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The Next Wave of Virtual and Hybrid Events Is Here, and Classy’s First Acquisition Helps You Make It a Reality

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Published October 19, 2021 Reading Time: 6 minutes

To our Classy community,

Today, I’m pleased to announce that Classy made its first acquisition in our 10-year history. Classy has acquired Fondi, a next-generation virtual and hybrid event platform. For current and future Classy customers, that means access to a robust solution that supports donor engagement, promotes fundraising, and enables admins to run their events with ease.

We promised to invest in customer-forward product development after closing on our recent Series D funding round. That included not only internally built products, but also an acquisition strategy to round out our product suite to add immediate value for our nonprofit community. We chose to focus on virtual events as our first acquisition for this exact reason—the instant and significant benefit it would provide.

The pandemic caused fundraising teams large and small to rethink their event strategies, recognizing events overall as a critical source of revenue and relationship building. Virtual and hybrid event models opened the door to broader participation on a global scale, enhancing visibility and improving accessibility to worthy causes around the world.

Events run with a virtual or hybrid component have only gained sophistication and creativity with time. With this acquisition, our customers and their donors will have the technology to elevate their virtual events, or incorporate a virtual element into their event through auctions and mobile bidding, networking and breakout rooms, and a mobile app that we’ll be looking to release soon.

Fondi is relaunching as Classy Liveproviding the Classy community with an innovative and elegant platform to host virtual events and engage attendees both in-person and digitally. This may be our first acquisition, but it’s just the start of what we hope to accomplish for our nonprofit customers.

Our passion for making a difference in the social sector spans a decade, and we remain motivated by working toward connecting more people to causes they care about. This announcement reflects our commitment to making it easy and fulfilling for nonprofits to engage supporters when and how it matters to accelerate the good in this world.

Christopher Himes, Classy CEO

chris himes signature

Achieve Your Virtual and Hybrid Event Goals With Classy Live

Meet Josh Parolin, Classy’s New Vice President of Engineering 

Classy CEO Christopher Himes sat down with Josh Parolin, former Fondi co-founder and CTO. As Classy’s new VP of Engineering focusing on the Classy Live platform, Josh shares how Classy Live will help change the virtual and hybrid events landscape.

Meet Josh Parolin

I’m excited to open new doors for our customers with Classy Live, especially as hybrid events continue to accelerate the impact of nonprofits everywhere and redefine the future of fundraising.

Himes: Josh, tell us more about your career path and the experience that you’re bringing to your role as Classy’s new VP of Engineering.

Parolin: I built my career in both the nonprofit and SaaS worlds, so coming to Classy feels like a natural next step.

I’m passionate about solving problems through technology, and it’s really product innovation that helped me grow in my previous roles as Web Director at Invisible Children, Software Engineer at Zendesk, and Senior Software Engineer at Eat Just.

Most recently, I’ve spent seven years as the Chief Technology Officer at LENND, leading their technology and product efforts. In that time, I’ve brought events of every size to life, which include the 2021 Presidential Inauguration, PGA Championship, and Outside Lands Music Festival.

Much like Classy, we wanted to provide nonprofits with great technology to further their missions. It was the catalyst for creating Fondi, an events platform explicitly geared towards fundraising to virtually engage and connect with donors.

I’m joining the Classy team with a passion for strategically addressing new technology opportunities that advance our giving platform in the direction of our innovative nonprofit customers. I’m ready to deliver tools that create an effortless event experience for attendees and the fundraising professionals hosting them.

When I picture success, I picture more people forming relationships with causes that help them make a difference in the ways they feel called to do so.

Himes: When I first saw the technology, I was super excited. Classy had evaluated other tools beyond what we have internally built in order to support our customers, but we immediately knew that this was the perfect fit when we saw it. Tell us more about the unique value Classy Live will bring our customers. 

Parolin: Classy Live is the next wave of giving experience enhancements that keep fundraising relevant, engaging, intuitive, and flexible for supporters who are ready and eager to do more good.

By aligning our intelligent fundraising approach with the sector’s virtual and hybrid event needs, Classy will make fundraisers more effective in engaging their supporters and forming relevant connections that last.

Nonprofits will manage their events with a complete solution, inclusive of the essential details that bring experiences to life on the day of an event. Classy’s ticketing and fundraising technology coupled with Classy Live’s day-of event platform make it possible (and simple) to engage attendees through a variety of practical tools.

Nonprofits can use Classy Live’s native live streaming tools to host professionally branded experiences with live chat, or connect their stream from Zoom, YouTube, or Vimeo. Speakers even have a backstage area to virtually connect and practice before going live.

Classy Live

Our auction and mobile bidding capabilities allow nonprofits to host silent auctions during their events, creating more revenue opportunities. Classy Live also makes it possible to sell merchandise and fixed-price items.

classy live product screenshot

Nonprofits can use Classy Live’s breakout rooms to keep attendees engaged and connected with each other. Host virtual tables, or organize fundraising teams to cheer each other along as they cross their virtual finish lines. Fundraising activity and progress syncs directly into Classy Live, keeping attendees motivated to hit the overarching campaign goal.

classy live product screenshot

Not only will Classy Live provide an engaging virtual experience for event attendees, but with built-in email and texting capabilities, chat, and polling features, nonprofits have multiple ways to keep their attendees connected to their event.

Gain insight into your donor base with Classy Live’s dashboards and engagement data to discover what’s resonating most with your audience. Acquire the knowledge to confidently back up your strategy, steward valuable relationships, and retain loyal donors.

Himes: What is the long-term vision for Classy Live?

Parolin: Today, the Classy Live offering enables nonprofits to sell tickets to their events and encourage fundraising through individual and team fundraising pages. Fundraising progress pulls into the Classy Live platform to show:

  • Live leaderboards
  • Donation notifications
  • Campaign progress bar
  • Donations during the live event

The Classy Live platform gives nonprofits the ability to create a customized virtual event venue. It’s simple to build a custom agenda, add live streamed content, chat with attendees, conduct polls, host breakout rooms, run silent auctions, and offer mobile bidding.

Additional product capabilities like an event mobile app, text-to-give technology, and live auctions are already on the roadmap to launch in the coming months. We’ve also got our eye on more Classy Live tools for fundraisers in the future.

Nonprofits won’t be limited to hosting live events on Classy Live. We see them using this technology to cultivate new donors through webinars with specific program updates, virtual member meetups, virtual patient support groups, and more. We’re excited to keep exploring the use cases to connect supporters virtually with organizations they care about.

The possibilities are as endless as the creativity of our nonprofit customers.

Explore Classy Live

Break down geographical boundaries and provide an engaging event experience that raises more for your cause with Classy Live.

Classy’s ticketing and fundraising technology coupled with Classy Live’s day-of event platform gives organizations the ability to boost fundraising activity and manage events with ease.

Check it out today and learn how Classy’s first acquisition can help advance your nonprofit mission.

Raise More With Classy Live

Raise More With Classy Live

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