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Blackbaud Announces New Data Intelligence Capabilities and CSR Initiatives to Thwart COVID-19 Crisis

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Reimagined conference guides global audience on rethinking change with thought-provoking speakers

Blackbaud, the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good, concluded its 21st annual tech conference for a better world, which took place October 6-8, as a free, virtual event. This year, the event welcomed over 38,000 registrants from over 70 countries, far and away a record for the conference, which was previously held in-person. This year’s bbcon addressed the challenges and opportunities social good organizations face in a rapidly changing world with inspiration from an energizing lineup of speakers and performers. Blackbaud also spotlighted new product and innovation updates that organizations can continue to learn more about through product update briefings later this month.

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Attendees heard from a number of prominent figures dedicated to activism and philanthropy. The first day of bbcon included conversations with special guests actress Amy Poehler and Olympian Dara Torres. Amy Poehler entertained the audience with a wide-ranging discussion that spanned from experience and passion from starring in strong female roles to her commitment to empowering young girls and boys to pursue STEM careers to the types of film roles she would be most excited to play. Olympic record-holder Dara Torres discussed how to overcome adversity and doubt to achieve your goals. On the second day of the event, Dr. Cornel West appeared on the bbcon mainstage to discuss resilience, coalition building and racial justice. And closing out bbcon was host, author and activist Padma Lakshmi, who shared about the personal experiences that led her to cofound the Endometriosis Foundation, the role food plays in culture, and advice for the social good community as it overcomes challenges.

Attendees also heard from other featured speakers: Justin Dillon, award-winning entrepreneur, author and founder/CEO of FRDM; Marc Brackett, Ph.D., leading emotional intelligence expert and author of the book “Permission to Feel”; Meico Marquette Whitlock, digital wellness and leadership coach and founder and CEO of The Mindful Techie; Alice L. Ferris, founder of Goalbusters; and productivity expert Kishshana Palmer. Special musical guests Natasha Bedingfield and JOHNNYSWIM shared music with the bbcon audience. Many Blackbaud executives took to the virtual mainstage including Mike Gianoni, president and CEO; Catherine LaCour, chief marketing officer; Kevin McDearis, executive vice president and chief products officer; and David Benjamin, executive vice president and president of International Markets Group. Additionally, bbcon hosted more than 100 expert-led sessions geared toward the global audience.

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Built for a Changing World

Blackbaud’s mission is to provide cloud software, services, expertise, and data intelligence that empower and connect people to drive impact for social good, and the company is committed to innovating, pivoting and adapting to ensure customers are successful even through periods of major change. The conference highlighted innovation on several fronts:

Blackbaud and Microsoft help organizations adapt to change with connected solutions

At this year’s bbcon, Blackbaud and Microsoft reaffirmed their commitment to digitally transform the social good community and recognized the critical role that innovative technology has played in allowing social good organizations to effectively work in new ways during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blackbaud and Microsoft announced updates to their continued partnership on further connecting Blackbaud’s industry-leading solutions with Microsoft’s tools for transformative productivity, collaboration, automation and insights, including the release of the certified connector for Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT® for the Microsoft Power Platform, making it easier for organizations to integrate data from the Blackbaud solution with hundreds of applications on the Microsoft Power Platform.

The conference showcased how social good organizations are using Blackbaud and Microsoft technology together to adapt to change. Included in the list of highlights was Mennonite Church USA, which connected Microsoft Power Platform solutions with Blackbaud Raisers Edge NXT to allow distributed users, like their conference ministers, to view and submit data edits for approval and sync on any device.

Also spotlighted was the University of South Carolina (UofSC), which connected Blackbaud CRM to Microsoft Teams to offer easy and familiar chat support for users and increase adoption after rolling out Blackbaud CRM in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. UofSC also leveraged an Outlook plugin to show Blackbaud CRM data directly within Outlook to provide the information they need at their fingertips, saving time when logging each email correspondence with a constituent.

Continued Innovation Across Blackbaud’s Comprehensive Cloud Solutions

Blackbaud announced that Blackbaud Grantmaking will soon be fully available in Blackbaud SKY, the company’s modern, integrated and open cloud solution for the social good community, at no additional cost to current customers. This advancement will allow organizations to access the solution anytime, anywhere, and from any browser on any device and provide a more cohesive, seamless experience across Blackbaud solutions.

Blackbaud also announced the expansion of the global capabilities of YourCause CSRConnect with partners like GlobalGiving and others to offer 20 times the validated global charities and more local currency support, making it easier for companies to bring employees across geographies together in support of causes around the world.

The company highlighted a variety of innovations that helped customers adapt during COVID-19. They include: fitness tracking integration in Blackbaud’s peer-to-peer fundraising portfolio; a new virtual prayer wall that enables congregants at faith organizations to share and respond to prayer requests online; and text messaging capabilities for scholarship directors at higher education institutions to ensure that no funds were going unutilized and to collect thank you’s from students to share with their donors.

Blackbaud’s new Social Good Startup Program

Building on last year’s announcement of the Social Good Startup Challenge in partnership with One Million by One Million (1Mby1M), Blackbaud announced the initiative’s expansion into the Blackbaud Social Good Startup Program, a yearlong program designed to drive innovation outside of Blackbaud’s walls. Through the program, Blackbaud will look to support the early-stage growth of companies that have the potential to impact the Ecosystem of Good® with their innovative solutions. The company also shared that, in alignment with its commitment to diversity, it would focus on startups with at least one founder who is a Black or Indigenous person of color for the first 2021 cohort. The program is now accepting applications.

sgENGAGE releases new e-book on Working in a Changing World

sgENGAGE, Blackbaud’s flagship blog and podcast platform, released its first e-book. “Working in a Changing World: Expert Advice for Remaining Resilient and Impactful in a New Normal,” features guidance from experts, including Meico Marquette Whitlock, a bbcon Virtual mainstage speaker, on how to navigate the “new normal” with resilience and continued impact.

Virtual bbcon 2020 Gives Back

Recognizing the impact of COVID-19 on the arts and cultural sector and the important role that these organizations play, Blackbaud made a donation to the International Child Art Foundation for each piece of artwork posted on social media that showed the way attendees and their families are changing the world. We saw incredible engagement from attendees and their children who were encouraged to participate.

Voices of bbcon 2020

“The best part about bbcon 2020 Virtual was how interactive and engaging the experience was,” said Nabila Mohammad, Deaf Children Australia located in Melbourne, Australia. “Blackbaud truly showcased that they are the industry experts when it comes to technology and social good. The entire virtual conference was well thought out, with networking made easy, the marketplace giving the feeling of being right at bbcon and excellent live and on-demand presentations.”

“It has been amazing! The speakers are spot on for what is going on in this crazy world we’re learning how to navigate,” said Vicky Registrar, Aquinas Institute in Rochester, New York. “I hope everyone who helped make bbcon 2020 Virtual possible, is taking pride in this wonderful experience that they’ve brought to their customers.”

“I have attended seven previous bbcons and look forward to attending again in person someday, but I see the value of a virtual bbcon where so many people are able to participate,” said Karen Stuhlfeier, St. Paul Academy and Summit School in St. Paul, Minnesota. “The pandemic has taught us to be better at many things, and Blackbaud really stepped up and did a great job with this one.”

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