Susan Luu & Kris Ponciroli

Junior Achievement USA

Why did Junior Achievement (JA) begin using Qgiv?

In 2014, JA USA was looking for a new payment processor to better manage online giving. After using another application for nearly 15 years, it wasn’t providing the complete donor information needed to properly steward their national donors. The JA USA team pulled together their requirements and began the search for the best solution.

At the time, a local JA office was utilizing Qgiv for their peer-to-peer fundraising Bowl-a-thon event. They raved about how much they liked the functionality of the product, that the training was spectacular, customer service was always responsive, and customization options allowed for use of consistent branding. Soon, the national office was using Qgiv to process their online donations and impressed with what Qgiv was able to do.

Just months later, JA USA was assisting local JA Areas to set up their own online payment solutions on their websites and provided Qgiv as one of the options. Slowly, Qgiv was beginning to take hold across the network at JA.  Historically, each of the 100+ JA offices could select their own peer-to-peer fundraising tool, and there was a gamut of tools that the offices were using.

According to Susan Luu, Senior Vice President, Business Improvement at JA USA, “To this day, we don’t pressure offices to use a particular tool; there’s nothing that says you have to use Qgiv. We watched the interest organically grow at the local level. They were voting on their own to move over to Qgiv.”

As more local offices began to sign up with Qgiv, JA USA asked, “What could we do if we were to get the majority of our offices onto a standard peer-to-peer fundraising platform. What could we gain as an organization?”

How did the partnership become what it is today?

Junior Achievement USA feels it’s important they find partners with high integrity and a serious commitment to what they do, what JA does, and to JA’s mission.

Susan shared, “In the latter part of 2016, we met with Todd Baylis, Qgiv’s CEO. When you meet with vendors, there’s a class of companies who are there just to get your business. And then there’s a class of companies there to be your partner. When we met with Qgiv, we understood immediately that Qgiv was looking to be our partner. And over the years, they’ve delivered on that commitment.

Even in the early stages of the partnership, we would submit our ideas for enhancement changes. We didn’t expect Qgiv to do everything that we wanted, but they listened… and they did a lot of what we wanted! That’s what we were looking for—a company who would listen when we said, ‘You could help us raise more money with X, or you could make the process more efficient with Y.’ Over our partnership with Qgiv, they truly have delivered on a partnership.”

What benefits have Junior Achievement USA and local JA offices seen with Qgiv?

JA offices across the country have realized time-saving benefits from Qgiv’s user-friendly system.

Kris Ponciroli, Vice President, Donor Relations and Development Services at JA USA shared, “In Qgiv, we’ve found a technology solution that helps us perform our tasks and responsibilities as easily and as cost-effectively as possible. It’s easy to use—for our staff, our constituents, and the supporters we ask to donate. If we ever have any questions, it’s very easy for me to get in touch with support or set up a training. Qgiv has helped us be better at what we do as an organization.”

Having the majority of over 100 JA offices voting on their own to move to Qgiv also allowed the national office to start creating some higher-level benefits, like Qgiv’s custom integration with Blackbaud CRM.

Susan reflected, “You can imagine whether it’s us, or any other organization across the US with multiple offices, we couldn’t integrate a CRM with 100 different peer-to-peer fundraising tools. The fact that we were able to identify a tool that the large majority of our offices felt was easy to use, met their needs, and met their donors’ needs was a big win for us. It allowed us to work with Qgiv to create an integration and have the data flow between our CRM and Qgiv.”

For JA, every penny is devoted to the delivery of their mission. They know that every manual task, every double entry that they have to make is an expense that’s taking away from directly applying every dollar they have for the students they serve. The integration with BBCRM minimizes manual entry, which meant more time and money could be devoted to achieving JA’s mission.

“We really appreciate Qgiv bringing the expertise to the table to assist us with the integration. And now, we kind of take the integration for granted. It just happens automatically.” said Susan.

What makes Qgiv stand out?

Qgiv’s customer-first, feedback-driven approach to feature development is one of JA’s favorite parts of working with Qgiv.

“Our offices know that if they want to see something in Qgiv, they can come to us or go directly to Qgiv with that feedback or request and be heard. We like that we can have a high-level conversation and go to Qgiv with something we’d like to see implemented, and that they’ll often come back and say ‘We heard you! We talked to some of our other customers, and they’re looking for something similar. We’ll have it out to you in six months.’ We know Qgiv has a lot of customers, and we don’t expect everything we ask for to be implemented tomorrow. It’s really impressive! They’ve been very responsive to us,” commented Susan.

Outside of Qgiv’s fundraising tools, support, and training, the JA national office and offices around the country take advantage of the free resources and webinars Qgiv provides to the nonprofit community.

Kris shared, “Qgiv is sharing ideas with their customers. They provide webinars where non-profits can learn from one another and take ideas back to their organization. That’s especially important in this time when we’re all going to virtual events and everyone wants to know how to do it! Connecting national organizations with other national organizations in this way is such a huge benefit!”

What does the future look like for JA and Qgiv?

The world of digital fundraising continues to grow every year, with more and more donors moving to giving online. This means nonprofits must find tools that are growing and changing along with their needs and those of their donors.

Susan explained that “One of the reasons we decided to switch to Qgiv is because we found that some of their competitors forgot that technology is about a constant evolution and an engine for improvement. One of the things that our offices like about Qgiv is that they’re always improving things—rolling out releases, pushing out new enhancements—and that’s what we want, because the world of giving is continuing to evolve. And we need partners who are going to continue to evolve their technology.”

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