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      The Road To Post-Merger Success Is Paved With Good Integration (CMO.com)

      By Lisa Lacy, contributing writer, CMO.com

      Deals such as Disney’s 2006 acquisition of Pixar, Microsoft’s 2011 purchase of Skype, and Facebook’s 2012 Instagram buy have gone down in history as arguably some of the biggest–and most successful–sales of all time. Others, unfortunately, don’t go as smoothly–even long before they close.

      With 2017 expected to be a big year for marketing and media M&A activity, it’s a prime time to ask what separates good deals from bad.

      “It’s all about making sure you understand how each company works and making sure the change is gradual,” said Adam Brown, senior SEO consultant at content marketing agency Zazzle Media. “It’s a must to make sure both companies are working toward the same goals, as collaboration can be difficult if goals are not the same.”

      Beyond recognizing that gradual changes take time, how can senior marketing executives ensure the successful integration of teams when combining companies? Insiders shared 11 best practices with CMO.com for doing so.

      1. Create An Integration Team
      A crucial early step is appointing an integration team lead by members of the legacy organization and assigning responsibility for discrete functions. In terms of marketing, specifically, that includes functions like marketing automation, product marketing, competitive intelligence, and campaign strategy, said Armen Najarian, CMO of security technology company ThreatMetrix.

      “Allow these integration owners to map out the current situation and identify what the desired integration scenario should look like,” he said. “It’s important to develop realistic timelines and assume that some flexibility will be needed.”

      Suzanne Lentz, vice president of marketing and a partner at customer engagement company LiquidHub, agreed a multidisciplinary integration team can help a company deal with the disruption that comes naturally with M&A.

      “Most customers and employees on both sides of a deal fear that this disruption will negatively impact them, with changing locations, new businesses, and leadership models all potentially affecting brand and market perception,” she said. “One of the best ways for CMOs to ensure success is to embrace this disruption. … [An] integration team … [should ensure] that every action is considered in light of internal and external messaging and perception.”

      An integration team must also outline what success means early on, said Kevin Knight, CMO of Experticity, which operates a community that connects brands and influencers.

      “I believe a successful acquisition is one where the incoming team is able to catch the vision of the company they’re joining–and instill in the employees an enthusiasm for what they were working on before,” he added. “Ultimately, I think the success of an acquisition can be measured in the ability of the combining teams to cross-pollinate ideas, curiosity, and passion in a way that leaves the combined company with a new DNA.”

      2. Demonstrate Sensitivity And Composure
      An important factor that’s often overlooked in M&As is people and culture, said Anne Bologna, chief strategy officer at digital marketing agency iCrossing.

      “Merger and acquisition activity is often conceived and executed for rational business reasons–but reality hits the road when real people and teams have to start working together to generate the growth and profit promise that instigated the marriage in the first place,” she said. “Smart CMOs are the ones that overindex on the soft factors–people, culture, fit–in activating what is generally an arranged marriage.”

      That said, Najarian recommended the acquired company relax a bit, too.

      “Know that [they] acquired your organization because it’s likely addressing a need that [they] have,” he said. “Your team may be the final piece of the puzzle for their plans, so view this as an opportunity to partner with your new CMO to make this a joint success.”

      3. Thoughtfully Blend Cultures
      In addition, never assume the company being acquired will automatically inherit the parent company’s culture and values, said Catherine LaCour, senior vice president of corporate marketing at nonprofit software and services company Blackbaud.

      “Mismatched cultures is one of the leading reasons why acquisitions fail. Spend time learning about each other’s culture and values,” she said. “Work to discover the aspects of their culture you can absorb into your culture. This is a crucial step to successfully integrate and bring their employees into your fold. Then, integrate those pieces into your stated corporate values. Once your values are restated, spend adequate time training employees on these values.”

      Indeed, according to Agathe Blanchon-Ehrsam, CMO of growth strategy firm Vivaldi, a company should create a shared mindset, language, and way of working by translating a brand’s strategy and values into practical knowledge, tools, and skills and defining processes that can be incorporated into day-to-day work.


      4. Allow Time To Settle In
      Further, acknowledging the human element and allowing the necessary time and space for people to settle in is important, yet easy to overlook, said Melinda McLaughlin, CMO of Extreme Reach, an enterprise technology company.

      “Most people don’t like change,” McLaughlin said. “Clear assignments and collaborative projects that rely on contributions from members of the formerly separate teams can speed the process of bringing them together. … If infighting arises, do your best to nip it in the bud and seek guidance from a seasoned HR colleague. Success depends on a unified team.”

      5. Conduct A Skills Gap Analysis
      Also, consider not only the role each person most recently played, but how he can best fit into the needs of the newly combined group, McLaughlin added.

      “You may be able to tap into strong skills that haven’t been fully utilized,” she said. “Considering people first and team second ensures that everyone starts off on equal footing.”

      This calls for a skills gap analysis to identify what the combined organization needs and how each employee can fill those needs, according to Bruce Milne, CMO of hyperconverged infrastructure company Pivot3.

      “You’ve got a new team, so take advantage of the opportunity to tap into new skills, energy, and perspectives,” McLaughlin said. “Not every team member will be motivated by the same things, so tune in to that and trust your intuition to guide you. Setting clear expectations and defining success from the outset are critical, as are open and authentic dialogue and knowledge sharing.”

      But it also means looking at the management team of the acquired company to see who will fit best with existing management, Milne added. And, ThreatMetrix’s Najarian said, if the CMO’s goal is to preserve talent from the acquired organization, she should promote one or more from the acquired team into visible roles and allow these people to shine.

      6. Do What Is Necessary–Even The Hard Stuff
      When it comes to overlap, iCrossing’s Bologna said to make the hard decisions on leadership, team, and talent and to be sure to drive out conflicting agendas early.

      McLaughlin agreed. “Set everyone up to succeed in every way you can, but commit to making changes quickly if necessary should your gut tell you that a person is not likely to be a true team player in the new reality,” she said. “In the end, you’re still with the same company, but you actually have a new role, and that’s the best way to approach it. Clean the slate and look at this team anew.”

      (Click chart to enlarge.)

      7. Lend An Ear
      From there, quarterly personal development discussions are vital as new team members settle in, Milne said.

      “I like to give them a platform to talk about their own personal growth goals and career goals and what they’d like to see different,” he said. “If you give them an ear, they feel like they’re participating in the planning of the business. Oftentimes when they are acquired, they feel like an add-on and don’t get direct visibility to the planning cycle.”

      Further, Blackbaud’s LaCour said to continue to build relationships between both companies as time goes on.

      “For example, leaders from different parts of the organization should speak with other departments to help educate them on the process, the value their organization brings, and how employees will be impacted,” she added.

      On the flip side of listening, and just as important: A good leader will also overcommunicate.

      “My own experience has shown me that taking the time to connect individually with each member of the newly acquired team to understand his or her marketing experience, skill set, and career aspirations is time well-spent,” Extreme Reach’s McLaughlin said. “Even brief meetings can reveal a lot about how each person is approaching the new structure.”

      Within the marketing department specifically, Milne said communication helps everyone understand philosophy and priorities. That, in turn, helps those people coming in to the organization “get with the program and start helping,” he added. “So communicate a lot, set super clear goals, and then evaluate progress and measure those goals as you go.”

      8. Ease Into Operational Changes
      The acquiring company should be sensitive to the fact that specific tools, systems, and processes were established by the acquired entity, and the team members who are joining the organization are familiar and possibly happy with them, ThreatMetrix’s Najarian said.

      “For example, a wholesale rip [and] replace of the acquired company’s marketing automation platform could be both highly disruptive and demoralizing,” he said. “If what they’re using isn’t beneficial, create a reasonable timeframe for grandfathering it out of use.”

      On the flip side, Pivot3’s Milne said companies that are acquired shouldn’t assume their new parent wants to steamroll everything they accomplished and to, instead, be open-minded and see how they can contribute to the overall good.

      “Don’t think of yourself as an island, and don’t be resistant to change,” he said. “Work with the new marketing team and figure out how to bring the teams together. Nobody likes change, and being mature about change is tough, but it’s always the best policy.”

      Ramon Chen, CMO of data-driven application company Reltio, agreed M&As can quickly escalate into what he called highly politically charged situations in which teams are defensive and want to protect their own territory.

      “It is often natural to take things personally and feel that hard work is being minimized and dismissed,” he said. “The most important thing to instill in all teams is that the focus should always be on the customer.”

      Indeed, Experticity’s Knight said the key word of any acquisition is humility.

      “The most important thing the CMO being acquired can do is remain a leader,” he added. “A good leader will shepherd her or his team through without letting themselves get caught up in the drama.”

      9. Use Data
      For his part, Chen recommended a data-driven approach so CMOs better understand the performance, efficiencies, and goals of their combined teams and determine the best path forward.

      “CMOs should not fly blind without the appropriate data to inform decisions that need to be made on people, processes, and technology,” he said. “It should not be assumed that the acquiring company’s team and assets should just fit into the framework that exists. Every acquisition is an opportunity to look at revisiting existing processes, [learning] about new ideas and methods, and [bringing] in fresh talent that can help take the company to the next level.”

      LiquidHub’s Lentz agreed that CMOs should tap into both qualitative and quantitative data that support long- and short-term goals.

      “Using data to quantify a change of this magnitude will help ease the transition period since it will show employees that the combined company is more qualified and uniquely positioned to better serve clients’ needs,” she said.

      10. Align Strategies
      iCrossing’s Bologna recommended taking the time to get senior leaders to align on mission, vision, goals, KPIs, and team, as well as to pause to understand what made the acquired company successful.

      “Protect and preserve that like it is gold, but also learn from it and apply what’s relevant to the rest of the organization,” she said.

      And, of course, teams must understand how new products and services fit into their pre-existing portfolios.

      “New products and services will affect how you position the company, the markets you serve, and the language you use,” Blackbaud’s LaCour said. “Make sure you train all employees to fully understand the changes and what they mean to your customers.”

      It also includes aligning social and digital go-to-market strategies and considering how the deal will impact pricing, promotion, products, and placement, she added.

      11. Analyze The Competition
      Also worth noting: An acquisition means a company also acquires new competitors, costs, and risks.

      “Consider a SWOT analysis to better understand the competitive landscape and how it will [impact] your messaging and positioning for the fully integrated company,” LaCour said.

      Zack Long, CMO of sports travel and event management company PrimeSport, agreed.

      “The merging teams must find shared strengths and weaknesses and utilize the expanded organization to fill those gaps and develop best practices,” he said. “It sounds very academic, but the tried-and-true SWOT analysis works well here. You need to approach this process with honesty and make sure the real story is revealed, but the result when successful will guide your action plan moving forward.”

      Charleston, Blackbaud Make An Easy Recruiting Story, Says CIO Lant

      The Charleston Digital Corridor’s Leadership Profile Series is focused on the individuals who are driving the Charleston tech scene forward.

      Todd Lant is chief information officer of Blackbaud. Headquartered on Daniel Island, Blackbaud provides software, services, expertise and data intelligence to nonprofits, foundations, corporations, education institutions and individual change agents. Blackbaud, founded in 1981, has about 3,000 employees.

      Where did you grow up?

      I moved around a good bit as a kid. So cities I would call home are Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, Atlanta, and Boston. All those have fond places in my heart.

      How did you come to be in Charleston?

      Blackbaud called me up. I had a great opportunity to be part of a company that does more than just deliver product. We do a lot for our customers, and that really excited me. So I hopped on the opportunity and found myself here.

      At the time, I was at a place called the Houston Independent School District. It was the first job I’d had where the outcomes of what we delivered were more than just corporate financials. Everything you did impacted students and their potential futures, so that really probably lit my passion for working someplace where there was more to it than just the corporate operations.

      In your own words, what does your company do?

      We lead uniquely at the intersection point of social good and technology. We provide software, services, data intelligence, and meaningful thought leadership for the social good space. That social good space is pretty comprehensive. It includes nonprofits, foundations, corporations, learning institutions, and now, it also includes the individual change leaders who support them in leading that change.

      What was your first job, or most memorable early job? What did you learn from it?

      I had a great opportunity right out of college. I joined a company called Lithonia Lighting. It’s a large manufacturing company in Atlanta and they were in the middle of a large IT transformation. There were four of us selected for a leadership training program for IT, and we were able to spend a short period of time in every area of the business learning about how their business worked and how technology enabled that. That was really a great start to a career that gave me a lot of diversity and married the technology side of things with business.

      How would you describe your organization’s culture?

      It starts with a passion for social good. We’re a purpose-driven company that is passionate about helping customers use technology to make a difference in the world. Oftentimes we say it’s as important as code here, and having a culture that people are attracted to and continue to facilitate is really important.

      We’re a technology company – innovation is paramount to what we do, and we’re in a state of innovation now that’s really unprecedented. So that permeates into everything we do culturally. We work very hard to ensure we foster that at all levels of the organization.

      And then we’ve got a set of corporate values that I think really reflect the culture here. “We work as one” is about working together to do more than we could do working individually. “We bring heart” is about the passion we have for our customers, for the outcomes we deliver. “We expect the best” is about operational excellence and making sure we put quality into everything we do. “We invent possibilities” is back to the innovation idea – you’ve always got to be inventing, always got to be innovating. And then, “We give back” is a big, big part of our culture here. We do a lot to give back to the community. Most of our employees volunteer for various events around the cities they live in. Most of our executive leadership serves on nonprofit boards. We have a variety of CSR initiatives, such as volunteer for vacation and employee-led community grant-making, which really reflects our culture quite nicely.

      What is your management style? Why is that your approach?

      I’m really passionate about outcomes, about what I do, about bringing technology to bear in business. So my management style tends to reflect that. I like people around me with energy. I like people that challenge me. I challenge my folks, so I expect them to deliver, not always with a lot of direction but in the right direction. I like to have fun, too.

      What lessons have you learned from good bosses? Bad bosses?

      I’ve worked with a lot of really successful folks that have been successful in very different ways. So there are different paths to success. It’s very easy when you pick up the latest self-help book to get so focused on the path and lose sight of the outcomes. But what I’ve really learned is that outcomes matter and everybody succeeds in different ways. So working toward successful outcomes at your own pace is really important.

      What’s the hardest or most important lesson you’ve learned in business?

      It’s really important to continue challenging myself. If you’re the smartest person in the room, get out of the room. Go learn something, go talk to a customer, or go get a product demo. Go figure out an area of the business that you don’t know a lot about and figure out how you can make it better. Without that challenge, I think you’re just sub-optimizing your potential.

      Do you have a routine that’s important to your day? A morning ritual, meditation, etc.?

      I’m not as superstitious as hockey players, but I do have a routine. A healthy prayer life really helps keep my priorities in alignment. Hugging my girls daily is very important to me. It brings me back here every day to fight hard to change the world, to make a difference.

      I start every day with my team first thing in the morning and have a stand-up meeting. Starting the day with the team, getting us focused, making sure there’s good, solid communication is important to me. I like to exercise every day. It keeps my head clear, keeps me physically in better shape.

      And I do like some loud music. When I ride to work, when I’m working – I like my music, and I tend to wear headphones in the office. I’m a rock guy. Ranges from groove metal to just about any other kind of rock.

      What obstacles have you faced building your business? How have you overcome them?

      Every place I’ve ever worked in IT, you face similar challenges: There’s always way more to do, way more that you want to do, than you have resources to get done. So it’s really important to start at the top, making sure your IT strategies align with your corporate strategy, making sure that’s very clear for everybody on the team. And then when you drop down to the next level, making sure your priorities are very clear, that you are executing well against those priorities and measuring outcomes, focusing the resources you have to maximize them to get the right things done.

      What do you look for in the people you hire?

      The hiring world has changed quite a lot. We now hire folks very differently from when I was starting my career. We hire folks we expect will change jobs or roles every two to three years. And so, it starts with culture. It doesn’t just start with skills. We’re looking for future leaders in the company. We want folks who are passionate about our mission. Those who fit well with our values that I talked about a moment ago, so as they do progress in their careers, the strongest ones desire to stay here at Blackbaud and they are successful because of that.

      We care about aptitude and technical ability obviously, as well. We are a tech company and that’s paramount to what we do. But it starts with culture and our values when we recruit folks here.

      What is your biggest pet peeve in business or amongst colleagues?

      I am fairly high energy. I love being around high-energy people who are passionate about what they do, who drive things forward, who care about outcomes. When I work with folks who start to get a little bit complacent at times or don’t seemed to be focused on outcomes, I really give them a lot of attention to help get them to a place where they’re on board with aggressively moving the agenda that we have forward.

      What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

      Doing what you love and loving what you do go hand in hand, and that generates not only passion but the drive you need and the fortitude you need to be successful. I think sometimes we lose focus. I’ve mentored some folks who chased a title or chased dollars or chased a business opportunity and let go of that focus. And they really were less successful because of it in the long run.

      What advice would you give new graduates seeking to work in the tech industry?

      First of all, congratulations. I think it’s a great career. It’s a career that is going to be around for a long time. Tremendous, diverse opportunities. And it’s a challenging career. The advice I would give is, it is constantly changing, and that is going to accelerate and continue to accelerate, so remain focused on career learning, constantly staying abreast of what’s going on both in business and technology. And you’ll have a great career and have fun doing it.

      What do you see as the future of your company?

      Blackbaud is the world’s leader in delivering cloud solutions to the social good community, and we’re really just getting going there. Our vision is to power the ecosystem of good that builds a better world. . In order to do that, it looks like a couple of things. It looks like continuing to innovate in what we do, in delivering those solutions. It looks like figuring out new ways and improving the ways we already have connected our customers to advance the social good movement. Ultimately, it’s about building the tools that our customers need to succeed at their missions.

      What one person has been the biggest influence on your business life? And why?

      I’m going to give you two. First, my mom. My mom was very successful in her career. She was masters educated, and when I was a freshman in high school she decided she wanted to change careers. She went back to school – tremendous work ethic, tremendous confidence – and reinvented herself and ended up being the controller of a multi-company conglomerate. Very successful. And so I go back to that often. You can change yourself. You can make a difference. You’ve got to work hard to do it.

      I also have a professional mentor that I’ve worked with for many, many years in the technology space. He’s really been tremendously helpful in keeping me true to who I am, keeping me focused on really delivering what I can, not only for my company but for customers and what they do. Keeping me tied to my personal strengths. He had some adversity in his life that really changed him and changed his focus in his career, and I’ve been able to learn from that, too, which will hopefully save me some pain in the process.

      Are you a Mac or a PC? iPhone or Android?

      I’m multilingual. I truly carry both a Mac and a Windows Surface Book. I typically carry an iPhone, and I do carry an Android phone from time to time. I have five different tablets that I carry; both Android and Apple. I love technology. I love to learn the differences and understand them, and a lot of that’s about knowing my internal customers and our external customers, understanding how those technologies are used in different ways and what their strengths are.

      What is your usual Starbucks order?

      I like a little bit of dark roast to go with the cream. That’s my usual order. When I’m international, I love a flat white. I don’t know what’s different about it in the UK or in Australia, but I love a flat white internationally.

      Outside of work what keeps you busy?

      I stay quite busy outside of work. I havetwo daughters, a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old, so I’m busy with their activities and their lives. They challenge me as much as work does, oftentimes. I also serve on a number of boards for local nonprofits, and I really enjoy that work as well. I enjoy triathlons, so I spend time on my bike, in the pool, and going out for a run.

      What has it been like building your technical team in Charleston?

      It’s been good. We recruit nationally, and we recruit in Charleston; it’s our largest home. It’s a great market for us. It’s an easy story when you take Blackbaud’s story, Charleston as a great place to live, and a growing and emerging technology community.

      Do you see any challenges recruiting tech talent to Charleston?

      I think the challenges are national and global more than local. There are technology jobs that are in very, very short supply and very, very high demand. You look at areas like information security, all areas of data intelligence, analytics – we’re competing across the globe for the same talent, and there’s not enough of it. So there are certainly challenges there. Again, Blackbaud’s story and the local market tends to help us with that. But we must be creative like everybody else.

      What are your thoughts on how Charleston’s technical landscape has grown?

      It’s been fun to watch. I’ve been here 13 years now. Blackbaud was one of the early ones, if not the early tech company in town. So two things have happened. One is we’ve watched folks grow and spread. I attend events such as the iFiveK and sometimes it’s kind of a reunion. You see folks move around and start new tech companies. The tech space has really grown, which is fantastic.

      We are also in the midst of a digital transformation across the world, all companies have become companies that have tech talent and are doing similar things. So it’s fun to watch that community grow as well. We have a big health care market here; we have a big hospitality business here; wehave many other industries. So seeing the technology in those areas grow as well as ours has been really nice to watch. Obviously, aerospace and automotive have grown significantly. So it’s a very different space today. It’s a great place.

      Press Coverage Highlights for October 8 – 21

      Our data,  expertise, and more were featured in many prominent publications, such as CNBC, Daniel Island News, Philanthropy News Digest, CSRwire.com, and Chronicle of Philanthropy

      • When giving, make sure you get that legitimate deduction
        CNBC, 10.21.2016
        In fact, November and December are the biggest months for charitable donations, accounting for a quarter of the year’s haul to U.S. charities, according to Blackbaud, a leading cloud software company powering social good.
      • Blackbaud Hires Education, Healthcare Heads
        The Progressive Accountant, 10.17.2016
        Nonprofit software vendor Blackbaud has hired presidents of two groups that address key vertical markets. The Charleston, S.C.-based company has…

       

      Press Coverage Highlights for September 24 – October 7

      Our data,  expertise, and more were featured in many prominent publications, such as Reuters Insider,
      Fast Company – Coexist, UK Fundraising and LA Times

      • 5 tips for savvy donorsLos Angeles Times Online, 10.04.2016
        …giving is done in the last three months of the year, according to Blackbaud Inc., a leading supplier of software and data intelligence…
      • NEW HEAD AT EVERYDAYHEROBob Scott’s Insights, 9.29.2016
        Blackbaud has named Jerry Needel as president of Everydayhero, its subsidiary that markets crowdfundraising products. Before moving to the…

      Press Coverage Highlights for September 10 – 23

      Our data,  expertise, and more were featured in many prominent publications, such as Fast Company, HRO Today, CR Magazine, NonProfit Pro, and My Social Good News  

      • Better Together
        HRO Today – Online, 9.16.2016
        How organizations can align corporate responsibility efforts with employer brand in order to attract the right talent. By Andrew Troup…
      • New Tools for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
        NonProfit PRO, 9.14.2016
        One headline caught my attention this summer, and it relates directly to this topic of new ideas in peer-to-peer fundraising technology: Blackbaud…
      • The Five Stages of Measurement Maturity
        CR Magazine Online, 9.22.2016
        MicroEdge+Blackbaud has found that there are five stages of outcomes maturity that organizations work through as they develop their outcomes capacity…

      Press Coverage Highlights for August 27 – September 9

      Our data,  expertise, and more were featured in many prominent publications, such as The Huffington Post,
      CPA Practice Advisor, Charleston Business Magazine, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy

      • Blackbaud, Inc. Company and Product Info from CPA Practice Advisor
        CPA Practice Advisor, 8.29.2016
        Blackbaud, Inc. – Financial Edge NXT – Reduce Overhead: Lower costs with process automation, regular upgrades, in-product support, automated data back-ups and complete data security. Stay Ahead: Benefit from flexible, modular architecture that enables rapid innovation plus an open API to support your organization’s needs. Experience Partnership: Eliminate multi-vendor challenges with a total solution from a single technology partner that is invested in nonprofit success.
      • Blackbaud CTO a Role Model in Tech Industry
        Charleston Business Magazine, 8.29.2016
        Mary Beth Westmoreland is a problem solver – whether it’s automating her house or helping one of the country’s fastest growing public tech companies navigate the transition to a cloud-based strategy. But these changes are nothing new for Blackbaud’s chief technology officer. Westmoreland said she’s always loved solving problems. She was good at math and science as a child and those subjects came easily to her. With her skills and a supportive family, Westmoreland forged a path in the technology industry – event at a time when few women were working in the field.
      • The Era of CSR is Ending: Why That’s a Good Thing
        CSR, 9.07.2016
        By Rachel Hutchisson, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy at Blackbaud. People who do what I do for a living spend their lives championing what we call “corporate social responsibility.” Traditionally, Corporate Social Responsibility has been for the “big guys”—the Fortune 500 companies who have the capacity to invest in staff and effort. But there are a lot of companies out there that aren’t big.
      • 5 Secrets of Data Driven Nonprofits
        The Huffington Post, 9.02.2016
        We know that Big Data is fundamentally changing how companies make decisions and improve their performance, but many nonprofit organizations have lagged behind in this area. Over a year ago, I set out on a journey to understand why nonprofits are not making more out of the hidden treasure in their data. What I found is compiled in the new book Data Driven Nonprofits.
      • 6 Steps to Attracting More Diverse Donors
        The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 9.01.2016
        That is a key takeaway of a 2015 Blackbaud report on diversity in giving, which found that the ratio of white donors to others is far higher than in the general population. Compare the demographics of the people you serve with those of your supporters, says Danielle Johnson Vermenton, a Blackbaud consultant who has worked in fundraising for Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta and the American Red Cross. “You have to know that to determine what diversity looks like where you are.”
      • 6 Unique & Compelling Story Ideas for Your Fall Fundraising Appeal
        Ignited Fundraising, 9.07.2016
        Once you have the story chosen, it’s time to draft your appeal and create the social media plan to execute a successful fall fundraising effort. And finally, some resources to draft a fall fundraising appeal that exceeds your goals: Blackbaud End-of-Year Fundraising Tool Kit

      Press Coverage Highlights for August 13-26

      Our data, expertise, and more were featured in many prominent publications, such as Beth’s Blog, TLNT News, GMNsight, TED Blog, and the Daily Herald
       

      • How a Corporate Volunteering Program Benefits Everyone
        TLNT News, 08.23.2016
        Andrew Troup, director of corporate giving and engagement strategy at MicroEdge + Blackbaud. Research consistently shows that employees are the happiest and most likely to stay at companies that are innovative, align with personal values, offer opportunities for growth and development, cultivate and encourage collaboration and teamwork, and foster an environment where employees feel inspired and play an integral role in making a positive impact in the world.
      • TEDx Wilmington 2016
        TED Blog, 08.24.2016
        Watch Blackbaud’s Rachel Hutchisson present, “The Era of Corporate Social Responsibility is Ending: Why that’s a Good Thing.”
      • Although worlds apart, we are in this together. Virtually, anything is possible.
        GMNsight, 08.17.2016
        Catherine LaCour, SVP of Corporate Marketing at Blackbaud – As digital natives, today’s youth understand this implicitly and yearn to make a difference that will change the world for the better – on their terms. They navigate both online and offline worlds seamlessly, often merging the two, and hold a much broader interpretation of philanthropy, one that goes beyond giving money to also include time, effort, energy and voice.
      • How Will Tracking Outcomes Help Your Organization’s Story?
        Daily Herald – Cook County Online, 08.18.2016
        Our MicroEdge + Blackbaud resident outcomes expert Michelle DiSabato has witnessed how reporting has changed and knows how to tell an organization’s story for impact. The difference is focusing on results. The focus used to be primarily on dollars granted, numbers of grants and location. This information was included in annual reports, presented at Board Meetings, shared with employees or even at monthly departmental meetings.
      • DisruptHR event to highlight Charleston’s growing human-resources tech industry
        The Post and Courier, 08.22.2016
        Nonprofits use Attentive.ly’s software to keep tabs on what their supporters are saying on social media — a service aimed at helping charities better understand their base and interact with them more effectively. Blackbaud, a giant in the world of nonprofit software, bought the company with plans to build those functions into its products.
      • Everyday People Are Heroes: Using Big Data to Engage New Agents of Change Online
        Beth’s Blog, 08.26.2016
        In mid-July, NASDAQ announced that Blackbaud acquired Attentive.ly – a pioneering social listening and marketing automation tool co-founded by Rosalyn Lemieux, Cindy Mottershed and myself in 2012 — to offer nonprofits more innovation and better insights around list engagement. Did you miss it? This is awesome news for nonprofits! Why? It’s a rare acquisition of a female founded tech startup and the first time a tech startup with a black female founder on board has been acquired by a NASDAQ-traded company.

      Press Coverage Highlights for July 30 – Aug 12

      Our data,  expertise and more were featured in many prominent publications, such as The Huffington Post, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Pro Bono Australia, and Third Sector UK

      • Another One Percent Problem To Solve
        The Huffington Post — August 10
        According to Blackbaud’s 2015 Charitable Giving Report, overall giving was up 1.6 percent in 2015, compared to the online giving increase of 9.2 percent. So to respond to Mr. Sriskandarajah’s question, some of the tools necessary to smash the charitable industrial complex are already here – they can be found on the Internet.
      • Data and the Search for Big Donors
        The Chronicle of Philanthropy — August 2
        It commissioned Target Analytics, a data-consulting service run by the software company Blackbaud, to create a detailed statistical picture of contributors who had previously made very large gifts to the university. Target’s analysts used both the university’s information and outside data sets to look at myriad factors of a person’s life…
      • Disability Charity Wins Blackbaud Challenge
        Pro Bono Australia  — August 3
        An Australian charity has received a $10,000 donation to “power the passions of people with disabilities” as part of a global online. Disability Not for Profit Sylvanvale has won the Blackbaud $10K Challenge for the Asia Pacific region, an online competition hosted by global cloud software company Blackbaud.
      • NFP winner of the $10k challenge announced
        Third Sector UK — August 3
        The winner of the Blackbaud $10K challenge, an online competition hosted by cloud software company Blackbaud, has been unveiled. The Sydney-based charity Sylvanvale was the winner presented with a cheque for $10,000 from Blackbaud, as a result of their ‘Making Passions Come to Life’ submission, which told a story about the impact a donation of this kind could have on the lives of people with disability.
      • “What’s hot in year-end fundraising” Webinar Transcript
        Big Duck Blog— August  2
        Some of them are tactics that are becoming very, very widespread. The first is the use of emojis. This is something that is an observation that came from Steve MacLaughlin, the director of analytics at Blackbaud. Every year he does analysis of hundreds of emails subject lines. I believe that he analyzed 450 subject lines this last year, and while it wasn’t an overwhelming trend, there was definitely an uptick in the use of emojis.

      Press Coverage Highlights for July 15-29

      Our data,  expertise and more were featured in many prominent publications, such as National Clearing House, JustMeans, Association Trends, and Big Duck

      • Plan Now for a Successful ‘Giving Tuesday’ Campaign
        National Clearing House (Families & Youth) ● July 26
        Reports suggest that about 30% to 60% of online giving comes in the last quarter of the year, says Danielle Johnson Vermenton, principal consultant at Blackbaud, Inc., one of the campaign’s founding partners. Participating in Giving Tuesday can harness this spike in generosity without detracting from other end-of-the-year fundraising campaigns, she adds, as long as agencies approach the day with proper planning and promotion. “Giving Tuesday can be an independent fundraising occasion, and as with any special event, it takes time to plan for success,” Johnson Vermenton says.
      • Software Considerations Checklist for the Evolving World of Giving
        Justmeans  ● July 22
        In today’s ever-changing world of giving, more and more types of grantmaking software are emerging in the marketplace. While it’s always great to have options, it’s important to truly understand which grantmaking software is right for your needs. That’s why we’ve created a software considerations checklist to help you make informed decisions to get the most out of your grantmaking solution. To learn more about this and other topics check out the MicroEdge + Blackbaud resource hub.

      • Matching gifts are often overlooked
        Simi Valley Acorn ● July 22
        Not only are boomers a large population of the workforce, but they are one of the largest charitable donor generations. According to Blackbaud, a supplier of donor management software, 72 percent of baby boomers donate to charity, with the average boomer giving $1,212 to an average of 4.5 charities.
      • News in Brief 7/14/16
        Association Trends – Online  ● July 16
        Blackbaud, a provider of software and services to the nonprofit community, acquired Attentive.ly, a company that allows organizations to conduct social listening, identify key influencers and drive engagement. The social media engagement platform already integrates with Blackbaud’s digital marketing solution, Luminate Online. Once deeply integrated, Attentive.ly will activate an advanced level of social listening for Blackbaud customers; helping them organically grow campaigns while providing a new level of service and community to supporters.
      • Are Your Accounting Tools Up to the Non-Profit Challenge?
        Find Accounting Software blog  ● July 18
        An interview with Michael Blanton of Blackbaud – Blackbaud is one of the industry leading providers of non-profit software technology helping non-profits solve some of their toughest management challenges. Blackbaud’s line of products includes solutions for accounting, fundraising, grant management, budgeting, and other mission-critical non-profit processes. In order to get a better understanding of the opportunities available to today’s growing non-profit organizations, I spoke with Michael Blanton from Blackbaud. Read on, for a practical overview of the most effective strategies, tools, and technologies for non-profits looking to manage fund restrictions, allocations, grant reporting, and budgeting for improved non-profit financial performances.
      • What we give a quack about this summer
        BigDuck ● July 25
        Ah, CRM. A recent report compares some of the most popular CRM tools used by nonprofits (Blackbaud Luminate Online, Engaging Networks, Salsa, EveryAction, Neon, and Charity Engine), offering a nice comparison chart and in-depth reviews of each tool—pretty useful if you’re in the process of choosing a new CRM, or if you’re just interested in what’s out there.

       

      Press Coverage Highlights for July 2 – 14

      Our data,  expertise and more were featured in many prominent publications, such as Forbes,
      The Chronicle of Philanthropy, NTEN Connect, and The Agitator

      • How Purpose Drives Profit: A Case Study
        Forbes ● July 17
        I recently sat down with Mike Gianoni, President and CEO of Blackbaud (my firm works with their sales group) to discuss the interplay between purpose and profit. During Gianoni’s first two years at Blackbaud (BLKB) he increased revenue from $504 million to $638 million and drove the stock price up over 70%.  What’s most notable is that Gianoni accelerated growth and financial performance by focusing on a Noble Purpose bigger than money.
      • Fundraising is a leadership issue
        Marc Pittman: Concord Leadership Blog ● July 11
        Last year, I wrote about how a fundraising problem is a leadership problem. This post was based on my experience in the field and the experience of my clients. Now that the nonprofit leadership research results are in, the facts are in. Not only is philanthropy a leadership issue, but there are practical things for leaders to do to move fundraising forward. The numbers in the research caused the folks at Blackbaud to ask me to write a foreward to their latest npEXPERTS book, Philanthropy by the Numbers.
      • Big or Little Charity? Fundraisers Wrestle With Career Choices
        The Chronicle of Philanthropy ● July 6
        Not all small nonprofits are laggards; some are models of fundraising efficiency and professionalism that punch well above their weight. Since 2011, small organizations have outpaced the largest groups in fundraising-revenue growth, according to Blackbaud. In 2015, groups that raise less than $1 million dollars annually saw a 5.5 percent gain; organizations that raise $10 million or more posted only a 1.4 percent increase.
      • Technological Bridges Connecting Funders & Nonprofits
        NTEN Connect ● July 13
        In a recent, reasonably intelligent Adweek article reviewing giving by millennials, Dennis McCarthy at Blackbaud commented: “My 23-year-old son wouldn’t know what to do with an envelope.” I’d say the same about my 22-year-old daughter. Among other handicaps, she doesn’t have a checkbook.
      • Starting Over #5: Growing Without Direct Mail
        The Agitator ● July 18
        In a brilliant commentary titled Direct Mailpocalypse, Steve MacLaughlin, the Director of Analytics at Blackbaud, put himself into a world where dependence on decades of direct mail suddenly came to an end.

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