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2021 Highlights: Classy’s Record-Breaking Year in Review

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By Hannah Durbin

classy year in review

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Published January 5, 2022
Reading Time: 5 minutes

In 2021, nonprofits worldwide rallied together to achieve a record-breaking donation volume of $1.143 billion on the Classy giving platform.

With the goal to meet and exceed the 2020 total of $1 billion raised for good, the Classy nonprofit community felt more inspired than ever to continue fueling their missions to alleviate our world’s greatest challenges.

Nonprofits adapted their fundraising strategies throughout 2021 to provide mobile-optimized campaigns, flexible payment options, and a clear connection to their values as a necessity to scale fundraising potential. Answered not only by an increase in one-time donations, but also a 73% year-over-year increase in recurring giving revenue, donors reaffirmed that a seamless giving experience is critical to conversion.

As we all welcome 2022 with goals to better serve our world and its people, let’s take a moment to celebrate the milestones achieved in 2021. Learn how today’s donor preferences presented new opportunities for the Classy giving platform to evolve, and discover how nonprofits worldwide activated donors on Classy through powerful data, purposeful tools, and effortless paths to involvement.

Donor Generosity Continued to Flood Causes in 2021

Totals Raised on Classy

classy 2021 highlights

In 2020, the effects of COVID-19 unlocked generosity across the world in ways we never thought possible. Classy’s Why America Gives 2021 report predicted that this level of generosity would not only be matched in 2021, but likely exceeded. Looking back now at this record-breaking year, donors fulfilled their intent to continue supporting worthy causes.

Giving Trends to Note

classy 2021 highlights

The holiday season remains the most active time for nonprofits. Along with the spike we see in consumer spending during the winter months, charitable causes see a similar trend in increased giving levels. In fact, nearly one-third of all giving on the Classy platform takes place between Giving Tuesday and December 31. That’s only about 9% of the total days in a year.

Donors around the world continue to focus on human services and health-related causes, which comes as no surprise as a result of the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, education-related causes rose to the third spot on our list, indicating a subtle priority shift from 2020.

Recurring Giving Growth on Classy

2021 classy highlights

Here at Classy, we used to say that recurring giving is the future. After seeing its impact on nonprofits nationwide in 2021, we can confidently say that it’s here and has much more potential than we could have ever imagined. In 2021, the Classy platform processed $229.1 million recurring donations, a 73% increase from 2020’s $132.2 million.

Just as the rise of a subscription economy benefits consumers by segmenting costs over time, the increase in recurring donations has demonstrated the benefit of breaking up one large gift into smaller pieces that add up to more donations over time.

Classy Kept Donors’ Needs Top of Mind

Major Products and Features Released on Classy

classy 2021 highlights

Coming off of a year that intensified the demand for charitable giving, our Classy team was more motivated than ever before to accelerate our product development.

We closed on a round of Series D funding in April of 2021 with the intent to bolster our internally-built products. With that, we established an acquisition strategy to round out our product suite.

In October, Classy acquired Fondi and announced the launch of its next-generation virtual and hybrid event platform, Classy Live. In less than three months, we’ve seen nonprofits take full advantage of its unique value to break down geographical boundaries and raise more for their meaningful causes.

Rounding out the year with the adoption of Classy Pay with PayPal and Classy’s Crypto Giving Fund not only provided instant and significant benefits to our customers, but also opened the door to broader participation in fundraising on a global scale.

Donation Growth Through Classy Pay

classy 2021 highlights

According to Why America Gives 2021, 20% of donors have reconsidered making a donation when their preferred payment method was not offered. Among those top preferred options is PayPal.

Payment processing is more than just rates and fees. It’s about making it easy to give and meeting your donors where they are. In October 2021, Classy began offering its customers the option to use Classy Pay to accept donations via PayPal. In November, Classy also launched its Crypto Giving Fund. The number of cryptocurrency donors and donations processed on Classy exceeded expectations for 2021, with a number of major gifts greater than $10,000.

Donors proved that innovative payment options make or break their decision to give. Creating a seamless donor experience results in higher revenue and a simple way to acquire and retain loyal donors into 2022.

Meaningful Fundraising Campaigns Captured Donations

Top Peer-to-Peer Campaigns on Classy

top peer to peer campaigns on classy

Peer-to-peer fundraising continues to successfully introduce meaningful causes to a wider network of passionate supporters. On average, four out of every five donors who contribute to an individual’s peer-to-peer fundraising page are brand new to the organization.

Disruptions to in-person networking opportunities over the past two years left organizations concerned about donor acquisition and retention rates. Nonprofits on Classy responded quickly with the support of our platform’s latest technology to optimize their fundraising pages for conversion.

Top Crowdfunding Campaigns on Classy

classy 2021 highlights

To appease more donors, nonprofits adopted new methods of accepting donations across all campaign types. That flexibility proved particularly valuable for nonprofits that leveraged crowdfunding in 2021.

On Classy, we saw the widespread adoption of digital wallet payment options, including both PayPal and cryptocurrency. Shriners Hospitals for Children strategically offered PayPal as a flexible donation option for their 2021 crowdfunding campaigns, contributing to their massive fundraising success.

Shaping your nonprofit’s online payment process to create better donor experiences through technology is not only helpful in raising more for your mission, but also in boosting long-term retention.

Top Event Campaigns on Classy

classy 2021 highlights

The pandemic solidified events as a critical source of revenue and relationship building. In 2021, virtual and hybrid event models went from temporary solutions to essential strategies and evolved to gain even greater sophistication.

Organizations on Classy got creative in 2021 with livestreamed galas and concerts, hybrid shopping experiences, live competitions, NFT auctions, partnerships with local restaurants, and so many other successful initiatives. Supported by the capabilities of Classy Live’s day-of event platform, nonprofits were able to better engage attendees through a variety of practical tools.

2021: A Year to Remember 

The social sector emerged stronger in 2021 as a direct result of resilience, innovation, and tenacity. In the process of evolving to meet donors’ needs, nonprofits worldwide set new standards for fundraising excellence that will continue to pave the way for years to come.

Looking ahead to the things our world will accomplish in 2022, let’s remind ourselves of the impact our Classy community continues to have in mobilizing and empowering the world for good. Through powerful data and purposeful tools, nonprofits on Classy can engage supporters when and how it matters. And when people’s generosity is unlocked, it means more giving and more impact.

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