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Responsive Fundraising and Personalization With Gabe Cooper of Virtuous

In this episode we speak with Gabe Cooper, CEO of Virtuous Software, Author of “Responsive Fundraising” and a leader in the responsive nonprofit movement.  

How Did you Become Passionate About Technology & Generosity?

Gabe started out as a software developer, and is a product person at the heart of it all. He started working in a nonprofit and became enamored by generosity. He finds that generosity can not only change the world, but it will also change your own heart. Since then he has been exploring his love for technology and how it can be used to spur on generosity.

How Did You Decide To Build A CRM?

The best projects always come from solving your own problems. When he was working within a nonprofit, they decided to build their own CRM from the ground up, and the reason they did this is because every message they were receiving from secular brands were personalized to their own experiences, however, there was nothing available to help provide personalized experiences to their everyday donors. At the end of the day, responsive fundraising is about using technology to treat your donors as people rather than ATM machines.

What is the responsive framework

1. Listen - Always start with listening to your donors and constituents. This is the only way you can learn what they need and what they care about.

2. Connect - Once you’ve listened to your audience then you can begin connecting. Building that engagement and showing people you know them and care about them is critical for getting people engaged.

3. Suggest - Suggest the next steps. This will vary from person to person, some are not in a place to give financially, and on the flip side, donors have more to give than just money.

If you haven’t already picked up a copy of Gabe’s book Responsive Fundraising, this gives you a playbook to implement the Responsive Framework.

How Can Frontline Employees Communicate to Executives the Importance of Responsive Fundraising?

 Often the planning process of many ministries has made it difficult to innovate because plans are set in stone sometimes a year in advance. Getting buyin can stem from running small tests. Running these tests for 2 weeks to one month and only on a small segment of your donors. These tests are easier to get approval for and will give you the data and results you can bring to your executive team to implement bigger changes.  So start small and grow from there.

How Do You Help Ministries Match Strategy and Technology?

Experimenting is key, no one has the silver bullet for fundraising, and that is why testing is so important. Gabe recommends writing strategy in pencil rather than pen, it’s all about asking what you can try, and learn along the way. Technology is the unlying engine to make this type of testing possible.

Be sure to listen to the full episode, to get all the tips Gabe shares, and be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode, and don't forget to check out the learning section at Virtuous for great ideas on getting started with Responsive Fundraising.