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      #WEF2018 “Creating Visions for a Shared Future”

      Four days, six feet of snow, 24 miles walked, 54,970 steps taken, 79 floors climbed, 60+ business cards exchanged, six panels, five interviews, three roundtables, and countless passionate, dedicated individuals “committed to improving the state of the world”.  While this summarizes my first World Economic Forum (WEF), it does not nearly begin to demonstrate the depth of learning, connections, and inspiration that made up my week in Davos, Switzerland last week.   

      Every year, the World Economic Forum brings together global leaders across the public, private and social sectors. It’s an awe-inspiring group, but what is more inspirational is the purpose: WEF was created as an opportunity to find creative solutions and drive progress on some of the world’s most challenging problems. At Blackbaud, we’re honored to be a part of the conversation and grateful for the opportunity to represent the voices of the approximately 35,000 customers we serve in this community. It was a privilege – and responsibility I don’t take lightly –  to be able to voice some of the concerns and priorities our customers have shared with me while at Davos, and an honor to be seated alongside some of them present in person. 

      The theme of WEF2018 centered on building a shared future in a fractured world. In a world experiencing significant global challenges and uncertainty, forces that unify and create space for conversation, collaboration and dialogue are vital.  And, that’s what WEF offered up this week.  A place where people listened more than they talked, where dialogue and discourse was had with a mind towards solution, not towards the problem, and where the Social Development Goals (SDGs) continue to be a north star in our efforts to do good. 

      As the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good, we at Blackbaud believe that achieving the SDGs will take not just tremendous commitment, good will and innovation, but also something we, as a community, don’t talk about as much: a strong social economy, the space where social good is produced regardless of which sector it originates from. We are focused on three critical pillars to help strengthen the social economy so it can drive social impact at the levels of efficiency and effectiveness necessary to accomplish the SDGs: unleashing the power of data, pursuing radical collaboration, and catalyzing individual impact. 

      These themes were central to nearly every conversation I participated in over the week.  

      Our ability to harness and leverage data was a hot topic.  In many of the discussions, it was highlighted as the main component missing from the work being done to date. With so much good work being done by organizations, institutions and individuals around the world every day, we urgently need ways to measure impact of these efforts on the SDGs  This is exactly why Blackbaud has integrated the Global Goals taxonomy into our products, so that so that organizations and corporations pursuing social good can actually map outcomes against this shared roadmap, and we can gain deeper insight into the many different ways that these ambitious goals for good are being tackled. 

      Second, the necessity of being radically collaborative was brought to stark light for me. When we come together, we can find real, meaningful opportunities for progress.  It’s still apparent that across much of the social good community, we’re still working in silo’s versus in a holistic connected way.  Duplication plus fragmentation plus an overlap of agendas is making achieving truly meaningful progress difficult. The SDGs are not a menu, they are roadmap.  That’s why I believe and have spoken passionately about the fact that the path to achievement of the SDGs hinges on radical collaboration.  There is a powerful and revolutionary role for collaboration to drive our growth, and in fact, the SDGs were designed to “encourage cross-sectoral, holistic approaches”.  By coming together as a social good community and working across SDGs, we are more likely to make a deep impact in achieving these ambition goals by 2030. 

      There was also a lot of discussion around how we as a social good community can effectively engage communities (local, regional, or even national) and catalyze their impact. Today’s individual change-makers are passionate about doing good and come to the table with their own ideas.  They are not looking for organizations and corporations to define their priorities, and institutions and corporations are working to find better, more scalable ways to listen and engage. The most powerful, motivating, action driving conversations were those that brought the discussion down from 35,000 feet to what is actually needed at “ground zero.”  I was particularly reminded of this when I participated in The Day in the Life of a Refugee, a simulation experience hosted by the Crossroads Foundation.  I spent 45 minutes experiencing a minuscule of the stress, fear, anger, and anxiety that the over 65 million refugees worldwide experience over the (average of) 25 years they are displaced.  At the end, they asked each participate to write down specific actions we each could take to make a difference.  As a Board Member of the Women’s Refugee Commission, I found this experience to be an extraordinary way to bring the cause to light.  

      This is just one example of the many “ground zero” experiences and conversations that Davos delivered.  Davos brings together people and organizations from every structure type, nation, passion – and when we come together, we can find real, meaningful opportunities for progress.  But of course, this is always true, whether at Davos or not.  And, while inspiring, the energy and insight of the past week represent just a tiny fraction of energy and insight spanning the global social good community.  So, I’m returning more energized than ever to listen, engage and collaborate with the incredible community of change agents for social good we have the honor of working with.   

      NEW! CFO Playbook: Three Roles of the Mission-Infused Nonprofit CFO

      As the leader of an organization’s finance function, the nonprofit CFO makes a critical contribution to overall mission success. While this has always been an understated reality, it is especially important in today’s climate as organizations work to meet short- and long-term challenges in an extremely competitive and constantly evolving world. In 2018, nonprofit CFOs will face many short-term and long-term challenges: new regulations, smaller budgets, and the perpetual challenge to do more with less.

      Blackbaud’s new CFO playbook “Three Roles of the Mission-Infused Nonprofit CFO” begins to identify best practices and guiding questions that drive finance and mission success through defining the three major roles of the mission-infused nonprofit CFO:

      ●   The Builder — The builder is driven to construct a sustainable financial structure and business model that meets mission needs, goals, and aspirations over time. Such mission success represents the lasting legacy of the nonprofit CFO.

      ●   The Strategist — To ensure that the fiscal year financial and mission stories go as planned (or better than planned), the CFO cannot be a passive bystander; they must be an active participant. The role requires a proactive, strategic decision-maker who moves the organization along the path to mission and financial success.

      ●   The Cultural Trendsetter — Some say the nonprofit CFO is the loneliest job in the organization. The expectation is that the role exists to cut operations down to size and achieve bottom-line goals regardless of all the good work the organization does. However, this perception doesn’t have to be the reality; it doesn’t even have to be the perception.

      This guidebook is written with the hope that its reader will consider what the connection between mission and finance means, as well as define and implement the strategies that result in better organizational outcomes. If the ultimate goal of the nonprofit sector is to positively impact society—whether through advocacy, arts, direct service, education, healthcare, public policy, research, and social services—the nonprofit CFO must have a seat at the mission table.

      Download the CFO playbook at to discover all the tools you need to become the latest edition of the nonprofit CFO.



      Blackbaud Named to Forbes Best Employers for Diversity 2018

      Blackbaud has been named as a leading employer for diversity by Forbes – America’s Best Employers for Diversity 2018.  Blackbaud was ranked in the IT, Internet, Software & Services category alongside 15 other comparable tech companies such as Intuit, Google, Salesforce, Amazon, Microsoft, and PayPal.  The list is a ranking of 250 employers across all industries in the United States, based on surveying thousands of employees and examining employer diversity policies, as well as diversity in executive suites and on boards. View the full listing at and additional background information regarding the survey can be found here: Statista: The Best Employers for Diversity 2018.

      Blackbaud’s diversity program has been a focused and growing effort over the last two years. Our initiatives span education, awareness, recruitment, empowerment, community involvement and financial support. Some recent examples include: The recent launch of affinity groups; unconscious bias training; diversity audits and benchmarking; partnering with United Negro College Fund (UNCF) for the STEM Innovation Summit; Blackbaud Executive Women’s Summit and Blackbaud Women in Tech events; third party partnerships (ex. Fortune mentoring programs); participation as an executive board member for the SC Lowcountry Business Leadership Network focused on hiring and retaining disabled employees.



      Business and Social Good

      By Rachel Hutchisson, Blackbaud’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy 

      My social media news feeds were atwitter last week on one key topic – the important role business must play in doing good, not just generating returns.

      As a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professional who has committed herself to building a thriving portfolio of give back programs at Blackbaud – a once-small-now-mid-sized company – over the past 26 years, this in itself isn’t unusual.  What made it different is that the news wasn’t limited to those already in the know, those like me who live and breathe this stuff every day.

      Instead, it was in the mainstream press.  It was a conversation for the world of business overall.  And that made me very happy.

      If you know me, you know that I’m passionate about the role business can, should and does play in driving cause action.  You also know that I believe there is a ridiculous amount of untapped potential for business to be an increased force for good.

      I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in my career thinking, talking and writing about the power of what I call “Business Doing Good.”  Some businesses, like Blackbaud, are born with a desire to make the world better at the core of their strategies, their brands.  They exist to take on a cause-related problems that will leave the world in a better state for our children.  These shared value companies understand that driving positive change matters just as much as delivering consistent financial returns.  And when you add the employee engagement imperative to the mix – the commitment to live up to the societal expectations of those who choose to work for our companies – you end up with something powerful.

      But guess what?  Embracing good as a strategy isn’t just for those who adopted the vision at the very beginning.  Organizations of all sizes can adapt, can change, can evolve over time.  In fact, they must.  As I said in my TEDx talk last year, “Good is for Everyone.”  The more organizations we have with an engaged seat at the give-back table, the more good we can accomplish in a world that certainly needs the help.

      So what advice would I give to those seeking to seize the opportunity to become a force for good?  I’d begin with this… Building a focus on cause into a business begins with understanding what makes sense for your culture and your brand. 

      It begins with an audit of what you already do, who you support, why you engage.  Simply reviewing past actions and intentions will reveal pieces of the puzzle you’re trying to build.

      It grows into something larger, something much better, when you invest the time in hearing what your employees – at all levels – care about.  Although you may think the existing programs you support in the community and ways you give back will give you the same answer, you need to make sure you’re not off base.  If you have been top-down in your decision making, following the wishes of a dominant leader or assuming everyone agrees with your past choices for engagement, you may just find that what your people truly value is something altogether different.  It’s worth the time to check and, in the process, empower your people to help lead you in what’s next.

      It’s also well worth your while to ensure you understand the values, wants and needs of the communities around you – the neighborhood you work in, those you serve as customers, those you might affect through how your organization operates.  Are there cause issues sitting on your door step that make sense for you to tackle?  Do they intersect with what your own people – who live, work and interact with these communities – are telling you?

      Although the work that needs to be done to decide upon, develop and launch programs takes time and effort, it’s not actually that complicated.  It’s a process of truly taking in what you have learned, understanding what you know doesn’t fit with your brand, as much as what does.  It’s about taking steps forward and not being paralyzed by a fear that you might not know how to measure success.  It’s about progress…and, most of all, passion.




      IDC Vendor Profile “Blackbaud SKY: A Cloud Platform for the Greater Good”

      IDC recently published a vendor profile, “Blackbaud SKY: A Cloud Platform for the Greater Good,” analyzing Blackbaud as categorized in the marketing cloud platform segment of the marketing technology market. This Vendor Profile reviews key success factors for Blackbaud’s cloud offering, including company strategy and products/solutions, and provides essential guidance for technology adopters.

      Additional topics covered include: analytic applications; big data analytics and discovery; cloud collaboration suites; customer relationship management applications; enterprise social software; financial resource management; marketing operations; social networking; and value added content.

      IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC’s analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world’s leading media, data and marketing services company that activates and engages the most influential technology buyers.

      Download the September 2017 IDC Vendor Profile: Blackbaud SKY: A Cloud Platform for the Greater Good.

      Why a Microsoft Engineer Decided to Join Blackbaud (Part 1)

      My name is Chris Mitchell and I’m a proud to be a Blackbaud Engineer. I’d like to tell you a little bit about my path to joining Blackbaud. It was the end of 2015 and I was eager to work at a company whose sole focus is to help social good organizations make the world a better place.

      I spent the majority of my career at Microsoft (20 years) working on some very well-known products and services including Windows and MSN.  I dealt with all sorts of complexities on a daily basis, while also satisfying the most difficult and challenging technical leaders (I even argued with Bill Gates and won – my little claim to fame!).  It was all these experiences that helped me finally get a job I had wanted for years, a job that would allow me to positively impact the world.

      At Microsoft, I was leading the Windows Insider Flighting and Feedback team using customer feedback and real usage data to manage the release of Windows 10.  I loved my work; in fact, I was in the midst of transforming how Windows was built. This aside, the idea of being able to work directly with organizations who are striving for social good and solving society’s biggest issues and where my work would go beyond effecting the bottom line was even more exciting. Before joining Blackbaud I visited the company’s headquarters in Charleston, SC and met with Chief Technology Officer Mary Beth Westmoreland, distinguished engineer Paul Gibson, and VP of Engineering Andy Snyder, to explore how I might be able to contribute.  Originally, I had been enticed by the mission of its customers and the belief that I could help them and have some small part in changing the world, to my surprise, I found so much more.

      During the time of my visit, Blackbaud was in the middle of a big vision shift from what I call “traditional” software products to the “cloud.”  There were so many opportunities for me to help and lead through the change. For example, we discussed standard tools for deploying cloud service, how customers discovered, purchased and learned about their products, and how to transform products over time.  I left feeling inspired and excited, with ideas running through my head about the challenges, opportunities and potential Blackbaud could offer.

      For Blackbaud to be successful in its transformation, it would need to align product strategies, and build common development, operational and business tools.  Processes would need to change and a great deal of strategic technical decisions would need to be made.  I knew that I could help and I was dying to get started. After just a few months on the job, I was promoted to Director of Engineering, leading a new team focused on the core services that we would need to make our products and solutions easier to discover, buy, extend and use.  While the vision around core services was well understood, the strategy and tactics were still being developed.  Stepping into this role required more than just drawing on my previous experiences where mandates were often used.  Our team had to bring people and groups together from various product backgrounds, locations and technology stacks to solve common problems like identity, access, provisioning, billing and the developer tools.  We had to bring people together and achieve better results together.  Two years have now passed since my first day, and the opportunity to solve big, critically important challenges for Blackbaud, our customers and their missions continue to present themselves.  I’m proud to be a part it.

      As engineers at Blackbaud, we get to engineer scalable architectures, build world-class engineering systems and push the boundaries of the cloud. Our reward for this work is the opportunity (in our small way) to help organizations that provide clean water, find a cure to cancer or heart disease, or provide better education to kids around the world. In fact, this is Blackbaud’s higher purpose.  It’s that purpose and the way “We Work As One” that has made it possible to bring so many teams together and achieve what we have and continue to.  We continue to come together to solve problems on behalf of our customers. We are moving toward a common cloud provider, building a common “Paved Road” community-based engineering system, continuous integration and deployment pipeline, a developer platform for partners, common self-contained services that can be reused in multiple “products”.  We are building out expertise with data, analytics and machine learning via our Sky Intelligence platform.  We are working across teams, across regions and what used to be Product lines to put our customers and the cause before code.

      In my next post, I’ll talk more about how we are transforming our engineering process and tools to be more open, collaborative and extensible for all our engineers and our partners.  We believe this is fundamental to helping our customers achieve their missions and to be more than just their software solution provider, but to truly be their partner.  This is something that I couldn’t get working just anywhere; it’s unique and why I joined and why I stay at Blackbaud.

      Learn more about a career at Blackbaud at

      Associate-Centered CSR: Camp Blackbaud at Charleston HQ

      Our fall Camp Blackbaud took place this past week and for this camp, we hosted middle school students through our partnership with Charleston County School district and Charleston Promise Neighborhood for two exciting days focused on STEM robotics. Twenty 7th and 8th grade students from Simmons Pinckney and James Simons spent time with Blackbaud associates learning about the product development process, coding and robotics.

      “Our Camp Blackbaud program walks students through the product development process with group learning, small group activities and individual learning,” said Gabby Sanders, Blackbaud’s corporate citizenship coordinator. “This is a really awesome age group too because after kicking off middle school camp last fall, we discovered that this session has veteran campers from our 5th grade camp. It’s so special to see these kids come back two to three years later and learn even more from our incredible teams of volunteer counselors!”

      The students also got to learn and hear personal tech stories from Blackbaud’s CPO Kevin McDearis, CTO Mary Beth Westmoreland, and SVP of HR John Mistretta during an “Executive Talk” session. We have had a great turnout from Blackbaud leadership with both the students and Charleston Promise Neighborhood staff loving how the demo audience engaged with the students after their presentations to learn more about their projects.






      Thousands of Change Makers Gather at Blackbaud’s 17th Annual bbcon Event

      Blackbaud hosted bbcon 2017, its annual three-day technology conference for social good, in Baltimore, Maryland. Thousands of emerging and internationally recognized nonprofits, foundations, education and healthcare institutions, and corporate CSR teams joined the event to explore the intersection of technology, thought leadership and social good.

      Since Blackbaud launched its first annual conference in 2000, bbcon has grown to become the premier tech gathering for social good, convening fundraisers, marketers, administrators, executives and industry thought leaders from around the world. Blackbaud customers represent some of the most prestigious groups driving global good, including: 40 of the 50 most influential nonprofits, 93 percent of higher education institutions with billion dollar campaigns, 26 of the top 32 hospital systems in the U.S., a third of the Fortune 100 Companies.

      “We believe that to truly build a better world, organizations across all sectors will need to come together to discover how a focus on radical collaboration, catalyzing individuals and unleashing the power of data can strengthen the entire social economy,” said Mike Gianoni, president and CEO of Blackbaud.  “We’re honored to convene so many change makers at bbcon to do just that, while also exploring the critical role technology can play to bring about measurable change. Blackbaud has delivered significant innovation and thousands of enhancements over the past year, and customers can expect that momentum to continue.”

      Blackbaud and Microsoft Strengthen Strategic Partnership to Digitally Transform the Nonprofit Sector

      During the conference, Blackbaud and Microsoft announced their expanded partnership in support of their mutual goals to digitally transform the nonprofit sector. The two companies highlighted a three-point commitment to collaboration for the good of the global nonprofit community, which includes going deeper on integrations, joint innovation, and sector leadership to scale global good. Blackbaud also announced its intention to fully power its social good-optimized cloud, Blackbaud SKY™, with Microsoft Azure.

      Innovation Fuels Impact: Unprecedented Outcomes for World-Leading Organizations

      Blackbaud’s Chief Products Officer Kevin McDearis shared the company’s vision to transform the social good space in the fourth industrial revolution, while sharing a glimpse of what the company is working on with Internet of Things (IoT), AI and analytics, and more.

      “The incredible thing is that we’re actually entering a fourth industrial revolution right now—technology is getting smaller, smarter and more powerful, at exponentially faster rates—there’s a growing network effect as we bring together advances like the internet of things, cloud computing, 3d printing and artificial intelligence,” said McDearis.  “At Blackbaud, we believe that catalyzing the impact of the individual, unleashing the power of data and enabling radical collaboration creates a strong social economy with the conditions we all need to drive more good, more effectively. All this innovation is leading us to a tipping point, and, just as with previous industrial revolutions, the more people get connected to and benefit from these advances, the more the impact grows. With the impact of the 4th industrial revolution rapidly spreading, the stakes are higher than ever.”

      Blackbaud’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Head of the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact™ Catherine LaCour emphasized the company’s commitment to being the best long-term partner for the social good community. “Each day we are humbled and proud to see the kind of impact you are making possible,” LaCour told attendees as she highlighted customer outcomes powered by Blackbaud solutions. “We are doubling down on innovation to help you achieve your missions faster.” Customer success highlights from the main stage include:

      • University of Georgia just knocked out its fourth record-breaking year of fundraising in a row – with 94 percent growth in fundraising to fund more scholarships and progressing to its $1.2 billion campaign goal.
      • Special Olympics Missouri leveraged analytics insights to increase its individual fundraising by 179 percent as part of its capital campaign.
      • American Diabetes Association transformed a two-week review process to a half-hour using Blackbaud solutions, enabling the organization to spend more time on its mission to identify and prevent type 2 diabetes.
      • CSAA Insurance, a AAA insurance provider, just achieved a 98 percent employee engagement of its 3,800 employees who donate and volunteer with organizations like the American Heart Association and Habitat for Humanity.

      A Conversation with Award Winning Actress and Humanitarian, Robin Wright

      In a special main stage interview with LaCour, Emmy-award winning actress and humanitarian Robin Wright shared inspiring perspectives with attendees from the lens of her role a public advocate, head of a high-impact foundation, philanthropist and leader of a premier social enterprise brand.

      Check out the session on demand at or watch the post event Facebook Live interview here.

      Fortune Magazine, Mashable and Chronicle of Philanthropy Editors Share Emerging Trends for Global Good

      One of over 200 tech and expert leadership sessions included special guests Ellen McGirt Sr. editor at Fortune, Matt Petronzio Social Good Editor at Mashable, and Stacy Palmer Editor in Chief of Chronicle of Philanthropy, in a session about how to best position your story amidst the crowded, noisy news cycle moderated by Susan McPherson, founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies. Attendees heard unique perspective from this expert panel of journalists on what’s changed, what’s ahead, and how to really amplify their voice in today’s rapidly changing social and political climates, and news cycles.

      Attendees Select Blackbaud’s Next Off the Grid Innovation

      Attendees voted on their favorite Off the Grid (OTG) innovation which would be built into future product roadmaps. OTG is the company’s premier innovation-marathon in which Blackbaud employees step outside of their day-to-day roles for 24 hours to collaborate on creative projects that solve customer challenges. This year’s projects spanned topics such as onboarding, dynamic ticket pricing for events, donation giving tied back to UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Internet of Things. The top four innovations were revealed at bbcon and attendees voted for their favorite high-potential creation. The winning team, SDG6, developed a smart water monitoring solution to improve access and availability of safe water globally.

      Blackbaud Gives Back

      The newly formed Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact released its sixth research report bbcon: “Vital Signs: Monitoring Giving Patterns in the Donor Marketplace,” which provides research-backed insight on how the donor marketplace is changing, why a donor-centered approach to fundraising is essential, implications for practices, and opportunities for further research and development.

      As part of its annual “bbcon Gives Back” initiative, attendees created fleece tie blankets for Maryland-based, human services organizations The Family Tree, Helping Hands and Paul’s Place.

      On Demand Viewing and bbcon 2018

      Anyone who missed bbcon 2017 can catch the main stage sessions and a few select others at

      bbcon 2018 will be held October 9-11, 2018 in Orlando, Florida.  Learn more about Blackbaud at To learn more about the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact, and for additional resources and supporting materials, visit



      NEW! Blackbaud’s 2016 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study

      In this year’s 2016 Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study, we’ve collected and analyzed peer-to-peer fundraising stats from 171 different organizations, which collectively hold 16,855 events across the United States and Canada, with 10.9 million participants raising over $1.23 billion online.

      This year’s study shares insight and detailed performance data covering topics such as Fundraising Status and Performance by Individuals; Loyalty: The Importance of Retention; Participant Engagement; Gender and Peer-to-Peer Fundraising; Team Performance; DIY Fundraising and Non-Traditional Events; and A Closer Look at Canadian Trends.

      Key Findings and Trends:

      ● Participation rates in traditional peer-to-peer fundraising declined from 2015 to 2016; however, the fundraising value of those participants is growing across almost all event types.

      ● A small percent of “star” fundraisers accounts for the majority of event revenue. And 13% of walkers bring in 84% of event donation revenue. With participant numbers declining, it’s more essential than ever to retain star fundraisers…and to coach up new star fundraisers

      ● In Cycle events and 5Ks, teams raise 85% and 76% of donation revenue, respectively. In the Walk category, 91 cents of every dollar raised comes from teams.

      ● Women represent 72% of 5K and walk participants

      ● Participants with updated personal pages raise 7 to 18x more than those without

      ● Each DIY participant raises an average of $407

      ● Canadian P2P fundraisers raise 22% more gifts per person than U.S. fundraisers

      Download the report today for valuable data that will help you see where your peer-to-peer events stand. Our team of peer-to-peer fundraising experts can also work with you to create your own personalized benchmark review, email us at

      P.S.—Give your donors the freedom to fundraise with everydayhero® and Blackbaud TeamRaiser®. Learn more about our peer-to-peer fundraising solutions in an upcoming webinar.


      Blackbaud Europe Associates Give Back With Hands-On Volunteer Services and More!

      As a global company that believes in giving back, the good our associates do is spread far and wide. Through their volunteer activities, our colleagues from Blackbaud Europe are just one example.  Team members working out of Blackbaud’s United Kingdom (UK) offices spent a day volunteering in their local parks, with our London team volunteering at Southwark Park and our Glasgow team at Linn Park.  Having the opportunity to make an already fantastic community landscape even more beautiful is always a rewarding give back opportunity.

      Through Volunteering Matters, a nonprofit in the UK that engages volunteers with local organizations, 14 Blackbaud Glasgow associates spent the day planting seedlings throughout Simshill Meadow at Linn Park, creating a new nature landscape for the park.  Gary Linstead, Countryside Range at Linn Park, told the team, “It was a very productive and enjoyable day on a number of different levels.  Truly, your input to the Simshill Meadow at Linn Park LNR is very much appreciated.  Hopefully next season we’ll see a good increase in bees, butterflies and hoverflies, not to mention other wildlife and a wonderful meadow for park users to enjoy.  I would be delighted to assist again sometime!”

      In London, Casper Harratt, a Blackbaud marketing manager described the team’s rewarding volunteer day perfectly: “50 Blackbaudians descended on Southwark Park for a day last month to clear an educational area for the local school kiddies to learn about nature.  We cleared unwanted weeds and underbrush from the area with reckless abandon!  Someone should have warned the brambles and knotweed that we were on the way – they simply weren’t prepared for the onslaught.  We had a glorious time hacking, slashing and obliterating weeds and shrubs and left the area neat, tidy and ready for learning.”

      While our teams enjoy hands-on volunteer service, they also engage in skills-based service, where they use their professional or personal skills to positively impact an organization.  In 2017, three of our London colleagues began volunteering with The Sophie Hayes Foundation, which empowers survivors of human trafficking to build futures filled with hope and promise through programs that enable these individuals to create independent, purposeful lives.  The organization’s Day 46 Programme creates confidence-building and employability through sessions delivered in safe houses and communities across London and Birmingham.  Alice Weaver and Miriam Nackasha volunteered with a Day 46 program where they went into a safe house in London to meet with six women over nine weeks.  Each week, different topics were covered that build confidence and aid the women in creating brighter futures.  Alice and Miriam found this work to be eye-opening, challenging and amazing.  Tom Hedges, another London colleague, is lending his skills to developing an employability program for male survivors.

      Naomi Telfer, Charity Lead of The Sophie Hayes Foundation spoke to Blackbaud’s involvement with the organization saying, “Blackbaud’s support has been invaluable with enabling us to reach 30 more survivors of trafficking across London with our confidence and employability workshops, training and placements as well as helping us secure vital Big Lottery funding to expand our work across the UK.  Not only this, but the volunteering of Tom, Mema and Alice has brought fresh life, creativity, excellence and fun into our Sophie Hayes Team!  Thank you for partnering with and believing in us, and through that, helping us empower more survivors of trafficking to build hope filled futures.”

      Volunteer service is not only good for your community, it is also good for your soul.  Our colleagues in our London and Glasgow offices know this first-hand and will continue to put a face to our value of We Give Back in the months to come.


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