The sgENGAGE Podcast

Subscribe to The sgENGAGE Podcast to hear experts from across the social good community share best practices, tips and must-know trends that will help organizations increase their impact. Formerly called the Raise & Engage Podcast.
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Oct 10, 2019

The 8th annual #GivingTuesday is coming up soon on December 3,2019.  #GivingTuesday represents an opportunity for everyone to give back in a variety of ways, and companies are increasingly realizing how important it is to get involved in this global movement. Listen in to today’s episode for tips on how your company can leverage its people and core competencies to engage on #GivingTuesday.

In this super-sized episode, Blackbaud’s Rachel Hutchisson talks to both Gary Levante, senior vice president of Corporate Responsibility & Culture at Berkshire Bank and Icema Gibbs, director of Corporate Social Responsibility at JetBlue. Gary and Icema share how their respective companies celebrate #GivingTuesday and how the day connects to the rest of their CSR programs and overall business strategy. They also give advice for how other companies can make a mark on this global day of giving. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Why it’s important for companies to step up on Giving Tuesday
  • How to evaluate #GivingTuesday success
  • How #GivingTuesday relates to Berkshire Bank’s core purpose
  • What Berkshire Bank employees do to celebrate #GivingTuesday
  • Why it’s so important to leverage social media on #GivingTuesday
  • Gary’s tips for small-to-midsize companies who want to participate in this year’s #GivingTuesday
  • Last year’s JetBlue #GivingTuesday initiative, Destination Good
  • How JetBlue employees engage on Giving Tuesday
  • Spreading out the giving spirit over the whole year
  • Measuring the impact of giving and volunteering programs
  • Icema’s advice for how to leverage your company’s core competencies to make an impact on #GivingTuesday


Gary Levante

Icema Gibbs

#GivingTuesday Toolkit and Resources


“When I think of the real power of social media it’s to have a conversation with your customers with your community members with your partners about why activities like giving Tuesday are important.” --Gary Levante

“Our crew members are giving back not only through financial contributions, but really giving back in ways of really highlighting what’s important to them in their communities.” --Icema Gibbs

“We realized that we have to be able to talk about not only the outcomes, but the impact. What we did was fine, but how did we help somebody? What was the impact?” --Icema Gibbs

Oct 3, 2019

Coming up with strategies for fundraising can be difficult. However, if there’s a culture in place that promotes and encourages giving as a norm, an important chunk of the work is already done. That’s why it’s so important to create a culture of philanthropy, especially in social good organizations.

On today’s episode, Alia McKee and Mark Rovner of Sea Change Strategies are here to talk about their report, Inside Out Fundraising: How to Create a Culture of Philanthropy by Treating Systems Instead of Symptoms. Alia and Mark explain what it means to have a culture of philanthropy, the things that get in the way of creating that culture and how organizations can overcome the challenges to doing do. Listen to the episode to learn why culture is an important part of fundraising success and hear the big takeaways from their research. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • The signs Alia and Mark saw that indicated it was time to start talking about culture with their clients
  • What it means to create a culture of philanthropy, and why it’s so important
  • What Alia and Mark found in their research
  • The primary challenges that get in the way of forming a culture of philanthropy
  • Implementing “the golden trio” in your organization
  • Balancing facts and data with passion for a cause
  • What boards can do to take pressure off fundraisers
  • How fundraisers can put recommendations from the Inside Out Fundraising report into action 


Alia McKee

Mark Rovner

Sea Change Strategies

Inside Out Fundraising: How to Create a Culture of Philanthropy by Treating Systems Instead of Symptoms


“I think the biggest “aha” was that only one in five fundraisers say their organization has a strong culture of philanthropy.” –Alia McKee 

“Increasingly with channel proliferation, with people being communicated with across multiple channels, you can’t do your own thing without affecting other pieces.” –Mark Rovner

“I think that the first piece needs to be stock-taking.” –Mark Rovner

Sep 26, 2019

We all know that it’s important for social good organizations to connect and engage with stakeholders in order to achieve their missions. One of the most effective ways this can be done is through storytelling. But how do you craft your story in a way that gets across your message while emotionally connecting with people? Today’s episode will teach you just that! 

In this episode of the sgENGAGE Podcast, host Christine Newman is joined by two storytelling experts, Jocelyn Wright and Kirk Lilwall of Blackbaud University. Listen in to hear what Jocelyn and Kirk have to say about the different types of stories organizations can tell, how to leverage multimedia communication channels, and key tactics for conducting interviews that will result in the information you need to craft a compelling story. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Why stories are so valuable in getting people to engage with an organization or cause
  • Types of stories that are most effective for social good organizations 
  • Elements that every good story should have
  • Storytelling for diverse audiences
  • How to tell a story that moves people without overwhelming them
  • Examples of powerful stories from social good organizations
  • Telling the stories of protected groups without violating privacy
  • How technology has changed the approach and strategy for storytelling 


Jocelyn Wright

Kirk Lilwall

Blackbaud University Organizational Best Practices: Multimedia Storytelling 

Blackbaud University

Visual Storytelling for the Modern Nonprofit


“The stories that you tell are really going to shape the way that people perceive your organization, how they understand your organization, and also how they understand their relationship with your organization.” –Jocelyn Wright

“We’re all storytellers in our everyday lives. When you send texts, you send emails, you make phone calls, all those things are stories.” –Kirk Lilwall

“Personal stories are something that’s always going to resonate.” –Jocelyn Wright

Sep 19, 2019

December 3rd, 2019 marks the 8th annual #GivingTuesday. It has grown every year since its inception and become an important part of the end-of-year giving season. But with so many different organizations taking notice of the success and participating, it’s important to find a way for your organization to stand out. 

Joining host Rachel Hutchisson on the podcast today is Jennifer Dunworth, director of development for the Maryland SPCA, who shares the background on the creative campaign her organization used last year that helped them raise $41,000… $11,000 more than their goal. Listen in to hear what Jennifer has to say about preparing your organization for Giving Tuesday, engaging and exciting your donors, and managing the creative flow from idea to execution.  

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • What the Maryland SPCA did last year for #GivingTuesday that gained so much attention
  • Being creative and effective in your #GivingTuesday campaign
  • Most important steps when preparing a #GivingTuesday campaign
  • Keys to getting donors excited
  • How encouraging early engagement factored into the overall year-end giving campaign
  • Lessons from last year’s campaign that can be applied in the future
  • The difficulty of being distinctive 


Jennifer Dunworth

#GivingTuesday Toolkit

#GivingTuesday article series

Blackbaud #GivingTuesday Webinar Series


“As you can imagine, some folks are very vehemently one team or the other, and we want to ensure that we always represent Team Both.”

“Remember that you can get lost in the creative joy and sort of overinvest your time.”

“What popped was not the times that we closeted ourselves in a room and actively, almost forcefully brainstormed – although there was a lot of good stuff from those brainstorms that we used later – it was really the organic conversations.”

Sep 12, 2019

What is leadership? Knowing that management is directive and leadership is connective is a great place to start, but social good leaders often struggle with understanding and balancing these two.

To explore what leadership really means in a connected organization, Marc Pitman joins host Steve MacLaughlin on the podcast today to talk about the role of the social good CEO or executive director in fundraising, how to connect and balance internal and external leadership, and why continuous improvement is such a powerful way for organizations to focus.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • What fundraising leadership is really about
  • Balancing external and internal leadership 
  • Why nonprofits bring in COOs
  • The different perspectives of founders vs leaders who were passed the torch
  • The importance of continuous improvement 
  • The key qualities leaders need to develop to be effective
  • How to help your staff develop
  • The importance of finding support from peers or coaches


Marc Pitman

Blackbaud Institute: The Connected Office eBook

The Wake Up Call leadership research

Marc's framework for growing in confidence as a leader

The Executive Coach Project Report by Compass Point


“Part of what leaders need to do is cast a vision of something that’s greater than… some better world, some better experience for whatever the mission is that they’re trying to solve.”

“Doing that really well, caring for that cause, doesn’t provide the revenue.”

“I have a growing appreciation for events – if they’re not solely for fundraising.”

Sep 5, 2019

As a charitable organization, how can you leverage the popularity of live streaming to fundraise? How do you find a live streamer to pair up with? And how can you build and have a successful relationship with live streamers? 

Today’s episode features Alyssa Sweetman, the Charity Program Manager at Twitch. Tune in to hear her talk to Roz Lemieux, director of Blackbaud Labs, about how nonprofits and other social good organizations can work with live streamers, also known as content creators, to raise money on live streaming platforms.

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • What is Twitch?
  • Who is a content creator?
  • How to get started with partnering with a live streamer, or content creator
  • The kind of support or assets organizations should plan to provide content creators to build relationships and aid them in fundraising
  •  What makes for a good impact statement?
  • How live streamers make nonprofit content engaging for viewers
  • The most interesting fundraising live stream event Ally has seen
  • The different ways content creators raise money on Twitch



Alyssa Sweetman

Article: How to Harness the Fundraising Power of Twitch

Questions for Alyssa? Email her at Alyssa:


“If you build these relationships up, they can grow every year.”

“When we think about money, we don’t often think of instantaneously give it away. So it’s often about making an emotional connection.”

“People like to feel like they have a bit of control, power, and that they can contribute.”

Aug 29, 2019

Hill Days, also known as “fly-ins,” are an important part of social good organizations’ advocacy strategies in the U.S., bringing their supporters together to speak with their members of Congress to advocate for priority issues and legislation. Preparation is key for these fly-in days to be successful. So, what’s the best way to prepare for a meeting with a member of congress? How can people working in the social good community make sure that elected officials prioritize their concerns? That’s what today’s guest is here to talk about. 

Sandra Swirski, co-founder of the D.C. based advocacy firm Urban Swirski & Associates, has helped many charitable organizations and nonprofits run awareness campaigns, build coalitions and advocate their priorities to members of Congress. Tune in to hear Sandra talk with Sally Ehrenfried, Blackbaud’s principal government relations leader, about what makes a meeting with a legislator successful, how to prepare to walk into a meeting, and how to follow up after a meeting. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • What makes a meeting successful from an elected official’s perspective
  • What makes a meeting successful from the social sector’s perspective
  • Scheduling meetings with legislators
  • How to prepare your organization and advocates for Hill meetings
  • Deciding on your key messages
  • What to say to fly-in participants who are disappointed to meet with congressional staff than with their representatives or senators
  • Resources for training and developing talking points
  • How to research before talking to elected officials
  • Following-up after meetings to continue the conversations


Sandra Swirski


“What I do in Washington, generally, is I translate what is happening in Washington to the donor community and then I help donors translate what they do and their concerns to Congress.”

“I also find that the more gracious and firmer you are, the more likely you are to get what you want.” 

“Always start with timely, because that is very important to the member. That they will naturally be able to act on.”

Aug 22, 2019

This year, #GivingTuesday falls on December 3. While this feels far away now, it will be here sooner than you think, and it’s time to start preparing! Whether you work at a small nonprofit, a community hospital, a large museum, or anything in between, #GivingTuesday can help your organization attract new donors, re-engage old ones, or even just set the stage for year-end giving campaigns.

In today’s episode, Tanya Fitzgerald, senior marketing manager at Blackbaud, joins host Steve MacLaughlin to talk about how organizations can prepare for a successful #GivingTuesday and year-end giving season. Listen in to hear some #GivingTuesday success stories and to learn some key steps for preparing a campaign, how to develop messaging that resonates, and the key elements to include in a stewardship plan.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • What #GivingTuesday is and why it’s important to social good organizations
  • How to prepare for #GivingTuesday and the end-of year-giving season
  • Making sure that the entire organization understands the importance of end-of-year
  • Messaging around #GivingTuesday and end-of-year giving to help you stand out
  • Stewardship plans for different types of donors
  • Thinking beyond just fundraising - creative ways to leverage the day to create awareness and thank volunteers and donors
  • Stories of innovative success stories from organizations


Tanya Fitzgerald

#GivingTuesday Toolkit

#GivingTuesday Best Practices Article Series


“This to me is a global day of kindness, a way that you can connect with others, share your heart, and you can do it many different ways.” –Tanya Fitzgerald

“Your volunteers are your donors. They give more than just your donors.” –Tanya Fitzgerald

“You should really have a #GivingTuesday stewardship plan.” –Tanya Fitzgerald

Aug 15, 2019

New privacy regulations, data breaches and consumer attitudes about data privacy are constantly in the headlines. But it’s not just corporations that have to worry about data privacy - data privacy regulations are a serious topic for social good organizations as well.

Cameron Stoll, Principal Legal Counsel at Blackbaud, joins host Steve MacLaughlin to explore the topic of data privacy regulations in depth. Listen in to learn about the changing expectations of consumers and donors, the importance of transparency in data privacy policies, and how the GDPR is influencing data privacy regulations globally.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • The effect that Cambridge Analytica had on the privacy regulation discourse
  • The penalties associated with data breaches
  • The new normal when it comes to privacy regulations
  • The changing expectations of consumers and donors
  • Transparency around data usage
  • Consent issues with data
  • The differences between implicit consent and affirmative consent
  • Creating privacy policies that live up to stakeholder expectations, above and beyond legal requirements
  • Planning for new privacy regulations


Cameron Stoll

Privacy Toolkit: An Introductory Guide to Safeguarding Your Constituent Data

Article: Two Crucial Themes from the GDPR Featuring in US-Privacy Legislation 


“I think this one’s going to stick. July 2019 was the biggest month for privacy enforcement in history.” –Cameron Stoll

“Cambridge Analytica really changed the landscape of privacy and the concept of privacy in the everyday user.” –Cameron Stoll

“It really is a top-down effort, because privacy controls affect so many different aspects of an organization’s behavior.” –Cameron Stoll

Aug 8, 2019

An organization’s finance team is often one of the biggest overlooked strategic assets. However, in a connected office the finance team is a crucial part of driving success for an organization’s mission.

Joining the podcast today to explore this topic is Russell Pomeranz, President and CEO of Claverack Advisory Group. Listen in to hear Russell and host Steve MacLaughlin talk about the crucial role of finance in mission success, how and why the finance team should build relationships with other departments, and the importance of investing for the long term.  

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • The importance of financial leadership in mission success
  • Why organization leadership can’t operate in a vacuum
  • How to build relationships from the finance team outward
  • Understanding the mix of different funding sources
  • How finance can partner with other departments to make critical investments
  • Thinking about the budget in non-traditional ways
  • Investing for the long-term 


Russell Pomeranz

eBook: The Connected Office: Your Guide to Creating a Cohesive Constituent Experience

Article: Three Roles of the Nonprofit CFO that Lead to Mission Success


“Basically, mission success, fundraising success, marketing success, programmatic success, can’t happen without financial function leadership, and financial function leadership can’t happen without understanding the mission.” –Russell Pomeranz

“The drive and the alignment of finance and fundraising, and finance and programming, and finance and everything else is so important to get the organization to where it wants to go.” –Russell Pomeranz

“The notion of investing long-term is limited because finance committees and boards are so focused on the short-term they’ve stopped thinking strategically on the long-term.” –Russel Pomeranz

Aug 1, 2019

What’s the last thing you failed at? What did you learn from it? How you think about failure in the context of learning can make a big difference in future performance – both personally and as an organization.

Today’s guest is Kate Robinson, executive director of the film Failing Forward: On the Road to Social Impact. Kate talked to host Steve MacLaughlin about how nonprofits and social good organizations can use failure to make a bigger impact. Listen to the episode to hear what Kate Robinson has to say about learning culture, the questions that organizations should be asking to improve programs, and what role funders play in the process of failure and learning.

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • The purpose of Kate’s documentary, Failing Forward: On the Road to Social Impact
  • The characteristics of a learning culture
  • The pressure on nonprofits to appear effective
  • Using data as a tool to learn and drive decision making
  • Questions that organizations should ask to learn and improve programs
  • Overcoming resistance within organizations to “failing fast”
  • The dangers of not having a learning culture open to failure
  • The role of funders in adjusting perspectives to make learning from failure a bigger part of the equation
  • Building trust between funders and grantees to allow for more transparency 


Kate Robinson

Failing Forward


“I really set out to find an organization that I could use to kind of illustrate learning culture.” –Kate Robinson

“A learning culture puts learning as a very key priority for the organization.” –Kate Robinson

“To funders, I would say even if you think you’re being very extensive in your offer to hear what’s not working or hear the learning, I would say go even a step further” –Kate Robinson

Jul 25, 2019

Peer-to-peer fundraising continues to be an increasingly important part of the fundraising strategy for nonprofits and other social good organizations. But how do you know if your organization is successfully leveraging this fundraising channel? And what trends should you consider incorporating into your programs?   

On this episode, the authors of the just-released 2019 Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study – Katie Walters, Tanya Turschic, Shana Masterson, Robyn Mendez, and Jennifer Cobb – join the podcast to answer these questions and more. Listen in to hear about different types of peer-to-peer fundraising programs, what motivates participants, the influence of Facebook on giving behavior, and why email is still an indicator of engagement.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • How organizations can use the study to improve their peer-to-peer fundraising programs
  • Important benchmarks from 281 organizations across the U.S. and Canada
  • Types of P2P fundraising programs
  • The rise of crowdfunding and DIY fundraising
  • What motivates P2P fundraisers the most
  • The impact of registration fees on fundraising behavior
  • Email as an indicator of engagement
  • How to benchmark your organization against the study findings


2019 Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study

Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Resource Hub


“The most popular programs that we see are DIY fundraising programs and crowdfunding programs.” –Robyn Mendez

“Fundraising performance benchmarks by participants and by fundraisers, they help you measure your event potential.” – Tanya Turshic

“Every organization who has ever had a peer-to-peer fundraiser, ever, has the same exact goal. They want to attract more participants, they want to have more participants fundraising, and they want to have more participants fundraising more.” – Shana Masterson

Jul 18, 2019

This episode was originally published on April 5, 2018 as part of Blackbaud’s previous Raise & Engage Podcast.

In recent years we’ve seen the power of movements. Movements can create trends, bring people together in support of a common cause, and drive meaningful and significant change. But how do they happen? What gets a movement started, and then what causes it to grow and accelerate?

Today’s guest, Henry Timms, talks with host Steve MacLaughlin about these questions and more. As a co-founder of #GivingTuesday during his time as president and CEO of the 92nd Street Y and co-author with Jeremy Heimans of New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World--and How to Make It Work for You, Henry is more than familiar with the powers that drive movements. Listen to the episode to hear what Henry has to say about new power and how it is shaping and affecting modern movements for social good.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • The differences between old power and new power
  • How movements like #GivingTuesday, the Ice Bucket Challenge, and #MeToo represent a fundamental change in the way that power is harnessed and used
  • The importance of mobilization
  • How new power is giving more people more agency to get involved in causes and make change
  • Why people are more loyal to causes than to specific organizations and how that’s disrupting old models of power
  • What Henry thinks movements will look like and how they’ll change over the next decade
  • Which old power values are still important
  • What can be learned from established movement-builders

Links and Resources:

Henry Timms

New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World--and How to Make It Work for You

Article: New Power & Social Good: Thoughts from Jeremy Heimans


“When you start to look at the world, you start to see these themes emerging, which is that the people who are coming out on top are the people who understand mobilization.”

“We’ve all realized now that the assumptions of the 20th century - that if truth was on your side you’d come out on top - we know that’s no longer true.”

“The key to a movement is that it’s only a movement if it moves without you.”

Jul 11, 2019

On The sgENGAGE Podcast, we’ve talked about the importance of engaging supporters in the mission and the work that social good organizations are doing. But what’s the best way to get supporters to move beyond engagement, to connection and even taking direct action? Have we been thinking about the data wrong all along? 

Today’s guest is Shana Masterson, a Principal Business Analyst at Blackbaud and peer-to-peer fundraising expert. Listen in to hear her talk with host Steve MacLaughlin about why it’s time to pay more attention to Gen X (and what will happen if you don’t), what the emerging trends are in peer-to-peer fundraising, and how new ways of fundraising are encouraging more donors to get involved.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Why it’s important to pay attention to Generation X, and the risks that organizations take by not engaging them
  • Factors to consider beyond generation when reaching out to potential donors
  • Emerging trends and technology in peer-to-peer fundraising
  • Different ways supporters are choosing to fundraise for charitable organizations
  • How to engage with independent fundraisers
  • How new ways of fundraising are encouraging more donors to give in novel ways
  • The emerging importance of understanding analytics for engaging peer-to-peer fundraisers


Shana Masterson

Article: Getting Serious About Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Data with Predictive Analytics

Webinar: The Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Revolution: DIY Fundraising and More


“Gen X, who has been remarkably ignored for a long period of time, is actually a group of Americans who are poised to become what we’re saying is the next big thing for philanthropy.”

“There are all sorts of behaviors that we really need to start looking at to form the picture of what are the clusters of the population that we need to look at and how can we segment them and market and communicate with them in a way that’s going to resonate most.” 

“Twitch, I think the last numbers that I saw, gamers have raised over 110 million dollars for charity. Doing what they love and watching what they love and are able to actually fundraise as a result of doing things like gaming marathons and challenges around their gaming.”

Jul 5, 2019

When you reach out and engage with donors, you could be setting the stage for a relationship that lasts a lifetime. This is even more important with your younger donors - however, you need to use the right strategies to begin to build that lasting relationship. What are younger donors looking for? What’s the right approach and what will it take to execute?

In this episode, you’ll hear from Joe Garecht, President of Garecht Fundraising Associates and founder of The Fundraising Authority, about cultivating younger donors. Listen to the episode to learn what donor cultivation means, what the cultivation process should look like, and about the 8 keys to cultivating younger donors that may alter your playbook. 

After listening, click on the webinar link in the “Resources” section below to hear more from Joe on this topic, including the younger donor lifecycle and what to do after getting that first gift.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • The importance of building lifelong relationships with young donors
  • What donor cultivation means to different donors
  • The process of cultivation - from weeding out prospects to a set endgame
  • Going beyond social media to cultivate younger donors
  • Relationships with businesses vs. individuals
  • Making your cultivation process scalable
  • Telling the story of your nonprofit while including your donors


Joe Garecht

Webinar: How to Engage Younger Donors to Create Lifelong Relationships for your Nonprofit

eBook: The Nonprofit Planning How-To Guide


“Cultivation is what happens in between. It’s all the communication and interaction that occurs between your nonprofit and a prospect.”

“The big goal of the entire cultivation and engagement process, the goal that it’s focused on, is the ask.”

“Don’t spend time trying to cultivate people who just aren’t interested in your organization.”

Jun 27, 2019

Is your organization no longer content with just “making good grants” or “doing good things for the community?” Have you thought about how your strategies need to change to achieve new goals? 

Today’s episode features Cynthia Schaal, Chief Program Officer at Exponent Philanthropy, discussing how your organization can have a greater impact. Cynthia takes you step by step and helps your organization understand the obstacles you might face after taking a fresh look at your goals, strategies, and outcomes, and helps you determine what you can do differently to achieve more. After listening, click on the link to the webinar in the “Resources” section below to hear even more from Cynthia on this topic.

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • Steps to creating a high impact philanthropic program
  • What “high-impact philanthropy” really means
  • Setting clear outcome goals
  • Designing effective and coordinated strategies
  • Establishing a learning plan 
  • Overcoming common obstacles
  • Dynamics, readiness, planning, and focus
  • Capacity and implementation
  • Assessing and integrating your work


Cynthia Schaal

Webinar: Ramping Up for High-Impact Philanthropy

Exponent Philanthropy

Ramping Up for High-Impact Philanthropy Toolkit


“Perhaps high impact for you might be reaching more people or more places with your giving.” -- Cynthia Schaal

“Those who are giving in a high-impact manner match those strategies to their goals.” -- Cynthia Schaal

“It could be that everybody around the table comes to the work with a different perspective, a unique point of view, and really thinks they have the best idea for how to use the resources.” -- Cynthia Schaal

Jun 13, 2019

The digital world has opened a new range of possibilities for higher education institutions as they look to connect with alumni and other prospective donors. Opportunities for greater creativity and the ability to make the donation process much easier and more personalized have greatly advanced how institutions can better engage constituents. However, one thing that remains the same is the importance of building relationships.

This episode features a discussion between Sue Cunningham, President and CEO of CASE, and Tim Hill, President & GM of Blackbaud Higher Education Solutions, about the Blackbaud Institute’s “2018 Charitable Giving Report: Higher Education Spotlight.” Listen in to hear what Tim and Sue have to say about higher education trends in 2018 and how they compare to prior years, and how digital tools and campaigns will affect the future of higher education giving. And to learn even more about this topic, click on the link to the webinar in the “Resources” section below. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • The current state of higher education giving
  • How much fundraising comes via online sources
  • How current digital trends have changed how donors engage with educational institutions
  • Multi-year trends in giving
  • How advancement professionals are responding to the changing landscape in giving
  • How institutions can harness the power of digital and online strategies to tell their impact stories and reach more donors
  • The increasing role of #GivingTuesday in higher education fundraising


Sue Cunningham

Tim Hill

Webinar: 2018 Charitable Giving Report: Higher Education Spotlight

Report: 2018 Charitable Giving Report: Higher Education Spotlight


“Clearly the digital world has opened up a huge range of opportunities, and we’re seeing imaginative and creative use of those both in the context of a broader engagement and also specifically around fundraising.” – Sue Cunningham

“We forget that sometimes you’re competing for that dollar with other types of institutions.” –Tim Hill 

“Whether relationships are being built face-to-face or whether they’re being built remotely, I think relationships are at the heart of what we’re about and what we’re doing.” –Sue Cunningham

Jun 6, 2019

Has your organization better connected finance and development and you’re now looking for what you can do next to ensure sustainable mission success? Today’s episode focuses on learnings from Blackbaud’s Financial Management Toolkit, an expert guide for connecting finance and development as a strategic partnership.

Industry expert Pamela Gignac, Vice President of Development at JMG Solutions, shares strategies and best practices for using donor statements to position your organization for a successful sustainer giving program. Listen in to learn how to begin, how donor statements can be used to build trust and start new conversations with donors, and which donors should receive the statements.

After the episode, access the webinars listed in the Resources section below to hear more from Pamela and other experts.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • What donors want to know about the impact their funds have
  • How the donor statement helps build trust
  • Tying statistics and impact stories together
  • The first steps for creating donor statements
  • Which resources need to be used to create donor statements
  • Pros and cons of including expense details
  • Which donors to target with donor statements


Pamela Gignac

Full Webinar: Sustaining the Transformation

Finance and Fundraising Webinar Series

Financial Management Toolkit


“Where it’s really relevant, more than in any other place, is particularly with major gifts.”

“If one organization does it, then donors get used to it.”

“The donor statement is one that allows us to personalize the accountability that we have to our donors.”

May 30, 2019

Digital transformation may sound like a buzzword, but the reality is that it fundamentally changes the way organizations operate and innovate.

Special guest Mike Gianoni, president & CEO of Blackbaud, joins us for our 100th episode to explore the topic of digital transformation and how it drives business performance. Listen in to hear what Mike has to say about how technology has changed the way organizations run over the past few decades, why successful digital transformation requires more than just new technology, and how leaders can champion digital transformation across their organizations.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Digital transformation over the past 30+ years
  • How digital transformation has changed various industries, such as banking and farming
  • How digital transformation drives business performance
  • What social good organizations can learn from the digital transformation of private sector companies
  • Barriers to digital transformation in social good organizations
  • Why digital transformation needs to be a team sport
  • The responsibility of the C-suite in leading digital transformation across their organization
  • Examples of social good organizations that have been positively impacted by digital transformations


Mike Gianoni



“Obviously, digital transformation impacts all of us. It’s changed our lives significantly.”

“Digital transformation is not just about the software and the IT, it's about moving the whole company in a different direction.”

“It's not just the IT person's job to drive digital transformation. It's actually the CEO's job or the executive director's job to drive it because you have to change everything, not just the software.”

 “To really get ahold of this, everything has to be rethought. Every part of the business, every aspect of the business…financial management to mission delivery, fundraising, all of it.”

May 23, 2019

Nonprofits and other social good organizations face many challenges, but one that can be seen over and over again comes from inside the organization. Different departments, such as development and communications, don’t effectively engage with each other, hampering their ability to reach out to and engage with donors as successfully as they could.

Today’s guest is Sam Stern, CEO of Magnify Good, a communications consultancy that helps social sector organizations magnify the good of the work they do. He joins podcast host Steve MacLaughlin of Blackbaud to talk about how organizations can transform by focusing on working more connectedly across departments, particularly between development and communications. Listen in to hear what Sam has to say about where to start to increase inter-departmental collaboration, how creating personas can help organizations operate more effectively, mirroring the donor’s journey with evergreen content, and the importance of technology to bring all the pieces together.

 Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Looking inward for problems rather than focusing on external factors
  • Steps for helping departments work better together
  • Developing personas to understand the donor’s journey
  • Creating meaningful and lasting content
  • The role that technology plays and shifting organizational thinking around digital transformation


Sam Stern

Magnify Good

Connective Impact eBook


“What would happen if we all focused on doing our work together in a fashion that would be more effective and lead to better results?”

“Having this persona in the front of your mind all the time is going to help you get to the point where you can even test these things to see what’s working best and what’s not.”

“How do we need to think about this, organizationally, and make decisions as to whether this technology is actually just going to be more work and not really pay off any benefits, or if it’s really going to empower us.”

May 16, 2019

Everyone knows that social media has a massive impact on today’s culture, so how can social good organizations effectively leverage it to engage supporters? What does your organization need to do to execute an effective social media strategy? What benchmarks should you be tracking your performance against? How can you improve if you’re not where you want to be? The guests in this episode of The sgENGAGE Podcast are going to help answer these questions.

Today Jocelyn Wright, Instructional Designer and Jenny Toledo, Instructor at Blackbaud University, join your host Roz Lemieux, Director of Blackbaud Labs, to talk about some of the highlights from the M+R Benchmarks Report and what they mean for your organization. Listen in to learn why social media tracking matters, what development professionals need to know about Facebook fundraisers, and what to expect from Instagram’s new donate stickers.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Highlights from the 2019 M+R Benchmarks Report  
  • Why social media matters to social good organizations and why it’s important to track
  • Social media vocabulary and best practices
  • What organizations should be watching for on Facebook and Instagram
  • Insights into online monthly membership programs
  • How to brush up on social media strategy and take your organization to the next level


Jocelyn Wright

Jenny Toledo

M+R Benchmarks Report 2019

Blackbaud University Organizational Best Practices

Blackbaud University Organizational Best Practices Course Listing


“We need to use social media to our leverage. That’s where everyone is. That’s where everyone is engaging and talking with our organizations. We have to be where the people are.”

“We have seen that video content is actually the most engaging across all platforms.”

“If you understand your audience, you understand what message they resonate with, what they connect with.”

May 9, 2019

What do finance and development have in common? A goal to keep the organization on the path to successfully fulfilling its mission. So, it's critical that finance and development are aligned both on the goal and on the path they'll take to getting there. Today’s episode focuses on the learnings in Blackbaud’s Financial Management Toolkit, an expert guide for connecting finance and development as a strategic partnership.

Industry experts and Toolkit contributors Russell Pomeranz, president and CEO of Claverack Advisory Group; Lucy Morgan, director of; and Bess Hamilton Foley, chair of the Nonprofit Operating Reserves Initiative Workgroup, share best practices and tips for how finance and development can collaborate to determine the organization's path to mission success. Listen in to hear what they have to say about how finance and development should work together, coordinating a revenue strategy that includes grants and fundraising, and strategies for fundraising an operating reserve.

After the episode, access the webinars listed in the Resources section below to hear more from Russell, Lucy and Bess as well as other experts.

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • How finance and development strengthen each other’s work
  • Taking a longer-term view at how finance and development should work together
  • Incentivizing the united front of finance and development
  • Importance of coordinating your revenue strategy between grants and fundraising
  • Focusing on transparency and accountability
  • Strategies for funding an operating reserve and why it’s important to have one


Webinar: Getting Aligned on Finance and Mission Strategy

Finance and Fundraising Webinar Series

Financial Management Toolkit

Russell Pomeranz

Lucy Morgan

Bess Hamilton Foley


“Finance and development working together have the necessary financial and programmatic impact to build the mission-sustainable nonprofit however that mission adapts over time.” –Russell Pomeranz

“One of the parts of federal grants that we tend to forget about is just how big that purse is.” –Lucy Morgan

“An operating reserve helps to ensure that you can continue to reliably deliver critical mission services.” –Bess Hamilton Foley

May 2, 2019

Getting supporters to take action and engage with elected officials on policy issues can be a challenge, requiring organizations to start thinking outside the box. Learn from one social good organization how innovating and testing new tactics can help boost advocate engagement.

This episode of the sgENGAGE Podcast features an interview with Chris Masak, senior associate director of advocacy at the Alzheimer's Association. Chris shares how the Alzheimer’s Association has experimented to get more people engaged in Alzheimer’s advocacy. He also gives tips on how to identify people likely to take action on your cause and how to decide which methods of engagement to experiment with. Finally, Chris discusses the new tactics and technologies he is looking forward to trying next.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Chris’s insights on advocacy strategies for large and small organizations
  • Identifying the right potential advocates to engage with
  • How to determine what new engagement methods your organization should try
  • New technologies and advocate engagement tactics to get excited about


Chris Masak

Alzheimer’s Association

Grassroots Galvanizer Playbook


“When it comes to the advocacy work, if you’ve taken an action recently, if you’ve spoken out on an issue and done it in a way that we like, those are the people that we want to identify first.”

“It’s the long game that we’re ultimately looking for. Some of the stuff that has come out as beta tests or trial runs, those are the things that have had a lasting impact on our movement.”

“Even the biggest organizations probably have fewer resources than you’d expect when it comes to certain things. There’s some duct tape and glue going on no matter what.”

Apr 25, 2019

We spend as much as 20% of our day doing manual repetitive tasks, and those manual tasks often end up costing organizations a lot of money in lost productivity, fraud and errors. So how can social good organizations fix this? Enter robotic process automation (RPA), a technology that automates repetitive processes and allows organizations to better control their expenses, increase their margins, and drive more revenue.

In this episode, Blackbaud’s RPA expert Louis Stratton explains what robotic process automation technology is, how it strengthens internal controls and why it benefits organizations to include it as part of their strategy. After listening to the episode, check out the webinar through the link below to learn even more about how RPA can influence your work.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • The state of business today and how much time and money is lost from manual repetitive tasks
  • The relationship between digital transformation and robotic process automation
  • The limitations preventing us from having more on-demand information
  • How RPA helps organizations strengthen internal controls
  • The future of robotic process automation
  • Examples of how organizations can be transformed through RPA


Louis Stratton

Webinar: Robotic Process Automation: What It Means for Your Organization


 “We live in an era where digital transformation is radically changing the way we interact, work, and live.”

 “One thing that’s always constant is that hardware gets better, then software gets better.”

 “In business, the robot is the software.”

Apr 18, 2019

It’s easy to think of data as something that’s entirely neutral, but like most things, data is open to interpretation. It can be affected by human choices and by human biases, and often social good organizations don’t realize that they are working with biased data that ultimately affects how they achieve their mission.

Today’s guests are Vanice Dunn, director of equity, and Lane Trisko, director of digital and data strategy at Provoc. Vanice and Lane talked with Roz Lemieux, director of Blackbaud Labs, about their work helping social good organizations identify and remove bias in their data, and how data bias ultimately contributes to institutional racism. Listen in to hear what they have to say about what data bias looks like, common mistakes to be aware of, and strategies for overcoming data bias.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • What data bias is and how it presents
  • What it means to lead with an equity-first approach
  • How data bias contributes to inequity and institutional racism
  • Common issues that cause data bias
  • Strategies organizations can take to ensure their data is more equitable


Lane Trisko

Vanice Dunn



“I think that people have this misconception that if they approach with a data first approach or if they’re rooting their work in data that they’ve got it covered.” –Vanice Dunn

 “What you carry around as your own unconscious bias or your assumptions is going to find its way into those decisions.” –Lane Trisko

“Being more strategic and rooting out bias in the way that you allocate those resources that will be allocated regardless is in service of the mission that your nonprofit exists for.” –Vanice Dunn

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