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Introducing Classy’s New COO, Soraya Alexander, and SVP of Engineering, Shantanu Bose

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By Hannah Durbin
headshots of classy's COO and SVP of engineering

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Published September 29, 2021
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Nonprofits have raised over $3.5 billion on Classy’s giving platform, and our customers’ growth continues to accelerate. Elevating strong leaders is critical to our work in building the best technology to help nonprofits do more good.

Connected by the common goal to deliver a world-class supporter-centric fundraising platform for the social sector, Classy is proud to celebrate Soraya Alexander and Shantanu Bose in their new roles as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Engineering.

Meet Soraya Alexander, Classy’s New COO

classy COO headshot

Prior to being appointed COO, Soraya was Classy’s SVP of Marketing and Customer Growth. Over the past three years, she has played an integral role in the success of Classy’s 6,000 nonprofit customers across the country. Her focus has been on helping these customers realize their full potential for online fundraising, showing how a seamless donor experience and frictionless technology can not only help them reach their goals, but exceed them.

 

Our focus at Classy is to build innovative, powerful, purposeful products to help drive the incredibly important work of our nonprofit customers. I couldn’t be more excited to help lead the company through all that is to come.

Soraya’s dedication to the growth of our nonprofit customers contributed to the activation of 46,000 campaigns on the Classy platform in 2020 and $1 billion raised from over 9.4 million donations—of which, nearly 4 million were recurring gifts.

In addition to her commitment to our customers’ success, Soraya’s creativity has pushed our marketing team to new heights. Here’s a small sample of assets that were created recently under Soraya’s leadership to support our customers’ fundraising efforts and fuel their missions:

Meet Shantanu Bose, Classy’s New SVP of Engineering

classy SVP of engineering headshot

As SVP of Engineering, Shantanu’s strategic planning for growth will continue to largely impact the evolution of Classy’s giving platform. Over the past two years, his balance of technical evolution and innovative product enhancements has opened Classy’s eyes to new technologies, allowing our customers to unlock generosity in more meaningful ways and drive action toward impactful change in society.

 

Our mission in the Classy Engineering organization is to build exceptional, innovative, and secure products for the social sector.

Learn how Classy customers are using our product enhancements to better serve their beneficiaries from our 50 Best in Classy organizations, and take our free assessment to uncover new opportunities for your nonprofit based on benchmarks set by over 4,800 organizations.

We Asked, They Answered

Q: Tell us about your journey with Classy over the past few years and how it led you to this new role on the executive leadership team.

classy COO headshot

A: I spent time navigating back and forth between the nonprofit and for-profit sectors before coming to Classy, always with a focus on customer engagement and technology. Joining this team a little over three years ago felt like finding home.

My role evolved from leading product marketing, to taking on responsibility for our larger marketing team, and then expanding to include a focus on customer growth. Those opportunities allowed me to help our Classy customers realize their full potential for online fundraising, and drew me closer to our mission to mobilize and empower the world for good.

My goal was then, and still is, to help ensure nonprofits have access to best-in-class technology that allows them to raise more funds and drive greater positive change. My new role as COO will allow me to continue working with our own team and our broader customer base to ensure we are creating an exceptional experience for our customers, and supporting them as they accelerate their impact and future-proof their fundraising.

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A: I started at Classy scaling the platform for enterprise customers by introducing exciting new capabilities, such as ClassyPay. Over the past two years, our focus has been to transform the giving experience by doubling down on security, scalability, and an accelerated migration to a mature microservices distributed architecture.

Navigating these product enhancements and ongoing technical evolution allowed me to better understand our nonprofit customers and deliver on their wants and needs. In this new role as SVP of Engineering, I will continue to address these opportunities from a strategic level so we can better support their goals.

Q: What motivated you to step into this role and what do you hope to achieve? 

classy COO headshot

A: My position, like every position at Classy, is designed to serve as a resource and advocate for our customers. The Classy team considers ourselves to be a natural extension of the nonprofit organizations we support, and that mindset guides all of our internal discussions, debates, and decisions.

Our job each day is to build great technology that helps our nonprofit customers unlock the generosity of their supporters in intuitive, engaging ways, and to help these customers leverage our technology to advance their incredible missions.

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A: Over the past couple of years, I’ve been so inspired by the team I get to work with every day at Classy. After getting to know both the broader engineering team and the rest of the executive leadership, I truly felt like Classy was the perfect opportunity for me to do the best work of my career.

With a balanced focus on infrastructure and platform evolution, I want to bring the best online fundraising experience to our customers. Our core focus is to help grow donation volume, which aligns directly with our customers’ incentives—the more successful our customers are, the more successful we’ll be.

Our sophisticated software helps nonprofits raise more by maximizing conversion rates and retention rates, without placing huge technological demands on our customer teams. We are technologists who bring that value to our customers. I want to continue serving our Classy community in this way by staying ahead of the latest innovations in conversion and payments and evolving our product to anticipate and deliver on the needs of the sector for years to come.

Q: What’s your personal connection to the nonprofit sector?

classy COO headshot

A: I’ve spent a good part of my career in the social sector and currently sit on the Board of Directors of a San Diego nonprofit that provides surf therapy and mentorship for foster and adoptive youth who have suffered complex trauma.

This sector at large is tackling the world’s most intractable problems and fighting for resources and attention to make headway. I’ve experienced it firsthand. It’s why I’m so passionate about the work we do at Classy. Every decision is made with our customer and the greater good in mind. We aren’t always perfect, but we are intentional and consistently striving to be better.

classy SVP of engineering headshot

A: I’ve had the pleasure of being closely involved with many nonprofits over the years, including opportunities like mentoring high school students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and serving on the board of Hire Our Heroes, an organization aiming to expand job opportunities for veterans.

Seeing the impact of their work firsthand was very inspiring and opened my eyes to the value of Classy’s technology. Building intuitive, innovative products to help our customers move the needle on their missions is critical to their success. That motivation remains top of mind for me day in and day out.

Q: What’s ahead for Classy that excites you the most?

classy COO headshot

A: Classy is growing quickly, and much of our growth is coming from our huge investments in our product and engineering organizations, which means the velocity of innovation we can deliver for the sector is increasing.

We are spending a lot of time thinking about what great giving experiences look like as the world keeps changing—everything from really elegant donation pages that maximize donor conversion and retention rates, to cryptocurrency and NFT giving, to amazing hybrid events, to workplace giving.

Not everything will make it to our product roadmap, but staying curious and creative on the full breadth of possibilities allows us to be really thoughtful and holistic with what we are building.

classy SVP of engineering headshot

A: It’s so exciting to see how rapidly our industry is changing and I think this is just the beginning. We saw so many innovations during the pandemic in the way nonprofits were able to raise money, and it was incredible to see their success.

At Classy, we want our technology to meet the evolving needs of our customers by almost disappearing into the background. The focus should really be on the nonprofit and the work they’re doing—donating should feel seamless.

Q: How does Classy being a Certified B Corporation impact your approach to leadership?

classy COO headshot

A: Classy operates as both a Certified B Corporation and a Public Benefit Corporation, because we believe in the power and obligation to consider the impact to all stakeholders when conducting business. 

We consider four primary stakeholders when making all meaningful decisions: our customers, our employees, our community, and our financial shareholders. This compels us to think holistically about the impact of our business practices and leads us to make decisions that keep us on a path to good. 

The great thing about how we structure our operations is that our customers are at the forefront of everything we do. We primarily look at the impact our customers are able to have by using our products. For our customers to succeed, we have to ensure our staff is empowered and supported, as they are the frontline champions of our customers. We look at the engagement we have with our communities through things like dedicated volunteer time for staff. Finally, we have structured our revenue model to only allow us to succeed when our customers succeed in their fundraising efforts, so our interests are completely aligned to our customers’ success. This approach helps clarify and focus all big decisions, and allows us to be part of the good we seek to advance in the world. 

Q: How has Classy’s Product and Engineering team evolved and where do you see it going? 

classy SVP of engineering headshot

A: At Classy, we build incredible technology to help supporters give to causes they care about. This intersection of technology and impact allows us to attract world-class technologists who are passionate about using their skillset to mobilize and empower the world for good.

We have made huge investments in our Product and Engineering team. They currently make up one-third of our full-time staff. Each with the goal to thoughtfully expand our platform and sustainably scale our codebase to help strengthen the work of our customers.

And this investment doesn’t stop here. As our customers continue to grow, Classy will continue to prioritize being a product-led organization that meets the needs of nonprofits—not just today, but in the future—so they can continue to solve our world’s most complex challenges day in and day out.

Looking Ahead

Classy has been serving the sector for over ten years, and we have a long and exciting path ahead.

If you’re interested in joining our interdisciplinary team that offers the best fundraising technology available, please view and consider our open roles.

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