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What Collaborative Means to Me: A Look Inside Classy’s Inspiring Nonprofit Event


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Published February 20, 2024 Reading Time: 4 minutes

Collaborative 2024 is approaching with even more experiences attendees are sure to love. 

Forward-thinking nonprofit professionals and social sector experts nationwide look forward to Classy’s annual two-day event. Together, we ditch stuffy conferences, information overload, and packed agendas. Collaborative is all about venues that unleash creativity and innovation with stimulating interaction and social activities to match.

This year, we’re taking over the vibrant West Loop in Chicago as the home base for new ideas and strategies to expand the collective impact of the social sector. 

Because Collaborative means something special to each unique attendee who joins us, and with excitement building for this May’s event, we decided to explore what keeps people returning.

Check out what people value most about attending Collaborative through the lens of our nonprofit attendees.

Join Us May 15-16, 2024

A Cherished Space for Community

Community is everything in fundraising, and Collaborative attendees feel that firsthand when they come together at our event. They know each person they engage with in May has the potential to become a trusted resource and ally for their cause.

Collaborative brings together hundreds of unique individuals from all over the country, with an unmatched sense of unity and shared purpose. This year’s event will take this even further with the addition of our first Collaborative Chief Community Officer, Dion Dawson, CEO of Dion’s Chicago Dream.

I don’t go to other vendor events; they just aren’t valuable. I just go to Collaborative, as it’s the one conference that helps me become more impactful. It means so much to us to be part of this community, and we really value our partnership with Classy. Nobody builds community better than Classy in the nonprofit space.

Skyler Badenoch

CEO, Hope for Haiti

Next-Level Networking

Collaborative attendees know they’re in a great place to make lasting connections. The event unites the industry’s brightest minds and top fundraisers in comfortable venues, making conversations easy.

This year, Collaborative 2024 will call Morgan MFG and City Hall/Recess home for its main events. There’s also plenty of time for good conversation before and after sessions in local spots like the brand-new Guinness brewery, Time Out Market Chicago, and surrounding West Loop restaurants.

We know how a quick chat can turn into a long-term relationship, so having ample time to connect is invaluable. 

It was really a fantastic experience. Working with my fellow presenters on the various calls was great. Everyone is so smart and comes from such different backgrounds and has such varying experiences, but we are all looking for the same result in the end—to fund the mission.

Erin Dresnick

Senior Director of Development, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy

Explore Collaborative 2024 Venues

Relevant and Applicable Discussions

While every nonprofit is unique, leaders often share common goals and challenges. Collaborative attendees get uninterrupted space to innovate and brainstorm together on ways to navigate the ever-changing giving landscape.

However, the real value of Collaborative is having some of the top thinkers together in the same room. The various perspectives from those with different approaches and methodologies can leave anyone with an inspiring list of actions to take when they return home.

Having attended many previous events, I can personally vouch for the immense value that Collaborative by Classy offers. This event is not just a gathering; it’s a convergence of some of the most innovative and sharp minds in the nonprofit sector. The intersection of marketing and development discussions here is unparalleled, providing both strategic insights and applicable solutions tailored to our unique space.
For anyone looking to elevate their nonprofit’s impact through marketing and development, this is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss. The conversations are not only thoughtful and strategic but are also deeply rooted in practicality, making them immediately relevant to our work.”

Larry Olson

Senior VP of Marketing and Communications, Tunnel to Towers Foundation

The Collaborative was great. We loved many of the sessions; it’s hard to choose. The onstage conversations with bright minds like Avril Benoit and Heather Bennett were awesome for inspiration and the overall view; the more nuts and bolts presentations on things like embedded donations were really useful. The Collaborative has already inspired us to take several actions. We set up embedded donations on our site and are segmenting our email communications.

Kate Lapides-Black

Director of Communications, For The Good

I want to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude to the incredible team behind Collaborative by Classy. The panels and conversations at Collaborative by Classy were nothing short of inspiring and transformative for me and new friends in the nonprofit realm. The vibrant discussions inspired me to continue to explore recent innovations that can revolutionize our approach to fundraising and donor engagement. Gosh, I love learning. #Student4Ever I’m looking forward to learning more this year and building stronger relationships with supporters, content creators, and other good-hearted folks who look to create positive change in the world.”

Dominic Tovar

Individual Giving Coordinator, Starlight Children’s Foundation

Explore Collaborative 2024 Speakers

A High-Energy and Uplifting Event

Collaborative is an event like no other. Beyond the networking and in-depth discussions of the latest trends in fundraising and technology, attendees walk away feeling renewed and reenergized.

Every learning opportunity helps curious minds do more good in the world in an uplifting, fresh, and synergistic way. The agenda incorporates meaningful breaks, high-energy conversations, and opportunities to pause and take it all in when needed.

Level up the moments that made past events unforgettable with every element of the 2024 experience.

Wow. That’s not a wide-eyed, hands-in-the-air ‘wow.’ That’s a contemplative, sitting with bowed head ‘wow’ punctuated with a period, not an exclamation point. We are deeply thankful for a partner like Classy. The organization has taken a marketing route undergirded by goodwill, community focus, and good humor. Classy’s Collaborative is well executed, productive (I hope) for Classy, and I know is productive for the social good community. Long may it live.


Classy partner

It was my first experience with Classy, and while I was just there for one day, I walked away very impressed with the professionalism of the conference, and the quality and diversity of the speakers and attendees. Everyone seemed to be eager to learn from one-another.

Greg Fox

Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer at Moore, a Classy partner

Join Us at the 2024 Collaborative in Chicago

You may see yourself in the words of other attendees or be curious about what it would mean for you to experience Collaborative 2024. We would love to find out with you!

Join us May 15-16, 2024, in Chicago for your chance to join the leading philanthropic minds and hearts inspired to change the world. 

Copy Editor: Ayanna Julien

Man in blue jacket speaking into a microphone at Collaborative

Join us at Collaborative 2024

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