Digital Transformation: Tips for Moving Your Social Good Organization into the Future | npENGAGE

Digital Transformation: Tips for Moving Your Social Good Organization into the Future

By on May 31, 2019


Many of us remember going to the video store to rent a movie. How about the calculator that used to sit in the junk drawer in your kitchen? (Everybody has one of those drawers, right?) How about getting directions from a friend for driving to a new place or printing them out from MapQuest?  All of these are now apps on your phone and represent a small way digital transformation has impacted our day to day lives.

As a fan of science fiction, I often think about these things as the lines between the physical world and the digital world increasingly narrows. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in just the past twenty years. What about what’s ahead? What about the post-smartphone era – what will that look like? Now that your gears are turning, we can agree that technology is developing at outstanding, breakneck speeds, and organizations and businesses need to keep up or risk being left as a memory. Sorry Blockbuster.

In the 100th episode of The sgENGAGE Podcast, special guest President and CEO of Blackbaud Mike Gianoni joined host Steve MacLaughlin to discuss digital transformation. From how it’s impacting our daily lives, to what successful digital transformation looks like within a social good organization today, to how to strengthen your organization to maintain flexibility for whatever changes are to come, there’s valuable information in this interview no matter your professional role or walk of life. Here are some of the important points that Mike and Steve discuss during the interview.


Digital transformation and the workplace

  • To say the world is changing isn’t enough. The world has changed. The quality of digital technology available to us as consumers has accustomed us to expect more out of our day to day encounters, and to expect the software we work with be as good as consumer platforms.
  • Digital transformation has also trained the workforce preemptively to be accustomed to interacting with a mobile device. People are used to using quality software on the go. As Mike puts it “It’s not new to put a mobile device in someone’s hand at work because it’s in their hand outside of work.”


Digital transformation from a leadership perspective

  • Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking it’s the IT person’s job to drive digital transformation. It’s actually the CEO’s job or the executive director’s job to drive it because you have to change the entire workflow to maximize the efficacy of your software, not just the software itself.
  • The IT folks’ responsibilities obviously will change as well, empowering them to be thought leaders internally. They can and should help the organization think about what’s possible through the use of technology as you move away from having to maintain internal systems to working in the cloud and opening your organization up for rapid process evolution.
  • With more automation available and less staff required for maintenance tasks, things organizations have done the same way for years need to be reexamined at a leadership team level. Your employees should be freed up for higher level thought exercise and improving ways to drive your mission while not being bogged down updating spreadsheets.


And finally, a quote from Mike on his personal experience driving digital transformation within Blackbaud.

“We made massive changes internally to the company. We had – going back five years ago and earlier – multiple duplicate departments doing the same thing. And just to put in an information system and drive digital transformation wouldn’t work because we had, pick a particular department, and maybe we have 12 of those departments and each had between 10 and 50 people doing the same thing. They had different compensation systems, they had different success metrics, different operational metrics, different delivery methodologies. And so we made organizational changes to have common compensation systems, common operating metrics, common program metrics, common organization design, while we were putting in information systems to go through a digital transformation. The head of IT couldn’t do that because those 12 or 15 groups didn’t report to IT. They reported somewhere else to a peer. And so to go through a proper digital transformation, we had to make changes to everything in the company so we could take advantage of the new cloud solutions we put in to run our company internally…We couldn’t just have the head of IT say “okay, you go do digital transformation,” because all of the other efficiencies would not have happened.”


Joe has been with Blackbaud for over three years and supports the brand team as an Associate Marketing Communication Specialist. He is involved with managing content for the npENGAGE website and the sgENGAGE podcast and is thrilled to be in a position to share leading industry trends and ideas within the philanthropic sector. With a passion for animal welfare and the arts, he is a self-proclaimed patron of live music based in New York City who prior to Blackbaud spent more time working with dogs than humans.

Comments (7)

  • Karen says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post on Digital Transformation. Just a small comment on one area you touched on… Digital transformation from a leadership perspective. I agree, it is not the IT’s job to drive digital transformation, but I also think it is everyone’s job at any organization to drive digital transformation, not just the leadership.

    What I mean by this is we, all employees, are representatives of our organizations. How we are perceived by the public is driven by the employees. If the employees/ staff are involved in any digital communications or transformations, this is reflected upon the company and their touch with the future in technologies. I do see leadership driving some of the digital transformation, but I also see the value in what the employees are doing and how that can be viewed and utilized for the way of the future.

    Again, thank you for your insights. I enjoyed reading this topic in particular.

  • LaDonna says:

    This is an interesting topic. Having leadership on board for digital transformation is important. It’s also important to go through any transformation wisely. Skilled leadership would be key to overseeing that processes are updated to work with the new technology.
    So many times, staff will cling to their old processes and try to “force” the technology into that frame of reference. Leadership’s guidance and team work can help create new processes where they are needed to utilize the technology’s strong points while keeping those processes that are still valid within the organization.

  • Diane says:

    Excellent topic. Agree that there is more automation available and less staff. So difficult to change processes if leadership is stuck to their old processes. I would love the time to be freed up for higher level thought exercise. Improving the mission is my goal and to not be bogged down with the daily activities that anyone can do.

  • Jo says:

    “Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking it’s the IT person’s job to drive digital transformation. It’s actually the CEO’s job or the executive director’s job to drive it because you have to change the entire workflow to maximize the efficacy of your software, not just the software itself.”

    Agreed. IT should be able to provide solutions to compliment the Leadership’s vision on changing the dynamic of the workplace.

  • Claudia says:

    Excellent very relevant topic. I think we’re in a time where the old mentality and new technology is coming to a head. It’s hard to get the buy in all the time.

  • Christine says:

    Very interesting post. I’m left thinking about how in some ways, we’re all responsible for our Orgs successful transformation in the digital realm. As we encounter new technology in the “wild” we can be thinking about how it can impact the work of our Organizations too.

  • Rachel Lamb says:

    “Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking it’s the IT person’s job to drive digital transformation.“

    A thousand times, yes! Everyone needs to be a stakeholder in the development database. It’s a living, breathing entity, not a storage locker for names and numbers.

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