How JSA Uses Classy for Salesforce to Grow Year Over Year

6 min
organized data
William Schmidt
Will Schmidt

The Junior State of America (JSA) is committed to building a better future for the world by investing in its youth. For over 80 years, JSA’s student-led program model has helped the next generation of leaders cultivate skills like critical thinking, leadership, and respect for diverse opinions.

In addition to their own fundraising efforts, JSA has kept their student-led education programs thriving year over year by putting confidence in none other than the students. To continue to make these programs accessible to all students, the organization has built a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign that allows these students to fundraise and cover the program tuition costs for their peers.

We sat down with Derek Dettorre, the director of operations at JSA, to learn how they use Classy to power their fundraising efforts, and how Salesforce organizes all incoming data to ensure they stay trending in the right direction: up.

The History of the Campaign

Three years ago, JSA’s chief of development created a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign on Classy designed for high school students who want to enroll in JSA’s student-led school year programs. These are entirely student-led programs, wherein students gather at their schools to plan conventions, write and host debates, write and vote on congressional bills, and communicate event details across their state.

To date, JSA runs 28 of these programs during the school year across the U.S. In order to make these programs as accessible as possible, the organization uses a student fundraising model to increase the efficacy of their program and the spirit of their organization’s values: diversity, inclusion, and open access to all students.

With this tactic, students raise money for other students who want to participate in the program, not for themselves. It’s all in the spirit of JSA’s core values, and this is the hallmark of what makes this campaign so special.

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A group of students participating in JSA’s program.

To encourage students to engage with the campaign, the chief of development secured $20,000 in matching funds. Everything the students raised towards their tuition, JSA matched one-to-one.

Further, all student fundraisers were given instructions on how to create personal fundraising pages, go into their communities, and effectively raise money. In just three years, the campaign has grown “almost 300 percent,” according to Derek.

Throughout the campaign’s growth, JSA has remained committed to supplying matching gift funds as well. Here’s a quick breakdown of what the program growth looks like over its three years in existence:

Fiscal Year 2015

  • Student raised funds: $34,000
  • Matching funds: $20,000
  • Scholarship fund total: $54,000
  • Total fundraisers: 243
  • Total transactions: 765
  • Average donation size: $69.20

Fiscal Year 2016

  • Student raised funds: $76,500
  • Matching funds: $35,000
  • Scholarship fund total: $111,500
  • Total fundraisers: 435
  • Total transactions: 1,663
  • Average donation size: $66.87

Fiscal Year 2017

  • Student raised funds: $88,294
  • Matching funds: $43,000
  • Scholarship fund total: $131,294
  • Total fundraisers: 551
  • Total transactions: 2,713
  • Average donation size: $51.58

One of the reasons this program has grown so much is Derek’s commitment to creating a seamless experience for both fundraisers and JSA employees behind the scenes. The one-two punch that’s provided this experience is Classy and Salesforce.

The Need for Organized Data

Each student fundraising campaign—along with the other events and galas JSA runs on Classy—brings with it a lot of moving pieces. Aside from incoming peer-to-peer fundraising support, there are countless pieces of data associated with each transaction.

That incoming data needs to be organized for JSA staff, but also for their program directors, each of whom are in charge of a different state’s education program. It’s crucial these directors have a real-time view of their respective state.

It became necessary to use the Classy for Salesforce integration so the flow of information happened seamlessly, and in real time.

For example, if someone makes a donation to a student fundraising page in Northern California, the program director for Northern California can find out how much money was added to their scholarship fund that day. From there, they can turn around and award that funding to another student.

“This has cut so much manual work out of the process, especially when we’re getting thousands of tiny transactions.”

Derek Dettorre

Prior to this, JSA had been using Salesforce for close to 10 years to organize other parts of the organization, like accounting, and had some workflows already set up. This worked to their benefit when they eventually expanded their use of Classy to everything fundraising-related: events, general funds, campaigns, and the student-led fundraising campaign.

How JSA Uses Classy and Salesforce

As Derek says, JSA “uses Salesforce for everything.” Beyond keeping the organization’s network of program directors informed, JSA also uses Salesforce to track all of their donor information, school registrations, initial leads, and all relevant documentation.

Making use of the Classy for Salesforce integration means that every donation that comes to JSA through Classy is instantly created as an opportunity and syncs with all of their other student and school data. This is important because JSA uses Classy for their general funds campaigns in addition to the student-led peer-to-peer initiative, as well as 2 to 3 events and galas per year.

“Now, it doesn’t matter how many transactions we get—we can handle it because everything is automated and everything is already set up. Without these systems, we wouldn’t have been able to grow.”

Derek Dettorre

Derek can report back on all remaining scholarship funds from the previous year, matching funds still available in the current year, and the total amount of funds raised.

JSA needed a platform that could handle all of their incoming transactions, while organizing the various pieces of data at the same time. The Classy for Salesforce integration was the answer they needed, and it’s enabled them to grow their student-led peer-to-peer campaign year over year.

In turn, this has helped them fulfill their mission to create new generations of informed and motivated leaders that will shape the future of our world. If you’d like to learn how Classy for Salesforce can help you, make sure to read the guide below.

Image Credit: JSA


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