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. That mission and commitment were on full display during the first-ever virtual, global, three-day 2020 event.
HIGHLIGHTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
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.
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.
Blackbaud announced the general availability of its groundbreaking Blackbaud Church Management™ solution, which is already transforming the church technology landscape, and the continued expansion and growth of its Cloud Solution for Faith Communities. Blackbaud now serves churches in more than half of all 50 U.S. states through Blackbaud Church Management, representing congregations of all different sizes and spanning more than 10 denominational backgrounds.
Also, at bbcon, Blackbaud welcomed nearly 900 attendees from the higher education community, who heard firsthand about enhancements to Blackbaud's Cloud Solution for Higher Education, including the continued growth of the Blackbaud Education Management portfolio and the introduction of Blackbaud's talent management capabilities. Blackbaud's talent management capabilities provide the first online performance tracking tool for fundraising leaders and managers, enabling transparency, proactive management and peer officer benchmarking.
Blackbaud Grantmaking is now 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.
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 its January 2021 cohort on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) founders. The program is now accepting applications.
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. It is now available for free download.
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.