solicit the best possible prospects for our projects.

Michael McNeely has put together a quality team in The Abbey Group. They are an intelligent, personally committed group of individuals whose skills and talents represent their clients in a professional and personable manner. They treat you and your donors as you would like to be treated. They give you the tools to improve yourself and your fundraising operations. In short, they leave your organization better than they found it. I recommend them most highly without hesitation or qualification.

Ann Sitrick, CFRE

Executive Director, Beloit Hospital Foundation, Inc.

bottom of page