What does the name Bloomerang conjure in your mind? A TV show? Cable network? Something to help edit photos into video? Or maybe an Australian throwing tool? Believe it or not, the latter is a major part of the story.
The story goes that company co-founder, Jay Love, was attending a fundraising conference and caught a session by Adrian Sargeant. For decades, Adrian has been espousing the values of focusing on donor retention as a top-line metric of the health of an organization. The notion motivated Jay to introduce a powerful, affordable, easy-to-use donor retention product to help mid-market nonprofits.
What does this have to do with a boomerang? Well… a boomerang flies in a circular path and arrives back at its starting point. Donor retention is about a donor coming back to you. If that donor comes back again and again, it’s a continual gift and long-term relationship.
To keep it growing, you must cultivate this relationship like you would a flower. You water, fertilize, and prune the plant to make sure it’s healthy and continues to bloom. Jay saw donor retention and its relationships blooming into major gifts, monthly commitments, or volunteering.
Thanks to Adrian Sargeant, Jay Love, the creator of the boomerang, and a gardening metaphor—we have Bloomerang!
Bloomerang and Qgiv share a similar beginning, both having blossomed from a concept grown in a dorm room to the companies they are today. We exist to help people fulfill their passion to make a difference with thoughtfully designed, user-friendly fundraising software. Nonprofits can better target and personalize their fundraising programs by leveraging the donor data available within Bloomerang.
To learn more about Boomerang and their partnership with Qgiv, read our interview with Bloomerang’s Chief Engagement Officer, Steven Shattuck, below.
Q: Tell us a bit more about Bloomerang
Bloomerang is a donor database, a nonprofit CRM, or a donor management software. We are the database of record for tens of thousands of nonprofits. We have a strong emphasis on retention and engagement. So rather than being a passive system, where you’re just collecting information, we help you proactively reach out to donors at interesting times in their relationship with your organization, with the goal of making sure they stay in that relationship with your nonprofit at a minimum. At a maximum, they build on that and become an even greater supporter than you may have even imagined when they made their first donation.
Q: How did you end up partnering with Qgiv?
Well, it’s funny—Jay Love and I we were holding an event in Orlando, and we knew Qgiv was close. We had seen the tech from afar and thought “they kind of look like us from the outside, right? A small company that seems to take care of their folks and that’s really good at what they do. Let’s go and visit them!”
So, Jay and I drove over to Lakeland, met with Todd and the Qgiv team, and had a great day of visiting and getting to know them. In the next day or so we had a handshake to build an integration.
And now we’ve got hundreds of mutual customers where Bloomerang is the database of record, and they’re using Qgiv for forms, event registration forms, online giving forms, peer to peer, and auctions. It’s a great example of partnering, where we’re really good at the data management and the relationship building tools and Qgiv is awesome at the online fundraising platform. And that’s where we want to be.
We know that there are a lot of other disciplines out there that fundraisers rely on, and we want to partner with those people because they do a great job, and they focus in on their thing. I think those philosophies were really aligned with Qgiv and now it’s just such a great partnership
We’ve got a partner company, and we love to introduce them! The data flows perfectly. It’s great! Somebody fills out a Qgiv form and it goes right into Bloomerang. You don’t have to do manual data entry or worry about importing and exporting data.
Q: Why is an integrated donor management system so important for nonprofits?
Integrating your fundraising software with a donor management system produces such a powerful tech stack for a nonprofit to increase their fundraising dollars. Both systems do a lot really well but they aren’t trying to do everything all at once – rather they excel in what they are meant to do; collect donor data and fundraise.
Each system has its own unique custom qualities. You can set up a fundraising campaign in Qgiv and customize it based on the specific needs of your organization and donors. Additionally, you can capture all of that data and giving history in Bloomerang through a robust integration to further retain and cultivate that relationship for years to come!
Q: What makes Bloomerang different?
There are a lot of good systems out there, and we actually collaborate with some of them on some research projects. You don’t often hear that from competing businesses and whatever space or sector they operate in!
Bloomerang is a great system for major gift fundraising and for improving your donor retention rates. And in a lot of ways, it’s a good all-in-one system. You don’t necessarily have to go out and get a separate email marketing tool for example. But, if you do come to the table with a Qgiv account, or some other account with software that you like, oftentimes you can keep that, and it can connect into Bloomerang. You can create yourself a nice little tech stack!
The other thing we hear a lot is that the quality of the support team is great. They’re available—just a live chat or a phone call away. We really take care of our folks.
We actively hire people with fundraising experience, people who worked at nonprofits, maybe even people who managed databases, so that they can immediately speak the language of our customers. Rather than getting a very technical person, and then getting them up to speed on the fundraising world, we do the opposite, because the software is so easy to pick up. That really shines through in how well we’re reviewed online, our customer retention rates, our net promoter scores—things like that. It’s great software, but we also take care of our customers on a personal level.
Q: What types of organizations do you work with?
Anyone that is focused primarily on individual giving. If you derive a majority of your revenue from individual donors, and you’re here in the US or Canada, you’re a good fit for Bloomerang. It doesn’t matter if you have one donor, or 100,000 donors or more, you can find a home in Bloomerang. It’s a good first system.
We make it available at a greatly reduced cost to new and emerging nonprofits. We believe that nonprofits shouldn’t have to use Excel or must use an email marketing program as their database. We want to make those tools available to everyone.
If you’re a more seasoned organization that may be using another CRM or another product that you’ve outgrown, or you’re not using to its potential and find it might be a little too expensive and cumbersome, you can upgrade to Bloomerang. If you want to streamline and focus on that relationship building piece, we’re a good fit.
There’s really no basement or ceiling to the size of the organization. Although I think most of our customers would probably fall into the $1 million to $5 million range, but certainly not exclusive by any means.
Q: What is one of your success stories?
I always go back to 2020, it was such a challenging year for a lot of people. Early on in the pandemic, we were keeping an eye on our customers and making sure that we were there and providing advice and support. We saw a lot of our customers raising a lot of money, some that you would expect, like food banks and folks who were on the front line of the pandemic, but also a lot of organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs, animal shelters, other social services, and environmental groups. We talked to as many of those people as we could, and we’ve got a lot of those conversations recorded on our website. We were really heartened that a lot of folks leveraged their database to make the most of a crummy year.
We’re using these to segment their communications and speak to different people in different ways and facilitate personal outreach—calling donors and shooting videos and emailing them to donors and reporting on outcomes.
One thing we were really proud of is that our customer base really weathered last year, and as you look at some of the data that comes out of Giving USA and other sources, you’ll see they suggest that the nonprofit sector is pretty well insulated from tough economic times and downturns in the economy. We really saw that amongst our customer base and heard that proactively from people saying they appreciated all the webinars, research, and case studies. They were appreciative that we didn’t keep all that success under wraps, but shared it with the community, as well as people who aren’t even our customers. We came out of 2020, and it kind of feels like we’re still in 2020! That was definitely a confidence builder for us!
Q: Is there anything interesting coming up in 2021?
We’ve got some cool things coming down the pipeline that we can’t necessarily talk about yet. In 2022, you’re going to see even more powerful features that are focused on that relationship building piece. We want to continue to bring things to the small and medium market that historically has been priced out of that. There’s been this feeling that only giant nonprofits can use those things. Stay tuned!
On the education front, we’re always putting out great webinars and blog posts.
If you’re reading this, and you’re a fundraiser with a story to tell, a lesson learned, or a case study, let’s talk because I want to get that out into the world!
The partnership between Bloomerang and Qgiv means you’ll save time so you can focus on cultivating your donors. It’s easy to set up mappings for everything from donations and event registrations to auctions and text fundraising.
Detailed custom mappings give you complete control over where your data lands in Bloomerang so you can track your donors’ engagement, target your appeals, and be a better fundraiser.