4 Important Focus Areas for Social Good Orgs in 2020 | npENGAGE

4 Important Focus Areas for Social Good Organizations in 2020

By on Jan 13, 2020


Social Good, Nonprofit Fundraising, Nonprofit Marketing, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit, Blackbaud Institute

As we venture into the new year, and a brand-new decade, the world around us feels chaotic in many ways. So much seems to change every day, from the effects of climate change to the political landscape to constant innovations in technology. Through it all, YOU—the social good community—stay committed to your important work, regardless of the environment in which we find ourselves. But amid such constant change, it’s more important than ever to center yourself on your goals and commit to the best practices that will carry you through changing times.

As I think about this, here are a few core practices our sector should commit greater focus to in 2020 to navigate the road ahead:

  • Examine Effectiveness: Think about how each and every action you’re undertaking as part of your role ties back to impact on the mission. Consider the high-level vision for what you are working to achieve. Don’t be afraid to examine your work through an honest lens and rethink the areas that aren’t aligned. Quantitative and qualitative data can help you get a fuller picture of the impact of your work. To learn more about benchmarking your performance, check out Benchmarking: The Insight Track to Success.
  • Know Your Audience: Social good supporters are committed to staying in the drivers’ seat of their engagement. To welcome their commitment and let them lead their supporter experience, you have to understand your supporters and meet them where they are. Give them the options to give and engage with you the way they want! Dive into the Blackbaud Institute’s Supporters In Sight series to learn how data-driven personas can help you create individual experiences efficiently and effectively.
  • Radically Collaborate: To successfully navigate the digital world in which we find ourselves, organizations need to realign at every level around the mission. For leaders, this means taking ownership of the digital transformation process and embedding it throughout the organization. For others, this means thinking about how every role can be more transparent, as well as how the possibilities of technology can facilitate greater efficiency and efficacy. To see how this kind of transformation can benefit your constituent experience, check out our Connected Office Infographic.
  • Stay Curious: The one thing we know for sure about 2020? Change is bound to keep on coming. To ensure that you can continue to deliver your mission amid changing times, you must be nimble and willing to adapt as you go. Be hungry to continue discovering what you don’t know, and welcome both successes and failures as opportunities to learn and improve. To commit to your exploratory journey, bookmark The Explorer, the Blackbaud Institute’s knowledge base of social good information and statistics, and dig into new topics throughout the year.

As you continue your remarkable work throughout 2020, I hope you will keep these practices in mind to keep you centered no matter what changes come.


Ashley Thompson is the managing director for the Blackbaud Institute, where she is responsible for driving extensive research and thought leadership. Through this role, she builds thoughtful strategies and solutions for the social good sector using the most comprehensive data set in the social good community. Ashley is active in the Austin community and participates in numerous groups as a volunteer, board member, and collaborative partner. She is a regular contributor to sgENGAGE, serves on the Giving USA Editorial Review Board, and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board. Visit www.blackbaudinstitute.com to learn more or follow her on Twitter at @AshlyThmpsn.

Comments (6)

  • KaLeigh says:

    “stay curious” – I love that!

  • Julie says:

    I did not know about the Explorer I am going to have to dig thru this

  • Rayford Dempsey says:

    Hi Ashley! Good day! I came across your article and it was good information but I’m still curious about “The explorer” you mentioned. Is that also a tool to collect data like google analytic or SEMrush?

    • Ali Barroso, Marketing Specialist, Blackbaud Institute says:

      Hi Rayford!

      The Explorer is the Blackbaud Institute’s premier knowledge base for information and statistics about social good. It’s a hub for data, best practices, and trends from Blackbaud Institute research and other trusted sector resources to help inform social good leaders and organizations. It does not collect data or analytics. I encourage you to visit (http://blackbaudinstitute.com/explorer) and click around to get a sense of everything that’s available. I hope you find something valuable!

  • Jess says:

    Staying curious is easy with the explorer.

  • JoAnn Strommen says:

    Interesting ideas.

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