FinTech Interview with Evan DaSilva, SVP- Payments at Bloomerang

FTB News DeskApril 2, 202421 min

Discover expert advice for financial leaders navigating payment system selection and integration for nonprofits. Enhance efficiency and donor experience with insights from industry veterans.
Evan DaSilva, SVP- Payments at Bloomerang

Evan DaSilva is the Senior Vice President of Payments at Bloomerang, the industry’s leading donor, volunteer, and fundraising management software platform for thousands of small and medium-sized nonprofits. Prior to joining Bloomerang, Evan was the Business Manager of Payments at Buildium where he was responsible for the company's Payments vertical, which processed over $10B in payments annually. At Buildium, Evan generated impressive year-over-year growth, and grew the Payments team from 0 to over 20 employees. Evan has a BA in Economics & Political Science from the University of Connecticut, an MA in Economics from Boston University, and an MBA in General Management from the Questrom School of Business at Boston University.

Evan, would you mind sharing a brief overview of your professional journey and how you entered the payments industry, particularly focusing on donations and digital wallets at Bloomerang?
I’m currently the SVP of Payments at Bloomerang. Prior to that, I was a Business Manager for the Payments vertical at Buildium, which processed over $10B in payments annually, mostly on rent transactions. At both Buildium and Bloomerang, I’ve had to build from the ground up, so my experience has been very hands-on – at Buildium I created their Payments Underwriting, Risk Management and Payments Operations functions from scratch. Similarly, at Bloomerang, I started as a team of one. Now at Bloomerang, we’ve evolved significantly past that team of one and we’re building market leading technology for nonprofits and fundraisers. It’s amazing how far Bloomerang Payments and Fundraising has come in the two-plus years that I’ve been with the company.

Could you kindly elaborate on how you have observed payments, especially in donations, evolve recently and the role that digital wallets play in this transformative process?
In today’s landscape, cash usage has plummeted worldwide since 2020, impacting charities and nonprofits traditionally relying on cash donations. Cash accounted for just 23% of all donations in 2022. Over this same period, contactless technology has reshaped how donors engage with nonprofits (NPOs) and donate to charitable causes. Contactless payments eliminates manual entry, speeding donation processing and saving time for both staff and donors.

By introducing Tap to Pay to our nonprofit customers in 2023, we’re improving the in-person payment experience by offering a quick, contactless “tap” solution. More than half (56%) of consumers say the ease and seamlessness of Tap to Pay make it more appealing when donating to nonprofits. Donors can simply tap their RFID-enabled credit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay digital wallet onto a mobile device running the Bloomerang Mobile App. At the end of the day, it’s vital for nonprofits to stay current and meet donors where they are to deliver a top customer experience.

Considering the increasing popularity of Tap to Pay, would you be able to highlight key trends or innovations impacting nonprofits and organizations handling donations?
Digital fundraising is a game changer for nonprofits and Tap to Pay plays a key role in that. The availability of digital payments allows nonprofits to connect with donors more seamlessly on the go or in person at events. By integrating mobile-friendly payment types including PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, debit, credit, and more, supporters can easily contribute to causes and maximize fundraising without NPOs sacrificing valuable time. Also through our Bloomerang mobile app, NPOs can capture donation records that automatically link with donors to streamline automatic receipting, acknowledgments, and reporting.

Secondly, data analytics for personalized engagement is a key trend impacting nonprofits and organizations handling donations. Building connections with donors helps support retention rates.The more information you know about a donor, the more nonprofits can improve the customer experience and meet donors where they are versus the other way around. By using data analytics to gain insights into donor behavior and preferences, organizations can create personalized engagement strategies, tailoring their communications and campaigns to specific donor interests. By harnessing the power of data, nonprofits can build stronger relationships with donors, leading to increased trust, loyalty, and a higher likelihood of recurring donations.

Lastly, putting those first two points together, the analytics are showing us that the donor population is aging. So, not only do solutions like Tap to Pay and Digital Wallets allow nonprofits to engage with donors through their preferred payment channel, it’s also helping them to connect with a younger demographic, which skews heavily towards these payment methods.

From your wealth of experience, could you kindly share some advice for financial leaders in selecting and integrating payment systems for nonprofits to enhance efficiency and donor experience?
Payments and financial technology is at the core of fundraising. It’s something that’s essential to nonprofits and donors. It’s critical to understand its importance and invest in building out the types of customer and donor experience that minimize friction and maximize delight.

Payments can be complex for organizations to understand and effectively execute. It takes time and investment to design and build a great payments experience. I know not everyone gets as excited about Payments as I do, but if your organization doesn’t have someone who gets excited about it, make sure you find a Payments nerd to help ensure you’re staying focused on a foundational piece of your organization’s success.

On a personal level, could you please share how you stay informed about payment industry trends and how this has influenced your approach to driving advancements at Bloomerang?
I’m an avid reader and podcast listener. I’m constantly searching for content that’s relevant to, not just the present and future of payments, but also the history of payments. I just listened to a podcast on the history of Visa and it was fascinating.

I think consuming content helps, but the most important thing is networking and talking to folks across the space. I make sure I have regular conversations with Sales and Partnership Reps at payments and fintech focused orgs to understand the latest products they’re releasing and markets they’re pursuing.

I’ve also very actively and intentionally built out a network of peers, who are either working in similar roles to me or, in some cases, are focused on building next generation technologies. Payments is a very complex and, often, opaque space. It’s essential to have a network to share ideas or get a sanity check on how to approach your latest challenge.

By taking in various points of view across the industry, it helps me to triangulate on what the next best opportunity is for Bloomerang. If I’m reading an article that’s talking about the next big payments opportunity, then I get it pitched to me by two or three Sales Reps, I’ll bounce it off a couple of folks in my network. This can work in any order. Sometimes someone in my network gives me an idea that I need to validate through research and conversations with industry reps. The key is that it’s important to always be listening for new ideas and rigorously vetting them before pushing them internally at Bloomerang.

For readers aspiring to leadership in the payments industry, could you kindly offer some personal strategies that contribute to successful leadership, especially in dynamic sectors like donations and digital payments?
I don’t think there is anything more important than building great relationships. Whether that’s with the team at Bloomerang, our customers, our vendors or across the payments space. Get to know the people that you’re working with. Understand what challenges they’re working on and how they’re working to solve them.

The corollary to that is that in order to learn about other people, you need to ask really great questions and, most importantly, be a great listener. Listening is an incredibly underrated skill. Asking questions and listening demonstrates empathy, which I believe is the best way to create great relationships.

In conclusion, would you mind sharing any insights you may have regarding the future of payments, its intersection with philanthropy, and ongoing technology evolution in this space?
Digital payments options and emerging and advancing technologies in the space will continue to play a pivotal role in how nonprofits garner donations. Ease of use and seamlessness will reign supreme and a focus for nonprofits will be on enhancing capabilities that provide this. From the growth of contactless and mobile payments to predictive analytics and AI that can identify areas where aid is needed most we are looking towards technologies that will help us transform donations for nonprofits and help evolve the culture of giving.

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