Charleston-Based Supplier of Software for Nonprofits Builds New Headquarters

blackbaud-siliconharbor-featureBlackbaud, the Charleston-based supplier of software and services specifically designed for nonprofit organizations, will build a new headquarter on the Daniel Island’s campus. The forthcoming development is a $150 million exploration plan, and it will add more than 300 jobs. The software company already employs nearly 3,100.

Over the next five years, Blackbaud plans to invest in payroll and new offices, and its new corporate home in Charleston will act as a centralized location for what CEO Michael Gianoni has deemed a “generational investment.” The new office complex will be 360,000-square-feet, and the first phase of construction is expected to begin by 2018. Blackbaud has yet to announce the timeline for the second phase of the building project. The first phase of construction will begin at the intersection of Fairchild and Central Island streets. The second phase is expected to take place at Fairchild and River Landing Drive.

The software company has outgrown it’s existing building, located on Daniel Island Drive, as the company has added individuals to its workforce over the past few years. This prompted the company to lease space to deal with the overflow. Upon realizing that the lease on their main building would run out in 2024, they began a search for a new place to house their global headquarters.  Ultimately, Blackbaud decided they wanted to remain on Daniel Island. They chose to move just one mile down the road so that it continued its residency in Charleston as it has for the past 30 years, after relocating from New York.

Atlanta-based Holder Properties will develop the new headquarters, which will be equipped with a fitness center, game rooms, hiking trails, and a cafeteria that’s stocked with locally sourced food. Additionally, the office will include space to “incubate emerging nonprofits” and flesh out its Camp Blackbaud program, where they teach local elementary school students to design and teach.

The office complex is among a number or developments planned for Fairchild Street. Apartment complexes, offices, and a gas station are soon to be in development, according to city records. If the incentive package from the County Council still needs final approval, the Blackbaud property tax breaks over the next 30 years as long as it invests a minimum of $150 million by 2029. Additionally, Blackbaud will receive financial incentives from the S.C. Commerce Department in return for investment. The expansion will be the biggest economic development deal in the county since 2015 when the $500 million automobile factory was announced.

According to Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt, the tech company will be able to claim tax credits because they’ve promised to create 300 jobs over the next five years. Also tasked to hit minimum pay requirements, the salaries are expected to be “pretty good.

Since 1989, the company has grown exponentially, bringing on countless individuals from the Lowcountry’s tech community. According to securities filings, Blackbaud added 1,000 worldwide employees to its payroll over the past five years, and the company plans to continue that level of growth. The company provides services and builds software for the philanthropic industry, growing the market valuation more to more than$2.7 billion. Consequently, Blackbaud is South Carolina’s third-largest publicly traded company.

5 Ways to Ensure You Give Effectively

donate-654328When it comes to making donations, it’s easy to sign a check and call it day. But if you want your donation to make a real impact, there are measures you can take to ensure your gift is as effective as possible. In fact, there are researchers working on evidence-based approaches to philanthropy, and charities are beginning to measure their own results. This combination will lead to a more thorough understanding and application of charitable gifts. Before all of these findings are shared with us, below are some steps you can take to make your gift more valuable.

1) Find a cause you’re passionate about, and research it.

If you’re looking an organization to donate to, you can brainstorm at sites like GiveWell and Focusing Philanthropy. Both of these sites verify that the nonprofits they list are doing the most with their donations. Once you select an organization, you can search the web for ratings and evaluations of their work.

2) Give more to fewer organizations.

Giving to a select number of organizations benefits you and the organizations you select more effectively. Instead of making smaller donations to a variety of nonprofits, give larger donations to a smaller number of organizations. Your gift will be more impactful, you’re also more likely to understand their work and develop a long-term relationship with the organization.

3) Seek out quantifiable impact.

Select an organization that can provide you with hard data about the number of people they help. Think in broader terms when you research their impact; if there isn’t research by scholars or critiques from journalists, you should be skeptical of the lofty promises the organization makes.

4) Be actively involved.

It’s easy to send a check away and forget about taking any more action, but it’s possible that your cause needs your skill set to accomplish more. There are platforms like VolunteerMatch, Catchafire, and MovingWorlds connecting nonprofits to individuals with the skills to help them accomplish their goals.

5) Make a gift in someone’s name.

Many people are more than happy to support a donation in lieu of a gift. This donation extends your goodwill to the giftee, and to the organization that eventually receives it. Ask the giftee if they have a charity of choice, and you can make a donation to a cause your loved one is passionate about. There is research suggesting that giving is beneficial, it can improve your health and happiness. All signs show that giving is a win-win for all!

To learn more about effectively donating to your cause, please see Forbes.