Who We Are

At BRD, we help you gain insight into your constituents and pride ourselves in delivering hard-to-find information for Advancement, Career Services and Institutional Research to Identify, Inspire and Engage.

Why BlueRidge Data?

As data experts, we capture information no one else does, distill it using proprietary technology and deliver it using API’s and push alerts.

Our Values

Integrity, Curiosity, Concern, Relationships and Results.

Our Story

BlueRidge Data founder Stephen Hafner, grandson of hardy Italian and German immigrant entrepreneurs, began his professional journey in the mid-’90s selling alumni directories for his father’s company, Higher Education Publications (a boutique publishing firm that continues to flourish). Steve quickly learned that the key to fundraising success is the quality of an institution’s data.

In 1997 Steve founded HEPdata, the first and most successful company to digitize matching gift data to enable fundraisers to tap an often underutilized revenue stream. Additionally, the company pioneered the innovative use of push technology to deliver real-time liquidity events to prospect researchers and development officers. Established as the leading company for Advancement data technologies and with tens of thousands of users worldwide, Steve sold the firm to SSB in August 2019. Steve served on the board of SSB for two years and provided critical insight during the post-acquisition of HEPdata and the subsequent acquisitions of Affiniquest and Aluminat

Steve is a natural motivator whose passion is infectious and can be seen in his decades long relationships with customers and employees, many of whom have become lifelong friends. He also has a knack for identifying talent that is often overlooked. For example, his former web developer worked at a blockbuster video store shortly after his arrival in the U.S. He went on to become one of HEPdata’s longest tenured employees.

After a brief and restless retirement and with the help of his brother, Ted, and colleague, Bob Sands, Steve founded BlueRidge Data in July of 2020 to help Career Services Professionals engage alumni with better professional data and to enable prospect researchers to bridge the gap between annual giving and major donors through the company’s RisingStars solution. As the BlueRidge Data story begins, its top-tier customer roster is rapidly growing including, UNC, Purdue, U. Texas, Texas A&M, University of Georgia, Colorado College and many others.

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Who we are and why it matters

We’re a boutique data technology firm that prides itself in delivering hard-to-find information to help Higher Education Advancement, Career Services and Institutional Research to identify and engage constituents. It matters because relationships matter. BRD renewal rates are at 100% in 2021, far exceeding the industry average. We have the honor of serving clients such as Yale, Texas A&M, University of Texas, UNC among others. Clients renew when their partners deliver results…

Our platform, BRDpro, and technology provide access to developed predictive algorithms and machine learning/AI techniques to create a comprehensive “data superset” of 210 million U.S. consumer profiles and 80 Million professional profiles. We unify consumer and professional profiles and offer a 360º view; rich in behavioral analytics, dynamic insights, real-time wealth events, predictive purchase intent and deeply nuanced relationship mapping. This provides an added dimension to traditional data providers.

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Why BlueRidge Data

Our firm does things differently. We know that one of the greatest challenges facing Higher Ed is the quality of data. We aren’t a data commodity broker like many of the data providers in the space. Distilled data, at its essence, is an approach that takes the most crucial elements of any data set and provides what is needed to make decisions. Too much data encumbers the decision making process, while data distilled by BRD empowers users to do what they do best.

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Our Values

We believe in doing business the right way with Integrity, bringing constant Curiosity to the discussion, with Concern about our Client’s mission and goals, building long-term Relationships and ultimately delivering Results.

BlueRidge Data was founded by Stephen Hafner, the former CEO and Founder of HEPdata (now a SSB/Affinaquest company), who pioneered Employer Matching Gift technologies – along with a talented cadre of industry veterans – with combined experience of over 75 years in EdTech.

Team meeting

What clients are saying about us.

John Yetman, Co-Founder
The Association for Enterprise Growth (AEG)

“Rising Stars is a game changer for us. Using the platform, we quickly uncover wealth opportunities and the relationship mapping shows us our path of least resistance. Well done BRD!”

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