How Large Nonprofits Can Adapt to Scale

By Will Schmidt
Reading Time: 4 minutes

While every nonprofit comes up against its fair share of problems, the challenges that large nonprofits face are inherently specific to their size and scope. They need solutions that cater directly to their niche needs.

While many large nonprofits realize they need help, it can take a long time to upgrade certain parts of the organization. Classy Account Manager Rachel Lazarus sums it up nicely:

Large nonprofits need help modernizing.”

These organizations that serve an international community, or collect millions of dollars in donations, have an opportunity to adapt their strategy with the times and continue to scale. We sat down with Lazarus and her fellow account manager, Michelle Hansen, to discuss how.

The Opportunities for Large Nonprofits

As more millennials rise into positions of giving power, donors increasingly expect to engage with nonprofits online and through their mobile devices. This is somewhat problematic for large nonprofits because traditional direct mail and outreach campaigns are often two of their primary moneymakers.

Millennials—the upcoming, dominant force of philanthropy—don’t respond to that approach as well as older generations. To echo Lazarus: it’s a problem of modernization.

“This modernization is about organizations that want to completely overhaul their systems and get away from old, antiquated ways of processing and managing their online giving. They want to move their organization into a more up-to-date, forward-thinking model, process, look, and feel.”

Rachel Lazarus

“Most of our clients come from dinosaur technologies, not cutting-edge platforms,” says Hansen. The solution, then, is the right partnership with modern, powerful software that can help these large nonprofits engage donors of all ages.

The Need for Agility

“Agility, or lack thereof, is one of the biggest reasons large nonprofits come to Classy.”

Michelle Hansen

For many of these large organizations, it takes a long time to make changes to things like fundraising pages. Certain fundraising platforms even require nonprofits to pay to make changes to their campaigns.

Not only does this prevent organizations from making necessary updates when they need to, it forces the organization to “clear” all their changes through a third party. There’s little to no autonomy and the turnaround time isn’t always quick when dealing with third-party implementations.

What happens when a disaster strikes and your nonprofit needs to build a new, custom fundraising page in 10 minutes? You don’t have time to run all of this through a third party, you need to help now.

“One of the things I hear often is that competing solutions don’t have the capability to be nimble and allow for changes to be made on the fly. With Classy, you, your staff, or your volunteers can manage pages or events and have that autonomy.”

Michelle Hansen
Team Rubicon large nonprofits
Team Rubicon created this campaign to immediately mobilize flood relief efforts in 2016.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg though. Large nonprofits dig deep into the platform and make use of the more technical aspects, like the Classy API.

The Classy API

Beyond good-looking pages, large nonprofits prioritize their ability to maintain their branding and design across all of their communications. The Classy API opens the doors for nonprofits to create these custom experiences for their supporters.

“Most of our large clients take full advantage of the Classy API.”

Rachel Lazarus

This is an area where large nonprofits can differ from small ones, because they typically have the budget for a full development or engineering team. Using the Classy API to customize their campaigns, their teams can:

  • Populate a microsite with information from Classy
  • Build custom leaderboards
  • Create custom progress bars
  • Pull data from Classy and display it on your website

Lifewater International is a great example of what the Classy API is capable of. They were featured in a case study about how their Blessed campaign unifies multiple campaigns on one page and displays progress bars for each, individual campaign.

Lifewater API Usage large nonprofits
Lifewater International using the Classy API to showcase multiple campaigns on one page.

The Classy API integrates with other applications that also connect with our data. For example, Classy integrates directly with Salesforce, which large nonprofits can use to gain precise donor data insights.

The Classy for Salesforce Integration

Scattered data prevents organizations from engaging donors efficiently and deepening these relationships. This inability makes donor retention a big struggle.

In order to streamline and aggregate their donor data, nonprofits—especially large ones—often search for software that can integrate with their CRMs, such as Salesforce.

“Easy access to Salesforce data is so important to large organizations. It informs crucial decisions, and they need to have it available at their fingertips.”

Michelle Hansen

With the Classy for Salesforce integration, every piece of online fundraising data from donation, fundraising, and event pages transfers automatically into Salesforce.

This provides large nonprofits with a 360-degree view of their donors. Specifically, this integration enables organizations to:

  • Streamline and improve internal options. Centralize your data, remove the need for manual data entry, and save your organization time and resources.
  • Improve donor stewardship. Manage the relationship between online and offline fundraising strategies and see how supporters have interacted with you through multiple channels.
  • Integrate systems into one. Unify your systems—like email marketing, fundraising management, or inventory management—to make each element of your fundraising and communications more powerful.
  • Strengthen your reporting. Recognize supporters who should be acknowledged and nurtured towards greater levels of giving. Identify top donors and the campaigns they were involved in.

Additionally, any custom questions you put on your donation form get funneled through Salesforce as well. The integration helps nonprofits capture massive quantities of data surrounding their donors to segment and personalize their outreach for maximum effect.

The modernization of a nonprofit, especially large, longstanding nonprofits, isn’t an easy task to accomplish. Regardless, it’s something that organizations need to pay attention to as technological trends and younger generations influence the donor landscape.

To learn how organizations like Room to Read and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are choosing Classy everyday, get in touch with a Classy expert today.

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