Quinetha Frasier, affectionately known as “Que” is a woman fuelled by passion. She has made it her life’s mission to make a positive impact through her work.
The MBA grad has a wealth of experience in the philanthropic sector. With over 18 years of service, Frasier has supported individuals, organizations, and corporations in funding campaigns and building sustainable social business models.
Now she’s laser-focused on using technology as a tool to measure and improve social impact. A self-proclaimed geek, Frasier says organizations that depend on charitable dollars typically use “antiquated” methods that are long overdue for technological innovation.
“Tech accelerates an organization’s ability to interact and retain loyal donors,” Frasier says. “It makes it easy for the donor to give to the things that are important to them. If it’s easy for a donor to give they’re more likely to give quickly and more often.”
In 2016, Frasier was given a new opportunity to combine her tech-savvy skills and passion for social change. She was headhunted for the chief exec role at MyPledger, a FinTech startup focused on increasing the collection of pledges, donations, and payments through cutting-edge software solutions.
“I came in as a CEO and co-founder to scale the company and to refine the business model. We went from collecting money from the transactions to a support or subscription model where customers pay us small amounts every month to be able to have access to us to help them collect money all year round.”
The innovative software is a great fit for fundraising events, Frasier says. “With a traditional pledge card, people will collect 30 to 35 percent of pledges made. Our software increases that collection rate to between 89 and 93 percent.” MyPledger’s real-time dashboard gives public recognition to donors on an interactive display screen that encourages attendees to easily send SMS messages to donate.
“Tech accelerates an organizations ability to interact and retain loyal donors. It makes it easy for the donor to give to the things that are important to them."
Nonetheless, the SAAS-based Atlanta startup has partnered with a variety of organizations, including nonprofits, foundations, educational establishments, faith-based institutions, and individual change agents. Clients include the likes of UNCF, Morehouse College, TechBridge, Women in Technology, Mary Parker Foundation, Ryan Cameron Foundation, and Urban League of Greater Atlanta, among others.
Ultimately, MyPledger enables organizations to increase their impact at a lower cost. Collection is faster and easier via mobile campaigns, and donor engagement is boosted by impactful follow-up storytelling.
MyPledger was launched in 2016, but the software was created five years ago by Atlanta-based technologist Laron Walker. From humble beginnings, Walker, now a successful serial entrepreneur, built the technology as a “way to give something back to the community.”
Significantly, Frasier says MyPledger is pivoting into the consumer debt industry, which is a fast growing and scalable sector. “There are 30 million people today who owe 90 days or more on their loan. As we transition and pivot into the payment collections space what people are really buying from us is the automation to collect.”
The founder-financed startup is post-revenue. The leadership team is now looking for investment to scale and grow the business even further.
“We’ve personally invested our $100,000. Now we are actively pursuing seed capital from angel investors. We’re only raising $400,000 because we know that investment will take us to $300,000 just in the next quarter if we’re able to build a data-science model.
“Whoever owns the data makes the rules. We have spent enough time understanding the behaviors, how and when people give and pay and what we’re looking to do is integrate that into artificial intelligence. We want to own that space where to say if you want to raise $2 million we say here’s the formula to getting that. Once we understand the dynamics of those behaviors that’s what disrupts the industry.”
"With a traditional pledge card, people will collect 30 to 35 percent of pledges made. Our software increases that collection rate to between 89 and 93 percent."
Frasier views her current work as the tip of the iceberg. She’s determined to become a voice of possibility for the philanthropy industry.
It’s already happening. Frasier is fast becoming an in-demand trainer and sought-after speaker on the speakers’ circuit, with engagements now booked well into next year. Next month she’s facilitating an in-person workshop for GrantSpace in Atlanta. Days later she’ll be moderating a panel at Rainbow Push Coalition’s Conference in Atlanta.
A proud Gullah native of the Sea Islands of Charleston, Frasier was raised with a powerful sense of connection to African culture. “There was immense pride among a people who lived in pervasive poverty.” The elders were “fiercely proud,” Frasier says, which fostered a healthy sense of self-esteem.
Her father was a military man so this afforded opportunities for personal growth through travel. “I was exposed to the world at a very young age,” she says. “My mind was on I’ve got to find a way to connect my little town to the world because there’s so much more out there. My work is trying to create a place where people know they can do more and be more.”
Frasier excelled at school before going onto receive a bachelor’s degree in political science at Tuskegee. During her sophomore year, she did a summer internship at the White House that was, “probably the most pivotal job I didn’t get paid to do,” she says. Working within the corridors of power in Washington, she learned about the relationship between policy, money, and community change.
“That’s where I understood how organizations in the community have to make their voice heard on a legislative level. It’s really about how do you connect with your lawmakers so they commit the dollars to support our programs and projects.”
After graduating in 1998, Frasier worked her way up in various positions in funding, strategy, and social impact in and around Alabama and South Carolina. Nonetheless, making the decision to pursue an MBA at Webster University in 2004 has been pivotal to her success, she says.
“When you start a company, for-profit or non-profit, you’re trying to build the first block. Having an MBA taught me how to look at the entire system, all the blocks. And create the infrastructure to run a sustainable business.”
“Something as simple as how to read financial statements means that when I talk to an organization that’s trying to raise capital they don’t understand their numbers, they don’t understand their financials, or the need to have those reports, I am able to bring expertise and value to them in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t have an MBA.”
I would never have had the courage to step out and be a full-time business owner had I not moved to a place where I saw so many African-Americans demonstrating business ownership.”
Frasier, known for her charismatic personality, attributes at least some of her accomplishments to residing in Atlanta. “I would never have had the courage to step out and be a full-time business owner had I not moved to a place where I saw so many African-Americans demonstrating business ownership.”
She founded her first advisory firm, FirstBorn Group, in 2004 to consult with non-governmental organizations and then relocated to Atlanta to work on her startup full time. In 2013 she co-founded Social Mission Architect, which advised organizations like GA Appleseed and Georgia Tech Scheller Business School about creating and sustaining earned income.
Prior to joining MyPledger, Que was traveling back and forth to Charleston. She co-founded and managed the African American Leadership Council, a dynamic group of 75 minority philanthropists in Charleston, SC- who pledged to raise $2 million to support education.
“The way that our community becomes stronger and gets better comes from within. That means that we have to all put our gifts, talents, intellect and sometimes just our straight up elbow grease into our community to raise money from ourselves to support the kids and the institutions within our community.”
Frasier combines rare qualities of compassion and ambition. She is a visionary who embodies all the traits of a dynamic entrepreneur. Expect to hear more from this powerhouse over the coming months.
Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter@Kunbiti