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How to Choose a Classy Campaign Type


By Will Schmidt

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Published July 7, 2020 Reading Time: 7 minutes

After you choose Classy to power your online fundraising, the next big choice you must make is which campaign type to use for your first fundraising campaign. In total, Classy offers five different options you can pick from, each of which is designed for a specific use case and call to action.

On Classy, we offer five different campaign types:

  • Donation Pages
  • Crowdfunding
  • Peer-to-Peer
  • Ticketed Events
  • Registration with Fundraising

Choosing the right campaign type is vital to your fundraising success. Your decision to go with a crowdfunding campaign versus a peer-to-peer campaign, for example, affects the entire marketing and communications strategy that gets sent to your supporters.

The call to action changes from “make a one-time donation” to “sign up to fundraise on our behalf.” If you want to tell your nonprofit’s story with photos and narrative text, and explain the power of a gift through impact blocks, you would want to choose a crowdfunding campaign over a donation page.

Below, we’ll explore the different use cases and nuances of each campaign type, and we’ll provide examples of real Classy campaigns for each one. First, let’s go over how you can determine your nonprofit’s primary focus to help determine which type is right for your first campaign.

What’s Your Focus?

To ensure you choose the right Classy campaign type, determine what your organization’s focus, or top priority, is. This isn’t the end-all-be-all of your fundraising strategy, but rather something to guide your first campaign on Classy.

Start by exploring the immediate need that brought you to Classy in the first place. For example, you might want to quickly build a landing page that serves as a place for someone to make a donation.

In that instance, you would want to go with a donation page or a crowdfunding campaign. If, on the other hand, your focus is to empower people to fundraise on your behalf, you would want to choose an option that lets your supporters solicit donations like a peer-to-peer fundraising or a registration with fundraising campaign.

Registration with fundraising is one way you can power your nonprofit’s event, the other being a ticketed event. Either way, you can use this Classy campaign type to engage attendees, sell admission tickets, or encourage registrations.

Once your team agrees on its focus, it becomes much easier to create cohesive messaging that helps supporters understand how they can contribute to your work. Each section below begins a sample focus statement before exploring the different campaign types in depth and providing examples from real nonprofits.

Donation Page

“Our nonprofit simply needs to gather donations and build a supporter base.”

A donation page can stand as its own landing page. Supporters can arrive, read a short section on your work, and complete their donation. Your nonprofit can link directly to this donation page in any of your marketing materials, like social media posts, emails, blogs, and even include the URL on pieces of direct mail.

With a donation page, you can collect either one-time or recurring donations, and you can customize the donation amounts listed on the form itself. Further, you can make use of pass-through parameters to have a pre-selected donation amount automatically populated when someone lands on the form.

While a donation page can stand on its own, it’s also part of the checkout flow for the other campaign types. For example, look at the way way Casa Central built their donation page to ensure that it’s engaging enough to draw someone in, yet still strong enough to stand on its own:

give now donation page


“Our nonprofit needs to gather donations, build a supporter base, and tell our organization’s compelling story in the process.”

A crowdfunding campaign is built for storytelling. With this campaign type, you can inspire support for your cause with a robust narrative that ultimately drives people to make a donation.

Crowdfunding campaigns serve as the landing page before someone gets to your donation page. It’s meant to draw people in, teach them about your nonprofit, show the impact their gift will make, and steward them to complete a donation. Nonprofits often make use of video, rich imagery, and well-written copy to accomplish this.

While a crowdfunding campaign works well for story-driven appeals, it’s also ideal for time-bound appeals that fundraise against an optional, public-facing goal: you can’t do this on a donation page. In addition, when you run a crowdfunding campaign that’s bound to a set duration of time, it can create a sense of urgency with your audience to make a donation.

Additionally, when someone makes a donation, you can thank and encourage them in real-time on the comment wall of the campaign page. This is a public-facing engagement opportunity that shows supporters that you and your team are grateful for the support.

It also lends an element of social proof to the campaign. With a donation page, you’re unable to see who’s donated, how many have donated, or gauge any sense of momentum.

Here’s a campaign by Water4 that puts all of these best practices to use:

water4 campaign


You can also use a crowdfunding campaign to build a dedicated recurring giving program. The only things that change are the call to action, which shifts the focus from a one-time donation to a monthly recurring donation, and the timeline. Recurring giving programs are often evergreen. Operation Broken Silence built a recurring giving program in this fashion:

Operation Broken Silence


“We want to empower people to fundraise on our behalf.”

A peer-to-peer fundraising campaign page may look very similar to a crowdfunding campaign, but it has a much different call to action. Instead of asking someone to donate, a peer-to-peer campaign instead asks them to sign up to fundraise on your behalf.

Some peer-to-peer campaigns will, however, offer both options and invite supporters to either donate or sign up to fundraise. That way, people can still give to your cause even if they don’t want to build a personal fundraising page.

Your main campaign page serves as a central hub from which supporters build a personal fundraising page. Fundraisers will then send out this personal page to their networks, asking people to donate there.

All donations to personal fundraising pages ladder back up to your main campaign page and increase your fundraising progress toward the goal. The true value here lies in that network effect.

As individuals reach out to their friends, family, and coworkers to share their personal fundraising page, your nonprofit gets exposed to new audiences that may not have heard about your mission before. Peer-to-peer fundraising can also net your organization higher overall fundraising totals.

That’s because someone who starts a personal fundraising page can often raise more from their network than they could donate out of pocket. Not everyone can donate $100 at once, but many people have 10 friends who can each donate $10.

Look at how Volunteers of America build their page:

Volunteers of America

While most peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are time-bound, like the majority of crowdfunding campaigns, you always have the option to leave it on year-round. In these cases, you would call it a year-round peer-to-peer campaign.

Extending further from that, you can build your peer-to-peer campaign as a DIY fundraising campaign, which lets supporters fundraise on their own terms and time, like Room to Grow did. Someone can donate their birthday, wedding, athletic event, or other major life milestone.

Room To Grow Campaign


“I want to hold an event that activates my entire community of supporters.”

Classy offers two different ways your nonprofit can tap into the power of events. First, you can choose a ticketed event, which allows you to sell tickets to your event. Second, you can choose registration with fundraising, which combines the peer-to-peer fundraising campaign with a ticketed event campaign.

Ticketed Event

Ticketed events is what you’ll want to choose for any event that you want to sell admission tickets for, like a gala. You can control the total number of tickets you want to sell as well as the types of tickets you offer supporters.

You can also create special promo codes to pass out and attract additional attendees. Last, you can include a “Donate” call to action so that anyone who can’t attend your event can still make a donation to support, like the High Fives Foundation did:

high five foundation

Registration with Fundraising

Registration with fundraising is similar to the ticketed events campaign type, but it mixes in an element of peer-to-peer fundraising. Often, nonprofits will use this campaign type for endurance events like 5Ks, marathons, and run/walks.

Participants can still pay for admission to the event, but there’s an option for them to create a personal or team fundraising page as well. Some will use this peer-to-peer functionality as a gate to entry for the event as well.

That is, someone must fundraise a certain dollar amount to guarantee their registration in the event. You can use this example from the Sacramento SPCA to inspire your own campaign:

Sacramento SPCA

What Classy Campaign Type Will You Choose?

No matter which Classy campaign type you choose, it’s helpful to view your campaign as an iterative work-in-progress that can always be improved. One of the biggest keys to success is to have a defined focus before you start that drives a strong first version that can be improved upon later.

When you understand the call to action, and you’re confident in the campaign type you need, you’ve done the hard part. That way you won’t spend hours designing a page, only to realize you’ve chosen the wrong type.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Classy can power your online fundraising efforts, please reach out to us directly. Good luck!

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