#GivingTuesday Partner Spotlight: Blackbaud, Inc.

Image via Flickr user Tilemahos E.

Wondering how some organizations are embracing the #GivingTuesday movement and getting involved?

In this post, Rachel Hutchisson, Director of Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy at Blackbaud, Inc., explains what they’re doing for #GivingTuesday and how they’re doing it, too.

Why did Blackbaud decide to become a #GivingTuesday partner?

Blackbaud spends 100% of its time working with nonprofits.  Every single one of our 28,000 customers is a nonprofit.

We provide them software and services that help them raise more money, market themselves and be more effective (fundraising, web services, nonprofit accounting, CRM, customer management, ticketing…and so on).  Our goal is to provide the technology side of things to nonprofits so they can focus more on delivering on their missions.  We have been in this business since 1981 and love what we do.

Because we work with nonprofits every day, we’re very focused — as a company and as individual people — on giving back.  We pride ourselves on being good corporate citizens, giving back to the nonprofit sector and encouraging our employees to get engaged.

Blackbaud is made up of 2,800 people who have a very high awareness of and appreciation for nonprofits and the role they play in society.  A couple of years ago, we did a survey that showed that 90% of our employees volunteer and 85% thought the fact that we worked with nonprofits was a big factor in them deciding to join the company.

When we heard about #GivingTuesday, we knew we wanted to be involved and put our resources — and our broad network within the nonprofit sector — behind spreading the word, helping to equip others to make the most of this great new effort.

Giving as a percent of household income has remained steady at 2% for decades, but the need nonprofits see from their constituents continues to go up.  At the same time, government funding has been cut back and many foundations have changed their focus areas. So nonprofits really need to find new people to give.  #GivingTuesday is one way we can help engage people who might not yet be giving to support the organizations that help to fill the gaps in our society.  Part of that is helping the nonprofits we work with understand how they can join in and make the most of the campaign this fall.


What is Blackbaud planning for #GivingTuesday?

We are planning a wide variety of activities for #GivingTuesday, both to support it ourselves and to educate/encourage others about how to join in.

We will be making a donation to the Entrepreneur’s Foundation of Central Texas in honor of the long-standing relationship they have had with Convio, an Austin, Texas-based company we acquired in May 2012. We have 400+ employees in Austin who have a history of participating in the Foundation’s service days, which are put on for companies who aren’t in the position to offer similar programs for their own employees.  Now that Convio is a part of Blackbaud, we want to honor that relationship and continue it in a new way – as a donor/annual supporter of the Spring Service Day.  This is a new donation that we are proud to add.

As a side note, it’s important to understand that, at Blackbaud, we work hard to put employees at the heart of our corporate giving.  Because we work with so many nonprofits, it’s difficult for us to pick a cause.  It’s like picking your favorite child.  So we look for ways both to support the sector as a whole and to support organizations our employees care about.  This new gift is an example of supporting employee service.  Coming in 2013, we will also have the new Blackbaud Community Matters Grants program, which will provide grants to nonprofits in the communities where we have a significant employee base.  Stay tuned for more on that!

What is Blackbaud doing to get more people involved in this initiative?

We are doing a number of things to educate and encourage people in our broad community to participate, including:

  • Social media – we will champion the effort through our @Blackbaud presence (13,000 followers), through Facebook and Google+.  In addition, many key employees at Blackbaud, who are experts in varying areas of nonprofit work, will RT the news to their networks.  This is both for the build up to #GivingTuesday and during the actual day.
  • Blog – I plan to blog about the initiative via the company’s corporate blog after launch. We will also tweet/RT the blog.
  • Employees – We will use Yammer (internal Facebook-like network) to share the news with our 2,800 employees, building up to the day and day of.  She will be linking to the resources on the #GivingTuesday site to encourage individuals to find a way to give back.  We will also include the news in our bi-monthly employee eNewsletter.  Our employees are very active in the community and will be encouraged to share the news with their nonprofit contacts.
  • Customers – we are featuring a full-page ad in NP Engage, our new thought leadership magazine, this fall;  we will be featuring #GivingTuesday at bbcon (our annual conference – the largest conference for nonprofits focused on IT).
  • Partners – the day before bbcon, we will present #GivingTuesday at our Partner Summit, educating companies we work with (who also work with nonprofits) about the effort and why they as providers to this market, should get involved.
  • Data Analysis – Blackbaud provides something called the Blackbaud Index of Charitable Giving, which helps the sector understand giving trends.  It is produced every month so the data is very current.  Tapping into the really smart folks we have who produce this index and spend their time analyzing giving, we will be providing expert commentary the week of #GivingTuesday to help everyone see what results have been accomplished.

I have noted throughout that some of this work will be immediately following the launch and some will be for the actual day.  For us, we are ALWAYS talking about philanthropy and giving back.  It’s not someone we reserve for just one day.  So our commitment will be ongoing.