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      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 www.blackbaud.com/careers.

      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 https://bbconference.com/bbcon-2017-virtual-pass/ 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 https://bbconference.com/bbcon-2017-virtual-pass/.

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

       

       

      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 solutions@blackbaud.com.

      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.

       

      Associate-Centered CSR: Communities in Schools Charleston

      At Blackbaud, we believe in the power of individuals to be agents of social good. When people participate in their communities through volunteering, philanthropy, and civic engagement, good things happen. One of the most impactful ways of serving one’s community is through nonprofit board or committee work. Volunteering at this level provides an opportunity for individuals to lend their experience, expertise, and other personal or professional skills to an organization looking to make this world a better place. To help encourage this type of service volunteerism, we actively match colleagues’ skills, interests, and passions with organizations that could greatly benefit from their service.

      Amy Chase, one of Blackbaud’s VPs of professional services, recently joined the board of Communities in Schools Charleston (CIS) and is serving in the role of chair for its Development Committee. Amy’s work at Blackbaud taps into her various career experiences—working at nonprofit organizations, consulting, volunteering and project managing—as she manages multiple teams of business analysts, project managers, developers, architects and consultants who help create solutions that fuel nonprofit missions.

      Amy wanted to give back to an organization where she could fuse her professional experiences and skills together with her service to an organization assisting children and education. “Serving on the board of CIS has given me an opportunity to make an immediate impact by supporting its development efforts in private-, corporate-, foundation- and event-based giving while allowing me to also build relationships with other board members and staff that are equally committed and passionate about programs for improving school dropout rates in Charleston,” said Amy.

      “The hardest positions to fill on a nonprofit board are the development committee positions, says Jane Riley-Gambrell, former executive director, Communities in Schools Charleston. “Executive and development directors often have to get creative to attract talent to this portion of the team so  when someone like Amy comes along, it is a nonprofit’s dream. In her short time on our board, she has hit the ground running, accepting the development chair role, providing our development director with much needed support and knowledge as well as helped the board learn more about necessary steps for long-term success within the organizations development department. We are beyond thrilled to have her talent and skills on our team.”

      Established in 1989 to implement dropout prevention programs, the mission of Communities in Schools is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. Now celebrating its 28th year, Communities in Schools Charleston has grown to serve nearly 10,000 students in 19 Charleston and Berkeley County Schools, using an evidenced-based comprehensive approach to bring community services to students, their families, and schools.

       

      NEW! Blackbaud Institute Thought Leadership Asset: Analytics Toolkit

      We’re excited to announce that the Blackbaud Institute’s new Analytics Toolkit is now live!

      The Analytics Toolkit is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to maximizing data analytics for greater efficiency and effectiveness. From getting started to advanced donor program techniques to building an organizational culture around data, this Toolkit covers every step that nonprofits need to know to feel confident and organized in their analytics journey.

      Blackbaud has published lots of great resources on analytics over the years, and this Toolkit pulls them all into one comprehensive resource that nonprofit professionals can turn to. By guiding nonprofits on the journey from A-Z, we continue to position ourselves as industry leaders in nonprofit data analytics. (Check out our last toolkit on End-of-Year Fundraising here.)

      Download the new toolkit today! 

       

      NEW! Thought Leadership Asset: Share of the American Wallet

      We’re excited to announce the release of our newest thought leadership asset, Share of the American Wallet: How Discretionary Spending Identifies the Best Donor Prospects.

      This report dives deep into data from the Census Bureau’s 2014 Consumer Expenditure Survey to determine which discretionary spending habits and characteristics are signals of propensity to make charitable gifts. It explores the key indicators of age, education, household composition, income, and household spending to determine which characteristics correlate with giving habits.

      Fundraisers need to know which donors are most likely to make a charitable gift in order to be as efficient and effective as possible in their outreach and stewardship efforts. By exposing characteristics that correlate with propensity to donate, this report helps readers acquire and retain the donors who have capacity to give and keep giving, allowing them to focus their efforts on the most likely candidates to bring meaningful value to their organization.

      Download your copy of the report today!

      Associate-Centered CSR: Lowcountry Orphan Relief

      Last week, the Blackbaud Investor Relations Team—Mark Furlong, Steve Hufford, and Zach Hoogerland—spent the day volunteering at Lowcountry Orphan Relief (LOR), whose mission is to provide basic necessities for children in the Lowcountry who have been abandoned, abused, neglected, or are currently at-risk.

      The team helped LOR clean off the truck full of donations, sort children’s clothing, fill orders, and organize the distribution center. “In 2016, we filled over 2,600 orders for children with items such as clothing, school supplies, toiletries, books, socks, and shoes,” said Marissa Nash, director of development & community outreach at Lowcountry Orphan Relief. “With a small staff of only three full-time team members, we rely heavily on our volunteers. They are the lifeline to our success as an organization and help us provide comfort and support for more children than we ever could on our own.”

      Blackbaud’s fundamental belief that the world will be a better place when good takes over is integral to its corporate culture. Working at Blackbaud means working with people who share a passion for doing good. We encourage our employees to get to know our customers, whether that be through hands-on or skills-based volunteerism, to allow them to personally understand the unique challenges they face.

      To join Lowcountry Orphan Relief’s team of volunteers and experience the joy of making a difference in the life of a child who needs you, visit http://lowcountryorphanrelief.org/.

       

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