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Blackbaud Employees Adopt New Approaches to Volunteer Virtually

  • by Rachel Hutchisson
  • Dec 9, 2020, 10:37 PM
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At Blackbaud, one of our core values is giving back. Each day, our people come to work ready to serve the social good organizations that make up our customer base. Many members of our team say that Blackbaud’s customers are the very reason why they joined the company. Our people want to ensure they are making a positive impact on the world through what they do every day. They are passionate about volunteering, and this year is no different, even though it may look different.

No one expected 2020 to unfold the way it did, with people around the world moving to a “work from home” setting. At Blackbaud, we went virtual overnight, flipping the switch from office to home very quickly, while remaining dedicated to supporting our customers. We launched new training courses (offered for free to all our customers who needed to leverage the solutions they had differently), and we invested in rapid innovation to launch new product features.  While all of this was happening “at work,” our people were dealing with dramatic changes to their home lives, many with kids home from school who were learning remotely in the next room.

Among all of this, it would be understandable to see volunteerism wane. But at Blackbaud, it simply shifted. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team focused on identifying as many virtual volunteerism opportunities as they could and adjusted annual volunteerism weeks to embrace a new approach. In the summer, our team based in Austin, TX, hosted a virtual volunteerism week. In Charleston, SC, where the company participates in the annual Trident United Way Day of Caring each fall, we also went virtual, expanding the event to a week to provide more time to engage. The week included self-led volunteer opportunities, as well as training options to bolster diversity, equity and inclusion. Teams in other locations, including Bedford, NH, and Plano, TX, also embraced the spirit, helping with care kits in one instance and writing letters of gratitude to healthcare workers in another.

A special part of all our virtual volunteerism this year was the fact that it enabled and encouraged employees to include their children in activities. We also launched a special initiative designed to enable our employees give back to each other. A collaboration among Human Resources, Educational Services and CSR, the Blackbaud After School Program encouraged our people to share their talents with their colleagues’ children, providing entertainment for Blackbaud families and time work working caregivers to step away and focus on other tasks. More than 115 live sessions were offered between mid-September and late November. Employees shared talents that ranged from juggling and lacrosse to needlepoint and acting. In addition, we commissioned customers to lead 14 virtual sessions, including “field trips” to zoos, aquariums and children’s museums. The team running things behind the scenes relied on YourCause® CSRConnect®, our corporate CSR solution, to manage the employee registrations and engagement.

Finally, a team from our Research and Development Operations department hosted a virtual version of Camp Blackbaud, an annual STEM camp for children. Working with Charleston Promise Neighborhood, which identified the schools and children, the team provided mentoring to help students engage in hands-on learning projects and to educate them about careers in STEM fields. The children spent the day turning ideas into action, finishing up with presentations.

As we approach the end of a difficult year, the Blackbaud team is here to give back and to support our customers and communities. Thank you to our employees who have given their time, expertise and donations to make a difference.

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