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95: The People Behind the Products: The History of Donor Data, Retention, and How Technology Can Empower a Transformation with Jay B. Love

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“I would always say one of the things that I really appreciate if I’ve been involved with a nonprofit for, say 10 years, is when in my thank you letter, they tell me what my lifetime giving is.”

– Jay B. Love
Episode #95

Overview

In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

Note the disparity: while commercial businesses have a near 90% returning customers, the nonprofit sector has a staggering 40-45%. Surprising? Then you’ll want to spend some time with Jay Love, Co-Founder of Bloomerang, and my guest on this episode of What the Fundraising. After 11 years as the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry, Jay started Bloomerang specifically to address the donor retention issues we have in the nonprofit sector.  In addition to our talk about donor retention, you’ll get insight into Jay’s 4-decade journey in this sector and his up-close look at the evolution of technology and data management. Jay walks us through the evolution of donor data storage from post-it notes and file cabinets, to disks and hard drives, and then finally to cloud storage. The history is eye-opening and helpful to understanding where we are today, why we see resistance in certain tech adoption areas, and how we can best utilize the incredible tools we have available to us.  

Jay also shares valuable insight into what it takes for nonprofits to succeed in their fundraising, and what keeps donors engaged with their nonprofit partners. A lot of it, as you’ll hear, boils down to two things: authenticity and appreciation, both of which are made easier with the right technology partners. In this era of the digital revolution, data holds so much power and requires a lot of responsibility. Jay talks to us about the most important ways to maintain data hygiene and the right ways to utilize (and protect) donor data. He also explains why transparency and proper handling of data are a must in nonprofits to support donor trust and engagement. But don’t worry, data hygiene doesn’t mean ‘perfect data’ and we talk about the difference and the ways in which most donors have grace for nonprofits when there is an error in lifetime giving data or another metric. The opportunities we gain by utilizing our data and personalizing communications far outweigh the issues with small mistakes here and there. This episode will help you know what to prioritize and why! 

Please note: This episode is a part of a very special series called The People Behind the Products. More than ever, nonprofits care about the company behind their technology and service providers. What’s the underlying mission and vision of the company? What do they stand for? And how are they thinking about the sector and serving nonprofits? This series is an opportunity to get to know some of my favorite nonprofit technology companies so that the next time you’re making a tech decision, you can understand a little bit more about the people behind the product. There is no sponsorship or industry money behind the production of this series and the editorial content was at the sole discretion of the What the Fundraising team. 

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Get to know Jay:

A lifelong donor and social welfare investor, Jay B. Love is the Co-Founder and Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang. He has served the nonprofit sector for 40 years and is considered the most well-known senior statesman in the sector. Before Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years – the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector then. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth.

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I teach nonprofit fundraisers to bring in more gifts from the RIGHT donors… so they can stop hounding people for money. Fundraising doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.

MALLORY ERICKSON

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