Postal Rates to Change on January 21st

The United States Postal Service has announced new postal rates that will take effect on January 21, 2018.

A summary of eligible changes is outlined below.

  • First class stamps will increase in price from $0.49 to $0.50 while meter prices will increase from $0.46 to $0.47. This will account for a $0.01 increase in price per piece as opposed to a $0.005 decrease last year.
  • Commercial and nonprofit marketing mail (formerly standard mail) will also increase by 1.9% overall, with some categories increasing and others decreasing. For example, commercial letter size mail will increase by 2% while nonprofit flats will decrease by 6.9%.

For your convenience, our Gabriel Group Postal Rate Chart is available to you for download. Click here to view and save the PDF.

Gabriel Group and Donor By Design Group LLC Announce Strategic Partnership

 

When it comes to nonprofit fundraising, effectively executing on the many kinds of development efforts needed to achieve financial success is a challenge within itself. From donor acquisition to broad-based renewals to planned giving, each piece of the larger puzzle needs to work together in order to attain the best results possible and change lives for the better.

That’s why we are thrilled to announce a new joint venture with Donor By Design Group LLC, a fundraising consultancy that specializes in helping nonprofit organizations with capital campaign management, major gift coaching and donor research, to name a few. Together, we are looking forward to combining our areas of expertise in order to provide a more comprehensive array of services for the organizations we serve.

Through this partnership, our clients will have access to an extended team of seasoned professionals who bring unique perspectives and decades of fundraising experience to the table. We are excited to come together and provide a full suite of fundraising services to help inspiring nonprofits around the world realize their missions.

If you’re interested in learning more about these new opportunities, please contact our Director of Agency Services Renee Durnin at 314.743.5713 or renee.durnin@gabrielgroup.com.

5 Simple Steps to Shield Your Donor Base From Tax Reform Fallout

If the final Tax Cuts and Jobs Act resembles the bills that have passed through the House and Senate, nonprofits could see one reason for giving — tax benefits — almost disappear.

But that doesn’t mean gifts will go down. There are other, more powerful reasons donors give to your cause, and Gabriel Group fundraising experts recommend that you work on reinforcing those reasons rather than expending all your efforts on reacting to the changes.

Here are some basic steps — always beneficial, but perhaps even more important in these changing times.

  1. Love your donors, and let them know how you feel. Say thank you sincerely, creatively, early, and often. Tell them what their gifts are accomplishing. Make them the heroes of your ongoing success story. Make their experience as your donor joyful and fulfilling.
  2. As the old song says, “Accentuate the positive!”* Make sure you know why donors give to you and seize every opportunity to help them continue.
  3. Focus! Clarify and fine-tune your messaging. Refine your segmentation. Define a donor journey and build a plan that takes donors by the hand and guides them through. Review your plans and processes for opportunities to invest and improve, as well as to cut back.
  4. Keep learning. Gabriel Group’s Donor Insight Survey is an effective and very cost-effective tool for building knowledge of your valuable planned and major gift prospects. If you haven’t used it before, this would be a good time.
  5. Treat your donors like the unique individuals they are, not like machines that dispense cash when you push the right buttons. Learn their likes and dislikes and apply the learning. Today’s wide choice of media and advanced segmentation and imaging techniques make this not only doable, but practical as well.

Take these steps, and you will see positive results regardless of new regulations Congress comes up with. Gabriel Group can help you create the plans and get compelling messages to exactly the right people. Contact Dino Megaloudis at dino.megaloudis@gabrielgroup.com or 919.619.1266 for the full story.

*Words by Johnny Mercer, music by Harold Arlen

Allan Leonard Joins Gabriel Group as Vice President of Marketing Services

Gabriel Group is excited to announce the addition of Allan Leonard to its team as Vice President of Marketing Services.

Prior to coming to Gabriel Group, Allan spent 17 years at Swift Print Communications, a full-service print marketing company also located in St. Louis. There, he worked as the company’s National Director of Swift Click Solutions, where he was responsible for managing client relationships and overseeing customer integration of Swift’s web-based asset management platform. Allan has held a variety of positions in the print industry throughout his career, including press operator, customer service representative and production manager.

CEO Dave Hawkins says, “Allan has seen all sides of the print business over the past 25 years, and we’re thrilled to have him as our newest associate here at Gabriel Group.”

He continues, “He knows the ins and outs like the back of his hand and his knowledge will be crucial to our business and extremely beneficial to our clients as well. But more importantly, Allan has a true passion for helping people exceed their goals. At Gabriel Group, that’s why we do what we do – adding Allan to our team will strengthen and support our emphasis on the exceptional customer service we aim to provide every single day.”

Allan attended Missouri State University. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his friends and family, cooking, woodworking and doing almost anything outdoors.

Gabriel Group Announces the Addition of Dino Megaloudis as Vice President of Fundraising Services

Gabriel Group is proud to name Dino Megaloudis as the company’s Vice President of Fundraising Services.

Dino comes to Gabriel Group from Squeaky Wheel Media, a digital marketing agency based in New York City. There, he worked as the Director of Client Services where he acted as the liaison between customers and internal teams while specializing in maximizing client satisfaction. Before that, he held multiple positions within the fundraising industry at various higher education institutions, which include New York Institute of Technology, Hofstra University and University of North Carolina. From his experience, Dino brings a well-rounded array of knowledge, including major gift cultivation, stewardship development and a focus on re-qualifying donors.

“We are ecstatic that Dino brings with him the ideal combination of customer service experience along with his background in fundraising,” CEO Dave Hawkins states.

“Our clients are the most important part of our business, and with his experience on both sides of the desk, we couldn’t be more confident in Dino’s unique ability to understand and deliver on our customers’ needs. He has an outstanding track record of both ensuring a high level of success as well as generating donations first-hand. We truly believe he will be a great fit for Gabriel Group and our clients.”

Dino graduated from the University of North Carolina, where he played collegiate soccer on a full athletic scholarship. He later went on to play professionally in Greece before a career-ending injury. When he isn’t working, Dino enjoys spending time with his kids, Stephen and Anastasia, as well as playing soccer and being outdoors.

Gabriel Group Successfully Completes SOC 2 Type II Certification, Aligned to the HITRUST-CSF

Gabriel Group is proud to announce it has successfully completed a Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2 Type II examination aligned to the Health Information Trust Common Security Framework (HITRUST-CSF). The certification process included a substantial audit that measured the company’s print and delivery management systems relevant to security, availability, confidentiality and processing integrity.

This certification confirms that, as a company, Gabriel Group meets key regulations and requirements for protecting and securing the sensitive, private information of the client-partners that it serves. While heavily relied on by the financial services and healthcare industries to ensure protection and confidentiality of their information, the certification is important for all of Gabriel Group’s clients. Besides providing an extra degree of confidence in its internal controls, the certification helps assure clients that Gabriel Group takes exceptional internal measures to ensure its partners receive the best in customer support and service quality.

Conducted by Brown Smith Wallace, an independent CPA firm, the SOC 2 Type II certification aligned to the HITRUST-CSF is considered a significant achievement. Gabriel Group joins a small number of direct marketing organizations across the country with these qualifications. Completing the examination is a third-party attestation that an efficient and prescriptive framework is in place for managing the security and compliance requirements inherent in HIPAA and other applicable regulations. Through the process, the entire company was tested on 151 total controls and will be tested on these controls annually.

Chief Executive Officer Dave Hawkins states, “Having our official certification is huge for Gabriel Group. It’s been a long process, but worth every second to now have our commitment to excellence validated, as we have proven to adhere to such high industry standards.”

“We have always been committed to the confidentiality of the sensitive information our customers entrust us with, but it feels great to be recognized for it. We are proud of our security initiatives and data management, and it really is fantastic to have this certification as proof of our hard work over the years. The future is definitely bright – we couldn’t be more excited.”

Gabriel Group Partners with Phi Kappa Theta Foundation and Psi Upsilon Foundation

Two Greek nonprofit organizations, Phi Kappa Theta Foundation and Psi Upsilon Foundation, have appointed St. Louis-based Gabriel Group to create, manage, and produce their Annual Fund direct mail campaigns.

Phi Kappa Theta Foundation supports the Fraternity’s leadership development programs through the support of donors around the world. These vital development programs include the Regional Leadership Conference, Leadership Institute and professional staffing. The Foundation was established to support the academic and educational development of brothers, chapters and colonies. Their mission is to actively develop men to be effective leaders who passionately serve society, Fraternity, and God.

Psi Upsilon Foundation raises the money needed to ensure that Psi Upsilon Fraternity fulfills its educational and leadership programming and is responsible for executing an advancement program that engages members and friends through cultivation, solicitation and stewardship. The Foundation offers a variety of opportunities for gift support of the Fraternity’s educational activities and provides the resources necessary to produce an effective and efficient advancement program for the mutual benefit of donors and Psi Upsilon.

Both accounts are managed by Laura Vechiarella.

5 Lessons from a Growing Company Culture

Let’s begin with a story: in a municipality on the outskirts of St. Louis about 3 years ago, an ambitious CEO took over a direct marketing company. He had dreams of creating a company culture that went unmatched throughout the land and inspired employees near and far. He believed in the idea of creating enjoyment and fulfillment at work and he began his mission by reading heaps of books to educate himself and his loyal subjects. From there, he implemented programs, encouraged associate-run committees and scheduled monthly activities to keep his people happy, healthy and engaged. And everybody lived happily ever after. The end.

Well, not exactly. However, most of the above tale is in fact true, and it’s something we are very proud of here at Gabriel Group. Although our company culture is relatively young and still growing and developing every day, we’ve already learned some important lessons along the way. Continue reading below to take a look at some of our favorite takeaways we’ve picked up so far throughout our journey.

  1. Insert buzzword here: Transparency

We know, we know…we’re sick of hearing it too. “Transparency” has become overused and beat to the ground when it comes to culture building, but as cliché as it has become, it’s still vital to keep in mind. Closed doors and office whispers are no way to promote trust and pride in an organization – so break the pattern and stop letting it happen. One way Gabriel Group combats this is by holding a weekly All Company Meeting every Monday morning in order to get everybody together in one place where we discuss financials, upcoming events and company news. Most importantly, leadership opens the floor to anyone who wants to contribute or ask questions. Creating this environment on a weekly basis has made a massive difference in associates feeling heard, valued and a part of the bigger conversations.

  1. Actually commit to your core values

There is a good chance that all of us have been a part of an organization at one point or another who spouts language around their core values – but at the end of the day, it seems like hypocrisy is missing from the lineup. And hey – nobody is perfect, including us. However, this major disconnect can lead to huge issues if not addressed properly, including turnover, resentment and potentially total business collapse. At Gabriel Group, our core values (Warrior Spirit, Servant’s Heart and Fun-Loving Attitude) are a part of daily conversations when it comes to our business practices, successes and especially our failures. Let your core values truly be your guiding path – even if it’s scary – and believe us, it is. Holding ourselves accountable is a daily struggle, but worth every second when we can look back and see the exact road that led us to where we are today.

  1. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate

Come visit Gabriel Group for a day and you’re sure to hear at least one person say, “When’s the next party?” We take Fun-Loving Attitude seriously when it comes to commemorating accomplishments, holidays and especially each other. From Thirsty Thursdays to 12 Days of Christmas and monthly Associate Appreciation Luncheons, we make it a point to bring all of our associates together and take time to simply enjoy what we do every day. The result? Associates who celebrate you back. Whether it’s on Glassdoor or in our “What’s On Your Mind?” opinion box, we receive amazingly positive feedback about the efforts we put forth to make Gabriel Group a great place to work. And don’t forget the bonus of having fun at work every single week without fail!

  1. Differentiate between perks and culture

A big mistake companies can often make is focusing too much on flashy perks while ignoring the way employees feel day to day in their positions. Many times, updated office spaces, unlimited beverages and Ping Pong tables can shroud larger bottlenecks that are plaguing an organization’s culture. The fact of the matter is is that free beer doesn’t create open lines of communication between departments, just as good intention doesn’t automatically increase revenue. Be deliberate about what you offer to your people and make sure you’re not sending mixed messages between the extras you provide and the culture you are fostering. Some perks at GG include a one-month sabbatical after 6 years, one paid volunteer day a year and the ever-popular free popcorn in the breakroom (sometimes less really is more).

  1. Never underestimate the power of giving back

Research shows that more and more job seekers, particularly millennials, value prospective employers who make a conscious effort to give back to their community. Of any tips or tricks that you take away from this article, pay attention to this one. Gabriel Group participates in an internal Pay-It-Forward program where each year, associates vote on one local nonprofit organization to raise money for. Our goal has continued to increase to $15,000 for this year’s nominee, Missouri Veterans Endeavor. More than luncheons, activities or new initiatives, it’s safe to say Pay-It-Forward fundraisers are everyone’s favorite part of our culture at GG. The generosity we see from our associates when it comes to giving back to our partner organizations every single year continues to blow us away. Point blank: buy in to charitable giving and you can’t go wrong.

Our story here at Gabriel Group is not unique or uncommon – but what we do know is that it’s special to us. The last few years have been irreplaceable as we have found our footing and have continued to progress towards the culture we aspire to grow here at GG. The biggest lesson we can share with you is short and sweet – enjoy the ride. There will be amazing ups and there will be disheartening downs, but if your heart is in the right place to create a place where everyone is excited and proud to be, your happily ever after might not be as far off as you might think.

To learn more about GG’s culture, call us at (314) 743-5700 and ask for Kelsey!

Gabriel Group Announces Corporate Restructuring

Gabriel Group is proud to announce that it has implemented a handful of organizational changes in order to better align the company’s goals with the needs of its clients.

Charlie Pitlyk, formerly Executive Vice President, has been promoted to President, CISO, where he will continue to evaluate production capabilities and maximize revenue while also overseeing business operations and ensuring that the company-wide security program is implemented effectively.

Steve Koch makes a move from Vice President of Account Management to Vice President of Sales, where he will shift his focus to overseeing the sales team in addition to developing strategies that will identify marketing opportunities and planning for new project development.

Crystal Glaenzer and Kim Brown have both advanced to the role of Director of Account Management, where they will oversee day-to-day interaction with nonprofit and corporate customers, respectively. Ashley Dalton has also been named the Director of Client Solutions, where she is responsible for facilitating new business processes while reviewing and improving existing client projects.

The biggest change of the transition comes from the creation of an entirely new Gabriel Group department: Agency Services. Renee Durnin, CFRE will lead the new division that will be responsible for cultivating and executing creative strategy, including overall campaign development and graphic design. Traci Basden, CFRE also joins the Agency Services team, transitioning from her role in sales to Senior Fundraising Strategist in order to serve as a liaison between Gabriel Group’s nonprofit account management team and their clients to develop successful fundraising campaigns.

“We are thrilled about the new direction these changes will take us in the future,” says CEO, Dave Hawkins. “Our leadership team feels very confident about the adjustments that were made throughout the company in order to create a more client-focused structure that will best support both Gabriel Group and its partners moving forward. We can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Gabriel Group Begins Compliance Process To Achieve SOC 2 Type II Certification, Aligned to the HITRUST-CSF

Gabriel Group is proud to announce that it has officially began conducting a substantial audit that will measure the company’s print and delivery management systems relevant to security, availability, confidentiality and processing integrity. Upon completion, scheduled for September 2017, Gabriel Group will be SOC 2 Certified, aligned to the Health Information Trust (HITRUST) Alliance Common Security Framework (CSF).

The HITRUST CSF is a comprehensive and certifiable security framework used by healthcare organizations and their business associates to efficiently approach regulatory compliance and risk management. The purpose of this process is to create a common security baseline of validated security controls that encompass many well-known standards, including HIPAA, ISO, COBIT, PCI and NIST. Gabriel Group will be one of the first marketing companies in the country to have attained SOC 2 Type II, aligned to HITRUST when the audit is completed later this year.

“We are very excited to begin our journey towards SOC 2 Type II certification, aligned to the HITRUST-CSF,” says CEO, Dave Hawkins. “This progression is not only huge for us as a company, but will be extremely beneficial to our clients – especially in the healthcare and financial services industries. First-rate data security is our top priority when it comes to every single organization that we work with, and having this industry-recognized accreditation to add to our arsenal will be a big step towards achieving our goals.”

“Gabriel Group is proud of our commitment of complying with the most highly renowned controls and standards in the business in order to assist our clients in the best way possible. The future looks bright for us as we continue our mission towards attaining our certification.”