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Customer Story

Using social insights to further social good

Accurate insights help Blackbaud customers make a big difference and a better world

It all starts with the idea of service.

Nonprofit organizations begin with the aspiration of helping 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 — a tech business dedicated to the service of 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, spanning fundraising and relationship management, financial management, marketing and engagement, payment services and more, Blackbaud provides the social good community with the tools they need to impact change. As O’Keefe 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 continue improving our solutions to create better experiences for our clients,” said O’Keefe.

For the past two years, O’Keefe has served as a product manager at Blackbaud’s Austin, Texas office. Now, he is an agent of change within the organization and helps ensure that Blackbaud’s offerings are a big part of the operations they serve.

“A lot of the challenges that we face are industry-wide. Many nonprofits are lean operations, stretched thin, have fewer employees, and are constantly trying to keep up with technology–which is really hard when you have multiple jobs and wear many hats,” said O’Keefe.

Seeing Blackbaud as a key partner for these smaller outfits, O’Keefe and his team work to make things easier for their clients— so 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.

Whether it’s expanding research into a disease or saving animals or trying to advocate politically, there’s a lot of engagement that organizations would have missed out on without FullContact.

When Blackbaud acquired Attentive.ly, they inherited a relationship with identity resolution leader FullContact, which provides the ability to match email addresses to social data. Blackbaud built upon the data FullContact provided, giving their users key insights into the supporters (e.g. social tags) that helped organizations create more powerful and engaging marketing campaigns. With the combined social insight capabilities of Attentively.ly and FullContact, 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. O’Keefe and the team at Blackbaud understand their clients’ challenges and provide creative ways they can reach the people inside their database.

“Our clients are looking to provide value to the people in their donor base. They want to find donors with social reach or figure out which channels donors might be most active in. Combining our own data resources with FullContact, we [Blackbaud] can enable our customers to 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 another 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 we provide, including the insights our relationship with FullContact generate. American Friends Service Committee used social insights 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 would not have been possible without FullContact. 

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.

O’Keefe recounted how one nonprofit used Blackbaud’s social insights to identify influencers within their database with a large following on social media to share about an upcoming fundraising race. Noting the potential reach of these “micro influencers,” the nonprofit provided 27 of them 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 crucial for the success of many 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. The Giving Report for 2018 reported that social media is the communication tool that inspires the most giving, with email coming in as a close second. The ability to link social identifiers with individuals inside their database can increase engagement with users on their preferred platform.

“Whether it’s expanding research into a disease or saving 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 donors with marketing and sales materials via social channels. Over the years, Attentive.ly and Blackbaud have used FullContact to enrich millions of contact records with the most accurate social data and insights.

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