The sgENGAGE Podcast

By Blackbaud, Inc.

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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.

Episode Date
Episode 118: How Companies Can Engage on #GivingTuesday

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 10, 2019
Episode 117: Inside Out Fundraising

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

Oct 03, 2019
Episode 116: Storytelling 101

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 26, 2019
Episode 115: Getting Creative on #GivingTuesday

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 19, 2019
Episode 114: Leadership in the Connected Office

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 12, 2019
Episode 113: Engaging Live Streamers in Fundraising

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.”

Sep 05, 2019
Episode 112: Tips for a Successful Hill Day

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 29, 2019
Episode 111: #GivingTuesday is Closer Than You Think

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 22, 2019
Episode 110: Understanding Data Privacy Regulations

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 15, 2019
Episode 109: The Finance Team’s Role in a Connected Office

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 08, 2019
Episode 108: Celebrating Failure to Create Social Impact

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

Aug 01, 2019
Episode 107: The State of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

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 25, 2019
Episode 106: The Power of Movements

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 18, 2019
Episode 105: Going from Donor Engagement to Donor Action

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 11, 2019
Episode 104: 8 Keys to Cultivating Young Donors

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.”

Jul 05, 2019
Episode 103: Ramping Up for High-Impact Philanthropy

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 27, 2019
Episode 102: Spotlight on Giving Trends in Higher Education

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 13, 2019
Episode 101: Building Trust and Accountability with Donor Statements

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.”

Jun 06, 2019
Episode 100: Driving Business Performance with Digital Transformation

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 30, 2019
Episode 99: The Dynamic Duo: Increasing Impact by Uniting Development and Communications

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 23, 2019
Episode 98: The State of Social Media in 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 16, 2019
Episode 97: Aligning Finance and Mission Strategy

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 09, 2019
Episode 96: Innovative Techniques for Engaging Advocates

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.”

May 02, 2019
Episode 95: What the Heck is Robotic Process Automation? (and Why Your Organization Needs It)

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 25, 2019
Episode 94: Does Your Data Have a Bias Problem?

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

Apr 18, 2019
Episode 93: What You Need to Know About Persona-Based Marketing

You’ve probably heard a lot about persona-based marketing. But do you really know what it is? What are personas, how do you develop them, and what do you do with them? And should your organization even be worrying about incorporating personas into its marketing efforts? (hint…probably)

Rachel Clemens, chief marketing officer of branding and digital marketing agency Mighty Citizen, joins the podcast to talk about persona-based marketing can amplify a mission-driven organization’s marketing efforts. Listen to the episode to hear more about what function a persona serves, how organizations can identify the audiences they should create personas for, and how persona-based marketing differs from segmentation.

Bonus - you’ll also learn how your mission-driven organization can win $25,000 in free communications services from Mighty Citizen.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • The definition of persona-based marketing
  • How to get started incorporating personas into your marketing efforts
  • How to identify what personas your organization should prioritize creating
  • How Mighty Citizen uses personas into its own work
  • The differences between segmentation and persona-based marketing
  • Examples of organizations running great multichannel marketing campaigns
  • Resources for learning more about persona-driven marketing


Rachel Clemens

Mighty Citizen Fundraising Campaign Metrics Template

Mighty Citizen Marketing Campaign Template

The Mighty Big Grant contest

The Next Generation of American Giving


“The purpose of them is to learn to see a person as an actual person that’s looking at your org, not as someone you’re just trying to sell to or talk to or get a donation from.”

“You’ll know you’ve interviewed enough people when you start to anticipate their responses to your questions.”

“We always say research kills opinions.”

Apr 11, 2019
Episode 92: The State of CSR

Things are changing in the world of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Employee volunteerism is on the rise, and a variety of new trends in employee giving programs are taking hold. Today’s guest, Dustin Joost, VP of Sales and Marketing at YourCause (a Blackbaud company), joins the podcast to talk more about these trends and what they say about the state of CSR today.

Dustin discusses ins and outs of the newly published “2019 CSR Industry Review.” Listen in to hear about major report findings, what’s driving the rise in corporate volunteerism, and which statistics Dustin found surprising and exciting.  

 Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • The major trends highlighted in the report
  • Why employee volunteerism has been on the rise
  • How companies are engaging new employees in CSR
  • Strategies companies can employ to help drive donations to employee giving programs
  • The rise of peer-to-peer fundraising within corporations


Dustin Joost

2019 CSR Industry Review


“Really what we’re trying to do is build the largest network of do-gooders to go out and make a meaningful impact in the world.”

“Some of the most impactful companies that we’ve seen are able to tie their community relations efforts into that first-day experience.”

“Peer-to-peer personalizes what fundraising means.”

Apr 03, 2019
Episode 91: Eliminating Unconscious Bias in the Hiring Process

How does unconscious bias interfere with the hiring process? It may be different than you think. Listen to this episode to learn more about how unconscious bias affects the workplace and how it can be overcome to create diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Today’s guest is Paula Brantner, president of PB Works Solutions, LLC and senior advisor to Workplace Fairness, a nonprofit organization working to promote and preserve employee rights that maintains the most comprehensive online resource for free information about workers' rights. Listen to the episode to hear what Paula has to say about strategies that organizations can use to reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process, tactics for reaching out to and recruiting diverse candidates, and the benefits of a more diverse workplace.

 Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Paula’s background and how she got involved in diversity and bias issues
  • What unconscious bias is and how it interferes with the hiring process
  • Strategies that organizations can use to eliminate unconscious bias and reach more diverse candidates
  • Tools and training that can help hiring managers identify implicit bias
  • Patterns that Paula sees when it comes to diversity issues in hiring
  • Benefits of working to remove unconscious bias and be more inclusive


Paula Brantner

Workplace Fairness

Project Implicit


“I really started paying attention to diversity and bias issues when I realized that a lot of times it’s very difficult to bring a lawsuit when you’ve encountered these in the workplace.”

“You may think you don’t discriminate, but these forces may be working in your brain based on your life experience even before you take any action against them.”

“When you actually get to the point of sorting and interviewing particular candidates, make sure you have a diverse group of people looking at the resumes.”

Mar 28, 2019
Episode 90: Increasing Engagement with Digital Innovation

Cheryl Contee, CEO of Do Big Things and author of the upcoming book “Mechanical Bull: How You Can Achieve Success,” joins the podcast to talk about digital innovation and how it can be used to increase stakeholder and supporter engagement. Listen to the episode to hear Cheryl and guest host Roz Lemiuex, Director of Blackbaud Labs, discuss what innovations can be used to help increase engagement, why online influencers are powerful, and how organizations can balance efficiency with innovation.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Examples of innovative campaigns Cheryl has seen
  • The power of online influencers and micro-influencers
  • Where should organizations start with digital ads
  • Why technology is a helpful tool but not necessarily a solution
  • How organizations are making space to take risks and innovate while remaining efficient
  • New technology and tactics emerging in 2019
  • What has surprised Cheryl while working on campaigns over the past year


Cheryl Contee on Twitter

Do Big Things

Video interview: Cheryl talks about how Leveraging Video Content with No Budget


 “New power really does rely on reaching out to the new power players, and the new power players are online influencers.”

“What people do trust are their friends, their families, and the influencers who matter to them, particularly micro-influencers.”

“This is a time now when organizations need to be follower-led.”

Mar 21, 2019
Episode 89: Developing Fundraising Talent

How can fundraising professionals, especially those working for smaller organizations, improve their own fundraising skills? And what can organizations do better to attract and retain fundraising talent? 

To help explore this question, Jason Lewis, author of “The War for Fundraising Talent: And How Small Shops Can Win,” joins the podcast to talk about his ideas about arms-length fundraising, creating value for donors, and how organizations can empower fundraisers in ways that set them up for success and job satisfaction. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • The problems with arms-length fundraising
  • Industrial versus artisanal approaches to fundraising
  • Creating value and expecting more from donors
  • Why a passion for the cause isn’t enough when it comes to fundraising
  • Recommendations for identifying candidates who are a good fit for fundraising in the interview or recruiting process
  • How employers can reduce burnout and turnover of fundraising talent 


Jason Lewis

Lewis Fundraising

The War for Fundraising Talent: And How Small Shops Can Win


“Your local Starbucks knows how much initial volume they want to come through the door to purchase that first cup of coffee, and they’re going to spend quite a serious amount of money to get that first consumer, that first person to purchase that first cup of coffee.” 

“At some point, we have to recognize that generally speaking, what we expect of them is more every time we reach out to them.” 

“Passion can play out in a very harmonious way, but it can also play out in a very problematic way.”

Mar 14, 2019
Episode 88: Uncomplicate Your Communications

Many nonprofit organizations struggle with communications. A lot of times, this problem is caused by too many complications in their strategy.

This episode’s guest is Michael Beall, Principal Consultant and Communications Practice Leader at Accordant Philanthropy. Listen to the episode to learn what Michael has to say about how organizations can uncomplicate their communications strategy by prioritizing communications to different audiences, how budget fears affect communications, and how to test messaging to see what resonates with different donors.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • How organizations often overcomplicate their communications
  • How organizations’ priorities shift when communicating with different audiences over time
  • How mixing messages rather than focusing on one audience at a time can overcomplicate messaging
  • What prevents organizations from doing their best work with a focused audience
  • Delivering active and passive content to donors in a face-to-face context
  • How to test messaging to see what resonates with donors



Michael Beall

Article: Uncomplicate Your Communications Strategy

Webinar Series: Resources for Creating an Atmosphere of Engagement



“I think a simple exercise to do is to really list those potential priorities, those different audiences, and just assign who’s number one, who’s number two, who’s number three.”

“The interesting thing is that when you poll donors, they tell you the opposite – that they’re overwhelmed by frequency and by noise. And that really, that’s not what they’re looking for.”

“You’ve really got to test it out before you send it out.”

Mar 07, 2019
Episode 87: Digital Transformation of Fundraising

What is digital transformation, and how is it impacting fundraising in the social good community? What does digital transformation mean for those organizations themselves?

To talk about this topic, Brad Little, Managing Director of Consumer Solutions, joins the sgENGAGE Podcast with host Steve MacLaughlin. Listen to the episode to hear what Brad has to say about digital transformation tools, how personal connections matter, and what the rise of crowdfunding means for social good.


Topics Discussed in This Episode:

Digital transformation tools

How consumer behavior is starting to transform the nonprofit sector

Why personal connections matter in fundraising

Finding the right way to share stories to the world in a way that inspires people to act

Why crowdfunding is accelerating, and what that means for social good organizations



Brad Little




“Many of us would consider digital transformation much broader than trying to do digital things well.”

“Every industry, as we all know, is somewhat disrupted by not just the internet but the phones and access we have in our pockets every day.”

“Some of the work that we’re trying to do is find the way that we can help drive new supporters and net new donations that they maybe wouldn’t have gotten without using various softwares out there in the world that we might be able to produce.”



Feb 28, 2019
Episode 86: Is Your Fundraising Diversified?

Why does fundraising matter so much for nonprofit organizations? What is the best way to measure how effective fundraising measures are? What do diversified fundraising programs look like? Today’s guests are joining the podcast to help answer these important questions.

Anne Wallestad is the President and Chief Executive Officer of BoardSource, and Andy Davis is the Director of Education at BoardSource. They join the podcast today to talk about diversified fundraising and metrics for fundraising success. Listen to the episode to hear what Anne and Andy have to say about the essential nature of fundraising for nonprofits, the best way to balance efficiency and risk in fundraising, and how organizations can measure their dependency quotient.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Why fundraising is essential for nonprofit organizations to survive
  • Educating donors about why their donations matter
  • Avoiding underinvesting in organizations
  • Balancing risk and efficiency
  • How organizations can get started measuring dependency quotient
  • Understanding where the fundraising portfolio is at
  • Having productive conversations about risks and rewards with board members


Anne Wallestad, President and Chief Executive Officer, BoardSource
Andy Davis, Director of Education, BoardSource

The Right Mix: How Diverse Income Models Influence Giving

Measuring Fundraising Effectiveness: Why Cost of Fundraising Isn't Enough



“Organizations do have to help donors get to know their organizations, share how their work is having an impact, share how a donors investment would have an impact.” –Anne Wallestad

“If you think about it just in terms of shorthand, cost of fundraising is a measure of efficiency, dependency quotient is a measure of risk.” –Anne Wallestad

“Everyone knows that your weight is a measurement in some way of how healthy a person is. But what if we were told that weight was the only thing that mattered, like sometimes is the case with cost of fundraising?” –Andy Davis

Feb 14, 2019
Episode 85: Understanding Engagement Fundraising

Have you ever read something that totally changes your perspective on a subject? When it comes to fundraising, it’s not uncommon for people in the nonprofit sector to have  set ideas about the process of fundraising, but today’s guest is challenging those perspectives.

Greg Warner is the author of the book Engagement Fundraising: How to Raise More Money for Less in the 21st Century. He joins the podcast today to talk about what prompted him to write the book and what engagement fundraising means for the nonprofit sector. Listen to the episode to hear what Greg has to say about why it’s important to take a more modern approach to fundraising, how to move from relationship fundraising to engagement fundraising, and what the first steps are toward engagement fundraising.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • What prompted Greg to write his book about engagement fundraising
  • Why a more modern approach is needed in many areas of fundraising
  • Myths of soliciting donations
  • Moving from relationship fundraising to engagement fundraising
  • The first step of engagement fundraising                                                                                                                                      


Greg Warner

Engagement Fundraising: How to Raise More Money for Less in the 21st Century

Introducing the "Four Selfs" of Engagement Fundraising

The Four Selfs



“Things that the sector believed just were not true, especially from a donor’s perspective, but also from a technology perspective.”

“Engagement fundraising really focuses first and foremost on the consideration process that the donor goes through.”

“It’s not about moving donors, and it shouldn’t be, but that’s what people think. The key to success is to provide value in a way that helps donors move themselves forward in the giving consideration process.”


Feb 07, 2019
Episode 84: A Recipe for Hashtag Activism

It’s clear that social media can be a powerful tool for social good. Online campaigns like #MeToo have been greatly effective at raising awareness and sparking action. But not every campaign is so effective, and social media activism can be polarizing and difficult to manage.

This episode’s guest is Susan McPherson, founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies. She joins the podcast  to talk  about hashtag activism, why some social media campaigns are successful while others aren’t, what social good organizations can do to help ensure the success of their social media campaigns, and how to appeal to members of Generation Z.


Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • When social media activism is powerful and when it is not
  • How social good organizations can make their campaigns  effective and lasting
  • Hashtag campaigns that Susan has seen succeed, and why they succeeded
  • How nonprofits will need to adapt to capture the attention of the upcoming generation



Follow Susan on Twitter: @susanmcp1

McPherson Strategies

GRASSROOTS GALVANIZER: A modern playbook to mobilize, organize, fundraise and influence



“Social media can be an incredible way to scale reaction, to rapidly organize a message of dissent or awareness about an issue.”

“Remember, sometimes it’s OK if every campaign isn’t about getting people to make a donation."

“The most moving social campaigns are generally not associated with specific brands or organizations. They’re typically supported with a moment, feeling, or call to action.”

Jan 31, 2019
Episode 83: How Gen Z is Transforming Social Good

Today’s young people know that they can have a hand in shaping a better future and solving the world’s challenges, and they’re embracing their role by engaging in causes and supporting organizations and companies that align with their values.

This episode’s guest is Meredith Ferguson, the Managing Director of DoSomething Strategic. Listen to today’s conversation to hear more about and DoSomething Strategic and how they are helping engage millions of young people in social change. Learn about how Generation Z is different from previous generations when it comes to social good, how social good organizations and companies can engage with this younger generation, and what makes young people gravitate toward causes.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • How young people are engaging in social change today, and the biggest driver for them to get involved
  • How Generation Z is different from other generations when it comes to engaging in social impact
  • How nonprofits and other social good organizations can get young people involved
  • Examples of organizations that do a good job of engaging the younger generation
  • Best modes of communicating with young activists
  • How young people feel about brands taking stands
  • How companies can engage young employees in CSR initiatives
  • Resources for learning more about how to engage Gen Z


Meredith Ferguson

Learn about DoSomething Strategic and

Article: What Drives Gen Z: Is It the Experience or the Cause?


“ is the largest platform for young people and social change. We have 6 million members worldwide in 121 countries between the ages of 13 and 25.”

“The interesting thing is when we ask young people who is responsible for solving the world’s most pressing problems today, they said “citizens”. A plurality of them said, “we are.”

“If you’re not communicating via text, then you’re likely not activating as highly as you should.”

Jan 17, 2019
Episode 82: Skills, Brand & Space: The Future of Work

Work doesn’t mean the same thing now that it once meant. Workers have different motivations and skills, and organizations are changing their look in order to be more diverse and inclusive. What does that mean for the future of work?

In today’s episode, you’ll hear a session from the 2018 Social Innovation Summit facilitated by Rachel Hutchisson on the topic of “Skills, Brand, and Space: The Future of Work.” Listen to the conversation with Carina Wong, Senior Advisor, Innovation & Scale at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gary Bolles, Chair for the Future of Work, Singularity University as they answer questions about purpose and passion in the workplace, the changing skills required in today’s workplaces, and how workplaces themselves are changing.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • The intersection of what the individual employee and the organization want
  • Finding purpose in the workplace
  • Skills people need to be successful today and in the future
  • How organizations have changed and need to expand
  • Diversity and inclusion in the worksplace


Carina Wong

Gary Bolles

Social Innovation Summit 2019

Watch this session on YouTube


“Working at the Gates Foundation, I know that I work at one of the most purposeful places in the world, and that it’s a privilege to be able to follow your purpose and passion.” –Carina Wong

“Engagement with work sort of runs this spectrum from mild disinterest to all the way through to feeling like it’s your mission in life.” –Gary Bolles

“Inclusion is simply the inevitable result of that kind of process – of opening up your thinking and realizing that only by having a diverse set of problem solvers will you be able to solve the problems of tomorrow.” –Gary Bolles

Jan 10, 2019
Episode 81: Lean Principles for Social Good

Social good organizations and private companies have many differences, but they also have many things in common and can benefit from some of the same strategies. Lean principles are being used more and more often among startups and tech companies, and social good organizations are alsolso seeing the value of these principles: thinking big, starting small, and seeking impact.

In today’s episode, Steve MacLaughlin talks with our guest Ann Mei Chang, author of the book Lean Impact: HJow to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good, about how some of these lean principles are being implemented in social good organizations. Listen in to hear what she has to say about transitioning to using lean principles, getting comfortable with failures, and ensuring that a successful program can scale.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • How Ann Mei leverages her Silicon Valley background to help social good organizations achieve greater impact
  • How social good organizations can transition to using lean principles as an approach to solving problems
  • The core principles involved in lean  strategies
  • Setting big goals and getting comfortable with failure
  • Making a successful program that can scale, and learning how to iterate


Ann Mei Chang

Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good


“I started to realize that while people get really excited about technology, what I think truly differentiates Silicon Valley are two things: one is the audacity of the ambitions in Silicon Valley, and the second is the pace of progress.”

“I think there are many, many organizations doing incredible work, but it’s still in the early adopter phase.”

“One of the things I like to say is it’s important to fall in love with your problem, not your solution.”

Jan 03, 2019
Episode 80: Digital Transformation for Social Good

Digital transformation is a buzz word now in the social good space. But what does it actually mean? And why is it important that nonprofits and other social good organizations digitally transform?

In this episode, which was recorded live at bbcon, you’ll hear from Jim Daniell, the Chief Transformation Officer for NetHope, which works with nonprofits and other social good organizations to change the world through the power of technology.

Jim talks about what NetHope is doing with its Center for Digital Innovation, the non-technology related changes that are required for digital transformation, and how social good organizations can leverage technology to have a bigger social impact. Listen to the episode to hear more about how organizations can undertake their own digital transformations that push them and their impact to the next level.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • NetHope’s work and how they are connecting nonprofits with technology innovators to help change the world
  • Why digital transformation isn’t just about technology, and why it’s actually mostly about people and process
  • How nonprofits and funders can better work together to drive innovation that solves the world’s biggest problems
  • How organizations can start their own digital transformations, including by shifting their mindsets


Jim Daniell


Video: What is Digital Transformation?


“It turns out that international relief, the relief workers, the number one thing you need is data.”

“Information is a form of aid.”

“We often say, digital transformation is not about technology. It’s about people, process, and technology, and it’s mostly about people and process.”


Dec 27, 2018
Episode 79: How Elections Influence Charitable Giving

Research has found that charitable donors who also give to political campaigns are more generous than donors who don’t give to political campaigns. But how do elections impact charitable giving overall, and what effect does gender have?

In today’s episode, we’ll hear from Jacqueline Ackerman, assistant director for Research and Partnerships at the Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Listen to the episode to hear about the key findings of the Institute’s research, which types of organizations saw a spike in giving after the 2016 U.S. election, and how women and men give differently – and what that means for how nonprofits should target donors.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Research that the Women’s Philanthropy Institute has done into giving from a gender perspective
  • Key findings of research relating to the 2016 election in the U.S.
  • Why giving immediately following the election was lower than expected across charitable organizations overall
  • The difference between giving to progressive organizations generally and progressive organizations that were relevant to election issues.
  • The differences between women’s and men’s giving following the election
  • How organizations can think about and apply the data from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute’s research


Jacqueline Ackerman

Women's Philanthropy Institute

Charitable Giving Around the 2016 Election: Does Gender Matter?

Infographic: Charitable Giving Around the 2016 Election: Does Gender Matter?

Notable Quotes:

“Our third key finding is that charitable giving after the 2016 election increased significantly for these relevant progressive charities.”

“What we tried to do was piece out the election effect from the typical end-of-the-year increase in giving that we would see anyway.”

“We know that women and men are motivated differently. Women tend to give to help others, men tend to focus on the benefits they accrue from giving.”

Dec 20, 2018
Episode 78: Last Minute Tips for Year-End Giving

The end of the year, or the “season of giving,” is important for all types of social good organizations. Year-end appeals are powerful fundraising vehicles, create additional exposure for your organization, and offer an opportunity to connect with donors on how they’ve helped you throughout the year.

In this episode of The sgENGAGE podcast, Tanya Fitzgerald, Senior Customer Success Manager at Blackbaud, talks with Steve MacLaughlin about what organizations can do now to have successful end-of-year giving campaigns. Listen to the episode to hear what Tanya has to say about telling your impact story, using digital channels to drive end-of-year giving, and stewarding donors into 2019.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Driving additional end-of-year giving through various channels
  • Tips for leveraging #GivingTuesday and other existing campaigns for end-of-year fundraising
  • Making the donor the hero of the stories you share
  • What arts and cultural organizations do at the end of the year that other types of nonprofits can learn from
  • Recommendations for moving into 2019


End of Year Fundraising Toolkit
Preparing for the Season of Giving: Steps to Ready Your Year-End Appeal
Tip Sheet: What to Do After End-of-Year Fundraising


“Everyone’s expecting to hear from you, so why not share your information with them?”

“I believe that immediately, as soon as that gift comes in, that stewardship plan should be in effect.”

“If you can continually steward throughout the year, your campaigns are going to go smoother as they come up.”


Dec 13, 2018
Episode 77: Leveraging the Power of People

Nonprofits and social good organizations rely on volunteerism, making volunteers are one of the most important assets that an organization has. Today’s guest emphasizes the importance of volunteers and talks about how organizations can best manage and leverage those valued assets.

In today’s episode, recorded at bbcon 2018, Points of Light CEO Natalye Paquin talks about how the critical role that volunteers and volunteerism can have on advancing social good and achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Natalye also talks about the role of technology in facilitating and tracking the impact of volunteers, and how Points of Light and Blackbaud are collaborating to advance data, insights and measurement for volunteerism.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Points of Light’s new strategic plan
  • How nonprofits can leverage volunteers as one of their most valuable assets
  • How volunteers and volunteerism can support the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • The role of technology in facilitating volunteerism, tracking data and  measuring impact
  • Why the sector needs a standard taxonomy to manage and measure volunteerism


Notable Quotes from Natalye Paquin:

“We are really focused on better leveraging the power of people.”

“…over 30 percent of the workforce in the nonprofit sector is really contributions by volunteers. 58 percent of the output is by volunteers. Volunteers understand your mission personally, so they can be champions as well as donors.”

“This is really about creating a common language, a taxonomy, of how you measure and manage volunteers.”


Dec 06, 2018
Episode 76: Visual Storytelling A Picture is Worth 60,000 Words

Storytelling is important in the social good community. It’s through stories that donors become interested and engaged in an organization and its cause. It’s not enough to just tell the stories in words. Visual images help donors visualize and understand what the organizations they support are doing, and how their contributions make a difference.

Today’s guest joined the podcast to talk about how organizations can better incorporate visual elements into their storytelling. Ira Horowitz, the founder of Cornershop Creative, has worked in communications, fundraising, and advocacy for nearly 20 years. Listen to the episode to hear what Ira has to say about why visuals matter in storytelling, how to demonstrate to donors that they can be the heroes of the story, and how to match copy with the right visuals for maximum impact.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • Why visual storytelling matters to fundraising
  • Ways that organizations can make donors the heroes of the stories they’re telling
  • Resources that organizations can use to get the visual images that they need
  • Matching the right copy and content with the right visual images
  • How to test and fine-tune a story over time
  • How to make use of imagery even when an organization has limited staff or resources
  • How visuals can help make data more comprehensible
  • Examples of great visual storytelling


Ira Horowitz

Cornershop Creative


“Everybody knows the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s actually wrong, though. A picture is worth about 60,000 words because studies have shown that the human brain processes images about 60,000 times faster than plain text.”

“The studies I’ve seen have said that text accompanied with images actually do a lot better. People process that information three or four times faster if they’re looking at both images and text.”

“Don’t be afraid of using emojis, actually.”

Nov 29, 2018
Episode 75: Best Practices in Disaster Philanthropy

Donors want to help when disaster strikes, but they often don’t realize how long disaster recovery can really take. Donors often contribute toward disaster relief when the news of the disaster is fresh, but months or even years later, the recovery is still in progress and a variety of needs still require funding.

In today’s episode, recorded live at bbcon, Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, talks with Blackbaud’s Rachel Hutchisson about disaster philanthropy and what it means to have a strategic and holistic response that considers mid- and long-term needs. Listen to the episode to hear what Bob has to say about the funding “mosaic” involved in disaster relief, how donors can make sure their funds are having the greatest impact, and the role that community organizations play in disaster recovery efforts.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • How to define a disaster, and the increasing number of disasters occurring each year
  • The current state of disaster philanthropy
  • What it means to think of disasters in the mid-to-long-term sense
  • How philanthropy fits into the overall disaster response landscape
  • The role of community foundations in disaster relief
  • Advice for philanthropic organizations on how to develop strategic, holistic disaster response plans



Notable Quotes from Bob Ottenhoff:

“There were 16 disasters in 2017 that caused a billion dollars or more in damage.”

“We find consistently that about 70% or more of all dollars are given within 30 days of a disaster…by 60 days or so, we're pretty much at the end of the giving cycle for that disaster.”

“So, the philanthropic dollars become really important. They’re not the biggest in terms of dollars, but they have the ability to do things nobody else could do.”

“There’s a lot of funds that have gotten into serious trouble because there were misunderstandings about the purpose of the fund, how decisions were going to be made, when the money was going to be disbursed.”

Nov 21, 2018
Episode 74: Increasing Civic Engagement Through Philanthropy

Community foundations are doing critical work to create change at the local level. They play a convening role in the community and engage community members in philanthropy to address pressing local issues. 

In this interview recorded live at bbcon 2018, Javier Alberto Soto, president & CEO of The Miami Foundation, talks about the important work the Foundation is doing to improve the quality of life in the Greater Miami area through philanthropy, community investment, and civic leadership. Listen to the episode to hear what Javier has to say about the role community foundations can play in advancing civic engagement, why community foundations can be effective conveners, and the role of technology in enabling mission delivery.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:
  • Why and how The Miami Foundation embraced the concept of new power
  • How the Foundation launched and has grown Give Miami Day to be one of the largest giving days in the country
  • The difference between independence and neutrality when it comes to community foundations
  • How digital technology has helped The Miami Foundation accomplish its goals
  • How organizations can measure when they are being effective and moving the needle



"I think we've demonstrated the deep generosity that exists in Miami through new power."

"We have the ability - because we're seen as an independent actor whose only agenda is to improve the community - to really empower people at a grassroots level."

"Miamians are from so many different places - it's such a diverse area - but when you get at those stories, particularly "how did you get here?" it's amazing how similar they are across geography."

"We've invested significantly from day one in all of our communications tools, but with a deep emphasis on our technology first to support our fund holders." 

"At the core of everything we've been doing is injecting new power, or civic engagement."

"I think all of us in the community foundation world are grappling with how we define impact beyond asset size."

Nov 15, 2018
Episode 73: Tips for a Terrific #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is approaching rapidly. What should your organization be doing to get ready? What should you be planning for the day of #GivingTuesday, and do you have plans for the day after? This episode explores these questions and more. 

In today’s supersized three-part episode of The sgENGAGE Podcast, you’ll hear from several different guests who will help you have a successful #GivingTuesday. In the first segment, Mel Rancour and Jackie Zimmerman from Blackbaud University discuss the things that organizations should be doing before, during, and after #GivingTuesday. In the second segment, you’ll hear from Erica Burroughs, Director of Annual Giving and Family Engagement at High Point University, about how they engage supporters and how #GivingTuesday works together with other fundraising events. Finally, in segment three, you’ll hear from Andy Schroeder, Director of Development at Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, about how a funny video helped his organization earn three times their donation goal, and how they plan to build on that success for this year’s #GivingTuesday. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

Segment 1 [00:01:49] - Mel Rancour and Jackie Zimmerman, Blackbaud University w/ host Steve MacLaughlin: 

  • What organizations can do right now to launch a Giving Tuesday campaign this year
  • What organizations can do to prepare for Giving Tuesday all year long, and how they can leverage what they are already doing
  • Ideas and resources for organizations to make the day of Giving Tuesday go more smoothly
  • What organizations should do after Giving Tuesday to continue engaging supporters and new prospective donors


Segment 2 [00:20:04] - Erica Burroughs, High Point University w/ host Sally Ehrenfried: 

  • How High Point University prepares for Giving Tuesday
  • How their approach to engage supporters on Giving Tuesday differs from their spring university giving day
  • How campus-wide fundraising events work together for positive outcomes
  • Erica’s advice for organizations that want to participate in Giving Tuesday


Segment 3 [00:37:20] - Andy Schroeder, Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary w/ host Sally Ehrenfried: 

  • Why Giving Tuesday is important to fundraising campaigns
  • How Sisters of Charity BVM came up with the video that helped them smash their fundraising goal for buying new chairs, and how they marketed it to engage so many supporters
  • How Sisters of Charity BVM plans to build on last year’s Giving Tuesday success
  • Andy’s advice for other organizations for a successful Giving Tuesday, even if they have basic organizational fundraising needs (like new chairs!) 


Proven #GivingTuesday Strategies for Higher Ed Institutions

Creating a #GivingTuesday Strategy that is 'Just Right'

Six Free Webinars for #GivingTuesday Success

Blackbaud University's Organizational Best Practices curriculum

The Ultimate #GivingTuesday Toolkit

Connect with: Mel Rancour, Jackie Zimmerman, Erica Burroughs and Andy Schroeder


“Flexibility is going to be important. Because sometimes everything goes as planned and then you can have a little party, celebrate – but in my experience that almost never happens.” –Jackie Zimmerman 

“It’s never too late. You can put together a campaign, you can implement software, in a time frame that you just frankly wouldn’t believe.” – Erica Burroughs 

“One of the things that I think organizations do well is ask for money. The thing that they don’t always do as well is tell people how the money was used and be able to show the impact in some way, shape, or form.” – Andy Schroeder


Nov 08, 2018
Episode 72: New Power & Social Good

New power. What does it mean? Who is using it? How is new power changing the world, and how can it be used for fundraising and social good? Today’s episode will explore those questions and more with Jeremy Heimans, co-author with Henry Timms of the book New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World—and How to Make It Work for You. 

Rachel Hutchinson is your host for today’s episode, which was recorded live from bbcon, the leading tech gathering for social good. Listen in to learn what new power is, how it differs from old power, what’s different about fundraising in a new power world, and how your organization can begin to embrace new power. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • The definition of new power
  • How new power differs from old power, and how they can work together
  • Examples of new power and how it works, from #GivingTuesday to healthcare
  • What’s different about fundraising in a new power world
  • How organizations are making the shift from old power to new power
  • What people can do next to embrace new power 


Article: Understanding “New Power”

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

Quotes by Jeremy: 

“One really easy way to think of that difference between old and new power is the difference between power as currency – that’s old power, the kind of power you hoard up – and power as a current.” 

“All the evidence is that if you can empower patients to organize around their own challenges, you can get far better health outcomes than by kind of imposing solutions to them from the top down.” 

“It's absolutely true that the most effective players today are the ones who actually know how to blend old and new power.”

“You've got to be able to find a way of not just appealing to elites but appealing to everybody.”

Nov 01, 2018
Episode 71: Capital Campaigns Are Broken

Follow Blackbaud on Twitter or Facebook next week for exciting news about the evolution of the Raise & Engage Podcast!

For many organizations, if you are not in a capital campaign then you are likely planning for the next one. But is the capital campaign as we know it working, or is broken? Today's guest is an expert in university fundraising, and has done extensive research into what's working and what's not when it comes to capital campaigns and fundraising strategies.

Andy Reeher is the founder Reeher, the industry leading provider of fundraising performance management software for higher education that is now a part of Blackbaud. Learn what Andy's research has uncovered about the evolution of capital campaigns, from being used mainly by large universities to now being run by smaller colleges and universities as well as how the age and total gift concentrations of the top 100 donors has changed over the last forty years. Andy discusses how campaigns have moved from being a concept that got donors excited to a framework that boards use to fund the fundraising organization for seven years, and why universities need to make a change and move from seven year plans to rolling needs-based approaches.

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • How the average age of the top 100 donors has evolved over the past 40 years, and how that has affected fundraising
  • Are operating model campaigns sustainable?
  • Staffing levels for engagement of constituents and strategic relationship building hasn't really changed over the years and hasn't kept up with technology
  • How the model of seven year fundraising strategies is at odds with lifetime value
  • What fundraisers can learn from the evolution of software development
  • How organizations can benefit from rolling needs reviews
  • What it means to look at donor development from a life stage standpoint
  • How to figure out what potential donors want, and how to then build symbiotic relationships with donors.
  • The future of capital campaigns


Capital Campaigns are Broken: What Happened and How to Fix Them 

5 Capital Campaign Myths Debunked 

"Capital campaigns have gone from a concept that motivated donors to a concept that motivated the staff."

"Even if we don't have any information about a constituent, we can make some basic assumptions about the types of things that might engage them [based on their life stage]."

Oct 04, 2018
Episode 70: Building a Monthly Giving Program

Some organizations call it monthly giving, while others refer to it as regular giving, recurring giving, or sustainer giving. No matter which name it goes by, one thing is clear – donors who participate in regular giving programs are an important source of donations for nonprofits. Today’s guest understands that importance and how organizations can harness the power of monthly giving. 

Erica Waasdorp is an author, presenter, and the president of A Direct Solution, a company that helps nonprofits develop and manage monthly giving campaigns, among other things. Listen to the episode to hear what Erica has to say about why US-based nonprofits have been slower to switch to monthly giving, how organizations can get started building a monthly giving program, and what happens when annual or one-time donors make the switch to monthly donations. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • Why it’s important for organizations to build recurring or monthly giving programs
  • Why charities in the US have been slower to adopt monthly giving
  • Different ways that donors can make recurring donations
  • How Erica would recommend an organization go about building a monthly giving program
  • How to prepare to scale a monthly giving program
  • Converting existing annual or one-time donors to monthly donors
  • What organizations can do to revitalize a recurring giving program that’s stalled 


Erica Waasdorp

A Direct Solution


“If you can move a donor from giving $25 or $40 dollars a year to giving $5 or $10 a month, then you’re not only generating more money, but you’re also keeping them much, much longer.” 

“There is definitely that potential to try to upgrade monthly donors and try to get them to the next level.” 

“I recommend you join your own program. You’d be amazed at how few people actually do that. You would want to join your own program because how else can you promote it to other people?”


Sep 13, 2018
Episode 69: Adventures in Nonprofit Branding

One way to define the word "brand" is to think of it as a promise. Branding is a way of letting the world know what an organization stands for. It's easy to think of branding as a commercial tool, but it's important for nonprofits as well.

Today's guest is Sarah Durham, CEO of Big Duck, a communications and marketing agency that has helped hundreds of nonprofits improve their branding, campaigns, and fundraising efforts. Sarah is an expert on the ways that branding can apply to nonprofit organizations and how branding affects communications with donors, activists, and others. Listen to the episode to hear what Sarah has to say about developing a consistent brand and voice, aligning branding and organizations strategy, and embracing branding in a digital world.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • How nonprofits should think about the meaning of the word "brand"
  • The importance of finding a consistent voice for an organization
  • How developing a consistent brand simplifies communications for an organization
  • Whether consistent branding conflicts with the idea of understanding and appealing to different types of donors
  • How to align brand with organizational strategy
  • How major events that lead to a rebrand offer an opportunity to readjust priorities or shift focus
  • How to embrace brand in a digital world


Sara Durham 

Big Duck 

"There are a lot of aspects of brand development, whether you like that word or not, that are not only really useful for nonprofit advancing of the mission, but are also particularly useful for fundraisers."

"The opportunity for you as a nonprofit is to really think about how you want your organization's voice to be shaped, and to speak with one clear and consistent voice at all points of contact."

"The brand strategy is an expression of that organizational strategy."

Sep 06, 2018
Episode 68: International Donor Insights

How well do you really know your donors? Do you know what differences exist between your donors that live in different parts of the world? Do you know what cultural characteristics influence how much your donors give and how they choose to give? 

Today’s guest is Mark Phillips, the Managing Director of Bluefrog Fundraising. His work involves doing deep dives into the motivations of donors to better help charities understand their donors wants and needs. He does this by conducting extensive interviews with donors in different parts of the world. Listen to the episode to hear about how these conversations can inform and improve charity organizations. You’ll hear about how Mark got started with this kind of research, which countries he’s conducting interview in, and how charities have changed their behavior thanks to Mark’s research. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • How Mark got started on the path of trying to understand donors on a deeper level
  • How the research interviews Mark does differ from ordinary research and surveys
  • Which countries Mark is doing research in
  • Cultural characteristics about giving in different countries
  • Moments during Mark’s research where he’s learned something surprising
  • How charities have changed their behavior based on Mark’s research 


Mark Phillips

Queer Ideas

Bluefrog Fundraising


“One of the very lucky things in my career was I worked for people who had a focus on what donors needed and what donors wanted.”


“Some organizations, their most valuable donors they are not giving because they’re receiving postal appeals that are not appropriate to the way they want to support the organization. And that is not a rare occurrence.”


“Because donors weren’t seeing their money making a difference, people were assuming that these organizations were incompetent.”

Aug 30, 2018
Episode 67: Understanding Donor Advised Funds

Most people are aware of the differences between public charities and private foundations. However, donor advised funds, or DAFs, are often not understood as well. Donor advised funds have been around for many years, but they have changed and evolved significantly over the years, and many nonprofit organizations and fundraisers could benefit from a greater understanding of how donor advised funds work and what their pros and cons are. 

Today’s guest is Brian Mittendorf, the chair of the accounting department at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. Brian joins the episode to help explain how donor advised funds work, what controversies surround the practice of using donor advised funds, and where this segment of charitable giving is headed in the future. Listen to the episode to hear what Brian has to say about why donors choose to use DAFs, what a commercial DAF is, and how the new tax laws affect donor advised funds. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • The basics of donor advised funds
  • What made DAFs popular
  • How donor advised fund sponsor organizations’ work
  • Why donors choose donor advised funds
  • Where commercial DAFs got started and how they work
  • The type of control DAF donors have over what happens to the funds they donate
  • What happens to the money donated to a DAF and how it’s disbursed
  • Questions over whether donor advised funds need more regulation
  • Controversies around donor advised funds
  • How the new tax law has incentivized giving through donor advised funds
  • How DAFs handle non-cash donations, like stock
  • The future of donor advised funds and how regulations, or a lack of regulations, will affect that future 


Brian Mittendorf

Brian on Twitter


“Most individuals probably don’t have the resources to set up an entire private foundation, but if you think of them as the resources as a bunch of individuals being pooled together, then it’s going to be worthwhile.” 

“There’s not one person who’s really rich, but if we pool together a lot of different people with the same mission in mind, we can achieve a lot. Kind of what a private foundation could have.” 

“If I want to talk about a broad controversy, it’s that donor advised funds are typically used as vehicles that are really convenient for donors, and people who are concerned with them are concerned that they’re focusing more on donors than they are on the mission.”

Aug 17, 2018
Episode 66: Research in Women's Philanthropy

Men and women both give to charity, but they tend to give differently. In order to engage with donors more effectively, it’s important to understand how gender affects giving. The role that women play in philanthropy is not as well understood as it could be; however, new research is changing that. 

Today’s guests help explain and contextualize the latest research into women’s philanthropy. Andrea Pactor of the Women's Philanthropy Institute and Kathleen Loehr of Kathleen Loehr & Associates join the podcast today to discuss women and philanthropic giving. Listen to the episode to hear what they have to say about the importance of understanding women’s philanthropy, the goals of the Women's Philanthropy Institute, and some of the differences between men’s and women’s motivations for giving. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • How the Women’s Philanthropy Institute got started, and what they’re doing now
  • Why the type of research the Women’s Philanthropy Institute is doing is so important
  • Research findings about gender and giving
  • How to better engage women in discussions about giving
  • The differences between men’s and women’s motivations for giving
  • The differences between the types of charities that men and women prefer to support
  • How retirement affects women’s philanthropy 


Research that grows women’s philanthropy

How Women & Men Give Around Retirement

Andrea Pactor

Kathleen Loehr


“The Women’s Philanthropy Institute is the only organization in the world in a research and academic institution that focuses solely on this topic of the role of gender in philanthropy.” – Andrea Pactor


“We now have some substantive data points that look at this intergenerational transmission of generosity – it probably won’t come as a too much of a surprise that moms are a critical piece of all of that.” – Andrea Pactor


“Part of the research that is really clear is that women are often giving more than men and they’re very influential in the household giving, and we miss that when we go and do meetings, if you will, with just the male in the household.” – Kathleen Loehr

Aug 02, 2018
Episode 65: Digital Design with Fundraising in Mind

It’s easy to see building websites and designing forms as an onerous cost for an organization, especially when there are any number of social media channels that are free to use. But it’s important to ask if those free options are serving the purpose that your organization needs them to serve, and to remember that forms and websites built specifically to help your donors find and support your organization may have a cost, but they also have a value. 

Today’s episode was recorded at the Ask Direct Fundraising Summer School, held in Dublin, Ireland. Tune in to hear an interview with Beate Sørum, an international public speaker and a fundraising consultant based in Norway who brings some unique perspectives on form design and UX optimization. Listen to the interview to hear what Beate has to say about why forms are a good investment, how to engage with your donors through follow-up questions, and how social media is affecting fundraising efforts now. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • Some of the areas Beate has done testing into and insights that she’s found along the way
  • How Norway has sidestepped the issue of copying what others are doing because of their lack of off-the-shelf solutions
  • Why Beate sees forms as an investment rather than a cost
  • How follow-up questions can be a good way to continue engaging with your donors
  • Untraditional ways of designing forms
  • How to better understand why people give and where giving comes from
  • Why forms end up offering too much choice
  • How social media is playing into fundraising right now
  • How to develop content in a way that’s most likely to achieve the goals of the organization
  • How to determine what’s working on social media when you have so many measurements to choose from
  • How organizations can get started with more effective testing and use of digital channels 


The Ask Direct Fundraising Summer School 2018

Beate Sørum

About Beate Sørum


“My task is kind of to get people to stop looking at websites and forms as a cost and start seeing it as an investment.”


“Not everyone is going to fill out all your follow-up questions, but that’s OK. You’d rather actually have them as a donor than know everything about them.”


“A form is just a piece of code. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to put it within the emotional story that you’re telling.”

Jul 19, 2018
Episode 64: Behavioral Economics Meets Social Good

You’ve probably heard the phrase “behavioral economics” before. Not only is it the subject of several best-selling books, there have also been two Nobel prizes awarded that centered on the topic of behavioral economics. But what is behavioral economics, and how does it apply in the social good community? 

Today’s guest is Bernard Ross, Director of The Management Centre. He’s the co-author of the book Change for Good, written with UNICEF’s Omar Mahmoud. In today’s episode, he’ll discuss behavioral economics in the context of fundraising and social good organization. Listen to the episode to hear Bernard talk about why humans make seemingly irrational decisions, how behavioral economics is at work all around society, and how to use the lessons of behavioral economics ethically. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • Fundamentals of behavioral economics
  • Why irrational decisions can still be predictable and follow patterns
  • Examples of behavioral economics in action around us
  • How behavioral economics are applied in the social good sector
  • How the human brain perceives numbers presented to it
  • How moving from heart to head leads to a decrease in giving
  • What Bernard would say to fundraisers to encourage them to use behavioral economics
  • How ethics intersects with behavioral economics and fundraising
  • Resources that Bernard recommends for nonprofit professionals thinking about behavioral economics 


Bernard Ross

Change for Good

Change for Good handout

Stop Listening to Your Supporters


“Behavioral economics says, “what if people are not like that? What if experience and the data tells us that we are all irrational?””

“There’s a whole science of restaurant menu design.”

“We are engaged in a moral business. There’s a moral responsibility to think about “am I using this technique fairly, properly, ethically?””


Jul 12, 2018
Episode 63: Social Activism & Community Engagement

In this age of social media, activism is becoming more accessible to the masses. But, it's essential that the social media activism is connected to change makers working on the ground. How can philanthropic organizations harness social media activism to create change locally? This episode of Raise & Engage features an interview between Rachel Hutchisson, vice president of Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy at Blackbaud and Darrin Goss, president and CEO of the Coastal Community Foundation, about social media activism, community engagement and more. Listen to hear how movements are being created by social media channels providing information and engaging people around causes they might not be directly impacted by are coming together with deep local involvement on the ground working to impact lasting change. Topics discussed in this episode:

  • The biggest threat to doing social good right now, and the need for social media activism to be supported by on-the-ground support of local organizations changing policies
  • The difference between "weak tie" and "strong tie" activism, and how both are fundamentally needed to advance change today
  • How organizations can leverage philanthropic capital to impact their communities
  • Why social, moral, intellectual and reputational capital are all key parts of a philanthropic organization's ability to make a difference and influence others beyond just their financial capital.
  • Challenges faced by the Coastal Community Foundation, how it has embraced a bold new direction marked by a culture of courage, and how the organization has "turned outward" to directly engage the communities it serves in problem solving.


"I think the biggest threat facing philanthropic organizations is a lack of understanding of how real social change takes place in the age of social media." "Philanthropic organizations have far more at their disposal than just the financial capital that we all know and understand." "When funders resolve that they need to work with communities, then they can have the courage to go out and do what the promise of philanthropy is all about."

Jul 05, 2018
Episode 62: Demystifying Data Science

Big data and data science are hot topics everywhere these days, and the social good sector is no exception. As nonprofit organizations continue to increase their use of data to answer questions about donors and fundraising and drive performance improvements, it’s important to understand as much as possible about data science. 

In today’s episode, I’ll speak to Carrie Cobb, Vice President of Data Science at Blackbaud. We’ll do a deep dive into the subject of data science. Listen to the episode to hear what Carrie has to say about the specifics of what a data scientist does, the techniques they use, and the variety of ways that data science is applicable in the social good community. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • The differences between what a data scientist does compared to other types of scientists who deal with data, like statisticians
  • How data can help reveal answers to questions about why something does or doesn’t happen
  • The background and education common to data scientists
  • The techniques used by data scientists to try to find answers from a large amount of data
  • Whether it's helpful to separate what data scientists are trying to do from how they’re trying to do it
  • How data scientist deal with eliminating bias, error, and unknown information
  • What happens when the answer the data shows is disappointing
  • How data science is applied in the social good community for reasons beyond fundraising
  • The frequency with which predictive modeling should be done
  • Where data science trends in nonprofit organizations are headed over the next few years 


Carrie Cobb


“When you’re a data scientist you kind of dive into the unknown to find patterns and build connections and make predictions.”


“From a technical perspective, data scientists are highly educated. Almost 90% have at least a master’s degree, and almost 50% have Ph.D.’s.”


“I would say it is an art and a science put together. Depending on your paint and your canvas and what you’re trying to display, you’re going to choose different tools to get you there.”


Jun 21, 2018
Episode 61: The Case for Data Health

Now more than ever, nonprofits need to ensure that they have high-quality, up-to-date data. However, a lot of nonprofit organizations struggle with the issue of data health. Why is data health so important in the nonprofit field today, and what can organizations do to bring themselves and their data up to speed? 

In today’s episode, I’ll be speaking with Adriene Chisholm and Alan Dix of Blackbaud’s Target Analytics about the new report from the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact, Untapped Potential: The Case for Data Health. Listen to the episode to hear what Adriene and Alan have to say about the biggest struggles nonprofits face with their data and how it affects fundraising, what first steps organizations can take to move in the direction of better data health, and how to avoid those dreaded “yellow stickers.” 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • The most common data health areas that organizations struggle with
  • Why physical addresses are such an important piece of data
  • How data health can make fundraisers more efficient
  • Valuable data to collect beyond basic contact data
  • What organizations with a large digital presence should be doing to ensure their data is working for them
  • Why organizations shouldn’t rely purely on digital data
  • How to manage expectations about digital and social data
  • How digital data may be more restricted going forward due to privacy concerns and regulations like GDPR
  • First steps organizations can take to move in the direction of better data health
  • Where data health is going in the next several years 


Download Untapped Potential: The Case for Data Health

Connect with Adriene Chisholm and Alan Dix


“We’re all trying to be C+ students by limiting our ability due to poor data health.” – Alan Dix

 “Maintenance is always easier. It’s a lot easier to maintain your car than it is to get it fixed after it breaks down.” – Adrien Chisolm

“Data health is easy, it really is. It’s like getting your oil changed. You know you have to do it every 3,000 miles, just go and get it done.” – Adriene Chisholm


Jun 14, 2018
Episode 60: Understanding Donor Identity

We often hear about the need for organizations to take about taking a donor-centric approach to engaging supporters. But is that enough, or do nonprofits need to go even deeper to attract and keep donors over the long term?

Today’s guest is Kevin Schulman, founder and managing partner of DonorVoice, a retention and donor experience company. Kevin talks about why understanding donor identity can help organizations better understand the motivations of donors. He also explains how organizations can use donor segmentation to strengthen their relationships with donors, leading to long-lasting relationships that are beneficial for both nonprofits and their donors. Listen to this episode to hear the keys to leveraging a donor identity approach that results in improved outcomes.

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • Why it’s important to understand the differences between different groups of donors
  • Why segmentation alone isn’t enough
  • The nuances of donor identity, and how it can help organizations to be more donor-centric
  • How the same donors can have different identities depending on which organization they’re engaging with
  • How to build content around donor identity categories
  • How to deal with objections to using donor identity
  • How focusing donor identity pilot programs on new donors can help organizations get past initial objections
  • How organizations can focus on donor identity using existing channels



Kevin Schulman



“If we want to be donor-centric, you have got to get some level of understanding about who these folks are and what makes them tick.”

“In order to get the kind of data that you need, guess what? You’ve actually got to ask these people.” 

“There ought to be massive perceived risk with status quo, but oftentimes there isn’t.”


Jun 07, 2018
Episode 59: Inside Out Fundraising: How to Create a Culture of Philanthropy by Treating Systems Instead of Symptoms

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 the nonprofit sector. 

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 nonprofits 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 nonprofit
  • 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

“Fundraising has become like driving a car with the emergency brake on. The car moves, but it’s not pretty and there’s a lot of friction.” –Mark Rovner

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

“Don’t get overwhelmed with all of the change that needs to happen. Think about how you can shrink that change.” –Alia McKee


May 31, 2018
Episode 58: Keeping Score with Online Giving

Online fundraising has been around for nearly 20 years, and it continues to grow in both size and revenue amongst nonprofit organizations. In light of the increasing importance of digital fundraising and online giving, it’s important to look at what the field has learned about what works and what doesn’t, and how to implement proven best practices to ensure that nonprofits are making the most out of online giving opportunities. 

Today’s guest is Jennifer Abohosh, the chief digital strategist for Dunham + Company, which recently released their second Online Fundraising Scorecard. Listen in to hear what Jennifer has to say about what’s changed in online fundraising over the last five years since their original Online Fundraising Scorecard, what types of organizations are seeing better performance in online giving than others, and how nonprofit organizations can start implementing best practices to improve their digital performance. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • What’s in Dunham + Company’s second Online Fundraising Scorecard
  • The biggest changes, both positive and negative, in email fundraising, email communications, online donation experience and gift acknowledgement over the last five years
  • How mobile giving was looked at differently on this scorecard than in the past
  • The importance of improving communication between nonprofits and donors
  • What organizations need to think about from a digital perspective in the near future


Jennifer Abohosh


Online Fundraising Scorecard


“In email specifically, five years ago 46% of emails were mobile-responsive and now 90% of emails are mobile responsive.”


“How can we craft language around an email signup that will make it both exclusive and desirable to the end user?”


“Organizations should be doing some testing to continue to see what works and what doesn’t work for their particular organization, then continue to optimize the donation process along the way.”


May 24, 2018
Episode 57: Let's Talk About GDPR

You can’t pay attention to the news without hearing about the concerns and issues around data privacy and data protection. It affects every type of industry, government, and nonprofit organization out there. As of May 25th 2018, new laws will go into effect in the European Union that attempt to address these concerns for European citizens. 

In today’s episode, I’ll speak to Cameron Stoll, a member of Blackbaud’s legal counsel team and the chief data protection officer for Blackbaud’s European companies. We will discuss the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and what they mean for NGOs both in and outside of the EU. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • What GDPR is and what it does
  • How GDPR evolved and differs from previous laws
  • The difference between processors and controllers and what each one does
  • How GDPR aligns with current best practices
  • The intent and meaning behind legitimate interest when it comes to GDPR
  • How the right to be anonymous plays into GDPR
  • How the definition of personal data has been expanded
  • How GDPR may affect organizations outside of the EU
  • Whether legislation similar to GDPR might be seen in the US, Canada, or other countries 

Links and Resources: 

Cameron Stoll


“We have to have contractual relationships with these processors to make sure that they will abide by our instructions and to make sure that they can’t take that data and analyze it and sell it to another company, for example.” 

“Ultimately it really comes down to very general principles: protect the data that you have, give people choices about how you’re going to use their data, and be really transparent about how you’re using the data you collect.” 

“I think it can be seen as an extension of consumer rights on a really large scales across all industries in Europe.”

May 17, 2018
Episode 56: Check Your Donor Vital Signs

We all know that acquiring and retaining donors is one of the most important things nonprofit organizations must do to improve their fundraising performance. The question is how to do it – and do it well. This requires that we take a broader look at trends across the non-profit sector to help us better understand how our organizations are performing but also understand more about our donors. 

To help us explore this and some brand new research from the Blackbaud Institute is Chuck Longfield, Blackbaud’s Chief Scientist and author of the Vital Signs Report. In today’s episode, he’ll share some of the changes that he’s noticed since the last Vital Signs Report and talk about what those changes mean for the future of the non-profit world. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • What Chuck found in Part 1 of the Vital Signs Report a little over a year ago
  • How the newer Vital Signs report shows signs of a turnaround in giving
  • The urban legend that giving is a zero-sum game, and how the recent research disproves that theory
  • What happens when donors stop giving to a particular organization
  • Where donors’ loyalties lie – with a specific organization, or with a cause
  • Steps that organizations can take with the new research in mind
  • Why organizations should try to convert donors to monthly giving
  • Whether the current pool of donors is sustainable long-term
  • The directions that Chuck’s research will go in next 

Links and Resources: 

Chuck Longfield

Vital Signs Report Part 2

Vital Signs Report Part 1

Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact


“I sort of put it into three categories. You could have more people giving more money, you could have fewer people giving more money, or you could have fewer people giving less money.” 

“A big driver of this – not the only driver, but a big driver – is what some people are calling rage-giving.” 

“If you can get over that initial hurdle and retain these new donors, these are pretty good donors to retain.”

May 03, 2018
Episode 55: Cause Marketing ft. Joe Waters

We’ve seen for a number of year now an increasing number of cause marketing relationships between nonprofits, corporations, and retailers. But some organizations still struggle to understand cause marketing and how to recognize and make the most of win-win partnerships. To learn more about this topic, we’ve brought in a true expert on this subject. 

Today’s guest is an expert on the subject of cause marketing. Joe Waters has been in the nonprofit world for 20 years, and is the author of Cause Marketing for Dummies. He’s also the author of the blog Selfish Giving.

Tune in to the episode to hear what Joe has to say about changes in the cause marketing space and what to expect in the future. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • The biggest changes Joe has seen in cause marketing over the past few years
  • The difference between a traditional company and a retailer when it comes to changes in cause marketing
  • Why cause marketing can tap more potential donors than corporate sponsorships
  • What good cause marketing looks like
  • How testing helps show which strategies work best to encourage people to give
  • What will happen long term when it comes to the exchange of data between nonprofits and for-profits
  • Where will cause marketing be in five to ten years 

Links and Resources: 

Joe Waters

Cause Marketing for Dummies

Selfish Giving

Joe’s Newsletter


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook 

“What we really encourage on the B to B side when you go out there and talk to companies is to find out what they’re really interested in tapping.” 

“The great thing about cause marketing and what makes it different is that the money is raised from stakeholders, it’s raised from employees, it’s raised from vendors, it’s raised from customers.” 

“When I think of the gold standard, I think of authenticity, transparency, and visibility.”


Apr 26, 2018
Episode 54: Networked Advocacy Trends All Nonprofits Can Learn From

Networking and digital trends have brought about big changes in politics and culture. For nonprofit organizations to keep up, they have to lean into these trends and change the way that they operate as well. The digital landscape and networking capabilities have created new opportunities for building power and allowing large-scale, effective collaborations. 

Today’s guest is Tom Liacas. Tom is a Senior Strategist at NetChange. NetChange is a Canadian digital consulting agency that helps transition legacy institutions to new network models. Tom is also the co-founder of a publicly traded social media agency, software developer, and a writer. Listen to the episode to hear what Tom has to say about network advocacy trends and what nonprofits can learn from them. 

Topics Discussed in this Episode: 

  • How Tom got involved in the nonprofit community
  • How the cultural and political landscape is changing how nonprofits work
  • What Tom has seen change in the nonprofit sector in the last 20 years
  • The Networked Change Report
  • How data can help nonprofits evaluate what their supporters are interested in and inform messaging
  • The importance of training people to implement effective strategies
  • Why going overboard with branding can ultimately be a negative
  • How to create campaigns with a wider lens and less branding that will attract more supporters
  • Tom’s recommendations for other nonprofits 

Links and Resources: 

Tom Liacas

The Networked Change Report




Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook 

“Every new cohort that joins the nonprofit organizing world is more and more ready to do things on their own.” 

“We saw the early days of this already showing up in the 90s, but now we can say that our culture has been thoroughly transformed by our networks, by digital, and by all of the cultural sea changes that those things have brought along as well.” 

“I always say that technology and culture evolve in parallel and so the big picture changes that digital permeates our lives and our activities as professionals, but new behaviors and new attitudes are just as much a part of it.”

Apr 19, 2018
Episode 53: Just say "No" to Nonprofit Burnout ft. Beth Kanter

Burnout. We’ve all been there or know someone who has. While work-life balance can be difficult for anyone to maintain, professionals in the non-profit sector face certain challenges that put them at a greater risk for experiencing burnout. How can you prevent burnout on an individual level, and how can an organization’s leadership help prevent employees from experiencing burnout? 

Today’s guest is Beth Kanter, consultant, trainer, and author of the book, The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact Without Burnout. Listen to today’s episode to hear what Beth has to say about burnout, why nonprofit employees are at risk for burnout, and how it can be prevented. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • What the term “burnout” means in the nonprofit sector and why it happens to nonprofit workers
  • The stages of burnout
  • How passion for a cause can be related to burnout
  • How to recognize the symptoms of burnout
  • How leadership can prevent burnout in their team
  • The effect that the workspace can have on employee wellbeing
  • The Pomodoro method for focusing
  • How mobile phones and other devices can affect the feeling of burnout
  • Different methods of self-care
  • How to be inclusive of remote team members and keep them engaged
  • First steps organizations and individuals can take to avoid burnout 

Links and Resources: 

Beth Kanter

The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook 


“I think we work in a field where scarcity mindsets lead. We don’t have enough staples in our staplers, or we don’t have enough staff, so I think this leads to trying to compensate by overworking.”


“Well-being is not something that’s foisted onto employees, right? They have to be engaged in it.”


“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”

Apr 18, 2018
Episode 52: The Power of Movements

In recent years we’ve seen the power of movements. They can bring people together in support of a common cause and drive meaningful change in the social good community. But how do they start? What gets a movement started, and once a movement has been started, what causes it to grow and accelerate? 

To help us answer those questions and more, joining Steve on this episode is Henry Timms. As president and CEO of the 92nd Street Y in New York City and a co-founder of GivingTuesday, Henry is familiar with the powers that drive movements. He has also co-authored the book New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World--and How to Make It Work for You

together with co-author Jeremy Heimans, co-founder and CEO of Purpose. Listen to this week’s 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
  • How Henry’s organization is embracing change and doing things differently with Giving Tuesday
  • 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


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook 

Quotes from This Episode:

“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.”

Apr 05, 2018
Episode 51: Analytical Activism ft. David Karpf

The digital age provides enormous opportunity for non-profit organizations to collect data, but it’s not enough for non-profit organizations to simply collect information. In order to use that data to make better decisions, nonprofits need good testing and analytics strategies. 

Today’s guest, David Karpf, has a long history of involvement in advocacy organizations. David is currently a professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University and has just released a new book about analytics in activism.Tune in to the episode to hear David’s thoughts on how analytics and testing are affecting the way that advocacy organizations create change. 

Topics Discussed in this Episode: 

  • How to combine the fundamentals of organizing and causing change with the latest technologies
  • How data and analytics enable organizations to try and test more strategies and make better decisions
  • How organizations that want to influence policy can use analytics and testing
  • What organizations should do if they want to make a shift in the way they test and experiment
  • How paying close attention to social media trends can pay off in exposure for non-profit organizations
  • How MoveOn has build a large member base because of their testing strategies
  • Advice for non-profits in the digital age
  • The importance of digital listening 

Links and Resources: 

David Karpf

Analytic Activism

The MoveOn Effect


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook  

“The crucial thing for organizations, I think, is that they still embrace the hard conversation upfront about what is our vision, what is our mission, what are we trying to achieve.” 

“The practice of testing is way more important than the outcome of any one test.” 

“The organizations that are going to be leading the way in nonprofit social change are the ones who have set themselves up to test.”

Mar 29, 2018
Episode 50: How Giving Bounced Back in 2017

Understanding how giving trends change of the years can be the key to predicting what’s going to happen in the future and planning how you’re going to address those trends. 

In today’s podcast, Ashley Thompson, Managing Director of the Blackbaud Institute, stands in as host to interview Steve MacLaughlin, regular host of this podcast and Blackbaud’s Vice President of Data and Analytics and Senior Advisor to the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact. Steve is the author of the annual Charitable Giving Report. Tune in to hear about the latest report and what information and insights it provides about online giving trends. 

Topics Discussed in this Episode: 

  • Background on the Charitable Giving Report
  • The 2017 report looks at about 30 billion dollars in fundraising revenue, including about 3 billion dollars in online giving revenue
  • Sectors and geographic locations included in the Charitable Giving Report
  • What made giving in 2017 different from giving in 2016
  • How online giving facilitates the ability of donors to immediately respond to a given event
  • The increase of online donations made on a mobile device
  • The trend toward giving as a crowd
  • How Giving Tuesday donors are choosing to focus on smaller and medium-sized organizations
  • How nonprofits can use the type of information found in the Charitable Giving Report
  • Why organizations should be cautiously optimistic in the coming year 

Links and Resources: 

Steve MacLaughlin

2017 Charitable Giving Report


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook 

“We’re trying to really isolate how did specific organizations perform from one year to the next.” 

“We keep expanding the data and research that we’re publishing on an annual basis.” 

“The reality is that we’re in this transitional phase of where donors choose to give.”


Mar 22, 2018
Episode 49: Professional Development Keep Your Team Happy & Here For The Long Haul

The nonprofit world has seen rapid change over the last five to ten years. On last week’s episode we talked about how change can be difficult and positive at the same time. This week, we are tackling change from the perspective of professionals and organizations who are searching for ways to not just keep up with changing trends and technology, but to stay ahead of the curve. The answer is professional development. A multi-pronged professional development strategy can help professionals achieve growth in their roles while staying sharp and current while also helping nonprofit leadership mitigate attrition and turnover. 

Today’s guest is Terry Vyas, Vice President of Education Services at Blackbaud. Terry leads Blackbaud University, the training arm of Blackbaud focused on helping nonprofit professionals not only stay up to speed on the technology they use on a daily basis, but also helps individuals develop their skills and build lasting careers in the social good community. Terry and I tackle the impact professional development can have on an organization, the types of professional development to be considered, as well as the best way to put a professional development program in place. 

Topics Discussed in this Episode: 

  • Why professional development is particularly important to nonprofits
  • How high-performing organizations are staying ahead of the curve with professional development
  • How you should be investing in your team and how to justify it
  • New and different types of professional development to be aware of
  • How investing in professional development pays for itself in reduced turnover and productivity
  • The importance of focusing on the right problems and examples of what those might be
  • What kinds of classes are offered through Blackbaud University
  • What makes Blackbaud University stand out in the education space 

Links and Resources: 

Terry Vyas

The Internet Archive

Blackbaud University


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook 


“Each of us as human beings, we have this inherent need to grow.”

 “I would argue that you need a multi-pronged strategy for your organizational development.”

 “I would say the mission’s obviously number one, but if you don’t have a staff that’s growing, that’s learning something, that’s developing their own skills, they’re not going to be as productive to help you drive that particular mission.”


Mar 15, 2018
Episode 48: Change is Hard, But Change is Good

Accepting change is hard for everybody, but it’s an important part of life, and it’s definitely important in the fundraising world. The ability to accept and embrace change, whether it be change in process, staff or technology, is what allows your nonprofit organization to remain relevant and active in a changing world. 

Today’s guest is an expert on the subject of change. Michael Reardon is a change management expert, former professor at the College of Charleston with a Ph.D. in Organizational Communication from Purdue University, and currently a manager with Blackbaud’s Business Consulting Services. Tune into the episode to hear what Michael has to say about the importance of change management and embracing positive change. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • The meaning and scope of the words “change management”
  • How to make change management a priority at your organization
  • The importance of communication about change within an organization
  • How to deal with resistance to change within an organization
  • How change within an organization can affect workers’ identities
  • The change curve
  • Why “go-live” is not the finish line
  • How to reduce anxiety around change
  • The importance of adjusting expectations while changes are being implemented
  • How to plan for the days following the immediate implementation of change
  • How setting mini goals can provide positive reinforcement during times of change 


Michael Reardon


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook 

“It means different things to different people, and I think that’s OK.”

“That’s usually the first step in any change management: make people aware.”

“Taking time now to do it right will accelerate everything down the road.”


Mar 08, 2018
Episode 47: Millennial Voices: Advocates and Activists Over Donors and Volunteers

We hear this group discussed a lot in the social good community: Millennials. More specifically, the importance of digital technology for understanding how Millennials, the first generation of people who grew up with digital technology, use the internet when it comes to social issues and charitable works and giving and how to properly engage with this group to convert their interests into action. 

Today’s guest, Derrick Feldman, is the founder and producer of MCON, the nation’s premiere conference on Millennials. In this episode, Derrick shares his unique thoughts about Millennials, how they’re really impacting the current and future states of philanthropy and what fundraisers need to start and stop doing going forward to engage Millennials. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • Why Derrick chose to focus on Millennials
  • Various ways that Millennials support issues, beyond just financial giving
  • How to communicate to Millennials that their actions are having an impact
  • What you can find in The Millennial Impact Report
  • The importance of a holistic approach to raising engagement
  • How minimal actions, like signing a petition, can lead to larger actions, like donating and volunteering
  • Why Millennials act for social change even if they don’t necessarily identify with the label of “activist”
  • How Millennials feel about America’s future
  • Why Millennials are participating in causes through actions like rallies, marches, and contacting legislators
  • What fundraisers need to do going forward to engage Millennials, and what fundraisers should avoid doing 


Derrick Feldman


The Millennial Impact Report


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook 


“When you see some of the most successful organizations that have raised dollars, they have looked at it through the lens of the supporter constituency model.” 

“The population needs to see the next milestone to reach that bold statement.” 

“At the end of the day we continue to notice that the Millennial individual is focused on ensuring that that person, that human being isn’t challenged, that they have opportunities, and that they have the rights that are afforded to them.”


Mar 01, 2018
Episode 46: The New (Fundraising) Kid in Town

The professional life of a fundraiser often involves changing gears. Fundraisers frequently move to new organizations to set new goals and take on new challenges. However, being the “new kid” in the organization can be a challenge of its own. 

Today’s guest, Jerusha Schmalzel, has some experience with the challenges of coming into a new organization. Jerusha is now the Customer Success Manager at Blackbaud, but she was formerly a Director and Vice President of development in the nonprofit sector. Listen to the episode to hear Jerusha’s do’s and don’ts for how fundraisers can adapt and succeed quickly in a new organization. 

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • The importance of listening during your first few days at a new organization
  • How to respect existing alliances within the organization while forging your own alliances
  • Why you should not go into a new organization planning to clean house and bring in all your own people
  • How to introduce new practices without bashing existing practices
  • How to prioritize goals and projects when you’re working in a new organization
  • How to build habits and behaviors that help the organization better use data
  • Once you get past the initial few days or weeks, how to plan for the next 90 or 100 days at a new organization 


Jerusha Schmalzel


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook

“You do not want to get the reputation of the fundraiser that goes into organizations, fires everybody underneath them, and brings in their best friends and their favorite people.” 

“Don’t take “we tried that already” as an answer.” 

“To me, that’s the hardest part about being the leader of a fundraising team – it’s keeping everybody on your side.”


Feb 22, 2018
Episode 45: Midterm Elections Digital Trends Nonprofits Should Leverage

A big election, like the upcoming 2018 midterms, can get people fired up about a variety of issues. Can nonprofits, including 501(c)(3) organizations, take advantage of these political moments to raise awareness, build support, and inspire donors? 

Today’s guest is Colin Delany, the founder of, a site that focuses on digital advocacy and strategy. In this episode, Colin will share some of his knowledge of and thinking about the intersections between nonprofits and politics. 

Topics Discussed This Episode: 

  • Where the opportunities might be for nonprofit organizations to move policy decisions during election season
  • How organizations can prepare to respond when an issue connected to their cause makes the news
  • How organizations can use social media to bring attention to their issues
  • How the changes to Facebook may affect nonprofit organizations
  • Ways that political campaigns use social media to build success
  • How organizations can automate calls to action
  • Different ways organizations can train volunteers, such as video and conference calls
  • How 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations can promote their issues without electioneering
  • The importance of keeping supporters motivated. 


Colin Delany



Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook 

“What we’re selling is emotional satisfaction. We’re offering people the opportunity to feel good about themselves by doing something to help the world.” 

“When you’ve spent all this time and money to build a list, to not get every benefit from it that you can, I think, is really shortsighted.” 

“If you’re out there elevating your issue, that’s not electioneering.”


Feb 15, 2018
Episode 44: Fundraising with Social Ambassadors ft. Beth Kanter

As nonprofit marketers, fundraisers and executives, we always need to be looking for new and more effective ways to reach new people. One of the best and most underutilized ways to do that is through social ambassadors – people who love your work, support your mission and have a wide reach of their own. They can reach out to their own networks on your behalf, bringing in new donations and awareness of your cause.

Today’s guest, Beth Kanter, is an international non-profit thought leader who knows a thing or two about non-profit fundraising and how social ambassadors can help. Listen to the episode to hear Beth’s thoughts on this interesting subject.

Topics discussed this episode: 

  • How influencers help nonprofits
  • What type of person can be a social ambassador
  • How Beth once raised $5000 in 15 minutes with the help of influencers
  • How changes to Facebook will affect nonprofit fundraising
  • How video content is becoming more important for engagement
  • The importance of leaning into new technology 


Beth Kanter

The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit

Beth on Twitter


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook 


“Who are the people that already support you, or are interested, or their interests is aligned with your campaign or organization, and who are their networks?”


“If your organization has been able to build a really engaged organic fan base, and if you’re producing content that people are talking about and interacting with and sharing, that’s not going to change.”


“Groups are a great way to manage your influencers and fans.”


Feb 08, 2018
Episode 43: What the Heck Is Happening in Digital Marketing

In the nonprofit sector, digital engagement and fundraising is a hot topic. But are donors and activists on the same page as organizations when it comes to digital engagement and giving online? Are nonprofits taking the right steps to engage them digitally? Do nonprofits understand what metrics matter online?

To answer these questions and more, Steve’s guest today is Carie Lewis Carlson, of CLC Consulting and formerly of the Humane Society of the United States. Listen in to hear Steve and Carie discus what’s happening in digital marketing today.

 Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • The similarities between consumer behavior and donor behavior
  • Whether donors distinguish between online giving and offline giving
  • How resource availability and leadership can affect the ability of nonprofits to appeal to donors with digital marketing
  • The importance of being willing to try new things and learn from them, even if they don’t work out
  • How to wean off vanity metrics and focus on more useful types of metrics
  • The importance of developing a strong content strategy 


Carie Lewis Carlson

CLC Consulting


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook 


“I think that our constituents and our customers are actually way more advanced than we are. Technology can’t keep up with them.”


“You’re going to come out better in the end, no matter if you fail or succeed, because you’re going to learn from those mistakes.”


“Everybody’s on social, but they don’t know why.”


Feb 01, 2018
Episode 42: Speakin' My Language How to Engage Multilingual Donors

In the nonprofit sector, it’s easy to think of the pool of donors as being limited. You end up returning to the same group time and time again. But is there a different pool of donors out there that you’re not reaching, perhaps because your organization isn’t reaching out to them with the right language or operating within the right cultural context?

Joining Steve for today’s episode is Adrian White Slagle, the Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Supporter Experience at Operation Smile, a nonprofit medical service organization that helps children born with cleft conditions. Tune in to hear Steve and Adrian discuss how to expand your donor base by engaging with multilingual donors.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • The changing demographics in America, including the rapid growth of the Hispanic population
  • The large percentage of Hispanic Millennials in America
  • The importance of engaging bilingual and multilingual donors on a cultural level
  • The importance of Spanish in Hispanic culture, even among Hispanics who also speak English
  • The process of implementing multilingual programs for donors
  • The benefit of starting small and layering in more widespread multilingual efforts gradually
  • The importance of understanding key cultural values when determining if a cause is relevant to a specific audience
  • The benefits of starting with a digital campaign first in order to gather valuable quick data about the response


Adrian White Slagle

Operation Smile


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook


“I think you can start out slow and small and just continue to layer on adapting from what you’re already doing, and that works.”

“If we’re not diversifying our audience, we’re just saying the same things to the same people, and at some point, they may move on.”

“We’re not reaching out to people who are sitting there waiting for us to start a conversation with them.”

Jan 25, 2018
Episode 41: Testing, Testing, 123…

We’ve all been there: the latest reports show this one color donate button works best, everyone is blogging about shortening subject lines, our board is inspired by another organization’s successful campaign and suggests we emulate. We find ourselves at the crossroads of “Should we do that?” and “Will that work for us?” Steve MacLaughlin, VP of Data and Analytics at Blackbaud and the host of today’s episode, explains that the answer is almost always going to be “it depends”. It depends on your mission, your technology, your audience, your goals – it depends on each organization’s unique situation and circumstance. The only way to get your answer: Test.

Joining Steve for today’s episode, a true expert in the field, is Tim Kachuriak, the Chief Innovation and Optimization Officer for Next After, a research and consulting firm that helps nonprofits, NGOs, and businesses grow their research capacity. Tune in to hear Steve and Tim tackle everything from why you can’t afford not to be testing, a simple change that tests showed could increase online giving up to 20% and how to get started with simple data points.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • How the web works as our own behavioral laboratory
  • Why testing is important for small organizations as well as large ones
  • The challenges of determining what is and isn’t working and where testing is needed
  • How data can demonstrate the changes in donor activity over time
  • How best practices can provide diminishing returns as more organizations adopt them
  • How to prioritize which areas to test using analytics
  • The three components of creating online revenue
  • Next After’s projects for 2018


Tim Kachuriak

Next After


Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook

“The thing that I’m usually amazed by is how seemingly small things can make significant impact as it relates to getting more people to say “yes” to give a gift to you.”

“One of the ways that you can mitigate risk is by doing testing and finding out for sure, using data, what works and what doesn’t.”

“I love best practices, but I love them as a starting place, not a final destination.”

Jan 18, 2018
Episode 40: How to Be a Good Manager and Still Rock Your Goals

On today’s podcast episode, we are talking about how to be a manager, a badass coach, and a fundraiser all at the same time. My guest today, is the Fund Diva Kishshana Palmer. She is the founder of Kishshana & Co. Today, she shares how to be a manager and coach while achieving her mission of helping fund raising organizations grow.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • The importance of management and people skills
  • Making sure your people have the tools for success
  • Being strategic and creating clear goals and vision
  • Bouncing ideas and helping to create a roadmap
  • Generational differences and defining roles and responsibilities
  • Time management and allowing space to manage and fund raise



Blackbaud - Twitter #nofilternonprofit

Blackbaud - Facebook

Kishshana on Instagram

Kishshana on Twitter @FundDiva

Kishshana & Co

Kishshana on Facebook


“When my team does well, I do well as a manager.” Kishshana Palmer

“I try to find what my team needs to see and hear to succeed and then enable them.” Kishshana Palmer

“As a manager, you have to be able to have balance and set expectations early on.” Kishshana Palmer

Sep 05, 2017
Episode 39: Managing Change (and Avoiding Grey Hairs) in the Nonprofit Sector

Today’s episode is all about Change Management and how you can better your organization by implementing change at all levels. My guest is Tiffany Getch, an Organizational Change Manager at Blackbaud, and she is an expert at creating data-driven solutions while defining and improving processes for non-profits. Join us as we cover specific tactics and resources you can use to create change and improve efficiency at your organization.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • Project management and adding new workflows
  • Productivity and organizational tools
  • Process mapping and milestones
  • Identifying and managing stakeholders
  • RACI diagrams and user training
  • Getting the team to work together





Tiffany on Twitter - @Tiffany_getch

Danielle on Twitter - @DJVermenton


Blackbaud - Twitter #raiseandengage

Blackbaud - Facebook


“When driving a project, collaboration is key. Bring the whole team across the finish line.”


“The biggest thing about change is to bring everybody along.”


“Process mapping is an incredible exercise to get clarity of the things you were doing, things you thought were getting done and and things that still need to be done.”

Aug 22, 2017
Episode 38: The Intersection of Offline and Online Tactics in Major Gifts Don't Be Afraid to Make It Work

Our topic this week is the intersection of major gifts when it comes to online and offline tactics. Many organizations resist the idea that major gifts can be done online, so we will go over how it works and what the concerns are. My guest to discuss is Jerusha Schmalzel, a Customer Success Manager at Blackbaud’s Arts and Cultural Verticle. She has over 10 years experience working with nonprofits and Arts and Cultural organizations as a VP of Development and Major Gifts Officer. Join us as we share the variety of ways major donors can be engaged online and increase the impact of your mission.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • Why the resistance towards online for some aspects of major gifts
  • The pitfalls of making assumptions about donors
  • Using technology for stewardship and efficiency, not just asks
  • Visually showing donors your mission with video content
  • Making unique content for major donors
  • Removing ego from major donor work


Jerusha on Twitter - @jschmalzel

Danielle on Twitter - @DJVermenton


Blackbaud - Twitter #raiseandengage

Blackbaud - Facebook



“Any time we make assumptions about people we’re just removing an entire group of human beings from a certain channel that might be really appealing to them.” - Jerusha Schmalzel

“People are more apt to giving to your organization when they are currently experiencing your mission.” - Jerusha Schmalzel

“Every time you convert people into that online channel, you’re freeing up more of your time to get out there and have those one to one relationships.” - Jerusha Schmalzel

“Any tool in our toolbox we should be deploying.” - Jerusha Schmalzel

Aug 15, 2017
Episode 37: Your #NoFilter Checklist for EOY Prep

On today’s episode we’re talking about our unfiltered end of the year campaign checklists - the things we need to stop doing and things we should be doing instead. My guests to discuss are Scarlett Bauman, Director of Marketing at Air Force Enlisted Village, and Brock Warner, Senior Manager of Fundraising at War Child Canada. Listen in as they share what their end of the year planning looks like and give us great advice on campaign organizing.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • When and how to start end of the year planning
  • Building content and planning stories
  • Coordinating end of year plan scheduling
  • Common campaign mistakes to avoid


Air Force Enlisted Village

War Child Canada

The Unforgettable Photograph by George Lange

Scarlett Bauman on Twitter

Brock Warner on Twitter

Fundraising Robot on Twitter


Blackbaud - Twitter #raiseandengage

Blackbaud - Facebook


“What do we have, what can we use and how can we extend that story out into a journey over the course of the year end campaign.” - Brock Warner

“I found that having as many people around the table at the early stages is a lifesaver.” - Brock Warner

“When they receive that email I want them to open it up...and I want them to see a compelling photograph that tells a story.” - Scarlett Bauman

Jul 19, 2017
Episode 36: When Giving Tuesday isn't on Tuesday

Today’s topic is about local Giving Days that don’t fall on Giving Tuesday - how does an organization decide which day to focus on? My guest to discuss is Amy Daly, Director of Marketing and Communications for Project Angel Heart. Her organization participates in Colorado Give Day and she shares how they balance their popular local event with the global Giving Tuesday movement. Listen in as she shares marketing and communication tips around Give Day campaigns. 

Topics discussed this episode: 

  • Creation of a state-wide Giving Day in Colorado
  • Incorporating Giving Tuesday into a local campaign
  • Consistent messaging on Give Days
  • Metrics and segmentation strategy
  • Stewardship for Giving Day donors
  • Things to consider when deciding which day to focus on
  • Project Angel Heart and storytelling 


Project Angel Heart

Amy on Twitter - @amykdaly


Blackbaud - Twitter #raiseandengage

Blackbaud - Facebook 


“This is bigger than just us, and participating in this allows us to be part of something that’s exciting and gets people really jazzed about giving.” - Amy Daly


“I don’t think it’s jumping on the bandwagon to participate in something that’s successful, that’s working and it’s getting people excited.” - Amy Daly


“If you see people getting excited about something, get excited with them!” - Amy Daly

Jul 05, 2017
Episode 35: Email Deliverability: The Seismic Shift You Didn't See Coming

Welcome to the Raise + Engage podcast where we help organizations with online communications and development. Today, I am talking about the important topic of email deliverability with Ryan O’Keefe, Product Manager at Blackbaud. There are a lot of misconceptions with how email is delivered because the process is handed off to so many different entities. Listen in as we go over the ins and outs of email delivery, and how to ensure that your communications reach your target audience.  

Topics discussed this episode: 

  • How and why ISPs filter emails based on past history
  • Configuration and user engagement influence deliverability
  • Gmail is using open rates to judge email quality
  • Opens, clicks, downloads and any action influence engagement
  • How Blackbaud monitors everything to ensure deliverability
  • Putting the effort into re engagement campaigns
  • Give users a way to agree to receiving email
  • Offer users other ways to stay engaged outside of email 



Blackbaud - Twitter #nofilternonprofit

Blackbaud - Facebook


@whoisryanokeefe on Twitter

@DJVermenton on Twitter 


At Blackbaud, we set everything up according to the best industry email practice.” Ryan O’Keefe

“Organizations need to adjust their policies for sending out email. Stop targeting inactive subscribers.” Ryan O’Keefe

“Target your most engaged users to get your biggest return at the end of the year.” Ryan O’Keefe

Jun 21, 2017
Episode 34: Finding the Sweet Spot with Behavior Based Email Communications ft. World Wildlife Fund

On today’s podcast episode, we are talking about behavior based email marketing for nonprofits with Jessica Sotelo the director of online marketing at the World Wildlife Fund. Jessica oversees the email marketing and fundraising at WWF. Listen in as we discuss how email marketing approaches change over time, and how to take a more thoughtful approach to crafting email campaigns that create lasting engagement.  

Topics discussed this episode:

  • Creating engagement by sending emails to smaller segments
  • Swim lanes and defining the levels of engagement
  • Having an unwelcome series as a last ditch effort to get opens
  • Shifting focus to acquiring subscribers through advocacy
  • Collaborating with different teams within nonprofits
  • Trusting your decisions when defining email segments



Blackbaud - Twitter #nofilternonprofit

Blackbaud - Facebook

World Wildlife Fund

Jessica Sotelo

@jayrayfray on Twitter 


“Instead of sending a large email blast to everyone, focus on interaction and send emails to a smaller group.” - Jessica Sotelo

“Smaller email segments have higher open and higher engagement rates.” - Jessica Sotelo

“We are going to start sending reactivation emails to unresponsive groups three times a year.” - Jessica Sotelo

Jun 06, 2017
Episode 33: Are You Telling the Right Story? Ft. Vanessa

On today’s episode we are talking about storytelling and why so many organizations are struggling with this. Our guest today is Vanessa Chase Lockshin, the President of The Storytelling Non-Profit and the author of The Storytelling Non-Profit: A practical guide to telling stories that raise money and awareness. Listen in as we discuss Vanessa’s techniques for teaching non-profits how to raise awareness by telling their stories.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • Reasons why non-profits have trouble telling their stories
  • How overthinking can trip up people in organizations
  • Why a culture that lacks collaboration makes storytelling difficult
  • Importance of using a natural tone and cadence in fundraising copywriting
  • Writing from a micro level vs. a macro level
  • Starting small with content audits
  • Data gathering to create audience personas
  • How stories help donors see the impact of their donation




Blackbaud - Twitter #nofilternonprofit


Blackbaud - Facebook


The Storytelling Non-Profit


Vanessa Chase Lockshin - Twitter


The Storytelling Non-Profit: A practical guide to telling stories that raise money and awareness






Introduce donors to the big picture without overwhelming them. Vanessa Chase Lockshin


Create context for donors to understand and relate to the cause using narrative Vanessa Chase Lockshin


Lack of collaboration can make it difficult for people in non-profits to find stories to tell. Vanessa Chase Lockshin

May 24, 2017
Episode 32: Website Design Trends for 2017

On today’s podcast episode we are talking about Website Design Trends for 2017, including visual design, content and mobile. Our guests are Aga Siuda and Jay Schultz, design leads at Blackbaud who design responsive websites for nonprofit clients. Listen in as we discuss the hottest design strategies and trends for nonprofits today.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • Visual design elements and focusing your message
  • Information architecture and planning your site map
  • Imagery and branding with quality visual content
  • Inserting personality through design
  • Testing websites and user experience
  • Mobile responsive design, wearables and optimization



Blackbaud - Twitter #nofilternonprofit

Blackbaud - Facebook

Google Analytics

Aga’s Twitter

May 10, 2017
Episode 31: Tools for Engagement on the Web When to Do It and How

How you tell a story on your website will determine whether or not your site visitors take action and what kind of action they take. Whether you're looking for email sign-ups, donations, volunteers, or something else entirely, engagement doesn't just happen; you have to make it happen! Join Raise + Engage host Danielle Johnson Vermenton with all-star guest Ben Wong as they brainstorm ways that you can entice all your different audiences to take action online.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • How to create a “slam-dunk” website
  • The spectrum of website engagement
  • Basic metrics to measure engagement online
  • Strategic social listening
  • Personalizing engagement to the audience


Data Driven Nonprofits

Ben Wong - Twitter

Danielle Johnson Vermenton - Twitter

Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook




“Everybody is trying to stand out and get noticed, but to get noticed you have to have good content that does something for the audience.” - Ben Wong


“A ‘brochure site’ is the lowest level of engagement” - Ben Wong


“By design, what are the opportunities we’re giving for engagement? Do we have a like button, is there a sharing option, is there a place for comments?” - Ben Wong

Apr 25, 2017
Episode 30: Using Predictive Analytics to Segment Your Top Prospects for Major Giving with Target Analytics

Our guest on today’s episode is Melissa Bank Stepno, a Practice Manager with Blackbaud’s Target Analytics team. She has spent the last decade as a nonprofit consultant in predictive modeling and wealth segmentation programs, and she is here to share what she has learned during her time in the industry. Listen in as we learn how to identify the best prospects for major gift donations.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • Common challenges of Development Offices
  • Wealth screening v. predictive modeling
  • Defining predictive modeling and wealth segmentation
  • Identifying prospective major gift donors



Blackbaud - Twitter #raiseandengage

Blackbaud - Facebook


“Most organizations have a larger database than what they can focus on for major gift purposes.” - Melissa Bank Stepno

“The age of big data is upon us.” - Melissa Bank Stepno

“At the end of the day, data itself doesn’t raise dollars. An organization still needs to take action.” - Melissa Bank Stepno

Apr 04, 2017
Episode 29: Data Driven: Not an Option Anymore

On this episode, we’re talking to guest Steve MacLaughlin about data and the growing need for analytics in the nonprofit space. Steve is the Vice President of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud with over 20 years experience in the field. He is the author of Data Driven Nonprofits, a bestseller in 2016. Join us as he shares the top lessons learned from data analysis of current trends in nonprofit fundraising and how to apply these for future growth.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • Important data and warnings from Blackbaud’s 2016 Charitable Giving Report
  • Metrics to assess current trends and make accurate projections
  • Data driven decision-making and increasing engagement
  • Getting started with data and avoiding “analysis paralysis”
  • Current technologies available to nonprofits



Blackbaud - Twitter #raiseandengage

Blackbaud - Facebook

Blackbaud’s 2016 Charitable Giving Report

Data Driven Nonprofits by Steve MacLaughlin


Steve MacLaughlin at the Huffington Post


“Data and statistics analytics answer that fundamental question: Is something working, or is it not?” - Steve MacLaughlin

“There are multiple paths to being successful with the use of data.” - Steve MacLaughlin  

“The nonprofit that creates the shortest distance between the gift and the expected outcome, wins.” - Steve MacLaughlin

Mar 21, 2017
Episode 28: Why You Need a Portfolio Peer-to-Peer Strategy (And How to Develop One)

Today’s podcast topic is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising. The landscape for non-profit peer-to-peer fundraising is changing rapidly with technology, and we discuss actionable tips and scaleable strategies you can use right now. I’m speaking with Robin Mendez, Senior Peer-to-Peer Product Marketing Manager at Blackbaud, as she shares wealth of expertise on the top Peer-to-Peer technologies out there today.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • Current Peer-to-Peer landscape and portfolio style approaches
  • Novel ways of engaging with fundraising participants
  • New technologies and tools in the donor space
  • Virtual events and DIY fundraising
  • Changing donor demographics
  • Tips for getting started in new peer-to-peer fundraising strategies



Blackbaud - Twitter #raiseandengage

Blackbaud - Facebook


“You have now inserted yourself as an organization into their day-to-day routine.” - Robin Mendez


“We’re trying to get the people who have an affinity towards us to more deeply engage and to think about our organization.” - Robin Mendez


“You’re providing an outlet for someone to fundraise that meets their need more specifically.” - Robin Mendez

Mar 07, 2017
Episode 27: Creating an Online Community with American Cancer Society

On today’s episode we discuss the importance of harnessing an online community from your network of constituents, alumni and clients to connect, engage and mobilize them. Our guests today are Joe Prosperi, Director for Digital Strategy for Relay for Life at the American Cancer Society, and Holly Herbert, Community Manager at Blackbaud. Joe has been with the American Cancer Society for 13 years, and currently oversees online fundraising, social media and other digital strategies. Holly has been bringing people together online for the past 15 years, and joined Blackbaud 3 years ago. Join us as we discuss strategies to create and grow a community that will benefit and accelerate your organization.

Topics discussed this episode: 

  • Defining an online community and why it’s important
  • How to create an online community
  • Connecting to and serving your community
  • Strategies to grow and engage your community
  • Segmenting community members for targeted content
  • Easy engagement opportunities
  • Social media channels versus official organizational online communities
  • Advice to people starting or struggling to build their communities


Relay Nation

Blackbaud Community

#NoFilter NonProfit Blackbaud

Blackbaud - Twitter #raiseandengage

Blackbaud - Facebook

"Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies" by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

Image of engagement pyramid  - Source: Free Connection


“Creating an online community allows you to foster engagement with those audiences and gather those stories.” -Joe Prosperi

“Community is not just a place on a map. Community is a digital space where activity happens for your organization.” -Joe Prosperi

“Even if you’re not engaging in your digital space around your brand, people are already out there talking about it.” -Holly Herbert

Feb 20, 2017
Episode 26: A Crash Course in Social Advocacy (And Why it Matters)

On this episode, we’re taking on the topic of Advocacy: the changing role of Advocacy in social media and how this can be harnessed tactically for non-profits. Our three expert guests today are Jeanette Russell, Caroline Stuart-Freas and Sally Heaven. Caroline is a Senior Advocacy Customer Success Manager at Blackbaud, helping non-profit clients succeed in their online advocacy and fundraising goals. Jeanette is a Product Marketing Manager for Blackbaud with 25 years of experience and has a special focus on advocacy and social media engagement. Sally works in Client Success at Blackbaud, helping customers to achieve success with seven years of online advocacy experience directly engaging supporters.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • Current trends in the Advocacy scene
  • How to break through the noise and think outside the box
  • Harnessing citizen supporters to make an impact
  • Giving up control and messaging to supporters
  • Lessons learned through the recent US election
  • New tools in online advocacy



Blackbaud - Twitter

Blackbaud - Facebook



“Strategy coupled with smart tactics, which are the tools, can scale change much faster.” - Sally Heaven


“We are in a new and exciting place in the world of online advocacy...we have so many tools at our disposal” - Caroline Stuart-Freas


“Citizen movements are having an enormous role in leading change.” - Jeanette Russell

Feb 07, 2017
Episode 25: Profiles in Nonprofit Leadership: What we Need for Today's Organizations

On today’s episode, we discuss the important topic of Leadership with our guests Rachel Hutchisson and Mark Pitman. Rachel is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) executive at Blackbaud, heading up volunteerism and philanthropy efforts at the leadership level. Mark Pitman is the CEO and Founder of Concord Leadership Group, Fundraising Coach and Non-Profit Academy. Join us for our open discussion on the state of leadership within non-profit organizations and how to develop talent to fill current and future leadership gaps.

Topics discussed this episode:

  • What makes a good leader?
  • Leadership in a non-profit organization
  • Investing in infrastructure and professional development
  • Leadership gaps and talent management
  • Recent reports on leadership trends within non-profits


Blackbaud - Rachel Hutchisson

Rachel Hutchisson - Twitter

Concord Leadership Group

Mark Pitman - Twitter

Non-Profit Academy - Mark Pitman

Fundraising Coach - Mark Pitman

Danielle Johnson Vermenton - Twitter

Danielle Johnson Vermenton - Facebook

Blackbaud - Twitter



“We come to work everyday as a complete person, not just a business person, with the desire to do good and make change in the world.” - Rachel Hutchisson


“It’s a much better journey when you’re not the smartest person in the room.” - Mark Pitman


“Professional development is not extravagant.” - Rachel Hutchisson


“Honesty and integrity are the best fundraising tools.” - Mark Pitman

Jan 31, 2017
Episode 24: Wrap-Up and Look Ahead

In our final podcast of the year, host Danielle Johnson Vermenton shares her favorite episodes from 2016, gives a sneak peek into what’s coming for the series in the new year, and offers final tips and advice for her loyal listeners.

Dec 20, 2016
Episode 23: Getting Your Hands Dirty: Marketing as a "Profit" Center

Speaker, author, and coach John Haydon joins host Danielle Johnson Vermenton to talk about how marketing can be a "profit" center for nonprofit organizations. What do we mean by that? We mean turning your marketing department - even a department of one - into a fundraising machine. How? Tune in to find out.

Dec 06, 2016
Episode 22: Best of BBCON 2016

Join our guests, Jodi Smith, Vice President & Executive Director, Sanford Health Systems, and Veronica Brown, Director of Individual Giving & Communications, Chicago Public Library Foundation, to hear what they loved most about bbcon 2016, the annual conference where technology and social good meet. Plus, get the behind- the-scenes scoop on this year’s insightful and inspiring three-day event. We’re even bringing in a number of awesome bbcon speakers for a special encore session!

Nov 22, 2016
Episode 20: It's Too Real: Season Three Recap

We have wrapped up our third season of the Raise + Engage podcast. We can't believe it! Let's take a look back at the "realest" highlights from this season's episodes and revisit some of the top tips shared during our open-mic sessions. One of our favorite nonprofit web design pros and guest of the podcast in season three, Ben Wong of Blackbaud, returns to the podcast to relive his favorite moments, share what tips he hopes others took away from the season, and offer some advice he forgot to give during his appearance in Episode 16. Whether this if your first time tuning in or your twentieth, this episode has something for you!

Nov 08, 2016
Episode 21: Backstage with #NoFilter Nonprofit: The Creation of a Best-in-Class Marketing Program

This is a very special episode of the Raise + Engage Podcast! Host Danielle Johnson Vermenton is joined by the two marketing pros behind the #NoFilter Nonprofit program and this very podcast, Emily Popson and Clare Corriveau of Blackbaud, to share how a for-profit marketing team overhauled its plan to increase open rates and reach more people.

These two women are not only passionate about great marketing but also about helping the social good community achieve the best results possible. In this episode they share their journey and process along with actionable tips for you to use to begin crafting your own best-in-class campaign for your cause! You'll get an inside look at what sparked these marketers to take a different approach, why they chose to explore new channels, how they approached planning a year of content, and the importance of putting engagement and interactivity at the top of your organization's priority list.

If you're thinking about how to improve your nonprofit's marketing and communications efforts in 2017, tune in now!

Nov 07, 2016
Episode 19: End-of-Year Giving: Extreme Makeover Edition

For episode 19 we are talking about the much anticipated end of year giving season. Mike Snusz (Principal Strategy Consultant, Blackbaud) and Danielle Altenburg (Director of Development, Animal Welfare League of Arlington) join host Danielle Johnson for a discussion about giving your end-of-year campaign an extreme makeover: what’s involved, what it takes, and how extreme the changes really need to be to yield extreme results. If your organization can make a few changes and tweaks now, it could be all you need to find year-end success.

Oct 20, 2016