Blackbaud Inc. is looking to expand its reach in the education field with its $35 million cash purchase of a New England software firm.

Buy buy

Blackbaud has made a string of acquisitions totaling more than $455 million since going public in 2004, including this week's purchase of WhippleHill.

2012: $275 million for Convio, a rival from Austin, Texas, that specialized in online fundraising.

2011: $7.4 million for Everyday Hero, a fundraising company based in Brisbane, Australia.

2010: Undisclosed combination of cash and assumed debt for NOZA Inc., a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based firm that gathered data for nonprofits to help them identify potential donors

2008: $46 million for San Diego-based rival Kintera Inc.

2007: $60 million for Cambridge, Mass.-based Target Software and Target Analysis Group. Also, $26.3 million for eTapestry, an Indiana software firm that specialized in reaching smaller donors.

2006: $6 million for Manchester, N.H.-based rival Campagne Associates Ltd.

The Daniel Island technology company said Tuesday that it has acquired WhippleHill Communications Inc., a small Bedford, N.H., firm that caters exclusively to K-12 private schools.

The deal closed Monday, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Blackbaud sells software and services that are designed specifically for nonprofit organizations, including private schools, to help them connect with new donors and raise money more effectively.

WhippleHill said it was founded in 1997 as a standard "home-page" developer. It shifted its attention on private schools in 2000. Its cloud-based services and software manage an array of functions, from enrollment to tracking online traffic to maintaining report cards and attendance records. It said it works with more than 400 schools.

"They've carved out an industry leadership niche in the last several years," Blackbaud CEO Mike Gianoni said Tuesday.

Gianoni said the firms already share some clients. WhippleHill's "front-end" products complement the "back-end" fundraising software that Blackbaud offers, he added.

"It allows us to take our current products ... and sell into their client base, take all of their products and sell into our client base, and then go after new clients with all of that," Gianoni said. "It's the whole round trip, if you will."

The U.S. market alone is sizable, with about 19,000 private elementary and high schools, he said.

The acquired firm will be merged into Blackbaud's K-12 business and based in New Hampshire. It will be led by WhippleHill founder Travis Warren. No jobs are being cut, though a few employees will be transferred north to Bedford, Gianoni said

"It's just a combination with a focus on growth," he said.

The deal is Blackbaud's first under Gianoni, who's been CEO since January. It's also the company's first acquisition in more than two years.

Shares of Blackbaud climbed 73 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $36.18 Tuesday.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.