Making Connections | npENGAGE

Making Connections

By on Feb 20, 2008


The launch of Blackbaud's new forums also means the launch of some new blogs. So I'm very pleased to unveil this new weblog, Connections, which will continue some topics from BlogBaud and other writing that I have done in the past. So, what's with the name? Let me try and explain…

One of my favorite television programs growing up was Connections, and it was hosted by science historian James Burke. The premise of the show was that innovation rarely happens in isolation, but instead it usually comes from a series of connected events. One episode explained the connections between the Normans wearing stirrups at the Battle of Hastings and how it led to the modern telecommunications industry of today. (Trust me, it's a lot more interesting than it sounds.)

Many years of first-hand observations have taught me two things: 1) History always repeats itself. 2) Success comes from a series of failures.

If you want to know what is going to happen next, then just look for the pattern in history it most closely resembles. (iTunes is just a repeat of the singles records market from the 50s and 60s.) And very often it takes a lot of trial and error before someone gets it just right. (Edison didn't invent the light bulb. He just improved on everyone else's failures.)

This was a theme that I picked up on in People to People Fundraising when trying to demystify the changing nature of online communities. There are patterns and trends that nonprofit organizations can look to in order to help understand where things are going. Sometimes it's as clear as day and sometimes it's as clear as pluff mud. So when it came to naming this new blog the choice was pretty clear.

This blog will be about making connections between where things have been, where they are now, and where they are going in the future. I'll be sharing some ideas, sharing some photos (like the one above), providing a sneak peek at Blackbaud solutions, and doing some out of the ordinary things every now and then. This will certainly not be the typical marketing puff piece platform masquerading as a personal weblog. That's not really my style anyhow.

So let's get started making connections…


Steve MacLaughlin is the Vice President of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud and bestselling author of Data Driven Nonprofits.

MacLaughlin has been featured as a fundraising and nonprofit expert in many mainstream publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, USA Today, The NonProfit Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Bloomberg, and has appeared on NPR.

He is a frequent speaker at events including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), American Marketing Association (AMA), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association (DMFA), Giving Institute Summer Symposium, National Association of Independent School (NAIS), Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), Institute of Fundraising National Convention (United Kingdom), Civil Society Conference (Netherlands), International Fundraising Congress (Netherlands), Ask Direct Fundraising Summer School (Ireland), and a keynote speaker at several conferences across the social good sector.

Steve previously served on the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Board of Directors and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University.

He is a frequent blogger, published author of a chapter in the book People to People Fundraising: Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Charities, and is a co-editor of the book Internet Management for Nonprofits: Strategies, Tools & Trade Secrets. His latest book, Data Driven Nonprofits, became a bestseller in 2016.

Steve earned both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Indiana University.

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