BWF News
Minneapolis, Minn.—

Bentz Whaley Flessner (BWF), a global fundraising consultancy, has announced changes in its executive leadership team. Joshua Birkholz, 11-year principal, will succeed Bruce Flessner as the Firm’s CEO. Flessner, company founder and principal, is stepping down from his role as CEO and leaving the Firm after 36 years of service. The BWF executive team will continue under the capable leadership of its principals Birkholz, Katrina Klaproth, and Mark Marshall.

Birkholz, a leader in big philanthropy and noted author, is most recognized for his work in the integration of data science with nonprofit development. In addition to overseeing several BWF service lines, Birkholz has led organizational change, campaign design, and philanthropic growth acceleration at leading NGOs, universities, and academic medical centers throughout North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim.

BWF is grateful for Flessner’s contributions to the Firm and for his extraordinary contributions to the nonprofit community. His leadership, expertise, and mentorship has guided a generation of fundraising professionals, and he has helped expand the missions of universities, colleges, and academic medical centers worldwide.

The executive team said of Bruce, “BWF was privileged to have Bruce’s tireless commitment to the nonprofit community for 36 years. We will always be proud of the mark he made on philanthropy, the organization he helped found, and the legacy he leaves with the consulting profession. Although it is hard to see one of our leaders go, especially one with such talents, we wish him the best for the years ahead.”

Collaborative Leadership at BWF

Joshua Birkholz joined BWF in 2004 and is considered a global innovator for the business of fundraising. During the 15 years of consulting with leading nonprofits, universities, and healthcare centers around the globe, Birkholz has redefined how we look at modern program design, fundraising in a smart economy, and branding in the high-net-worth marketplace. Birkholz authored the sought-after book, Fundraising Analytics: Using Data to Guide Strategy and contributed to both A Kaleidoscope of Prospect Development and Return on Character. He currently serves as the Chair of the Advisory Council on Methodology for Giving USA, and he is an instructor at the Rice University Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership. Birkholz’s many industry accolades include the Crystal Apple Award for Teaching Excellence from CASE and the prestigious Apra Visionary award for his contributions to prospect development.

“I am excited to continue the legacy of innovation at BWF,” Birkholz said. “From our pioneering work in prospect development under Bobbie Strand to our contributions in new wealth philanthropy under Bruce Flessner, BWF has put the advancement of our industry first. Today, we are leading the nonprofit consulting profession in the integration of data science with campaign fundraising. We are changing and guiding how nonprofits fundraise in an increasingly diverse, global economy and helping them to embrace a new digital frontier.”

Driving Growth at BWF

Birkholz continued, “My goal is to uncover the hidden drivers of the successful nonprofit in new ways. I want us to be a force of evolution for both large organizations and the community-based charities. BWF will continue our exemplary growth with a commitment to diversity in all its precious forms. It is my honor to be a reflection of this extraordinary firm of selfless, kind, and brilliant advancement professionals.”

Birkholz, Klaproth, and Marshall remain committed to building and maintaining successful partnerships with each client and look forward to helping them advance their philanthropic goals.

About Bentz Whaley Flessner

BWF is a full-service philanthropic consulting services firm. BWF serves nonprofits in the areas of campaign management, high-net-worth fundraising, organizational consulting, data science, marketing, strategic communications, and technology. Clients include universities, health systems, arts & culture organizations, faith-based organizations, and NGOs throughout North America, Europe, Australia, Africa, and the Pacific Rim. As a truly comprehensive fundraising consulting firm, BWF has a team of consultants with extensive background and experience in every facet of philanthropy. For more information please visit