A Year in Review: 2020 Classy Highlights

8 min
Hannah Durbin

One of our core values at Classy is to adapt and overcome, and we’ve been truly humbled and inspired by the way our nonprofit community has exemplified this in 2020. Despite the unparalleled challenges our world has confronted this year, our nonprofit customers have worked tirelessly to pivot their strategies and rally their supporters to address the effects of the global pandemic, fight systemic racism, and advance their worthy causes. 

Donors are also answering the call to support nonprofit efforts in the midst of this great societal need. Almost a quarter of Americans (24%) say the coronavirus has caused them to give more in 2020 than the previous year, according to Why America Gives 2020.  

As January quickly approaches, let’s take a moment to celebrate the strides taken and milestones achieved by the Classy community and their supporters in 2020.

Check out the graphics below to see how nonprofits on the Classy platform are on track to collectively raise over $900 million with the biggest giving day of the year, December 31, still to come. You’ll also find other noteworthy achievements, impressive totals raised, top cause categories, and more.

Editor’s Note: On December 31, 2020, nonprofit customers on Classy raised $44.4 million, exceeding our projections and raising over $1 billion collectively in 2020.

Donors Rally and Take Action in 2020

While December remains the largest giving month on Classy due to the holiday fundraising season, Americans began to realize and experience the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier in the year and rallied behind nonprofits’ relief efforts, resulting in April becoming the top month of growth year over year on the platform. 

Top Motivators for Giving

The heightened focus on human service and health-related causes comes as no surprise in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way organizations either directly or indirectly addressed its effects. In fact, nearly three in five Americans (59%) say the pandemic has affected their charitable giving this year. 

Download Now: Why America Gives 2020

The Power of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising enables your nonprofit to expand its reach exponentially by tapping into your network’s network. Nonprofits have also been using the Classy for Facebook integration to further their reach and empower their fundraisers to raise more, as it allows your supporters to easily duplicate their Classy fundraising pages to Facebook. They can then raise money through both their Classy fundraising page and their Facebook fundraising page, with the campaign progress remaining in sync across platforms. 

This allows your fundraisers to rake in donations from their extended Facebook networks and be able to capture these smaller donations, even from long-time contacts they might not have even expected to donate. But in order to cultivate larger and long-term donors, you need a sophisticated fundraising platform that enables you to create branded, beautiful campaigns designed to convert. Maximize your success by promoting your branded Classy campaign pages to attract donations and activate fundraisers, and then supplement your strategy with the Classy for Facebook integration so your supporters can easily extend their reach onto the social network. 

Takeaways From the Top Campaigns

Check out some of the things we loved from these top peer-to-peer campaigns.

Camp Kesem’s Kesem 2021 Campaign

Camp Kesem National provided structure for their chapters and their fundraisers in this peer-to-peer fundraising campaign without boxing them in. Chapters were free to fundraise with their own style, communication, and activities in order to best rally their communities to support children who have been impacted by a parent’s cancer.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s Fundraise for BCRF Campaign

In addition to using vibrant, consistent campaign and button colors that match the campaign’s branding, BCRF included a short video on their campaign page highlighting powerful testimonials from women impacted by breast cancer, connecting with donors. They also highlighted passionate fundraisers and their creative fundraising ideas to inspire their community. 

Bethany International’s Fund a Student Missionary Campaign

Bethany International creatively leveraged peer-to-peer to attract a high number of recurring gifts and motivate supporters to rally behind their three-year mission at locations around the world.

Second Harvest of Silicon Valley’s 2020 Holiday Campaign

We love how Second Harvest of Silicon Valley clearly showed visitors how to take action. They showcased a flowchart in a custom block to clarify the steps to fundraising success, so supporters knew exactly what they had to do.

World Central Kitchen’s Fundraise for World Central Kitchen Campaign

World Central Kitchen boiled down the issue they’re addressing in this peer-to-peer campaign into one clear, succinct paragraph on their campaign page. This brevity and straightforward language keeps the information digestible as visitors move through the page.

Recurring Giving Allows You to Scale

While an astounding $12,500 recurring gift may not be standard, even smaller monthly gifts maximize your donor lifetime value (recurring donors are over five times more valuable than one-time donors), and provide a steady stream of revenue that can sustain your organization through uncertain times. 

Continue to express your appreciation for your recurring donors. And if you’re not already, prioritize recurring giving in 2021 as a fundraising pillar that will help you scale.

Download Now: 8 Email Templates to Upgrade Your Recurring Donors

The Future of Events

Get creative with your event ideas and optimize all fundraising strategies to boost your results, including adding a virtual component even when in-person events make a return.

Takeaways From the Top Events

Below are just some of the elements we loved from these top events in 2020.

Special Olympics New Jersey’s 2020 Plunge at Seaside Event

Special Olympics New Jersey designed a custom headline image for their hero block to add visual appeal. Instead of a simple text headline, this branded logo makes a bigger splash on the page and draws your eyes in.

Cleveland Clinic’s VeloSano 7 Event

VeloSano 7 transitioned to “Virtual VeloSano” in 2020, enhancing and emphasizing their Virtual Fundraiser program. VeloSano highlighted a Get Involved page on their homepage, outlining how individuals could get involved, anytime, anywhere, and in any way that they choose. They showcased fundraising tips and promotions to engage participants throughout the year. They also highlight an Impact Report to showcase how 100% of participant-raised dollars are being used to fund lifesaving cancer research. These assets clearly defined what it meant to participate, the impact you could make, and clear instructions on how to fundraise.

Read Next: How Virtual VeloSano Raised $3 Million

Navy SEAL Foundation’s 2020 NYC Benefit Dinner

Navy SEAL Foundation created a custom headline image as well that immediately grabs visitors’ attention. They also used a powerful hero image in the background with correlating colors, so the combination of the two images was both visually engaging and consistent with the organization’s branding. 

City of Hope and Lowe’s’ Miles for Hope 2020 Event

This corporate event honoring Bill Boltz, Lowe’s executive vice president of merchandising, was a great use of Classy’s registration with fundraising campaign type. The page clearly defined City of Hope’s mission to eradicate cancer and diabetes through groundbreaking scientific research and unparalleled patient care and provided detailed event information on how to register, track your training through Strava, communicate with other participants, and share your success with campaign hashtags. 

Special Olympics Maryland’s 2020 Maryland Plunge Event

The 2020 Maryland Plunge event page included everything from incentives to FAQs, with clear instructions to visit the Plunge Maryland website for more information.

The page also focused on helping participants find a team to join, featuring and recognizing a number of athlete leaders to choose from. The attention to detail and community-centric feel of the page encourages donors to get excited about their teams.

 As virtual events remain an important component for nonprofits in the new year, download the Virtual Events Toolkit today for creative ideas, the anatomy of a standout virtual event, marketing best practices, and our favorite examples of successful virtual events.

Download Now: Virtual Events Toolkit

A Year to Celebrate

As we head toward the biggest giving day of the year, American donors continue to show up for the causes that need them, even during financially pressing periods. Remain confident that your important work and the willingness to push forward in your efforts will launch your team and organization to further heights in 2021 and beyond. 


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