This post is part of our new Future of Everything series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is a recent interview we had with Jeremy Bolls, CEO and founder of Kindful.
1.) What's the history of Kindful?
I took a consulting project with a local international relief organization to work on the nonprofit’s branding and website. During this project, I learned the questions the nonprofit was asking were not website and branding questions, but database questions. Their data was all over the place in different systems, and none of it spoke to the other. As the consultant, I searched the market for a solution. I found that there wasn’t a good, affordable solution out there. Every system I found was either too expensive or too hard to use, and I knew my team could do it better. We wanted to solve the problem of data segmentation in the nonprofit world, but not just in the typical way. We wanted nonprofits to be able to pull in non-transactional data to get a wholistic value of their constituents – not just top donors in terms of dollar value. I saw this as a chance to utilize my technology background, with an opportunity to solve a problem, while getting to work with organizations that are making an impact in the world.
2.) What specific problem does Kindful solve?
A nonprofit’s current system or process for managing donors causes donor management to be difficult, frustrating, and time consuming. Nonprofit employees struggle with managing donors easily and effectively, and ultimately believe that it shouldn’t be so hard to do good.
3.) What is your solution to their problem?
Kindful is powerful nonprofit software that helps organize data and manage donors better. It’s the hub for all their data. We integrate with industry leading services like Square, CrowdRise, QuickBooks, and PayPal, so nonprofits can see the full picture of their donors. With Kindful, donor management is easier, saving nonprofits time and helping them better understand their donors. With easier access to their data, they can make more informed decisions, do more good, and make a bigger impact.
4.) What are the biggest business challenges non-profits face today?
The biggest challenge nonprofits face is segmented data. Too many nonprofit employees are spending time doing admin work that should be able to be done automatically.
5.) What technologies are disrupting how non-profits are run?
Data is at the center of what’s keeping nonprofits from operating efficiently. Not all databases are created to handle the breadth of unique data types, the speed at which that data is collected, and the scale on which the nonprofit needs to grow. On top of storing data, collecting this information adds another dimension. The collection of payments is changing at a rapid pace, as seen with the growth and popularity of mobile wallets. This pace will only continue to accelerate, and nonprofits should wisely choose a core database that is designed to handle these changes. If they choose right, the insights they’ll have available will change how quickly they can spread their mission to make a positive impact . Those who don’t will be caught behind endless administrative tasks, at risk of missing how their future donors prefer to interact and support the cause.
6.) How will non-profits of the future be different than they are today?
- At their core, nonprofits won’t change. But the way they collect fundraising data and communicate the impact of donations will create a new level of transparency. Transparency will be the differentiator between organizations that develop key lifetime donors and those that are struggling to retain donors year to year.
- Nonprofits will become some of the most sophisticated organizations in the world by using large databases in tandem with machine learning and AI to drive their sustainability and financial insights. Data is more readily available now than it ever has been, and the organizations that can harness the power of this data will thrive.
- Nonprofits will be finding new ways to collaborate and communicate across entities that have similar missions. Where there is a shared mission there are shared trends and learnings. This is where software such as Kindful can provide accurate recommendations to improve both organizations for the greater good. The number of organizations is growing at an increasing rate, but those who find ways to share successes and failures with similar causes will be the organizations that will make the most progress.
7.) What's the future of online fundraising?
There are many driving forces of online fundraising. Ultimately, we all know everything will be digital/online. Organizations are already adopting a variety of online fundraising strategies for single and recurring gifts, as well as more complicated strategies around events, auctions, crowdfunding, and even electronic methods to donate non-cash gifts. The challenge nonprofits face isn’t in finding tools or methods to raise money online, it’s how do they possibly collect and store the wealth of data available around all donor interactions – not just the transactions. An open platform like Kindful grants organizations the ability to select the tools that are best for them, while ensuring the data is automatically collected and usable. The future of online fundraising will help interactions with donors be highly personalized, which will drive loyalty, increased participation, and fundraising success.