In this interview we talk with our good friend and colleague, Scott Koskoski, Senior Performance Consultant and Partner at BrightDot about the critical role that emotional intelligence plays in a nonprofit's fundraising success. This is an eye-opening topic that is sure to add value to any fundraiser or nonprofit leader's day.
We also take a few minutes at the end of the show to talk with Scott about the state of fundraising after what appears to have been a less than great 2018 year-end fundraising season.
Andrew Olsen: Okay, we are recording now.
Andrew Olsen: Good afternoon, everyone. This is Andrew Olsen, co-host of the Rainmaker Fundraising Podcast. I'm here with my good friend and colleague Roy Jones, co-host of the Rainmaking podcast. Roy, how are you?
Roy Jones: Great to be here. It's going to be fun. I love talking to folks that have done university fundraising in the past. This whole subject of emotional intelligence, I like getting into that. So, I'm excited to talk to Scott. I'll let you introduce him.
Andrew Olsen: Yeah, I'm really excited about this as well. I think our listeners are in for a treat. I have gotten to know Scott Koskoski over the last ... Well, Scott, what's it been? Five months, I think?
Scott Koskoski: Yeah. Actually, a little more. Maybe eight or nine months.
Andrew Olsen: Okay, so eight or nine. I can't count. Scott is a great guy. He's the Senior Performance Mentor & Partner at a firm called BrightDot. In Scott's background, before coming to BrightDot, he led all the philanthropic strategy and execution at Morris Animal Foundation, and then he's held major gift roles at University of Denver, Temple University, and UT Chattanooga. So, some great sector experience.
Andrew Olsen: I have just really enjoyed getting to know you, Scott. I mean, you've got a great personal story and temperament in the way you approach fund development. I'm really excited to have you on today to talk to our listeners about how you and your firm approach philanthropy, because I think it's ... A lot of people consult in this space and a lot of people talk about how to fix fundraising, how to coach fundraisers, but so many of them focus on the tactics. And I love that you guys get so far above that and really deal with some of the root issues. I'm excited to talk about that with you. But before I do that, I just want to turn the mic over to you and ask for you to tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Scott Koskoski: Andrew, thanks. Roy, thanks. And Andrew, to your introduction, you wrote down almost everything I said for you to say about me, which is great.
Andrew Olsen: You can pay me later.
Scott Koskoski: The check is in the mail to your favorite charity. But I really do appreciate the opportunity to be here today. I am a fan of yours and I'm a fan of this podcast. It is on my queue. I'm really enjoying learning from you and from the guests that you bring on. And hopefully I'll be able to add a little bit of that today.
Scott Koskoski: As you mentioned, I've got a story that's my own. I grew up in a very, very humble western Pennsylvania background. I needed the grace of God and a lot of help from a lot of people to be even able to access higher education. It was made clear to me at age 13 what my future could look like if I didn't work hard and take on a lot of that onus by myself.
Scott Koskoski: But I was able to earn a scholarship. I was able to squeeze every penny out of that scholarship. And I was able to be a first-generation college graduate. I'm really proud to have blazed a trail now for my family, and my siblings followed.
Scott Koskoski: From that, I was able to start a career in university ... worked at some ... from small, private liberal arts, major research universities. I learned about relationship-based fundraising. I was very lucky to be a part of significant campaigns, significant building projects, and develop significant relationships with presidents, chancellors, boards, dynamic coaches, faculty. And then I had my midlife crisis. I think we all get one.
Roy Jones: Only one?
Scott Koskoski: We all get at least one, how about that?
Roy Jones: I'll give you that.
Scott Koskoski: But I woke up on my 35th birthday and realized that I was burning out. I was asking myself a lot of hard questions about the kind of work that I was doing in a university environment. For all that it had given me, was it now starting to take from me? And I made a list of things I wanted to do if indeed my life was half over. One of those things I wanted to do was transition into the nonprofit sector.
Scott Koskoski: 23 days later, I landed at Morris Animal Foundation as Director of Major & Planned Giving, elevated roles there a couple of times, and had a wonderful ride as essentially the philanthropy director at the world's largest and oldest animal health non-profit. Got to know wonderful trustees, got to work with wonderful folks like Betty White ... Yes, the Betty White ... and others who helped elevate the brand of that organization. And through that experience, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Bill Crouch in the basement of the Sheraton in Chicago at a conference where he was-
Andrew Olsen: That sounds swanky.
Scott Koskoski: Yeah. Yeah, not to sound too seedy, but we met in the basement of a hotel where he was representing Jerry Panas's fundraising firm where he was Jerry's COO. And I had just started a boutique consulting firm with my dear friend Dan Reed in Denver called Seed. Bill and I put minds together, hearts together. One thing led to another. I was moving east anyway to be closer to family and relocating back to Pittsburgh, where I live now. Bill and I decided that we were going to leave our firms, respectively, and start what was Crouch & Associates.
Scott Koskoski: Crouch & Associates launched September 13th ... I'm sorry, September 30th, 2015. On January 1st, 2019, we became BrightDot. Crouch & Associates was a firm that told you who we are. BrightDot is a firm that tells us who you are, is at least the way we're putting the spin on it.
Scott Koskoski: But it's been a great ride. I'm learning a ton. And, hopefully, I've got something now to give back. My main motivation from getting out of client-side service and doing consulting and coaching was that I thought it was time to serve the profession and serve the sector, rather than serving one singular organization.
Andrew Olsen: I think that's a really cool mission calling.
Andrew Olsen: The reason why I was really excited to have you on, and why I wanted to get you on the show as quick as possible, goes back to something that you shared with me a few months ago. I can't remember where we were. But, you said that the majority of instances where you're called in to help a non-profit improve their fundraising. So, whether they had a down year, or they're just looking to grow, or whatever it was, that oftentimes they are looking to you to provide whatever the next shiny object is or the set of tactics and tools. But you end up ultimately engaging with them around issues of culture and relationships and leadership more so than anything else.
Andrew Olsen: I'd love for you to tell us about that and just give us a little context for what that means in our sector.
Scott Koskoski: You came up with something that we call the circle of consequences. And the circle of consequences is borne out of the reality that, as you said it, every single time we've been called into a non-profit organization, higher ed, ministry, advocacy-driven, [inaudible 00:07:54], doesn't matter. Every time we brought in, we've heard some version, as have you, Andrew, of, "We've got to raise more money."
Scott Koskoski: That's ultimately one of the deliverables. But what we find is that it's not about the money. We've never found a genuine and true lack of capital to be what's holding back the organization. Rather, it's always something else. It's the messaging. It's the stewardship approach. It is how you tell the fundraising story, how you illustrate the "why" of the organization. We're big Simon Sinek believers and we teach the "why." We're all certified "why" trainers at our firm.
Scott Koskoski: It's never actually about the lack of availability of money. And one of the things that is always prevalent in organizations that struggle, we found, is culture. Specifically, what is the emotional intelligence quotient, or factor, of folks that are touching the fundraising process?
Scott Koskoski: When we started Crouch & Associates, one of the things we promised ourselves was that we were going to go out of business and declare ourselves a failure if we could not stir the culture of organizations we worked with. We decided that every client was going to hear something they haven't heard before, feel something they hadn't felt before, and do something that they haven't done before. And that's culture.
Scott Koskoski: Where fundraisers struggle, and where organizations struggle, is because there is genuinely gaps and a lack of resilience, perseverance, assertiveness, objective judgment, pace, and independence, manageability, and those things that all kind of cobble together to form what we call development wisdom. Others call it emotional intelligence. That's the street name for it. We tried some other kind of variations on that, but we keep coming back to this concept of development wisdom and saying, "You know what? That's the secret sauce. That's the missing ingredient, where organizations and fundraisers are falling down and struggling and not achieving their full purpose."
Scott Koskoski: How could we bring it? The science of development wisdom, rather than thinking that wisdom is something that you wait a long time to acquire, or that when your hair turns gray and white, or becomes gone, you've acquired some modicum of [crosstalk 00:10:24].
Andrew Olsen: Hey now, don't throw barbs at Roy.
Scott Koskoski: You know what? I got to take the ... Ball's on the tee, guys. I'm sorry. But I kid, Roy.
Scott Koskoski: How can we inject through our work this dose of development wisdom into shops rather than just hope and pray and wait for those things to happen? And so, [crosstalk 00:10:50].
Roy Jones: I mean, they have to have the tactics right. They have to have the tactics right, but if you don't layer on this, what you're calling development wisdom, what I've always called emotional intelligence. But, I mean, giving is an emotional act. It's not a transactional act. That has to be learned and taught.
Roy Jones: Sometimes I find fundraisers, maybe they're really good at sensing when to go in for the close or some kind of thing like that, but they're very poor at sensing when a donor is emotionally ready to engage in philanthropy. Talk to me about just how you get there and how teach that. It's very different than the tactics or the techniques that we teach in fundraising most of the time.
Scott Koskoski: We decided we would never be a firm that focused on hard skill development as our front page. And so, while we do plenty of development tactical teaching and kind of authority and influence speaking into these non-profits, we are continually guided by one of the great books out there. You've heard of Harvey Mackay and The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World. And Harvey asks in this book, "What makes a super salesperson? The top three traits: hungry fighter, hungry fighter, hungry fighter."
Scott Koskoski: He lists 17 traits in this book of what makes a super salesperson. We've taken the book apart and we've basically rewritten it into a fundraising environment. Out of these 17 traits in this book, only one has to do with hard skills. Content knowledge, you know what you're talking about. The others have to do with integrity, positive attitude, likeability, good first impressions, service mentality, great listener, thirst for self-improvement, things like that.
Scott Koskoski: So how do we teach it? The first thing we did is create a proprietary emotional intelligence assessment for the non-profit world. It's the only one that exists. It's called the Profile XT. The first two hires we made at our firm were development psychologists, gentlemen. We took an existing sales assessment. We recreated it, went through two rounds of beta, thousands of testers, and came out of it with a profile of 1,200 top-performing fundraisers who had closed seven-figure gifts in the last 12 months at a cross-section of 190 institutions in this country.
Scott Koskoski: We looked at the things that this profile group of 1,200 top-performing fundraisers have in common in terms of their resilience, their adaptability, their assertiveness, their pace, their decision making, their thinking and learning styles, their interest patterns, in terms of people orientation, a creative and service mentality versus a technical mentality, or an administrative mentality. And we are the only firm out there that can show you literally a picture of what a top performer's emotional intelligence looks like.
Scott Koskoski: Everyone that we work with, everyone that we hire, goes through this assessment process. And by the way, we've now got different versions of this assessment. So whether you're a major gift performer, whether you're an institutional CEO, whether you're a back line performer, or whether you're a board member or a governor of an organization, there is a version of this assessment for you.
Roy Jones: [inaudible 00:14:40].
Scott Koskoski: And you go through this assessment and you are compared to the profile, in this case, of a major gift performer. And what we do is we have the ability through our curriculum to literally move you through a curriculum closer to top performance. Can we get you all of the way there all of the time? No. Could never, would never, guarantee. But what we can do is give you exercises, repetitions, and practical real world situations and challenges, we call them. So, literally taking your learning into a donor situation to improve your emotional intelligence.
Scott Koskoski: We teach fundraisers how to be more adaptable, how to let things roll off their shoulders in a donor conversation, how to have better pace in donor situations, so on and so forth. That's why 60% of the organizations we worked with have reported that they've earned the single largest gift in their history since they've engaged with us.
Roy Jones: Yeah, it really is a conversation with donors, isn't it? You're listening for those emotive signals.
Scott Koskoski: Every donor, Roy, we're convinced is holding up this invisible piece of paper. It's a job description. They are looking for an organization that can engage with the donor through a conversation, through being not subservient to a donor, not managing a donor, but with, literally with a donor. And being with a donor in conversation, to get to the point where you build the relationship through a venue of trust to the point where you can challenge a donor to sacrificial generosity in a safe way. That's the secret sauce.
Scott Koskoski: 60% of fundraisers are subservient to the donor. 30% of fundraisers think that this business is about managing a donor. But it's the fundraisers who understand how to be truly with a donor, meaning we're walking this donor through this proverbial forest that's dark. We do this all day, every day. We practice this craft of fundraising. Donors don't have that many opportunities to practice being donors and to practice being philanthropic and in relationship with a fundraiser, right? So there's an element of leading a donor through that.
Scott Koskoski: How do you get out six to ten feet in front of a donor and kind of pull them through the forest, but at the same time, give the donor the real impression that your arm is around their shoulder, and that you are with them? You're listening to them. You are vulnerable to them. You allow them to be vulnerable back at you.
Scott Koskoski: Through that process, which requires emotional intelligence, you can get the donor to a place where they feel confident and comfortable letting you honor and serve their "why" in living out their story through philanthropy to your organization. And that's what philanthropy is. It's a response from the heart, not the head.
Roy Jones: Man, that's powerful. That's deep.
Scott Koskoski: It's what we do.
Andrew Olsen: I'm going to drop the grenade question in the room right now. And that is, this sounds to me like a highly introspective process. And what I know about many fundraisers is, and I'll use the term "we" because I fit that category myself, we tend to be people pleasers, right? It's difficult to get people to be that introspective and to really let somebody else pick around what's inside, right? And show them where those challenges are.
Andrew Olsen: Talk to me about how this process helps people, helps fundraisers, allow that level of vulnerability so that they can improve, and what the biggest challenges you guys face when you're dealing with an organization and people who are doing this.
Scott Koskoski: Well, that's a great question. There's a lot of ways to answer that. I'll touch on a couple of them in the interest of time. First is that one of the things we pride ourselves on is increasing the level of vocational conviction. Think about this industry as one in which 98% of those who participate in it fall into it from some other field, from some other crowd.
Scott Koskoski: This is one of the most, in terms of the number of people participating in the fundraising profession. It's probably got the least number of people who came up through a traditional path, right? There's a very scant, gray look at what ... If there even is a path, what that is, what good looks like in this field. And so, that's a difficult enough challenge altogether because you've got for a hundred different fundraisers, a hundred different mindsets of what good fundraising is and could be. That's a really tough baseline in which to start this practice of kind of developing vulnerability, a personal connection.
Scott Koskoski: We remind fundraisers that it really is true that people give to people. It really is true that people don't give to causes. People don't give to institutions. People don't give to movements. People don't give to campaigns or thermometers, but they do give because they're asked. They do give when they develop a sense that a fundraiser, as a representative of the organization, gets them, is listening, is asking the right questions, is showing their cards, is showing empathy, is introspective, doesn't have all the answers, is challenged, confused, and confounded, in sometimes ways that donors are as well. But donor and fundraiser together can solve problems.
Scott Koskoski: And because we know that donors love to operate, generally, in a problem-solution continuum, and while donors can't solve every problem, donors like to solve somebody's problems if they can, if they are indeed philanthropic and charitable in mindset. I mean, it's a process. It is a process that has failure written all over it. I'm not ashamed to say that we, through our assessment and through our teaching process, and through a lot of these hard conversations with fundraisers, now have a ... really glad that we were able to have the process that we did.
Scott Koskoski: You helped me determine that this was not the career for me. You helped me determine that I should not be working in this kind of a job. That I ultimately don't have ... I can't get there. I can't be at a place where I can be with a donor. I was doing this for artificial reasons.
Scott Koskoski: I certainly don't want to say that for as many people as we helped, we have also shown the light to, but there have been folks that have been a part of our teaching that have said, "Thank God I went through this, because I understand I'm not built for this."
Roy Jones: I see so often, we think that there's a misperception that it is the hard sales closer that you're looking for. When I hear you saying things like, "Be vulnerable to see vulnerability and to be able to connect with donors in an emotive way," it's so different than the misperception of the hard charging sales closer, somebody that's just out there pitching.
Roy Jones: But, yeah, I think you're right. It is that the people that can do that are in the top 10% of our industry. I like to say people that get it understand that emotion is the donor's love potion. I mean, if you want a donor to fall in love with you, with your charity, the cause you're supporting, it's the emotion that holds that relationship together.
Scott Koskoski: I'm always reminded of the movie Glengarry Glen Ross in which Alec Baldwin played ... For those of you who don't know, he plays the sales manager. He gives a speech to the sales team and he says, "The only," and I don't want to misquote, but I think he says, "Only one things counts in this world, and it's getting them to sign on the line that which is dotted."
Scott Koskoski: The reality is that when the fundraiser manages the donor, the relationship centers on the fundraiser's goals. The question becomes, "How can I convince the donor to give me an amount that achieves my goal?"
Scott Koskoski: Bad things happen after that. Hurried asks. Relationships that aren't about helping the donor support work that aligns with their passion. It's about the organization's bottom line, right? The old phrase, "You've got to sit next to the cow if you want to milk the cow." Hard to milk the cow by sending the cow a letter or calling the cow on the phone. The other phrase, "You can't just make pickles. You've got to let the cucumber marinate."
Scott Koskoski: And that requires patience. It requires trust, two-way trust. Trust by the donor in the fundraiser's commitment to the relationship. Trust by the fundraiser in that the donor is interested in kind of living this philanthropic story and expressing it through the vessel of the organization as the indispensable fulfiller of the donor's "why." It requires that trust. Genuine trust. That trust brings about vulnerability, the willingness to challenge each other, not just the fundraiser challenging a donor, but a donor challenging the fundraiser towards a heightened level of generosity and conversation.
Scott Koskoski: Vulnerability is really intimidating. Look, it's intimidating to be vulnerable personally, let alone professionally. But when a fundraiser and a donor can stand shoulder to shoulder and see in each other a shared commitment to impacting the world through the organization, that takes time. It doesn't happen on the fiscal cycle timeline. The best time for a major gift is when the donor is ready to make a major gift.
Roy Jones: That's right.
Andrew Olsen: Scott, you said something that I want to go back to. I'm curious. The answer very well may be no. But I'm curious to know if, in your work, you've ever had a client ask you to help them apply this kind of thinking and methodology below their major gift program to their annual fund, and how the techniques and the approach that you guys take ... Has it been tested in that space at all?
Scott Koskoski: It has been tested and implemented to the extent that we do fundraising communications, we do messaging work, marcom work, storytelling, and appeal writing for clients. What we're helping clients to do, and this may or may not answer the question fully, but what were helping clients do is learn to speak the language of the donor rather than the language of the organization.
Scott Koskoski: Organizations are really good about speaking the language of the organization. But there's a different vernacular, even at a, let's call it, core giving level and into mid-level giving. There's a different vernacular that donors can use. For example, we're taking appeals. We just got through the year-end giving season, regardless of when this podcast airs. We're here live on January 8th. We just got through the year-end giving season.
Scott Koskoski: We took a bunch of appeals and kind of flipped them on their heads and say, "Okay, how could we write these in a more emotionally aware way? How could we even, on paper, to the majority of your file, how can we write this in a way that breathes new life, fresh air, and a different perspective in the same, roughly the same, thing? How can we say it from looking over here inward, instead of in here, outward?"
Scott Koskoski: That's where we've, I think, taken some good baby steps in terms of that area of an organization.
Andrew Olsen: Okay. Cool. Thank you. So you brought it up. You've said year-end. I was planning to bring it up.
Scott Koskoski: I knew it was coming.
Andrew Olsen: And you're right. We are recording this on January 8th. It'll air in a week or two. But Roy and I were talking about this before you came on, briefly. Now I've talked to about two dozen non-profits in the last couple of weeks. International relief, domestic, poverty alleviation, health care, kind of the whole spectrum. And what I'm hearing is a lot of concern, some hair-on-fire-type responses. Just about everybody I'm speaking to saying that they had a really tough December.
Andrew Olsen: I'd love to hear what you're hearing, and the conversations you're having, and if you have a point of view on what happened in December.
Scott Koskoski: That's a great question, Andrew and Roy. Somebody asked me today, "How was your holiday break?"
Scott Koskoski: And I said, "What break?"
Scott Koskoski: Because if the phone wasn't ringing with clients asking, "What's going on?" and "Has the postal service stopped working through this government shutdown?" then it was me looking at dashboards and trying very late in the year to manipulate some strategy and to help our client group leverage, to the best that they could, the year-end giving season.
Scott Koskoski: I'm looking here at a dashboard of our clients and their Q4 performance, and it's not all in yet as of this airing on January 8th. We know that stuff continues to trickle in. But I'm looking at a 20 to 30, if not a little bit more, percent year over year downscale from the year prior. It's not just your group of two dozen or so, Andrew, and I don't think it's just my group and our group, as a firm. I think it is probably a sector-wide conversation. I don't know yet whether it's something that is one of those it is what it is things, or whether we can specifically provide the causation to this. But I will share this.
Scott Koskoski: First, we are living in such a political and a social moment in this country. No matter what your politics, we are living in turbulent ... [inaudible 00:30:22]. It's hard to find an area of the non-profit sector in which, politically, socially, civically, and otherwise, that our times have not been affected. And whoever wished that may we live in interesting times, I think we are.
Scott Koskoski: But we are seeing campaign contributions to the 2018 federal midterm elections, even down to a state and municipal level, be as high as a four-year presidential election year. There was, as we all know, a ton of energy put into the midterm elections, a ton of money put into the midterm elections. We've never had congressional races and senatorial and gubernatorial races in a non-presidential election year where they were eight and nine ... eight-figure, yeah, but nine-figure races. We've never had 100 million dollar congressional races in a midterm year. So, we know that donor dollars are going there.
Scott Koskoski: The economy, despite what we hear about jobs numbers and employment figures, we know that the Dow lost it's entire 2018 and finished the year in a very tumultuous position financially, where we are down 5.6% in the Dow and the S&P. The mistake a lot of fundraisers and organizations make is thinking that just because a donor's portfolio is doing is well, there is instant liquidity to follow. That's not the case. Gains don't necessarily mean money. And so, we are seeing skittish donors and hearing from skittish donors who just don't know the state of the market. We've never had Fed chairmen who are providing commentary about the state of the market and their own position like we have before, and that's impacting things.
Scott Koskoski: And then, thirdly, we are, I think, starting to see some of the front pages of the 2017 tax legislation. We now know that donors, particularly in the mid-level segment, which is where we predicted a year ago that the greatest vulnerability was going to occur in terms of tax legislation, we're seeing the bundling happen. Donors are putting the onus on non-profit organizations to try to make two or three years of philanthropy kind of stretch and work.
Scott Koskoski: I just got off the phone with a client in southern California who said, "I've probably had a half a dozen donors, major donors, that I could count on year over year come to me and say that they were going to bundle. And only a couple of them did it this year. And they can't guarantee that they would bundle in the future when it's, quote, unquote, 'our turn' to get the gift. It's their intent, but you never know what's going to happen in the market."
Roy Jones: Right. There's a big difference between holding money back and saving it for next year then actually stroking a bigger check next year. [crosstalk 00:33:32] know.
Scott Koskoski: There's a huge difference. And we've never lived in a time where 12 months feels like 12 years away.
Andrew Olsen: So, I'm going to put you in the hot seat again. What do you tell a non-profit that's facing that, right? That feels to me like seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and hearing the train engine behind it.
Scott Koskoski: That's [inaudible 00:33:59].
Andrew Olsen: What do you say to give some hope and potentially some direction to non-profits that are feeling that way?
Scott Koskoski: Number one, this is for those of you of faith, it's a great time for prayer. And, certainly, I have bowed my head before probably more tables at a Panera Bread than I have over the last five or six months with our group of ministry-based non-profits.
Scott Koskoski: But I would in all seriousness say continue to be consistent. Continue to take the high road, to do the right thing, and to focus on impacting lives through your mission. The mistake or the ... Not mistake. Let me walk that word back. The temptation that a lot of organizations have, particularly in times like this, is to think that program follows money. Boy, if we could only raise some money, we would be able to do this program. We'd be able to impact the live in the way that we dream about doing. The reality is that money follows program.
Scott Koskoski: Back to the circle of consequences I mentioned where the problem's not the money. The problem is everything around the money when it comes to fundraising, its culture, its messaging, its program strategy, and design. This is a great time to make sure the program strategy is tightened and the strategies and the tactics around delivering the program are as efficient and effective as they could be. This is a great time to do a program audit. And from that programmatic success and programmatic impact, and your consistency in talking about and demonstrating the impact of your work, then you have the opportunity to fundraise.
Scott Koskoski: Something tactical that we're talking with a lot of clients about is many clients think that stewardship is when you do something after the gift that demonstrates the impact of that gift, or the impact of the non-profit. What we're telling them, what we're kind of doing a lot of training in these days, is pre-fundraising stewardship. Stewardship that happens pre-investment on kind of the program-side of the money follows program continuum.
Scott Koskoski: And so, how are we demonstrating impacts of the non-profit and impact of the gift prior to fundraising rather than saying, "Great! You gave this thousand dollars or hundred dollars, now let me tell you what we did with it and let me tell you what we were able to do," as if it's some kind of thing that hides behind the curtain until a gift is made. We're talking about kind of the placement and the relationship of stewardship in kind of the relationship continuum.
Scott Koskoski: But other than that, our encouragement is stay consistent. This is a movement. These times are times that won't last. These times are times that eventually correct. It's happened every time before. It'll happen every time again.
Roy Jones: That's interesting, Scott, because I do think that what were are seeing is not so much a downturn, but a correction. Of course, all of ... I shouldn't say ... I won't put you guys in this category, but I do know one vice president of development that took great pride at seeing about a 30% spike a year ago in year-end giving.
Roy Jones: What I have found, my team has met with 187 donors face to face in 2018. I personally have met with 116 donors face to face. What I have found is many people made a larger gift in 2017 year-end, because they wanted to get that gift in before all these tax law changes started happening because they didn't know what impact it was going to have. And so, we got a huge spike before the Trump tax code happened.
Scott Koskoski: We've had a lot [crosstalk 00:38:17].
Roy Jones: And I [crosstalk 00:38:17] think a lot of it is just stabilization.
Scott Koskoski: We got a lot of the same questions at the end of 2017 and our coaching was simply, to a donor, if you are in the position to express philanthropy through a gift, it's better that you would do it in times that are certain than in times that are uncertain.
Roy Jones: Exactly.
Scott Koskoski: So go ahead and do that. I think that correction and normalization are two of the words that we ought to, to your point, Roy, talk more and more about, rather than recession, downturn, coming back. Philanthropy is a process that is always normalizing. It's always evolving.
Scott Koskoski: In terms of, for example, the prevalence of a donor-advised fund ten years ago versus the prioritization and the significance of DAFs today, it's huge, right? We're not necessarily talking about more ... We can help non-profits look. It may mean that giving changes. It doesn't mean that giving stops and it doesn't need to mean that giving stops. We may need to adapt and normalize and evolve, and we will do that.
Andrew Olsen: Very good. Well, I feel a little bit more encouraged after hearing that. I think so many people are still kind of on pins and needles waiting to see how the year fully ends when they've processed all their gifts, but I think those are some great insights, Scott.
Andrew Olsen: Really appreciate you being here today. We're just about at the end of our time. If people want to get in touch with you, if people want to talk with you about the assessment tool and how your BrightDot firm might be able to help them, how do people reach you?
Scott Koskoski: On the web at thebrightdot.com. email@example.com is a great email for me. We'd be happy to help anybody. And Andrew and Roy, I want to thank you for the time. I love being around smarter people than myself, and so this was the highlight of my day.
Andrew Olsen: Well, we'll try to find some for you, thanks.
Roy Jones: I don't know who you're talking to. I sure learned a lot. This was good stuff.
Andrew Olsen: Yeah, this was really good stuff. Thank you again.
Roy Jones: Man, powerful.
Scott Koskoski: Great to be with you.