DRIVE/: A Retrospective

It's Still All About the People (and the Tech)

Across the last week or so, QuadWrangle collected and, thanks to our Natural Language engine, analyzed the Twitter engagement around #caseDRIVE to understand what the conversation was really about. You can read those posts at your leisure, but I'll sum it all up for you: people and tech.

New tech, to be precise.

What felt different this year, however, is that the audience was not only more senior, but also more advanced in understanding of Machine Learning, NLP, AI and other bleeding edge technologies.

The seniority of those in attendance - VPs, AVPs, CIOs, CTOs - was of real note. Natural Language is no longer the domain of mid-career tech staff and side projects. No. It is, rather, front and center. Why?

First, I applaud the vendor community. Companies like Uprising, IBM Watson, Salesforce.com and, yes, QuadWrangle, are reimagining the way advancement and engagement happens with technology. "Vendor" is such a dirty word, it seems, but these are teams of people, many of whom were in the very seats we now seek to make more impactful, working at scale across dozens or even hundreds of schools to effect real change and value. I'd like to think of us all as value partners.

Secondly, our partners within leading institutions are demanding change that is far too massive for humans to drive alone. Technology gives us all the ability to share and do so much more that we would otherwise. Just like the tech leaders in the image at top of this post make tech great for lots of great people, fundraisers and advancement leaders put tech in place that makes their teams and supporters deliver for their institutions.

At QuadWrangle, we love telling a gift officer which fund to ask a donor to give to thanks to Natural Language Processing and our donor match algorithm. We love suggesting optimized funds for donation to annual donors to increase giving rates. And we love helping engagement leaders make informed decisions on event programming, content creation and more where, historically, there was only instinct to inform them.

Advancement leadership is rapidly assuming the same tech leadership mantle as F1000 tech companies. I believe, after DRIVE/ more than ever before, that we have a Bezos or Zuckerberg in our space right now. They are among us; emerging.

If you believe in a future of tech-enabled people optimizing engagement and giving, drop us a line. We'd enjoy the chance to show you our vision for how that happens and hearing your own.