Giving back can take so many forms. Whether it’s through hands-on, onsite, or skills-based volunteerism, individuals and teams can invest in their communities in many meaningful ways.
Last month, Blackbaud hosted an annual kick-off meeting in Charleston, SC. Approximately 600 of Blackbaud’s employees spent a few days planning, learning, and networking with colleagues. For the second year in a row, we integrated an onsite volunteer project into this event to strengthen the connection between the event’s attendees, comprised mostly from our sales and marketing teams, and the customers we serve every day.
This year’s project, the assembly of 800 activity kits, benefited children’s health organizations in cities where Blackbaud has offices – MUSC Children’s Hospital and the RMHC Charleston , Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin and Boston Children’s Hospital. Activity kits, like the ones our colleagues assembled, help children who are waiting for medical treatment or siblings accompanying them to pass the time, making an otherwise stressful or scary experience a little less so.
The team at Boston Children’s Hospital “Throughout the year, our child life specialists create opportunities for families to look beyond the tubes, machines, and medicines to celebrate as they would at home. The kid crafts help children take their mind off the present issue they are being faced with and provides them with a therapeutic outlet.”
We focused on kits for origami, bracelet making, and coloring books, asking our people to compile the supplies in each kit for children to be able to work with. Child life departments for most children’s hospitals typically have a list of kits they prefer along with the supplies needed to assemble them, and our goal was to feed that supply.
Bert Harkins, VP of Sales Enablement, who leads the execution of the kick-off meeting, had this to say about the service project. “An amazing feature of Blackbaud’s kick-off each year is that we include a service project on our agenda. The near-100% participation that we get on these activities and the positive feedback we receive for including them demonstrates the dedication that our people have to the mission delivery of our customers.”
Allston Leland, a senior solutions consultant and kick-off attendee, was the first person to participate and his enthusiasm was contagious. Allston reflected on this project after completing dozens of kits and said, “I loved having volunteer service incorporated into kick-off. What we do at Blackbaud supports the work that amazing social good organizations do throughout the world, and having a service project with tangible deliverables really helps strengthen that bond between what we do day to day and the greater good we support.”