BBCON Conference Recap

BBCON Conference #bbcon 2018 Blog Post

BBCON Conference

2018 marked the first time I attended #bbcon – BBCON Conference, a creative tech gathering that brings together organizations seeking to spearhead social good across the world. From major keynotes and Big Idea Sessions to deep-dive learn labs and new product announcements, it is wise to say that the three days of #bbcon did not disappoint folks. As someone who primarily works with foundation and corporate giving, I leaned more towards attending sessions that focused on my role, in addition to a few roadmap sessions for Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge NXT.

Since Orbis is a global fundraising organization, I learned from the conference that according to the Global Philanthropy Environment Index (GPEI), interest in philanthropy has widened worldwide and there are opportunities for nonprofits now more than ever to enhance their major gift fundraising efforts. However, the downside is there are more restrictive cross-border flows of funds in comparison to rising cross-border societal needs. I felt Orbis was on the right track in approaching foundations that ranged from high-level giving to allocating major gifts that fall below the $50,000 level. Another area that I was interested to learn more about is in harnessing the fundraising power and immense potential of social media. Our development team has a robust social media strategy in collaboration with our communications department. As a result, our social listening does power donor engagement where the way we approach donors align with what #bbcon 2018 has recommended for survival in philanthropy: being data-driven, creating compelling/interactive content that showcases the human impact of our organization, and engaging with donors in a personalized manner. One suggestion that I would like to recommend to our team is to use the Facebook Live feature on #GivingTuesday where staff or volunteer faculty members can speak about why donors should invest in Orbis’s programs.

Our Global Corporate Partnerships team at Orbis tends to struggle with adopting an established prospect management guide, which should ensure that a strategically planned, tracked, and coordinated prospect management process is observed for all prospective donors. An individual is considered a good prospect if they have already donated and carry and established relationship with Orbis’s mission and vision. But to effectively manage prospects, a concerted effort needs to be executed by our corporate partnerships team where a team member (as well as a team leader) should be assigned to a move a prospect through the stages (identification, qualification cultivation, solicitation and stewardship). Through Blackbaud Consultants, data could also be used to establish a prospect’s propensity to give. I found the team leaders interaction report in prospect management to be helpful and will share this resource with my colleagues.

A neat tool that was discussed at the BBCON Conference and one we use to assist with our recurring gift payments is the usage of Blackbaud Merchant Services, a service that automatically updates donors’ credit cards whenever they get reissued. Other tools that are available on Blackbaud as of late include: processing gifts with a built-in checkout on Web-Do; building emails with beautiful templates (majority of individual donors prefer receiving thank you letters over email which Orbis should move towards since we primarily send acknowledgment letters through ground service) and analyzing donor value with flexible revenue configurations. As someone new to the Blackbaud experience, most of the sessions were eye-opening to me, especially in how data and strategic use of social media mechanisms can channel and fuel a donor’s lifecycle with Orbis.

BBCON Conference Recap by Farhat Rahman, Project Orbis International, Inc.