by Andreas Rekdal
September 25, 2018

Many companies claim to make the world a better place, but few make that goal their central purpose. For Blackbaud, whose software helps social good organizations streamline their development efforts, a passion for giving back is non-negotiable.

That said, Blackbaud’s employees like having fun together, too. Three members of its Austin team gave us the inside scoop.

 

blackbaud austin office
Photography by Rudy Arocha
blackbaud austin office playroom
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RUDY AROCHA
blackbaud austin office value wall
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RUDY AROCHA

 

 

FOUNDED: 1981

WHAT THEY DO: Blackbaud builds cloud-based software that helps philanthropic organizations function better. The company’s tools and services are used by nonprofits, education institutions, foundations and more to raise funding, manage relationships and reach new audiences.

WHO THEY WORK WITH: Central Texas Food Bank, Austin Humane Society and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

EMPLOYEES: 3,300 nationally, 345 locally

IDEAL CANDIDATE: A passion for Blackbaud’s social mission is a must, along with a general desire to help others — whether they’re customers or coworkers.

SLEEVES ROLLED UP: While working with nonprofits is Blackbaud’s bread and butter, the team also gets its hands dirty with company-wide service projects. And, employees get time off to volunteer. All of that is on top of four weeks of vacation and a company match for charitable giving.

COME TOGETHER: To get to know each other, Blackbaud’s employee-driven culture team hosts themed social events ranging from pinewood derbies to potlucks and Star Wars movie marathons.

 

blackbaud austin team

blackbaud brandon

 

Brandon Phipps, VP of Sales and Market Development

Heading up sales for Blackbaud’s higher education vertical, Brandon is always on the lookout for new products and features that can give academic institutions a leg up. His goal is to expand the company’s presence in academia while providing new and exciting growth opportunities for his team.

BEYOND WORK: Brandon spent five years as a Cub Scout den leader. To Brandon, time spent around children, who tend to be more forthright than adults, has fostered an appreciation for how people interpret experiences and challenges differently.

 

Describe your sales team’s culture.

You can’t truly be successful at Blackbaud unless you are passionate about serving the nonprofit community. Blackbaud’s sales and marketing efforts are all aligned around specific nonprofit verticals, each with an identical compensation structure. This allows salespeople to gravitate to causes and verticals they are passionate about, and it makes it easier to move between verticals as the team’s interests and careers progress.

It is not uncommon to find sales executives with 15 to 20 years of tenure at Blackbaud who are still learning, thanks to the sheer variety of organizations we serve.

 

You can’t truly be successful at Blackbaud unless you are passionate about serving the nonprofit community.”

 

How do you maintain your team’s culture as it grows?

If you consider the changes in technology over Blackbaud’s 30 years in existence, it’s not hard to surmise that the company has evolved. Most recently, we moved our software to the cloud. That transition, which is now largely complete, required us to reinvent all our internal processes without interrupting our clients’ work. We had to be quick and adept at navigating changes.

 

More on Blackbaud:Why Blackbaud designed its sales team like a career accelerator

 

What opportunities did that challenge present?

The shift has let us be much closer to our clients than we have ever been. We have changed our fundamental offering from a software solution to a series of capabilities and analytics that have an immediate and measurable impact on customer outcomes. This allows our sales team to be highly consultative with clients, introduce them to a broader community and have confidence that the outcomes we promise will be delivered.

 

blackbaud austin team

blackbaud austin stefanie

 

Stefanie Greene, HR Manager

Stefanie leads Blackbaud’s HR efforts in Austin, supporting local employees with the backing of the company’s global HR team. Right now, her main focus is talent development and sales productivity.

BEYOND WORK: An avid traveler, Stefanie likes to visit a couple of new places every year to experience different cultures and become more inclusive and diverse in her thinking.

 

What about your work inspires you?

Each day is different, but seeing an employee grow within an organization is truly inspiring. Blackbaud is a unique gem, combining a focus on social good and technology.

 

Blackbaud is a unique gem, combining a focus on social good and technology.”

 

How has Blackbaud’s culture evolved from when you first started 13 years ago?

I have seen us grow from a small regional company into a global organization. Today, we have solutions to help all parts of the philanthropic community. While we, like any company, have had our growing pains, I think we have a more diverse culture and more opportunities to share social good today.

 

More on Blackbaud:Why Blackbaud designed its sales team like a career accelerator

 

We hear you have an employee-driven culture team. What do they do?

Our culture team is amazing. We try to do at least one event per month that caters to all interest areas, whether that’s our Pinewood Derby, our May the 4th Be With You Movie Marathon or our Progressive Potlucks, where employees tour the office to pick up different parts of the meal. We also championed having a float in the Austin Pride Parade this year for the first time ever.

 

Tell us about a time you were proud to be part of Blackbaud.

There are too many to name. I have seen us provide support during natural disasters, volunteer in local communities and give grants to nonprofits. Recently, I participated in our Blackbaud Community Grants program, reviewing proposals and awarding monetary grants to seven Austin nonprofits. Hearing their stories and contributing to their missions was really humbling.

 

blackbaud austin justin

blackbaud austin justin

 

Justin Womack, Senior Technical Account Manager

Justin’s role provides a balance of building relationships with customers, troubleshooting and escalating issues, and gathering feedback about the product and the partnership. His goal is to keep customers happy while fostering collaboration across teams within the company.

BEYOND WORK: In the summertime, Justin coaches high school baseball players for RBI Austin — an MLB-affiliated summer program for inner-city youth.

 

What attracted you to Blackbaud?

When I stumbled upon Blackbaud, I was delighted by the idea that a company was dedicating its resources to help charities grow and reinvent themselves with the times. I grew up in a family of pastors and churchgoers, which instilled in me a will to do good in the world around me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been serving with my parents across the United States. Most recently, disaster recovery efforts have drawn my volunteer hours.

 

More on Blackbaud:Why Blackbaud designed its sales team like a career accelerator

 

What is your favorite company tradition?

Our support team started an annual Harry Potter party a couple of years ago, and it has been such a blast. Harry Potter was a huge part of my childhood, and I have been able to share that joy with so many coworkers with bubbling potions, broomstick races, wand making classes, and, of course, dueling 101. Everyone dresses up and competes for the House Cup, which of course came home last year for my rarified Ravenclaws.

 

How has Blackbaud helped shape your perspective on philanthropy?

As the former chairperson of our volunteering and philanthropy committee in both our Austin and Sydney offices, I have learned a great deal of the remarkable reach Blackbaud has into our communities. In particular, we have grown a local grants program over the years that has awarded thousands of dollars to Austin-area nonprofits. In this process, I have learned how to write and score grants, conduct interviews and site visits, and ultimately award monetary gifts to worthy organizations.

 

Every spring and fall, we sponsor a company-wide service event to get out with our coworkers and build relationships.”

 

What’s your favorite part of Blackbaud’s culture?

Its devotion to giving back to the community. Blackbaud supports us with community service days and awards us with more vacation time for volunteer hours spent outside of the office. We believe that an employee should be engaged in life, not just work.

Every spring and fall, we sponsor a company-wide service event to get out with our coworkers and build relationships. I have bonded with other departments through these service days more than I ever have through our day-to-day tasks. They allow people to come out of their shells, see beyond their desks and interact with coworkers and the community at a personal level.

 

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