Center for the Digital Nonprofit Gets New Founding Partner

Blackbaud today became the third founding partner of The Center for the Digital Nonprofit (CDN), a project of NetHope. The firm joins technology firms Microsoft and Okta which had previously signed on. Each company has committed to partner with NetHope and The Center for the Digital Nonprofit to apply expertise, resources and networks to advance innovation and collaboration that support The Center’s strategic objectives.

All three have a multi-year commitment of cash, expertise, free or discounted product, and access to thought leaders “measured in the mid-six figures,” said Jim Daniell, chief transformation officer for the Center for the Digital Nonprofit.

NetHope is a consortium of 56 nonprofits that account for more than 60 percent of all annual, non-governmental international aid. It is a digitally-driven organization based in Fairfax, Va., with a combination of staff and consultants numbering 35 in the U.S., Spain, London and New Zealand. The goal, said Daniell, is to “see that the nonprofit sector’s large planetary safety net have access to digital transformation tools.”

NetHope launched the Center for the Digital Nonprofit in October 2017. The center is intended to bring together the expertise of the technology sector with the on-the-ground experience of nonprofits to problem solve delivering aid, relieving suffering, and building hope, said Daniell.

NetHope and its members realized 16 years in that despite having access to cutting-edge technology the nonprofit sector was falling well behind the private sector in leveraging innovative technology solutions that would allow for greater mission-driven impact.

The organization has more than 40 technology-based vendor partners contributing cash, time, product and expertise. Those firms are competitive in some cases. “NetHope is a vendor-agnostic organization,” said Daniell. “Vendors come in knowing they are working in a multi-vendor world.” Blackbaud, Microsoft and Okta are contributors to the larger organization as well.

NetHope’s nonprofit members must commit to paying member dues and to providing detailed outcome data. “Most power comes from hearing stories of members,” said Daniell.

“As a longtime philanthropic and collaborative supporter of NetHope, Blackbaud believes in NetHope’s mission to foster collaboration between the world’s most innovative nonprofits to drive digital transformation, elevating their collective ability to create positive change in the world,” said Jay Odell, president and general manager, Enterprise Nonprofit, at Blackbaud.

Odell said the keys are establishment of best practices and standards and providing thought leadership back to the industry. Targets include handling of gifts-in-kind and program management, said Odell. Blackbaud will use information from its database built from approximately 40,000 clients worldwide to inform some of the research.

“This partnership with Blackbaud has powerful implications for digital transformation in the global nonprofit sector,” said Lauren Woodman, chief executive officer of NetHope. “NetHope and Blackbaud share a common vision for changing the world through technology and collaboration. As needs outpace available resources to solve current global issues, we are excited to work together with Blackbaud to help the nonprofit sector successfully navigate and scale digital transformation.”

Leveraging Blackbaud’s data and nonprofit experience, the partnership will drive collaboration to build platforms intended to improve efficiency and effectiveness across the nonprofit sector; establish programs that enable NetHope members —and the nonprofit sector at large — to imagine, design and execute best practices proven to drive impact, such as gifts-in-kind lifecycle management; and expand support and digital expertise that advances the progress of NetHope’s working groups, including the Enterprise Architecture Working Group and the CRM and Data Working Group.

“Blackbaud is a longtime Microsoft partner and we are proud to work with them in this additional capacity to accelerate digital transformation to drive social good,” said Justin Spelhaug, general manager, Microsoft Tech for Social Impact. “By aligning innovation from leading technology companies with the world’s leading nonprofit organizations, NetHope is creating exciting possibilities to affect positive change. We look forward to working with Blackbaud and The Center community to turn those possibilities into reality.”

NetHope reported total revenue of $9.2 million on its 2015 federal Form 990, down from $14.1 million the previous reporting period. However, the Form 990 shows net assets increased by $1.34 million.