Using social insights to further social good

Accurate insights inside Blackbaud technologies make a big difference and a better world

Nonprofit organizations begin with the aspiration to help others. Employees and volunteers work tirelessly, and sometimes thanklessly, to serve their communities. Using customer relationship management platforms and tools, Blackbaud became the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good and serving the nonprofit community. A tech business dedicated to the service of the those who work to serve others. And the individuals who work inside Blackbaud have adopted the same spirit. 

During the first four years of his tenure at Blackbaud, Ryan O’Keefe spent his time on the professional services team listening to how customers were using their products and services. With an expansive product offering, including three CRMs, a cloud-based accounting system, and analytics software, Blackbaud provides the social good community with the tools they need to make change. As Ryan learned from customers and heard their feedback, he decided to move into a role that could help them make the most of their Blackbaud technologies. 

“I moved over to the product side so I could effectively build cool products and be an advocate for customers who needed our products to do more for them,” said Ryan. “After hearing the same sort of challenges from different customers, I wanted to help improve our product functionality and continue improving our solutions to create better experiences for our clients.”

For the past two years, Ryan has served as a Product Manager at a satellite office in Austin, Texas — around 1,300 miles west of the Charleston, South Carolina headquarters. In his current role, Ryan is an agent of change within the organization and ensuring Blackbaud’s offerings play a big part in the small operations they serve.

“A lot of the challenges that we face are industry-wide, so nonprofits are at its core a very small group and they usually have staffs that are smaller than your normal for profit size. They are stretched thin, they don’t have as many people and more importantly, they are constantly trying to keep up with technology and it’s really hard when you have multiple jobs and wear many hats,” said O’Keefe.

Seeing Blackbaud as an employee for these smaller outfits, Ryan and his team spend their days at Blackbaud working to make things easier for their clients— and their clients are able to focus on the mission of their organization. As with many nonprofits, budget plays a huge factor in how they are able to allocate money and get the most ROI with the least amount of spend.

When Blackbaud acquired Attentively, they inherited the identity resolution provider, FullContact, and the ability to match email addresses to social data. Using identity resolution and social data, Blackbaud’s clients could now identify, connect, and engage with people who believe in their mission and could help them further their cause.

Identifying and Activating Influential Individuals

The lifeblood of any nonprofit is their database, and figuring out how to activate those within it is paramount to furthering their mission. Leaning into the opportunities to find people in their database requires some marketing savvy and a recent report from the Nonprofits Source confirms that 66% of charities are worried they will miss out on opportunities for digital fundraising. Ryan and the team at Blackbaud understand the limitations of their clients and provide creative ways they can reach the people inside their database.

“Our clients are looking to provide value to the people in their donorbase. They want to find donors with social reach or figure out which channels donors might be most active in. Using FullContact, we [Blackbaud] can fill in the gaps of those unknown data points,” O’Keefe said.

Using social data, he shares with his clients which people hidden in their database may actually have a bigger platform like a blog, podcast, or other form of media that they can leverage to amplify their mission.

“We’ve seen time and time again that organizations are finding gems with the social data that FullContact provides. American Friends Service Committee, used social listening to identify socially active individuals with big followings and wider reach. They invited those individuals to participate in a Google Hangout and turned that Google Hangout into donations,” O’Keefe said. The nonprofit generated at least 74 different donations from a spur of the moment conversation that happened in real-time. 

Driving Connections with Your Contacts (And Their Contacts)

Connecting an additional layer of social data to contacts within a CRM or database helps nonprofits understand who is likely to donate to a cause, noting past behavior as an example. They can also use this information to find motivated donors who can use their network for peer-to-peer fundraising strategies.

Blackbaud gave an uptick in registrations to a nonprofit bike race for multiple sclerosis (MS), who used social insights to find social influencers within their database that had signed up to ride and already had a large following on social media. Noting the potential reach of these micro influencers, they encouraged the nonprofit team to connect with these individuals. They found 27 total ride participants and provided them each with their own code to drive registrations. They recruited over 105 new participants to the event which raised a total of $200,000. 

Each of these micro influencers brought in four more participants, increasing the number of total participants by 5.25%. 

Getting the Community Engaged and Involved 

The power of engaging with the community is the ultimate goal of nonprofits. After identifying and connecting with people in their database, using identity resolution to continually engage their community helps keep donations coming and helps the organization stay top of mind for individuals. In 2017, the largest source of charitable giving came from individuals at $281.86 billion, or 72% of total giving; followed by foundations ($58.28 billion/15%), bequests ($30.36 billion/8%), and corporations ($18.55 billion/5%). Figuring out the right people, at the individual and organizational level, can help these nonprofits find the right people to reach out to and engage.

“Whether it’s expanding research into a disease or save animals or trying to advocate politically, there’s a lot of engagement that organizations would have missed out on without FullContact,” said O’Keefe. “Taking away the fundraising aspect, there’s just a lot of relationships and engagement that they wouldn’t have if they didn’t have the insights inside their database.”

Making Relationships Better Across Social Networks

In order to help their clients make relationships with the people in their communities, across social networks and inside databases, Blackbaud takes advantage of identity resolution from FullContact. Appending email addresses to social handles with FullContact, Blackbaud helps their customers engage individual investors and donors with marketing and sales materials via social channels.

Over the years, Blackbaud has used FullContact to enrich approximately billions of contact records with the most accurate social data and insights. As they continue to learn more about how their clients are using these insights, they are looking to expand this service to other areas like church management and higher education. 

Life is all about people and the relationships between them.  Our mission is to make those relationships better through identity resolution and insights. It’s no longer about B2B or B2C, it’s ultimately about H2H – human to human. Learn how we can help.

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