In 2007, Matt Hafer became the CEO of a fundraising agency. The company was excelling based on its exceptional creative skill, but in 2009 there was potential for even better performance in the mail. Borrowing from his background in banking, Matt began with predictive models using advanced data science. The results improved dramatically. Prospecting ROI increased by 17% and was netting positive income on average.
In 2011 the agency wrestled with a difficult strategic decision. The modeling idea had been borrowed from Matt’s background in the banking industry. Specifically, the data collection and modeling efforts mirrored what credit bureaus and Fair, Isaac (inventor of the FICO score) did in the world of consumer lending – collect massive amounts of data, build predictive models, and use them to target audiences to optimize performance. When applied to the world of fundraising, the results were compelling, even when using ONLY ONE agency’s worth of data. But, there was a much more powerful version that existed, a true analog to the banking industry. That was combining the data from many agencies and organizations, to truly understand every individual donor – the same way credit bureaus work with virtually every bank and collect comprehensive data on borrowers.
The agency decided to spin out DonorBureau, and the ownership of the companies was completely severed, neither company nor principals held any interest in the other. This complete separation was essential and benefitted both companies. Unencumbered by having an agency partner that was competitive with others in the industry, DonorBureau was able to partner with hundreds of organizations in the pursuit of increasing efficiency in fundraising.
Since those early days, the early vision for the company has remained largely the same. Aggregate incredible amounts of data from sources, leverage the most sophisticated data science, and the most powerful computing platforms and create an understanding of the donor that exceeds anyone else. All in the pursuit of the mission to use artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics and technology to help organizations collect the resources they need to pursue their noble missions. DonorBureau isn’t saving the world, but we are empowering those who are saving the world to do so. While DonorBureau has not deviated from its early mission, what has evolved over time are the channels where it is able to help these organizations raise money.
Since the early days in the mail, the company has expanded its scope and now has novel and unique solutions for fundraisers in the mail, phone, email, digital and texting channels.