Gabe Cooper · Virtuous, CEO and Founder | How do fundraisers drive generosity? How can we turn a potential donor from a "yes" to a "heck yes!"? Gabe Cooper is on a mission to increase donor excitement through Virtuous, an integrative giving experience. Listen in to hear Justin and Gabe discuss strategies for moving the needle to increase donor acquisition and overall retention. Stay to the end to hear about the newest partnership between Funraise and Virtuous! Plus, you'll hear Justin's interview with Stephen Boudreau from the Nonprofit Innovation and Optimization Summit!
Virtuous and Funraise are teaming up! You heard it here first, loyal podcast listener. CEO Gabe Cooper is leading Virtuous on a mission to expand the giving experience, retain donors, and move one-time donors to full-time, monthly donor status. Listen while Justin speaks to Gabe about how to make that happen––and how Virtuous and Funraise are coming together to make navigating generosity a seamlessly simple experience. Make sure to stay until the end of the episode to hear Justin's mini-interview with Stephen Boudreau about giving trends!
Hello, I'm Justin Wheeler, and welcome to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit!
As we enter the new year, many of us nonprofiteers have been laser-focused on changing trends and what they mean for nonprofit fundraising in 2023. The ever-changing landscape of the global economy, innovation, and social media present uncertainty for any nonprofit setting their yearly fundraising and development goals.
That's why I was excited to sit down with today's guest to discuss changing trends and what they mean—plus how we can reduce donor friction through automation to champion any changing landscape.
Gabe Cooper is the CEO and Founder of Virtuous, a SaaS CRM and marketing platform that works to grow nonprofit impact. Passionate about leveraging accessible software to drive generosity, Gabe founded Virtuous around the pillars of responsive fundraising, success, and mutual partnership.
In this episode, you’ll hear me sit down with Gabe to discuss how to increase social good through the lens of donor-centered fundraising. Halfway through the episode, you'll hear my bonus interview with Virtuous' VP, of Brand & Community, Stephen Bordreau, from the Nonprofit Innovation and Optimization Summit! Be sure you listen to the end of the episode to learn about the exciting new partnership between Virtuous and Funraise!
Let's dive in!
Justin Wheeler Hello! I’m Justin Wheeler and welcome to this episode of the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast.
As we quickly approach the new year, many of us nonprofiteers have been laser-focused on changing trends and what they mean for nonprofit fundraising in 2023. The ever-changing landscape of the global economy, innovation, and social media present uncertainty for any nonprofit setting their yearly fundraising and development goals.
That's why I was excited to sit down with today's guest to discuss changing trends and what they mean—plus how we can reduce donor friction through automation to champion any changing landscape.
Gabe Cooper is the CEO and Founder of Virtuous, an SaaS CRM and marketing platform that works to grow nonprofit impact. Passionate about leveraging accessible software to drive generosity, Gabe founded Virtuous around the pillars of responsive fundraising, success, and mutual partnership.
In this episode, you’ll hear me sit down with Gabe to discuss how to increase social good through the lens of donor-centered fundraising. Halfway through the episode, you'll hear my bonus interview with Virtuous' VP, Brand & Community, Stephen Bordreau, from the Nonprofit Innovation and Optimization Summit! Be sure you listen to the end of the episode to learn about the exciting new partnership between Virtuous and Funraise! Let's dive in.
Justin Wheeler Gabe, thank you so much for joining Nonstop Nonprofit Podcast. How you doing this morning or this afternoon I should say?
Gabe Cooper Yeah, it's afternoon here, but you are doing amazing.
Justin Wheeler Awesome. Well, I'm super excited to have you on the podcast and and for our listeners to learn a bit more about you and Virtuous and so excited to kind of talk about a new partnership we're launching here and a little bit more about your company. But before we dive into that, we'd love just a quick background on yourself as an entrepreneur that's turned towards the nonprofit industry. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what got you started in Virtuous.
Gabe Cooper Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So I'm actually a product guy by trade. Like, I love creating beautiful products that are really easy to use and started as a software developer, but developed this passion for generosity over time. So I worked it in the nonprofit space for a little while and then spent a lot of time doing technology consulting for nonprofits and just began to see the power of generosity, not just for creating good in the world. So not just like, you know, fixing sex trafficking or or saving dogs, but also the power to shift the heart of the giver. So, I just realized more and more that when we give our time, our talent, our social capital, our money–––something changes inside us and makes us a better person. And I think that passion for product and passion for generosity lined up. So, you know, founded Virtuous almost eight years ago now just with this goal to increase global generosity and specifically to increase global generosity by bringing donors closer to the cause or helping nonprofits build more personal relationships with their donors. And so, yeah, that's kind of been my life mission for the last 15-20 years.
Justin Wheeler Awesome. And that's culminated most recently into Virtuous. And so tell us a little bit about company Virtuous and the problems you guys are solving.
Gabe Cooper Yeah. So we like to call ourselves a responsive fundraising platform. And so what that means is we want to create a tech stack, a platform and some playbooks and an amazing team of people that help nonprofits build better personal relationships with donors. And what that looks like sort of on the ground is kind of a modern CRM that's more of an offensive weapon for generosity, a full marketing stack. So email marketing, text mail, all of sort of your normal marketing channels, but also includes things like volunteer management and what we call donor signals. So what are the ways that we can listen to our donors better at scale to understand who they are? We bring all those tools together under one roof to help our amazing nonprofits grow generosity. So we're located in Phenix, Arizona, though only half of our team works here. I think looking out in our office today with maybe 50 people sitting in desk out in our office, but the rest of our team is spread out all over the country. And yeah, what else is important about us? Most of the nonprofits we work with, we would call like mid-to-large nonprofits. I think if you're sort of a tiny nonprofit, there's some great sort of inexpensive tools out there to use. But most people we serve are really trying to like go big with sophisticated marketing, direct response fundraising, major donor teams, and we love serving those kind of organizations.
Justin Wheeler Awesome. Amazing. You know, obviously, both of us working in the nonprofit space, we have our ears to the floor in terms of just what's what's happening, what's going on, or as much as we can, at least with sort of where everything is at the headwinds of 23, fear around a recession. What are you hearing from nonprofits, whether it's your customers or prospects in terms of what their needs are like? How can we best support nonprofits going into a potentially challenging economic climate over the next year or so?
Gabe Cooper It's a great question. I mean, I think there's good news and bad news. The bad news is when, you know, milk is more expensive at the grocery store and people stock portfolios are down, people are just they hold cash tighter. Right. Which if you're if your job is fundraising, that can be really hard. And so I don't want to minimize that. You know, we'll see how the total giving shakes out this year. But I expect it to be, you know, pretty flat. We had an amazing year or two through COVID and giving and and certainly don't expect those kind of increases again, which is hard. I think the really good news is, though, and and just so we've talked about this before, but, you know, giving is, in a sense, recession proof, like as a percentage of GDP, Americans gave more during the Great Depression than just about any other time. Right. And so people are generous during hard times. Now, you have to be empathetic when you make the ask and you have to understand that your donors are going through challenges. But I think the best nonprofits are finding ways to get innovative and step up, even during hard times to be able to support their causes. So I'm. You know, it's it's not going to be easy for the next year, but I'm confident that the best organizations are going to be able to inspire generosity in some ways.
Justin Wheeler Yeah, absolutely. You know, it's interesting. I was as I was doing some research on sort of like Black Friday trends, and there's not necessarily a strong correlation, you know, to giving Tuesday and some of the other big and bigger giving days other than know. At the end of the day, whether you're buying something or donating, you're a consumer. And it was interesting, like reading through like the Shopify at least analysis. You know, they were they were seeing like $3.5 million purchased through Shopify sites every minute during Black Friday and actually grew Black Friday sales by over 20%. On the on the Shopify platform, which I was actually surprised, but I was expecting it to be a little bit more flat given sort of like you mentioned, just sort of the increase in 21 from the pandemic and so forth. But what what's and we're seeing something kind of similar in in our numbers as well as as it relates to individual giving. Now, it's not obviously the full picture. There's a lot more happening kind of behind the scenes. But it's definitely interesting. And I think tomorrow will be a really important data point. And as we look towards like end of year giving, how that's going to shake out for for the nonprofit community, I'm hopeful it's it remains positive, but we'll see, I guess, what happens here in the coming weeks for sure.
Gabe Cooper And I think like like good organizations will be able to understand that, you know, some segment of your donors, if all of their planned gifts were sitting in tech stocks like that, that check will likely be smaller. Or if it was in crypto, like we we as a nonprofit space, we received a decent amount of crypto. I mean, it wasn't like outrageous, but we saw a lot of people make money in crypto and give some of that money away. We're not going to see that again this year like that. That money has gone away. But like money and people's donor advice funds like or that that $50-$100 a month giver that just faithful year over year like those people still have jobs and they're still generous. Right. And so you sort of have to understand who you're talking to during a time like this. But I think the bulk of the giving is still there and people aren't any less generous this year than they were last year right now.
Justin Wheeler Absolutely. And I think you made a good point, too, like talking about sort of giving being more recession resilient. Right. And you talked about like the data point from like the Great Recession. I think also you look at or I think the Great Depression is what you referenced there. If you look at the Great Recession, when the S&P fell 40% giving only fell about seven, six or 7%. And so you do see you do see I kind of look at like giving in the same category as like dog food, right? Like you never see dog food go down no matter what the economic climate is because you have to feed your dog. I think giving because it's so emotional, it makes you even if like even if it's tougher to give that $100 or that $1,000 or that $10,000. The feeling that you get after giving, it's hard to replace that and you like that control you know and so I think that's that's part of what makes giving so recession resilient is how the individual feels after the fact being obviously deeply invested in the causes that they care about and so forth is is a factor, of course. But just the emotional aspect of giving, I think, is it's a lot less logical than than it is emotional to many.
Gabe Cooper The reality too is like consumerism is sometimes a distraction to giving. When we're when everybody's flush and everything's going well and you're buying all the newest gadgets, sometimes you don't think about your neighbor who's hurting, but it's we saw this during COVID when people were, you know, and in some of the social unrest and now most recently, the war in Ukraine, where people are looking at the outside world and they're sort of like keenly aware of the problems around them and something in them switches and it makes them more generous. And so it's, you know, there's something magical about people understanding the pain of others that makes them more generous and that that increases arguably in a recession, it doesn't decrease.
Justin Wheeler Hmm. Interesting. So conversely, I'd like to talk about some trends that you and I are both seeing in the nonprofit space over the last couple of years. You know, some of the things that obviously we're seeing being more more payments focused as a business as we're seeing, you know, a lot of a lot of appetite for increased ways to give to making it, you know, making it easy for your dinner to give or making it possible for dinner to give any way possible. Now, I think that there's definitely a there should be a ceiling to that because you have too many options. You get you get fatigue around which one do I actually choose? But obviously there's there are the newer items like crypto allots, lots of like stock donations coming to market, you know, making stock gifting easier, but not the best time since, you know, the markets are taking a hit. But regardless, making it so that you don't have to go through brokers and fax machines to to donate stock. And we're seeing a lot a lot of things around like mobile wallets, just incorporating wallets into like the giving experience. And then just also like another aspect, another trend that. I feel like and I actually think this stems more from COVID, but it should have been earlier is just sort of like the feedback loop of like what happens after this gift is made. How does the nonprofit like provide the feedback to the to the donor on how the funds are being used, how the impact is is being shaped at the organization as a result of the support? Some things that we're seeing more nonprofits ask about and pay attention to. Curious on your end, what trends are you seeing? Anything new or is it more just doubling down on the things that, you know, non-profits should be focusing on?
Gabe Cooper Yeah, I mean, I'll start with this is is we always talk about if you shift the how of giving, you can see single digit increases in giving. If you shift the Y of giving, you can see massive sort of exponential increases in giving. And so by that I mean, yes, you should take the friction out of the giving process, like make it easy for people to get via Venmo or PayPal. Like make it easier for them to give stock, right? Like take the friction out of the how and you're going to make your donors happier, create a better experience, and you'll see a lift in giving. But it's probably only going to be sort of a single digit lift in giving by like adding Venmo cheer. You're giving experience, everybody should have that. Also, it's not going to increase giving by 50% having Venmo right. But if you can shift the Y like what moves people's hearts and to move from, you know, as our friend Tim Cotric says, it's moving somebody from yes to heck yes. Like it's how do you really get them to be sacrificially, generous, which kind of speaks to the second thing you said, which is closing the loop on giving, which I think that's probably more important than how people give is if somebody if they're moved to give, how do you show them the impact of their gift quickly? Like how do you move them shoulder to shoulder with your cause? And I challenge every organization that if somebody gives you a gift, you should be able to quickly turn around and tell them this is how your gift was used. Not just the numbers in the metrics, though they're important, but like, here's a story of impact. Like, This is real and I want to move you in close to the cause and show you show you how your gift changed the world. And what that's going to do is like that's going to raise the amount of gifts. It's going to make your retention way higher. One of the biggest problems we face as nonprofits right now isn't just how people give the gift, but the fact they don't give a second gift, right? 75% not giving the second gift. And that closing the loop on giving and showing them the why. That's the thing, sort of the innovation. And you use technology to do that. Right. But that I think that's the big thing, especially through COVID, that more organizations are leaning into. That's actually like truly moving the needle.
Don’t go away! When our episode returns, Gabe explains how technology can solve the largest problems facing nonprofits today... Stay tuned!
And now, enjoy this segment sponsored by Funraise, the world's most innovative and friendly nonprofit fundraising platform. Nonstop Nonprofit recently took our podcast on the road to NextAfter’s 2022 NIO Summit in Kansas City, MO. At the conference, I had a chance to catch up with Virtuous' VP, Brand & Community, Stephen Bordreau. Listen in as Stephen shares his unique perspective on how to accelerate your nonprofit's mission.
Justin Wheeler Steven, thanks so much for joining Nonstop Nonprofit Podcast. How are you?
Stephen Bordreau I'm delighted to be here.
Justin Wheeler Yeah, it's great to see you. I mean, you know, I have I have fond memories of our of our friendship. It's been a while!
Stephen Bordreau It has been. And we were in Cancun together. That was mostly what our friendship is based on is that week in Cancun!
Justin Wheeler That moment and then randomly at these conferences.
Stephen Bordreau Yeah!
Justin Wheeler I'd love to...you said something then when we were talking sort of like when at Virtuous, it's like walking into an industrial generosity complex. Unpack that because I think that's super interesting. And it seems like a big, big part of the culture at Virtuous.
Stephen Bordreau One of the things that has been made clear to me, like since I joined the team at Virtuous is the generosity is kind of like that single issue that we're mostly focused on. And in my role, I'm head of Branding Community. One of the things I want to keep at top of mind is that generosity isn't just it's not a marketing term. It's it's the thing that happens when someone gives of themselves. So the whole thing at Virtuous we talk about is response to fundraising, which is responding to the needs of the donor, putting the donors kind of desires and wants kind of at the heart of what we're doing. And so we always say, hey, generosity happens not only when we give money, but it happens. It changes the heart of the giver. And so that's meaningful, that's deep. And if you just put it on a T-shirt, if you just put it on a sticker, it loses some of that. So you have to put a lot of care and thought into, what does it mean for someone to be generous? and when you start from that perspective, it changes the way you build software, changes the way you respond to an email, it changes the way that you behave with your coworkers. Yeah, that's that's what I talk about is like, let's not just make it a marketing term, let's make it something that we look back at as an actual principle in our life.
Justin Wheeler Interesting. So do you... Obviously Virtuous as a business. Do employees ever get confused? Like, wait, I work for a nonprofit. I work for a tech start up. Like what? What does that like?
Stephen Bordreau Definitely. Well, also, when you work at a company like Virtuous, a lot of your employees are former nonprofits. Yeah. And so you have to remember that we're in the business of software. But if you look at it just like that, everyone's in the business of software that like the zeros and ones. Yeah, but really we're in the business of increasing generosity in the world and we're using software as our vehicle to do that. That's the mindset shift. Whereas, when you worked at a nonprofit, it was like, 'Hey, I'm trying to get someone to give of themselves because in exchange for that, they get that feeling in their heart.' Well, at software business they're actually getting efficiency, they're getting saving time, they're getting fewer headaches. The things like when you talk to fundraisers and marketers that work at nonprofits, so much of it is like, 'Oh gosh, I have to run this report. I have to do all of that.' It's like, Hmm, what if we could remove that angst from your life or at least minimize it in some way? And in my history, I've been in nonprofit fundraising software pretty much for the past 20 years. That's the moment where I get that. Yeah, like I hear someone expressing the pain points and to know you can help make their lives better, that's awesome. So, like, I'm not the one going out and helping feed the orphans. Yeah, but if I can shorten the distance between someone who's, like, motivated to do that with their life by removing all this anxiety in from their technological existence, that's awesome. That makes me feel great. Yeah.
Justin Wheeler And we often talk about it is we have the opportunity to help organizations accelerate their mission faster. With, good tech. But I'm curious, like, as in the sort of like community and brand role at Virtuous, you know, Virtuous, fast-growing company. Like is there a lot of internal branding that you have to do to maintain? Because like when you have when you're growing fast, you obviously have a culture of sales wanting to get deals done. And so how, like, how at odds is this idea of generosity and growing at lightning speed or have you guys found a good balance there with internal efforts?
Stephen Bordreau It's always a balance, yeah. Because you could make it akin to your own personal life. Like you want to have a strong communication and relationship with your family, with your, you know, your spouse, with your children. But sometimes work can get all-consuming. You're like, Boy, I've been sitting at my laptop all day and I haven't even stopped to check in with, you know, Shelly, my wife. You have to find that balance. And so one of the levers that I always try to have our team pull is transparent communication and over communication. And all this is kind of girded around this idea of clarity because the reason people get frustrated is when they feel confused. And if you don't know what I'm like, me, I'm a new hire, Virtuous. What do I do now? That's confusion. That pushes people away. That makes people feel frustrated. Yeah. So if you put that across the company that went from 30 people to 150 people in a matter of, you know, a year and a half, you have fertile ground for confusion. So that's why I lead with we overcommunicate, we communicate clearly and we communicate transparently. And what I mean by that is, hey, I raised I don't I don't know, what am I supposed to do when you when you say something to me, then it sounds like I should know what it is and I don't know what it is. Be transparent. I'm going to judge you. Let's let's all get on the same page. I think I find that to be good advice.
Justin Wheeler Yeah.
Stephen Bordreau But at work, you know, sometimes it feels shocking when someone says something like that. But I hope that the more and more we build our culture Virtuous to overcommunicate and transparent communication towards clarity, that that's how we can grow and stay together.
Justin Wheeler Yeah. Yeah. And even maintain the initial vision of of it. Shifting gears a little bit, curious to hear your thoughts. I mean, there's lots of talks across the industry about like, you know, is giving Tuesday going to be as big as its previous year, end of year giving, you know, sort of just like fears of what's happening with the economy. What are you guys a sense at Virtuous of what you what you think is going to happen? Do you guys seeing it impact giving?
Stephen Bordreau No, definitely. Giving seems to be continuing to be on the rise, but that doesn't mean giving cues is going to be big or little. Yeah. One of the things that I always find really encouraging from a moment like this is that whether or not the economy is good or bad, people are eager to help.
Justin Wheeler Yeah.
Stephen Bordreau Whether they give $5 or $5,000. And I think that's where it happens. And so if given Tuesday, let's imagine the numbers were down. Well, if the economy is down, that might make sense. But that isn't what I like to look at, is how much generosity is occurring. Hmm. One of the things that I consider sort of a crisis is that we're seeing the mid-level and smaller donors kind of evaporate in exchange for, like Jeff Bezos gave $1,000,000,000 or something. That's not increasing generosity. So I like to see how many gifts are being given. What's the average gifts? US That's those are kind of the numbers I like to see. And I see those continually going up among our customers at least.
Justin Wheeler That's awesome. That's good to hear. I've got some Rapidfire questions for you. There's no right or wrong answer. There's maybe some more that are right and wrong, but we'll leave that up to you. All right. So these are for fun, digital reading or an actual book?
Stephen Bordreau Audiobook.
Justin Wheeler Audiobook? Yeah, I'm with you on that. Pizza or salad?
Stephen Bordreau Pizza. Pizza.
Justin Wheeler I like. Just the utter like you were so offended about that. The beach or the mountains?
Stephen Bordreau I'm going to go with Beach.
Justin Wheeler Beach the rest of your life. Live on a beach in the mountains. Think. Hang onto that. Yeah, that's also easy. California. California. Dogs or cats?
Stephen Bordreau Dogs.
Justin Wheeler Football or fútbol?
Stephen Bordreau Football.
Justin Wheeler Okay. Pancake or cheesecake?
Stephen Bordreau Cheesecake.
Justin Wheeler And last one, The Goonies or The Sandlot.
Stephen Bordreau Oh, man. Here's my take. Both are highly overrated movies.
Justin Wheeler Oh, okay. Going controversial. I like it. I like it. See? Thanks so much for joining us.
Stephen Bordreau It's my pleasure.
Hey! Welcome back to Nonstop Nonprofit. Before our Funraise-sponsored break, Gabe was gearing up to share about the exciting new partnership between Virtuous and Funraise. Fundraisers- you'll want to hear this!
Justin Wheeler Yeah. No, absolutely. Yeah. You know, I think back to a time when I was running an organization called Liberty in North Korea. It was in the early years, it was really hard to raise funds. And I came from Invisible Children where, you know, it was like hard to get people not to give. And so there was just this drastic change. And a lot of it came down to perception of, like most people, that when they thought of North Korea, they thought of like political rhetoric, they thought of nuclear weapons. They they thought of North Korea, the entire country as an enemy state. And so when when you're, you know, had the opportunity to donate to a charity that was working in North Korea, people are like, what the hell? Like, what am I doing? You know, why would I give to a country like this? And was wasn't until we really started focusing on on the actual people themselves, you know, the individuals, whether it's like the triumph, the struggle, the challenges that they were facing, how they were actually producing their own change inside the country. It wasn't until we were able to really capture and tell that story well that we saw just a huge shift in and sort of perception and the way people started to respond through, you know, through their giving. And so I could not believe more in what you just said around really like focusing on on the on the why versus obviously the how is important. But in terms of for incremental change, but in terms of exponential growth, focusing on the Y is probably going to be your your greatest sort of lever for change. And and so I appreciate that and have seen that and witnessed that firsthand. So how how do tech companies help with that? Right. There's I mean, there's obviously there's there's a lot of aspects of that that don't require tech. But from your perspective, where can tech support an organization in achieving this greater emphasis on on the Y?
Gabe Cooper Yeah, I think for us and you know, I am biased here because this is the problem we're trying to solve largely. But I think one is that you have an amazing opportunity to actually know who your donors are and what they care about. Right. So the typical nonprofit historically is your donors have been sort of these nameless, faceless rows in a database and they all get blasted out the exact same thing. Well, now you can look at your data. You can look at how your donors are acting on your website. You can see what they're clicking on on your email. You can see what campaigns they've given to you. You can see where they're engaging. You can look at third party data like demographic data and wealth data, and get a pretty holistic picture of like. This is who this person is. This is what they care about. And then you can use things like automation and other sort of modern technology to respond more quickly. Right? So if somebody gives to a malaria campaign and not a water campaign, rather than blasting them out a generic receipt 90 days after their gift, you can now follow up on multiple channels like text, email mail with messages that all correspond to what made them give. Like, I see you cared deeply about malaria. Like, let us tell you on multiple channels a story why your gift is making an impact in the world without technology. That sort of follow up and personalization was functionally impossible even 20 years ago, where now, for the first time, nonprofits can understand who their donors are at scale and then use technology to follow up quickly with the right message at the right time. And that just that wasn't a thing. Even when I first started in fundraising. That wasn't a thing.
Justin Wheeler Oh, yeah. And I remember I remember early on back at Liberty in North Korea, you know, when we were trying to communicate with our all of our different fundraisers, we were doing peer to peer fundraising, but we wanted to speak to we wanted to create different sort of like milestone tracks. Right. So underperformers and people who signed up but didn't really raise anything. Messaging is very different individuals who've raised between, you know, one in 24% and so on. And there's really no way at the time with technology to do that other than to manually export, you know, splice the data up manually. We had a dedicated full time person just doing that so that we could communicate with just and we were just using email at the time. So it was just to create, just communicate email. And so we had to think about all the different, you know, channels that that donors are active on today across social media, across, you know, email, SMS and so forth and personalized content. There hasn't been a better time in history for nonprofits to really be able to do that. It's a lot of the strength that Virtuous brings to the table with with your guys, this responsive platform and so forth. And so speaking of a Virtuous and fundraise, I'd actually love to spend the next few minutes talking about our partnership. I don't know why it's taking so long to come together and partner with with Virtuous because you guys have a killer product, a killer platform and an amazing team. And a lot of our team members know each other as well. But we're really excited to launch this this integration, which what's going to look like at a high level, you know, fundraising, giving platform possibly around peer to peer and Virtuous to CRM, donor management and so forth. So I'd love to hear kind of from your perspective, sort of any excitement or, you know, how do you think this partnership can help strengthen your existing customer base and their fundraising and vice versa? I'm happy to share some as well, but I'd love to get your thoughts on this partnership and what you're looking forward to, the challenges and problems that we're going to try to solve together here.
Gabe Cooper Yeah, well, one of the big sort of challenges that technology can solve that I didn't mention is there's kind of been a breakdown in trust in institutions. I think a lot of nonprofits realize when they talk about them all the time, like instead of their donor. Or making it more personal. Like it's hard to fundraise. People just won't give to a nameless, faceless institution, the way they used to. What they will give to is a friend, right? And so the more you can think about your donors not just a checkbook or an ATM machine, but whole people with networks and influence and friends. Like that is a key to unlock a massive amount of generosity. And so one of the things about Funraise that we're really excited about is just a more integrated peer-to-peer experience, right? And so mobilizing your donors as actual people with friends and networks to go out and tell the story of your organization near cost, but tell it through their voice to their friends and family network. It's huge. It's huge for donor acquisition. It's huge for retention. It can really move the needle. And why I'm excited about this partnership is having that data fully connected through your CRM system actually gives you real visibility. So you're not just running some peer-to-peer campaign in a silo anymore. You actually have visibility to how your donors are behaving through their entire donor journey. So now within your CRM, you can say like, Hey, I want to mobilize a big campaign in Texas next week. Who are all the people there that are big advocates for our organization? Who's been involved in a peer-to-peer campaign, right? And it just, it changes how you can relate and be more personal with donors. And it opens up massive donor acquisition channels. And so I think like peer-to-peer and the kind of stuff you guys do and that the digital sophistication that you empower nonprofits with is massive. But I just think it becomes that much more amplified when it's fully connected to your system of record, sort of your CRM, so you can use it through the whole donor journey.
Justin Wheeler Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. On the acquisition side, I think that like, you know, when you think about we think about acquisition of any kind, you know, it usually typically starts with like brand, right? Your brand helps kind of capture demand and in this case, you know, your fundraisers, are an extension of your brand. Capturing demand, trying to figure out who else is interested in the things that I care about. Often your closest circle of friends and family members have very similar interests in what you're interested in. And then as that data is captured and integrated into the CRM and allows the organization then to really convert that demand into more meaningful opportunities down the road. So I think that's exciting. What's exciting to me about this partnership is the ability to have this sort of full circle solution from the front end on the general acquisition side, all the way to the closing the loop and then being able to convert some of these individuals, these new donors are to become lifelong supporters of the organization. I think when we when we think about donor retention rates, I think that when you look at specifically donors who are acquired through peer-to-peer, those donors are even harder to acquire, you know, in year two and three and four, because a lot of times, yes, they may care about the cost, but they're giving because a friend asked them to do so and they want to respect that. And so by having that information live and in a powerful, dynamic CRM, I think it's going to be interesting to see how those donors retain year over year and so forth.
Gabe Cooper One of the things we've seen to this is just a general trend, but like, yeah, I like when nonprofits are more siloed, so they're sort of like not just one person fundraising or major donor, and they're sort of a necessary evil in their own little bucket within the organization. And it's funny how even tech tools like fundraise broaden the organization's ability to engage across departments and more holistically. So by that I mean historically you'd run a campaign of there'd be you have like three major donor guys. And so the big donors are going to go through those guys and everything else is going to go through a single page on your website that you're webmaster help you put together, right? And so, but that's not really the way it works anymore. So with a tool like fundraise connected, all of a sudden it's like, man, our, our volunteer team has this one off idea for a crazy campaign landing page. They want to stand up really quick to get a bunch of volunteers giving on this one off event. Like that's possible for the first time ever, right. We have our program staff actually want to help run little fundraisers themselves to their friends and family and people that are coming through like they can stand up their individual. They can all be fundraisers. Right now, the whole organization is centered around generosity in ways that weren't possible. And so that's one of the things I'm really excited about with fundraisers as well.
Justin Wheeler Absolutely. And so for for those listening for fundraise customers, super easy to turn this integration on. Obviously, you need to have a Virtuous account. And so if you don't have a Virtuous account, we'll definitely direct you in the right direction there. But it's a it's an integration directly from our integrations tab. And for Virtuous customers, good news is Funraise is free software. So you don't pay for the software. There's different levels of support. And so you can get access to world class fundraising technology for essentially free, effectively free. You can learn more about us through the partnership as well. Gabe, thank you so much for joining the podcast today and sharing a little bit more about responsive fundraising, Virtuous and just all things nonprofit. Always good to catch up and talk with you.
Gabe Cooper That's great. Thanks so much for having me, Justin. It's been a delight.
Justin Wheeler Absolutely.
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