Blackbaud is a SaaS company that caters to the philanthropic segment—helping non-profits manage their donor management workflows. This interview explores the trends and evolutions of the sector.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to Blackbaud and yourself.
Mary Beth Westmoreland: I’m Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Product Development at Blackbaud. Blackbaud has actually been around for quite some time. We’re the leading provider of software and services for the global philanthropic community. A big chunk of that is the non-profit space. We’ve grown our customer base by about 15% and our stock price by about 70% over the past two years. We’re a growing company. We serve more than 35,000 customers today in the philanthropic space and also the consumers.
These are people who are like you and me who give to charities and also corporations who have matching gift programs. That includes Foundations who give gifts to non-profits. We serve some of the largest non-profits in the world like Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, University of Michigan Foundation down to the smallest of the small. We provide software, services, and technology to that market.
Sramana Mitra: It’s a SaaS business essentially. You’re a SaaS business catering to the philanthropic community.
Mary Beth Westmoreland: We are. We’ve invested very heavily in our cloud solutions. For the record, we do have some of our enterprise clients who use on-premise software today, but they are shifting to consuming more and more cloud services going forward.
Sramana Mitra: Where are you doing this out of?
Mary Beth Westmoreland: We are a global company. Our headquarters is in Charleston, South Carolina, but we have offices all over the world.
Sramana Mitra: The entire business is targeted towards the philanthropic community.
Mary Beth Westmoreland: That’s correct.
Sramana Mitra: What are the trends in your customer base?
Mary Beth Westmoreland: We mentioned cloud. We want our clients to be able to spend more time on their mission than on IT. I would go right to cloud.
Sramana Mitra: Just to be clear, the question was in the context of the cloud. What are the trends in your customer base with respect to cloud?
Mary Beth Westmoreland: The first is the data pieces of the cloud. The fact that we have instrumented our applications in a way that enables usage information but also to be able to aggregate analytics from across the philanthropic ecosystem, and then use that in a way that is helpful to our client base. One of the biggest trends is in smart software.
We just don’t want to give people ways to create donation forms. We want to create best practice foundations that enable them to design forms that are going to be able to get the most donations, or drive the most alumni messaging. We use best practices as part of our software to help our clients spread their message. We also see a lot more scope in terms of mobilizing their workforce.
Non-profits will typically have done business from inside their office and will send out emails. Via the cloud, we’re able to take data and push that to a device anywhere and anytime so that it enables things like mobile events. That’s another benefit of the cloud that we see more and more non-profits taking advantage of.