Why Ren and Stellar are combining!

If you’re here reading this blog post, you likely saw the press release announcing that Ren is joining forces with Stellar and are looking for more insights into why our two organizations decided to team up.

Why is this move is in the best interest of our clients, donors, employees, shareholders, and the broader philanthropic industry? Read on for my perspective on some of the most significant benefits as we see them.

Accelerate Investment in Technology

It’s no secret that there is a need to continue to invest heavily in technology across the donor-advised fund (DAF) landscape. For the most part, philanthropic technology has been underinvested in as an industry, certainly when compared to other FinTech categories. Bringing Stellar and Ren together provides our combined organization with more scale and additional resources to accelerate our combined investment in technology.

Ren has a proven track record of acquiring and integrating technology (Pinkaloo Technologies in 2021, Crown Philanthropic Solutions in 2016) to deliver value to institutional customers, advisors, donors, and charities alike. Ren’s team will leverage those experiences and increased combined resources to support Stellar’s ongoing upgrades and cloud-enabled solutions, ultimately delivering both of our customer bases the platform improvements and APIs they’re asking for and, frankly, are long overdue.

If you’re a current client, expect to hear more about our plans directly. If you’re looking to upgrade your DAF technology or launch a new program, reach out to learn more.

Expertise & People

While the DAF space has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade, it’s still quite niche and nascent. There are only so many people that deeply understand the industry, the challenges that its stakeholders face, and how to solve those problems.

Like all industries, we’ve faced challenges recruiting and retaining great talent over the last few years. In addition to the recruiting headwinds, many new hires need extra time and training to become familiar with DAFs, requiring more prolonged and intensive onboarding than other industries.

Combining Stellar and Ren creates the deepest bench of DAF experts and talent. Teams can come together with fresh perspectives and, in turn, ideas for how to address challenges & opportunities.

We firmly believe that a company’s people are their greatest resource. The chance to combine our respective knowledge is a win for all of our stakeholders.

Full Suite of Philanthropic Capabilities

While we know that we will never be everything to every customer, we strive to offer a complete menu of philanthropic solutions that allow our customers to choose the products and solutions that meet their needs, as well as the needs of their clients, donors, and communities.

Stellar offers some key capabilities that Ren has traditionally lacked, and similarly, Ren offers some essential solutions that Stellar hasn’t. Together, we certainly have the most robust set of philanthropic solutions in the market, including:

  • Technology to power DAF administration, including the addition of iPhi’s general ledger capabilities
  • Full support for trust administration, along with pooled income funds (PIFs) & Special Needs Trust (SNTs)
  • Subaccounting (often referred to as participant accounting) to support the administration of sub-funds with an investment pool
  • Complete set of business process outsourcing (BPO) and administrative managed services
  • Grant vetting, due diligence, and payment capabilities
  • Technology to power democratized giving via Ren’s acquisition of Pinkaloo

Integrating these solutions into a single experience will take some time, but that is the important work ahead. In the meantime, we have a best-in-class solution to power each use case, meeting institutional clients with whatever solutions they need to propel their business forward.

Better Solutions for Charities

This topic warrants a separate blog post, but one of my observations of the DAF space in founding Pinkaloo was how disconnected the DAF is from the charities they support and fund. Around the time of our acquisition, we had started building a charity portal to address this gap. That product is now Ren for Charities, a single portal for charities to securely access grant and donor data for all participating DAF programs and enroll in ACH grant payments, with many other features available and coming soon.

Ren for Charities becomes much more valuable to charitable organizations as more grants are processed through it. Direct integration with Stellar’s iPhi platform will make it seamless for DAF programs to opt-in to send ACH grants and for far more grant volume to be available to charities. Charities can more efficiently access and process their grants, allowing them to receive their funds more quickly and to focus on the important work they do in their communities. It’s a win for donors, DAFs, and charities, and will be available to all Ren and Stellar DAF programs in time for Giving Season 2023!

If you’re a charity, enroll Ren for Charities today!

If you’re still reading, I hope you found the benefits of this combination as exciting for the philanthropic sector as I do. If you’d like to learn more, contact us, and inquiries will be directed straight to me.

Note: This post is the first of a new, monthly series by Gideon Taub, Ren’s Chief Strategy Officer providing his perspectives on the DAF ecosystem, the latest trends, and insight into Ren’s vision. In addition to his role at Ren, Gideon leads the content and programming for the DAF Giving Summit. To ensure that you don’t miss any future posts, subscribe to Ren’s email list here, follow Gideon on LinkedIn, and join the DAF Giving Summit email list they announce their 2023 dates, location, and agenda. Gideon founded Pinkaloo Technologies, which Ren acquired in 2021.

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