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Blackbaud Helps Organizations Quickly Raise, Award and Track Critical Funds with Blackbaud Grantmaking and Blackbaud CRM

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod raised more than $1.5 million for COVID relief within six months to support church workers and global missions

Blackbaud, the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good, is powering organizations with critical technology to support urgent fundraising efforts with Blackbaud CRM and in turn get those funds out to people who need them most with Blackbaud Grantmaking during the COVID-19 pandemic. With Blackbaud Grantmaking, organizations manage the entire grantmaking workflow, including applications, payments and communication with grantee partners, in one solution. Blackbaud CRM provides organizations with fundraising and relationship management software that integrates analytics, multi-channel marketing and data tools and services.

“In the face of incredible challenges brought on by COVID-19, our customers are utilizing their Blackbaud solutions to help address critical needs,” said Kevin Gregoire, president and GM of Blackbaud’s Enterprise Markets Group. “Blackbaud Grantmaking and Blackbaud CRM have truly helped organizations build those strong relationships with constituents so they can galvanize support quickly and get it dispersed efficiently when an urgent need arises.”

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Synod Makes a Collective Difference

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) represents nearly 6,000 U.S. congregations that choose to join the Synod’s efforts to make Christ known throughout the world in words and actions. As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, the Synod showed collective strength through acts of mercy to global missions and struggling church workers, including those impacted by government mandated shutdowns of Lutheran schools. The generosity of congregations and their members beyond their usual giving made these works possible, but having the right technology in place to raise, award and track hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding also played a critical role in allowing the Synod’s headquarters staff to meet the moment.

“There was great need happening, and we wanted to get this money out to the people,” said Deaconess Maryann Hayter, who serves as grants administration manager. “The beauty of it was we had Blackbaud in place and were able to very quickly respond.”

Moving Light Years Ahead with Grantmaking

9A Blackbaud customer since 2008, the Synod adopted Blackbaud Grantmaking in the fall of 2019, about six months ahead of the pandemic. Before the transition, Hayter worked with an inherited, paper-driven grant process organized in four huge filing cabinets. “We actually mailed people agreements to Africa,” Hayter said. “There was no ability to run reports. It was a completely manual system. We’ve gone light years ahead now.”

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Blackbaud Grantmaking is designed for efficiency, collaboration, insight and speed, and because the software solution is cloud-based and can be completely paperless, Hayter has worked from home during the COVID-19 crisis. “There’s absolutely no need for me to be in the headquarters building, and that’s revolutionary,” said Hayter.

By the end of June 2020, the Synod had awarded nearly 600 grants for FY20—more than three times the annual count from each of the two previous fiscal years. Most were awarded in the fiscal year’s last quarter through the Synod’s COVID-19 response, which included international grants for food assistance and promoting safe hygiene practices and support for U.S. church employees suffering economic impacts related to the pandemic.

With Blackbaud Grantmaking, Hayter could collaborate with colleagues in the Synod’s 35 district offices across the U.S. to offer, administer, and report back on the grants weekly.

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Building Relationships in a Lutheran Framework

Without the giving of the Synod’s congregations and their members, awarding grants on this scale would not be possible. Blackbaud CRM played a critical role as the Synod’s advancement team quickly reached out to supporters to shape and share the opportunities to make a difference.

Overall, the Synod’s initial electronic fundraising appeal for COVID-19 brought in nearly $35,000 in one day, and $164,000 within two weeks—before the Synod reached supporters with a direct mail appeal. Within six months, contributions surpassed $1.5 million, boosting the Synod’s potential pool of COVID response funds to more than $3 million, even as many contributors continued to give to the Synod’s other ministries as they had before.

“People are showing generosity in atypical ways,” said Mark Hofman, LCMS Mission Advancement’s executive director. “When you have a good CRM system, you can see that—and you can appreciate what they’re actually doing.”

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