4 bbcon Takeaways to Power Your 2018 Planning

November 14, 2017 Annie Rhodes and Andrew Troup

Who’s ready for an awesome 2018? As you gear up for the new year, developing plans and setting goals, it’s helpful to take a look back and what has worked – or not – for yourself and your peers. Fortunately, Blackbaud presented a jam-packed schedule at bbcon 2017, and we are excited to share the lessons learned and fresh ideas from some of the top minds across the entire social good sector.

1.       The Global Goals are a Shared Responsibility: the Corporations & Foundations kickoff panel at the event centered on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – and we brought together perspectives from across sectors to think big about why the goals should matter to all of us, regardless of organization size or geography, and how we can achieve these goals together. Featuring expert panelists from across the spectrum of social good – Heather Grady of Rockefeller Philanthropy Associates, Chris Jarvis of Realized Worth, and Shannon Kowalski of IWHC (and hosted by Amy Lucia from Blackbaud), this panel set the tone for bbcon 2017 by fostering a multi-sector discussion around how we can collaborate in new ways to make major change for our world.

Takeaway: 2018 will be a year to push farther and start working on radical collaboration! Look for opportunities to expand your pool of potential collaborative partners and look to your peers for best practices around collaboration and mapping the great work you are already doing toward the achievement of your mission, goals and outcomes all driving towards the SDGs. Need an example? Perhaps community foundations could swap ideas with corporations and apply tactics used to engage millennial employees to attract younger donors to their local activities.


2.       Innovation is Critical to Success: Whether you represent a business with a multi-generational workforce, a foundation with a comprehensive grantmaking portfolio, a community foundation with its pulse on local needs, or something in between, technology and innovation is key to achieving a lasting impact. That is just one of the many reasons why we are excited to share the announcement presented during bbcon 2017 regarding our expanded partnership with Microsoft to accelerate digital transformation for the entire nonprofit sector. 

Takeaway: Whether you’re looking to launch a new set of programs or innovate on your existing ones, it is important to have the right set of resources & technology in place to execute on your plans and achieve lasting results. Technology, data, analytics, and more will all play a big role in your 2018 planning and we are here to help.  At the end of the day we know that what’s most important is delivering on your mission and sharing the incredible story of your impact.


3.       It’s About Empowering Individuals to be Agents of Change: During bbcon 2017, we took a hard look at how CSR is – and should be – evolving, and discussed the implications of generational change in the workforce. (Hint: some say that by 2020, approximately 50 percent of the workforce will be millennials.) We know our corporate customers have big goals for 2018, and we spent a lot of time discussing how engagement and storytelling can affect real change to the triple bottom line with a positive impact on people, planet and profits.

Takeaway: You need to be strategic and innovative as you build a plan for engaging the new generation of employees, executives, customers, partners, grantees, and your peers. With the right programs and tools you can create truly transformative experiences and affect change on individual, organizational, and even global levels. As we learn to focus on the core strength that we have as individuals and the power of a purpose driven mission both at the organizational and individual levels we can move beyond traditional CSR toward a more inclusive HSR (Human Social Responsibility).


4.       It’s About More than Data, it’s About Intelligence for Good: Regardless of the type of organization you represent or the role you play in seeking social & environmental change, it’s the combination of big data, artificial intelligence, analytics, and expertise that holds the true power to affect change. At bbcon 2017, we tackled the topic from multiple angles and discussed why harnessing data & intelligence to support decision making, foster greater understanding, and promote stronger collaboration for change is so critical to our shared success.

Takeaway: If data and analytics are not already playing a central role in your 2018 planning, make sure you give it a deeper look. You can start by watching this great Facebook Live interview that our Annie Rhodes conducted with Tracy Van Solkema of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation about how to use databases to cultivate stronger relationships with donors, grantees, and other stakeholders to create greater change. Then, make sure you take some time to learn more about Blackbaud’s new Intelligence for Good which takes a comprehensive approach to intelligence that is uniquely optimized for social good.


Good luck in your 2018 planning, and keep an eye out for more tips about strategic guidance on our Resource Hub.


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