Much of what we talk about at Nonprofit Marketing Guide requires software to do well. So naturally, I’m often asked which technology providers I recommend as you go about implementing all these best practices I share.
My answer is always that I am vendor agnostic. I rarely, if ever, recommend one company without listing off their competitors, and suggesting you do homework via organizations like Idealware, the Nonprofit Technology Network, and TechSoup.
So it was sort of a big deal, at least in my own head, when I started talking to Jay Love, the CEO of Bloomerang, about working together. Jay is a nonprofit software veteran who founded eTapestry and later sold it to Blackbaud.
In late 2012, Jay decided to create a new kind of donor management and fundraising software, this one with best practices baked right into how it worked. He started by working with Dr. Adrian Sargeant, the leading researcher on donor loyalty and retention, to create both tools and a user interface (the part you see and focus on as a user) that made donor retention central to how the software works.
Shortly after that, Jay convinced our own friend and business partner Tom Ahern to lend his expertise on fundraising copywriting. As a Bloomerang user, you can now run your copy through the Ahern Audit to see just how donor-centric and reader-friendly your copy is or isn’t. (It does not, however, deliver verbal audit commentary with Tom’s signature pithy wit. You’ll have to join us for the Ahern Academy at Nonprofit Marketing Guide for that.)
Jay’s work with Tom led him to me. After a few months of chatting over the phone with Jay, I went to Indianapolis earlier this month to meet with his senior team. We talked for several hours about various ways that Bloomerang could take many of the email newsletter and online fundraising best practices that I promote, and build those into the software so that you wouldn’t have to think so hard about them.
Imagine if there was software that actually helped you make better email marketing and fundraising choices on the spot, as you were sitting down to write your newsletters or appeals. Instead of trying to remember what I or some other trainer said in a webinar you watched three months ago, the software would lead you down that best practice path. (Ooohs, Aaahs, and Happy Claps!)
This is a really exciting time in nonprofit marketing, online marketing, and content marketing. But too often, I share best practices with smaller nonprofits, knowing full well that the technology needed to do it is either built for sales rather than fundraising, or is just too expensive, clunky to use, or time-consuming to learn. (Moans, Groans, and Deep Sighs.)
I’m constantly promising smaller nonprofits, “Look at the personalized and highly relevant marketing that these corporations and really big nonprofits are doing. You’ll be able to do that too – and much, much more – in just a few years at a really affordable price. Get ready, and hang on, it’s coming . . . really, it is, I promise!”
I don’t want to have been lying all this time. That’s why I’ve agreed to serve as an online marketing coach to the Bloomerang team. I believe Bloomerang will be one of the first to deliver on this promise I keep making.
It’s a young company with a great new product. They have some work to do before they are 100% “Ooohs, Aaahs and Happy Claps” worthy, but they are already delivering a ton of value with their laser focus on donor retention. They are closer than anyone else on the market today to delivering what I think nonprofits really need, at a price they can afford, in software that is very easy to learn and use.
Jay is fully committed to making it happen, and I’m excited to help him and his team see it through. While I will be compensated by Bloomerang for my expertise, as always, I won’t take any commissions on software sales from Bloomerang or any other software providers.
I can’t wait to see how the software evolves over the coming months and years, and will keep you updated as Bloomerang adds in some of these new features that make great email marketing and fundraising so much easier, stress-free, and dare I say, fun, for you.