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Leveraging Data for Fundraising Success with GivingTuesday

Giving & Gabbing is GiveGab’s official podcast, featuring interviews with our philanthropic partners that highlight their unique digital fundraising and engagement stories. By offering this podcast, we strive to educate and inspire fundraising professionals from across the country – and perhaps even provide [a small morsel of] entertainment.

In episode 12 of Giving & Gabbing, we met with two incredible members of the fundraising community, Woodrow Rosenbaum, Chief Data Officer for Giving Tuesday, and Aaron Godert, GiveGab’s own COO, VP of Tech, and Co-Founder, to discuss how organizations can leverage data for fundraising success.

GivingTuesday is best known as the global generosity movement that inspires individuals to give back though volunteer work and philanthropy, and other acts of kindness. It was first created in 2012 by 92nd Street Y as a way to combat the consumerism of the holiday season, and put the focus back on doing good for one-another. It has since grown into the largest day for philanthropy and is largely celebrated throughout the world

GiveGab has been a proud participant of the GivingTuesday Movement since our platform first supported fundraising in 2015. As our company has grown to support more nonprofits and schools fundraising with us, so has the impact those using us for their GivingTuesday efforts. In 2020, 4,051 organizations participated through our platform,104,525 individual gifts were made, and $20.7 Million was raised in just 24-hours! GiveGab also supported 94 Giving Day sites! Click on the map below to learn more. 


GiveGab Giving Days on Giving Tuesday 2020



As the Chief Data Officer, Woodrow Rosenbaum, oversees all of GivingTuesday’s various data projects and research initiatives, such as the GivingTuesday 2020 Impact Report. One of Woodrow’s projects, The Giving Tuesday Data Commons, is the largest philanthropic data collaboration ever built and it identifies innovative practices that can help grow generosity throughout the world. Woodrow and his team collaborate with fundraising platforms such as GiveGab to gather raw data following GivingTuesday to observe trends and translate this information into something that is meaningful for the entire nonprofit sector.

“Overall our objectives are to understand generosity, how to motivate it, how generous behaviors influence each other, what the intersection and interaction is between pro-social and giving behaviors, and what the impact of those behaviors are on communities and the organizations and causes within them.” – Woodrow Rosenbaum

Data is a powerful way to track the progress on your organization and determine if you are on the right course of action. It allows you to better understand the behaviors of your donors, such as how they like to give, and what makes them feel compelled to give. This information can empower your organization to adjust outreach strategies, campaign timelines and more, to achieve to optimize your fundraising efforts.

In this episode of Giving & Gabbing, our guests Woodrow Rosenbaum and Aaron Godert discuss:

  • Woodrow’s primary objective in his role as Chief Data Officer at GivingTuesday
  • The ways that GivingTuesday is able to utilize fundraising data provided by fundraising platforms such as GiveGab to inform the sector 
  • Fundraising data trends that stood out to Woodrow and Aaron most in 2020
  • The importance of gathering and distributing  data around the impact of GivingTuesday
  • Advice to smaller nonprofits who are looking to use more data in their decision-making
  • Predictions of where they envision digital fundraising going over the next 10 years

Check out the full interview with Woodrow Rosenbaum and Aaron Godert on Leveraging Data for Fundraising Success by:

Reading the interview transcript

Watching the live interview video recording


Listening to our Giving & Gabbing Podcast episode

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Podcast episodes include nonprofit communication and marketing strategies and interviews with fundraising professionals from across the nonprofit and education sectors.

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Interview Transcript

Katie: We have an extra special episode of Giving & Gabbing today, as we meet with two incredible members of the fundraising community, Woodrow Rosenbaum and Aaron Godert. Woodrow is the Chief Data Officer for Giving Tuesday. Known best as the global day of generosity, Giving Tuesday takes place each year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Giving Tuesday inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. Woodrow and his team are able to use the data compiled during this initiative in compelling ways to inform the public as well as the nonprofit sector about the constantly evolving fundraising landscape.

Jackie: Aaron Godert is GiveGab’s COO, VP of Tech, and Co-Founder. In his role at GiveGab, he manages the data collected through our giving platform and looks for giving trends among giving day performances, donor behaviors, and more. GiveGab has been proud to work with the Giving Tuesday team over the past few years, with many of our giving day partners launching their events during this global day of philanthropy. GiveGab supported 94 giving days, raising a collective $20.7 million dollars through the generosity of over 54,000 donors during the most recent Giving Tuesday on December 1st, 2020. We’re thrilled to talk today with Woodrow and Aaron about the role that data plays in growing the Giving Tuesday movement, both within GiveGab and throughout the world.

With that, let’s jump right in with our first question for Woodrow. Could you speak to us more about your role at Giving Tuesday as the Chief Data Officer? What is your primary objective in that role?

Woodrow: Sure, I’m happy to and I’m happy to be here. It’s great to reconnect with your team and with Aaron, it’s good to see you. My role is to manage all of our various data projects and research initiatives which have become quite varied, both within the US and around the world. Overall our objectives are to understand generosity, how to motivate it, how generous behaviors influence each other, what the intersection and interaction is between pro-social and giving behaviors, and what the impact of those behaviors are on communities and the organizations and causes within them.

Katie: Thank you, Woodrow! The Giving Tuesday Data Commons is the largest philanthropic data collaboration ever built and it identifies innovative practices that can help grow generosity throughout the world. Could you tell us a little bit more about how that initiative started and how it has since evolved, and also how you work with GiveGab and other giving platforms to gather this information?

Woodrow: Sure, our initiative didn’t start out with the kind of very broad ambitions and mandate that it has today. It really started because Giving Tuesday’s not a typical giving day in that it’s more of a platform for others to co-create and activate around giving and generosity, and so one of the challenges with that is it’s really…can be challenging to measure. The activity’s not happening all in one place, and therefore it’s hard to capture all of the things that are going on. Obviously a lot of that has to do with understanding what the donation behaviors are, but it goes well beyond that to all kinds of ways that people express and celebrate giving on that day. And so initially, the work was centered around getting a benchmark, like what can we understand about how Giving Tuesday itself is growing year over year? And so when we approached platforms like GiveGab, it was really with that in mind. Can you give us just a sense of the volume over that 24 hour period?

So that was our fairly modest goal at the beginning, which was challenging enough, right, to just try to capture enough of the marketplace on a single day to be able to see…not necessarily everything that was happening, but at least be able to watch the trajectory over the years. What’s interesting is what that unlocked. So the first opportunity was, with platforms like GiveGab that were able to give us really granular data, was the opportunity to dig in deeper to what was happening on the day. So not just, how much money was donated, but who’s giving to what, and where are those givers and where are the organizations that are receiving those funds, and really to try to get more fidelity on the action on the day. And that extended to things like volunteer behavior, and advocacy, and other things as well. That, though, also opened the door for where we are now, where we’re not just looking at Giving Tuesday the day, although we certainly are and there’s lots to learn, but wanting to understand more broadly, what are the various trends in giving, what are the indicators of greater giving, and how do we motivate more of it? And those data flows change, our needs are adjusted in order to accomplish some of those specific research objectives, but the basic is the same. We look to platforms like GiveGab to give us the raw material we need to start answering those questions.

Jackie: Definitely, and that’s so valuable, I think because of just the scope of Giving Tuesday and how much data there is, we really are able to see those trends pretty reliably, which is incredible. And I want to ask Aaron, on the flipside, how does providing data collected on our platform to the Giving Tuesday Data Commons actually benefit GiveGab?

Aaron: Well, I think, Jackie, as you probably know, one of our key values is “We walk the walk,” right? So I think being good collaborators in the space is super important for us. You know, I think it was 2016, was the first time that we really engaged with the Giving Tuesday, you know, initiative and efforts and Woodrow brought, I don’t know, probably a dozen if not a little bit more organizations that did significant giving on Giving Tuesday together, I believe in DC. And we all got in a room and I remember watching a presentation, and one of the things that really resonated with us was, you know, the old trend of giving as a percentage of disposable income or GDP hasn’t really moved. And one of the initiatives that they were trying to tackle was moving that needle.

And I think something really resonated with us around that, because not only are we in it to support organizations that are looking to support their mission and their cause through gifts, but we’re in it to support everyone that’s working towards these wider philanthropic goals. So I think that was one of the main reasons why it spurred us to get involved but secondarily, we had seen some trends with the larger sort of community-based giving events that we had done, that we do year-round, but also, you know, condensed around Giving Tuesday as well, and we’d started to notice some patterns and we knew that they were starting to notice some patterns and we knew that the other people collaborating on the data front were starting to notice some patterns, so we thought, well heck, why not…let’s all get our ideas together and collaborate on this, so I think it was really timely for us to kind of get that invite from Woodrow and his team, and really get involved, and ultimately, I think, you know, what we want to do too is take some of these insights and translate it back into our product, and make sure that we can really help accelerate that growth going forward.

Katie: Thank you, Aaron, I think Giving Tuesday is all about collaboration, so it’s really cool that we get to be a part of that and share our stories of the generosity that happened on Giving Tuesday and have that be part of the overall story so that’s awesome.

Woodrow: I wanted to add, I think what Aaron really identified as something that’s really critical is that if we’re looking at this, not from a scarcity mentality, but from the perspective of finding that opportunity to lift the floor, we can only do that by collaborating and by having a full picture of our marketplace. And that’s where that opportunity lies and some of that is very pragmatic, just make sure we feed these insights back into the platforms that mediate so much of the giving experience and that’s going to be increasingly true, right? That people’s giving is mediated by some technological platform, and that’s a great opportunity, because it means that we don’t have to teach every nonprofit and every giver in the world the best practice, we can build it into product, and that’s really part of our objective with this project, is to make sure that the research that we’re doing and that we’re supporting is connected back to practice. And our platform partners are the way we will close the loop on that.

Katie: Thank you, Woodrow, that’s a really good point. I have a question for both of you. You touched on the importance of gathering and sharing this data, but how does this also help the nonprofit sector, when you’re able to showcase all this information?

Woodrow: Well, I’ll follow up from what I was saying before, I mean, I think, well, I know, there’s a big gap between research and practice in the sector. So we know that practitioners are not accessing the academic research effectively. And we know that a lot of the academic research that’s happening is not contextualized by the people who are actually deploying the interventions. So just closing that gap is going to provide a big opportunity at more success. What we need though, is we need to build it into product, as we said, and we need to provide actionable insights, right? We need to distill what we’re learning into those easy to follow, pragmatic guides that the sector can use to become…to get more fidelity on their decision making. So that they’re able to segment effectively and they’re able to take actions and they’re doing all of that within their capacity, that it’s not…we can’t expect the entire sector to sort of ramp up their entire digital and data capacity. We need to be able to give them the boost that they need to be…to start getting into it in a way that’s accessible.

Aaron: Yeah, for sure, and you know, I think one of the interesting things is that with the breadth and the volume of data and the ability to look at the data in an anonymized fashion, respecting the privacy of, obviously, everyone, but like…if you step back and you say…you think about what Woodrow said about the research put into practice, the opportunity here is just a huge set of data across a bunch of diverse types of fundraising practices, processes, products, that I think if, for example, one particular company might say okay, I read a paper and I’m going to apply this to this type of fundraising that we specialize in, they’re going to get sort of that narrow view about how that applies to that type of fundraising.

And I think one of the unique things about Giving Tuesday is that you’ve got folks that are running singular, individual campaigns focused on their cause, you’ve got folks like the partners we deal with that are running large community-based, you know, giving days, essentially, that are in a region or for a cause that span, in some cases, across the U.S., but for cause-focused and other cases, are a particular city, and there’s all these different flavors. It could be an event, it could be just a regular crowdfunding campaign, there’s all these different flavors, it could be a donation form on a landing page that they’ve set up on their website. And I think what you get is different donor behaviors, different behaviors from the nonprofit administrators, and I think being able to bring that cross-section of data from all these different viewpoints together to then be looked at is something that’s very unique that can only kind of be done in this timeframe where it’s this condensed fundraising that’s broadly happening around the world but in so many different flavors. And I think that’s one of the ways I think it’s truly unique how the collaboration happens and the insights that you can gain from that.

Woodrow: Yeah, for sure, I mean that was one of the things we noticed doing Giving Tuesday Now, was dropping that intervention into the middle of…the chaos in May of 2020, catalyzed a lot of stuff, gave us a lot of opportunities to test some things, to see how those interventions were going to react. I mean, sometimes it just comes down to having lots of n in your sample, and an opportunity to try a lot of stuff, as well as connect a bunch of things that aren’t always connected. I think that was part of what you were getting at there, Aaron, is like, we get to see the holistic environment in the moment, whereas normally, that signal would be spread out over a much longer period of time and really much harder to get the signal out of the noise.

Aaron: Right, nor could you get everybody to say, yeah, we’ll give you, you know, anonymized data on this random particular day of the year, you know? It just wouldn’t happen, so I think the spirit of the effort really helps to bring it together as well.

Woodrow: For sure.

Jackie: Absolutely, there’s a uniqueness to the global Giving Tuesday, sort of, concept that really helps us in that way. And getting a little bit deeper into that engagement piece, and engagement strategies, how was your team, Woodrow, able to use data from Giving Tuesday 2019 and then Giving Tuesday Now, to guide engagement strategies for the most recent Giving Tuesday 2020?

Woodrow: I guess there are a couple learnings, perhaps none of it too surprising, but that really clearly emerged from what we were seeing and one is that there’s an opportunity at least probably a need for more frequent engagement of supporters. And that doesn’t necessarily equate to more asking, although I do think there’s an opportunity for more asking, but really, an opportunity to change our approach to be a discourse about the impact that we’re having on communities.

It was very interesting to see that prior to Giving Tuesday Now, the dominant theme in the conversation around giving and Giving Tuesday was community, not donation. And yet, we had a big donation result. And that, rather than kind of revert back to the usual Giving Tuesday zeitgeist in the lead-up to 2020, Giving Tuesday 2020 on December 1st had that same pattern, where in the lead-up, the conversation was predominantly about community. And that…it’s really important to understand that the donation results weren’t extraordinary despite that, they were extraordinary because of that. Because we were connecting people’s wallets to what they cared about. And that…we’ve seen a change in so many trends in giving in 2020.

Giving in 2020 looked more like Giving Tuesday normally does. More broad based, more grass roots, more democratized, more varied. And those are all the things that we’ve been saying, look, we think Giving Tuesday’s success up until now, is because it’s tapping into those opportunities. And 2020 pivoted the entire marketplace that way, and I think that what that tell us about our strategy for 2020 is, we’re going to be engaging people about how they can give, celebrating generosity in all of its forms, every week of the year, and calling on our partners to help us to change that, shift that discourse, because we may be looking at the biggest opportunity the nonprofit sector has seen in generations, because of the way that people addressed the crises of 2020. This is our opportunity to lose, right? Tapping into that is where we’ll be able to chart a course not just for recovery for the sector but for a thriving social sector.

Aaron: I totally agree…for the awful things that came out of 2020…2020 I think is going to be looked at as a catalyst for digital fundraising for a number of different reasons. You know, I think Woodrow’s spot on. We saw a lot of our partners who might’ve run their events at different times throughout the year say, well, I’m going to give this a shot and I’m giving it a shot for a good reason. We need…we have a relief fund, we have…things are so thrown out of whack from our traditional fundraising schedule, we’re going to give this a shot, and I think it did prove, as Woodrow mentioned, there is more capacity for folks to engage, there is more capacity for folks to give, and I think coming out of 2020, we’ve seen a number of our partners say, well, maybe there’s additional things I can do throughout the year. We have a number of partners who have, sort of, year-round sites that are up, but they actually have different caused-based, month-long giving events throughout the year with curated lists of nonprofits that fit the cause, so I think some folks are starting to rethink that perhaps that’s an approach to compliment let’s say a bigger event that happens throughout the year.

I think, additionally, and this maybe gets to some of more of the data, but we saw this huge shift of giving happen, where folks that maybe have never given online prior, similar to folks that maybe have never bought groceries online or ordered food online, have it delivered, that same trend followed through with giving online, donating online. And I think that’s also one of the big things that we’ve seen this leap forward on coming out of 2020.

Woodrow: Yeah, for sure, I think that highlights a fact that these single day or focused events have an enormous power that we can tap into and we have not yet seen that…the full potential of that. There’s lots of room to grow, and that’s not mutually exclusive of a more ongoing engagement with your supporters, right? Give them those catalyst moments of…urgency and then continue to engage, give them a diversity of ways to support your cause, your community, that’s where we’re really going to be able to see a transformation of traditional approaches. And 2020 forced a lot of the sector into some new practice there.

Katie: Yeah, it was incredible to see all the creative ways that different organizations came together for fundraising. I saw a virtual road trip and virtual galas and everything like that, so it’s just incredible to see that people really came together to give and that organizations really had to get out of their comfort zones and try different things. A lot of organizations also maybe had never really tried online giving or had never been a part of Giving Tuesday or Giving Tuesday Now and gave it a chance this year, so that was really cool to see.

Woodrow: Yeah, and it’s also worth noting that the sector’s under extraordinary pressure right now. I was in a meeting today with food security organizations that are talking about five hundred percent increases in demand, like we’re stretched very…and at the same time, can’t have volunteers in the warehouse, and half their workforce is in quarantine, like, major disruptions to their ability to meet that increased demand. We also, on the fundraising side, we saw, I mean, we don’t have final 2020 numbers yet across the year, we are collaborating with the Fundraising Effectiveness Project on those reports and creating dashboards out of the data, it looks pretty clear like 2020 is going to be a pretty stellar year overall. But it was not a rising tide lifting all boats.

There are winners and losers in 2020, and it’s not just about which sector you were in, size seems to be a factor, but I think really that’s because some business models don’t pivot as easily. If you were very reliant on big events, like in-person events, or in-person fundraising, earned revenue, right, like, you could have all the will in the world but you might not be able to…and you may be pivoted, but your ability to ramp up something very different in a short period of time really dictated a lot of what those organizations were just able to achieve. That agility and that diversity, we really need to build that into the infrastructure. If we’re going to have a resilient sector, we need more diversity going forward and we need a willingness. I mean, the other thing is that despite a really strong, overall result, we did hear from organizations saying that they were worried about asking. People won’t be able to give because they’re worried about their finances, or it’s not a good time to ask because it’s not sensitive. And the thing that we need to understand is that mentality within the sector, I do think it’s changing, but it still is a little too pervasive.

We should be thinking about our relationship with supporters, first of all, as giving them the opportunity to express their fundamental human need to give. And what we see very clearly from our research is that people respond to the things they care about and the change they want to see, with support of the organizations and the causes and the communities that are going to help them achieve that. That’s how they get agency over those things. It is important not just to make it about money, but money is one of the ways that people will respond. So we don’t…it should not be transactional, you should see yourself as in partnership with people on solving those problems. And that means a lot of different things.

That means, yes, supporting the food bank, because of that immediate need, it means supporting health organizations because of the health crisis. It also means the arts organization in your community, because people are really thinking about….who is in my community, and what do I want to see, who do I want to see survive in my community? One of the things we heard and saw from some players who were in the space in 2020 was things like donating money to small businesses. Now, that’s not going to…compared to organizations supporting disaster relief, that’s going to be a tiny, tiny sliver. But that wasn’t even a category in 2019, right? Like, you didn’t have thousands of people getting together to give money to the local florists in 2019, that just wasn’t a thing, and it really speaks to how people are thinking about what they need in their communities and how to support everybody within that community and organizations that think that they’re intrusive are not thinking about themselves as part of that community healing.

Katie: Yeah, I really like that, Woodrow. That’s a good point. I never thought before about giving to a small business, and I do see those calls to action a lot more now, and it does make you feel like you’re really giving back to your community. Going back to a little bit about data, we talked about how many of these nonprofits are pivoting to try new things, or are just really looking for new ways to engage, and a lot of them are told that, you know, follow the data, look at your data, but that can be a daunting task for smaller nonprofits who might not know how to start. So how can nonprofits use their own data collected during Giving Tuesday, as well as the data provided from the Data Commons, to strengthen their fundraising strategies?

Woodrow: Aaron probably has a better answer to this than I do, and the reason I say that is that part of the answer is, don’t try to do it yourself. We can’t expect every organization in the country to be able to have a data science team. And you can tell them to segment down to the individual donor all you want, but they only have a certain capacity. I think that the way we look at it is, platforms are really the best opportunity to start synthesizing the organization level data down to actionable insights. What we want to be able to provide is broadly speaking best practices and trends and indicators to help inform those sector organizations to benchmark themselves and to help…as we said earlier, help platforms bake this into their product.

Aaron: For sure, I think it’s really important for any organization regardless of the platform that they’re using, to understand these thirty thousand foot broad strokes that Woodrow was talking about. Understand that you should consider leveraging peer-to-peer fundraising if you’re not. Understand that you can really drive amplification of your giving if you’re establishing some matches and challenges beforehand. Understand that you can make asks up to a certain amount before, you know, you expect a person to give. Understand the right times to engage with them. Those are all things that I think, at a high level have, come out of this but, totally agree, those are the things that need to get built into the platforms as best practices so that when nonprofits, particularly ones who are sort of newbies at fundraising, particularly ones that are in small to medium size that maybe don’t have necessarily the resources in-house to really devise creative strategies, that’s when they should turn to the best product or set of products that really help guide them along that path.

I think one of the interesting things was, looking at a recent report that came out of, I think it might have been the Blackbaud Institute Index or whatever, and it was saying, as of September, so it’s not complete to the end of the year, but it was showing small, medium, and large organizations and large organizations I think went up 4.5% overall at that point, and 7.5% online. But the smalls and mediums actually went down overall, but their online went up 20%. I think there’s some interesting things…I think they’re heading in the right direction, at least starting to leverage, you know, tools that can help guide them. I think that the tools aren’t necessarily an indication that they’ve dropped overall. The indication is that the major gifts weren’t necessarily out there for them this year or the galas and the events and the things they relied on from a physical perspective to get their names out, to create these sort of in-person engagements, weren’t there. And so, I think those are the things we have to look at as far as how do you guide organizations along and how do you help them leverage the insights that come out of this data, is really finding the right tools to help them implement those best practices.

Woodrow: Yeah, and hopefully that shift will mean new normal is doing both, right, and maintaining a more diverse…engagement and funding flow.

Aaron: Yeah, one of the big things that we saw that came out of our giving day events this year was just people, you know, weeks before their events, had these physical live events happening, and they had to do a complete, you know, switch, and a lot went to live streaming. And we saw some really cool stuff come out of live streaming. So instead of a person going down to the main plaza in town and walking around and talking to the different nonprofits at the tables, you know, the host was actually at the nonprofit organization. You actually got a bit more of an insight into what the nonprofit organization did. And I hope and expect that there will be a hybrid approach to that, that they’ll still have this live component, people going to the sites of the organizations, still doing this day-long live stream or in addition to mixing it up with in-person events. And I think that sort of thing has the potential to really, I guess, heighten and drive awareness around what really is available in your community as a person who wants to engage, who wants to give, you know, time, treasure, talent, to places within their community that they may just not know about. So I think it was an interesting sort of, you know, pivot this past year, but I’m hopeful it will stay, along with the other traditional stuff they used to do as well.

Woodrow: I think that’s the opportunity for the win, right? I think there are strengths and weaknesses in every engagement, and…but, they also support each other. Different modes of engagement tend to support each other. When we looked at Giving Tuesday Now, it looked a lot like a normal Giving Tuesday, but there were a couple of key differences. One was the incidence of volunteer behavior, which is not surprising. There were a lot less volunteer opportunities. First of all people didn’t have as much time to put it together, secondly, people were in lockdown, right? So what’s interesting is I think that suppressed, only very slightly, but had a measurable suppressing effect on monetary giving. We would have seen more dollars if there had been more volunteer opportunities. So this speaks to that big opportunity now to do what Aaron’s talking about…take advantage of the reach and the ease of digital, and then re-engage in person, and have the two intersect and support each other…it’s, I mean, it’s what we did in commercial marketing, when we had face-to-face and it works.

Jackie: Yeah, I think those are some solid predictions for the future. That hybrid approach definitely makes sense, I think, for where we’re going, and there were a lot of great nuggets in there of advice for maybe some of those nonprofits that haven’t really taken the dive into data-driven approaches to how to improve their fundraising. And so speaking more broadly about digital fundraising, where do you envision it going over the next 10 or so years? And how do you see data science having an impact on the sector as a whole?

Woodrow: That’s a great question. I mean, I hope I’m surprised. You know, there’s trends that we’re seeing, that we’ve discussed so far, we’re going to see more adoption of these tools, we’ll see more use of them, that’ll mean more and easier data flows, so we’ll get more insight into optimizing them, and that’s great. I think there is…there’s clearly lots of room to optimize that entire economy. And I predict we’ll do that, we will get more, we will then therefore know more, and we’ll then be able to feed that back into the system.

What I find, I think, more interesting to think about, or perhaps more exciting, is that we had this enormous disruption, right, this shock to the system. And it changed people’s behaviors very broadly in lots and lots of ways. And so, what I think we want to understand over the coming months is, what are the opportunities for systems change, beyond just these tools that we’re using and the data flows and the optimization, where we can break through those metrics that Aaron talked about earlier, right, get out of that 2% of GDP, to really see a new culture of giving around the world. And I think we have been presented with that opportunity.

Aaron: Totally agree. You know, I think one area that just needs a lot of work in general from a systems perspective is, you know, people give, and you kind of touched on it earlier…is the thought that giving is a transaction and then it’s done, and then maybe it happens again in 6 months or a year, whether it’s a volunteering thing or giving a donation. I just think there’s so much room in the space for improving the post-giving, the stewardship aspect of it. I just…it feels that there’s not been a ton of innovation or even just disruption from a stewardship perspective, and I feel like if there could be, it’s this constant cycle of engagement between the beneficiary of the gift, whatever the gift is, and the giver, and clearly, as you mentioned, there’s an emotional aspect to it, there’s obviously an outcome to the giving that is special, it’s helping someone or something or some cause, and being able to…yeah, move it from being this transactional thing to an ongoing continuous relationship. I just think there’s a lot of room for improvement on that, and I think that’s one of the ways you really kind of move that needle. Make it as regular as you needing to go to the gas station or the grocery store, right, like…I can’t say that I get an emotional excitement from going to the grocery store every week, right? I mean, maybe, some people, you know…


Woodrow: Yeah, I come from a commercial marketing background where the entire job was to try to deliver some kind of emotional payload for going to the grocery store. And it’s hard, right? But the nonprofit sector has that emotional payoff, like, built in. And I think that part of the challenge is that stewardship became transactional as well, and that, feeding that….having a system for that is important, being able to optimize is important, but if the result of that is you’ve got to leave the relationship behind, then we end up in this cycle of just, ask, report, rinse, repeat, instead of what you just described, right? A dialogue and a relationship.

Katie: Before we close, I would like to again thank Woodrow and Aaron for sharing their insights with us all today. I’m already counting down the days for Giving Tuesday 2021. If you’re looking for more tools like this to take your digital fundraising to the next level, visit our resource library to stay up to date with our podcast, webinars, downloadable content, and more, at

Jackie: Thank you, everyone!

Katie: Yeah, this was really awesome!

Woodrow: Thanks, guys!

Aaron: Thank you! This was great, appreciate it! Thanks, Woodrow, really appreciate the time on this.

Woodrow: Always love chatting with you, Aaron!