[Video] Fast Takes With Top Fundraisers – Brad Davies

Don’t have time to listen to our entire podcast? No worries. We carved out an additional 10 minutes with Brad Davies for this “Fast Takes with Top Fundraisers” video that you won’t hear in the podcast. Tune in and let us know what you think of this new format!

[Gabe] Hey, this is Gabe Cooper with some Fast Takes in Fundraising from Virtuous software. Today we have Brad Davies with us, so Brad, welcome. Just real quick here, tell us your title and what you do for a living.

[Brad] Yeah, I am the Fundraiser in Chief at Hatch Fundraising, and so we help organizations find new donors and then make them lifelong supporters.

[Gabe] I love it. So, what’s the one goal you’re working to reach? What’s your sort of purpose in life right now with Hatch?

[Brad] We’re trying to improve the one year donor retention rate. Its sitting right now between 25 and 30 percent, and we are determined to double or triple that. We’d love to see an increase in that overall in the industry. But specifically, for our clients, we really want to see that number go up for people. We think it’s a key metric to growing revenues if they can sort that out.

[Gabe] And I know this is a lighting round but I’d love just one or two bullets on what sort of tactics you guys are using to move the needle there, ’cause it’s a huge metric.

[Brad] Yeah, one is having automation, automating the communications, making sure that they’re embedded and improving. So, you can go back and look month over month, are our open rates really good, can we improve them? So, you’re getting better at those things, but then also segmenting these donors into just big groups that really makes sense. So, talking to someone as a husband or someone as a mother, can make a big difference in terms of how well they relate to that content. And so just trying to be smarter and more sophisticated in those initial 30, 60 and 90-day interactions with donors. We think we’re seeing that have a big difference in terms of lifetime value and retention rate.

[Gabe] I love it. I love it. It’s great. So, books, what’s the biggest book that inspired you? Had an impact on you?

[Brad] Yeah, recently it’s a book titled “Unequal” by a friend of mine Ken Wytsma and it really talks about really how white guys like me have really no sense for what it’s like to be a person of color and kinda gets into it historically and culturally, and why things are not equal. And it’s been really challenging to me and inspiring me to be way more aware of what that’s like.

[Gabe] That’s great, yeah, that’s one I’m adding to my list, it sounds amazing. So, you’re in technology and fundraising all day every day. And so am I but talk to me a little bit about how you think technology is making fundraising, easier.

[Brad] It’s so great today than it was just five years ago, five years ago to get some of the reports I wanted it you had to have someone who understood Crystal Reports and use MSQL to pull some of the data, and now it’s just not the case. There’s so many good third-party tools where you throw your data in and they give you way more than you could to expect, but just getting insight into your data does not take a data scientist anymore. And that’s awesome.

The other thing is it’s getting so much easier to create smart intuitive experiences for donors, online, that doesn’t require you to be a coder or no code to drop some Javascript on a page and be able to create intelligent pop ups to be able to personalize content, to show social proof on a donation page. It’s getting so much easier and really improving the experience for people. And I love it. It’s about
time about time we got there.

[Gabe] We were, as an industry, we were a little bit late to the game, but now that we’re getting here, it’s a lot of fun.

[Brad] It’s so much fun now, and it’s cheap, the prices come down to, which has really helped a lot. It used to be only the large, the biggest of the biggest organizations can afford this stuff and it’s not the case anymore, which is so awesome.

[Gabe] Yeah that’s great. So, in the Org’s you’re working with, what’s been the biggest challenge is it people looking at implementing new technology? What’s the biggest hurdle they face?

[Brad] It’s probably understanding it. Most people, if they’re shy of technology, they just don’t even like consider it or consider what it can bring them. And so, kinda getting over that brain hurt, kinda like, oh, I don’t wanna know about technology or CRMs, you know you need to care, and It’s not that hard. Here are the principles of it. So that’s been a piece.

But the other thing is, how does it fit in with everything else I have going on? So, understanding that the inter relationship and how a best a best technology approach is the right one. But to do that, it takes some understanding of what does what? What does what well? Even though your CRM can do all this stuff, maybe it shouldn’t, maybe you shouldn’t run your donation pages through your CRM or your CMS, maybe it should be a different tool. But to understand that and how it relates and effects your organization is tuff. And luckily, there’s folks that are making that easier like Virtuous and other people have a lot of experience and get to play with these tools. And so they can give you some insight into what that combination or stack of tech of software might look like for you.

[Gabe] Yeah, and I love that. Obviously, we’re in the technology business, but in so many cases being successful is amounts to a culture shift in the organization as much as it is a technology shift. And it… it’s so helpful to recognize that going in.

[Brad] Do you want better results, people who are not okay with the status quo? They’re in good shape, but if you are, then it’s gonna be hard to get any kind of software implement or move towards anything that’s different.

[Gabe] What have you done and honestly, this is a software question. What have you done to gain buy in organizationally for software? But honestly, it applies to some of the stuff you guys are doing around fundraising to, kind of anything that’s new or innovative, or a change. What do you do organizationally to get buy in?

[Brad] Yeah, we usually just try to emphasize their pain points. They already know them instinctively. They know, yeah, we don’t have a good sense for what our lifetime value is, or we don’t really know how we’re getting new donors or where they’re coming from. And so not just letting them be okay with that, but practicing on it and like, oh, you don’t know that. Oh well, here’s why that’s important. And then showing them why. Giving them the… “here’s when we have this here”, it makes everything else line up so much easier. So, I press on pain points, I show them the solution if we understand it and that way I am like, well, here’s how we’re to get there. We need this, or we need to start to do things in this way. I love pressing on pain points, when it helps get to good outcomes. And that’s how I’ve been able to do that.

[Gabe] Yeah, gosh, I love that. And it’s about quantifying the pain point too. We have some many Orgs where we go in and they’re talking about what amounts to a 500 dollar a year problem and how they’re not sure if they can handle it, but then being able to cycle back to the stat you always use about how many donors go on to give a second gift. Right now, only 25 percent of your donors are giving a second gift. If we can move that from 25 percent to 35 percent. That’s a $500,000.00 a year problem for you guys. I don’t know why we’re talking about the $500 hundred dollar a year problem. The pain is the $500,000.00 dollar a year problem, so being able to quantify that pain and point back to it, I think it’s huge.

[Brad] Yeah. I love that, and anymore the ability to find data, to find stats on the internet, and a lot of people are putting outsome great benchmarks and you know I keep collecting them. If anything I collect benchmarks these days, and I just go through them and I compare how they look at this compared to this, but there’s such a good sense of, here’s other people in my sector or in my industry, and they’re doing this. Well, if I can take that and extrapolate it out, I can really start to see, this is a big pain point for us, if we’re only retaining 25 of our first year’s donors. And we can, like you said, move to 35, well that’s 35 more people I have. If I know the lifetime value, it’s real money coming into year two, and it drops our cost to acquire a new donor. It’s big, but a lot that was kind of hidden previously. You didn’t have a lot of access to it. You had to ask a consultant to give it to you. And even then, their experience was based on their 12 or 20 clients. And so to look at data sets of 2000 people or 5000 people, really starts to help answer those questions, and it helps people get over the hump of like, oh, I see why this is a big deal now. I see this is a $500,000.00 issue, not a $500 thing.

[Gabe] It’s great. Well, hey Brad, it’s been a joy having you for the lighting around. Really appreciate it. Stay out of trouble. I love the New York background, I think that’s the flat iron there over your head?

[Brad] Yup right here, avenue of the Americas, fifth avenue area.

[Gabe] Yeah that’s right. Well thanks again, it was great having you today.

[Brad] Yeah thanks Gabe, it’s been fun!

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