Onward: The Future of Fundraising Is Here

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By Scot Chisholm
Published April 20, 2021
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s been 10 years since my co-founders and I launched Classy as an online fundraising platform to mobilize and empower the world for good. What started as a small fundraiser for cancer research has now raised over $3 billion for social and environmental causes—and we feel like we’re just getting started.  

That’s why today, I couldn’t be more excited to announce that Classy has raised $118 million in Series D funding led by Norwest Venture Partners.

So, why raise financing when the company is already strong and profitable? In short: to meet the tremendous demand for our suite of products (current and future). Coming off a tumultuous, yet record-setting year for giving, we saw a 15-year trend of online fundraising accelerate like never before. The nonprofit sector was already moving this way—it was the thesis that Classy was founded upon—but 2020 changed everything. Long gone are the conversations about online as a future investment. The future is officially here, and it’s here to stay. 

But we can’t rest on our laurels. The online world is evolving fast. So with this new funding, we’re doubling the size of our product and engineering organization over the next two years. We’ll accelerate our work on the core fundraising suite, which is always improving (that’s the beauty of SaaS). We’ll continue to add features to our hugely popular payments product, Classy Pay. And we’ll keep investing in the future, with a focus on recurring giving, hybrid events, and new-channel donor acquisition. 

We’re also exploring synergetic markets like corporate giving, which has suffered from a similar technology deficiency over the last 40 years. The lines are blurring between for-profit and nonprofit models like never before, and the strain of 2020 proved to us that the traditional CSR model is outdated and broken. 

New Beginnings

Our funding announcement opens up a new and exciting chapter for Classy and its stakeholders—not only for our customers with accelerated product development and support, but also for our team and our community. 

First, Classy is officially changing from a C-Corporation to a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). This move follows our earlier announcement that we have become a Certified B Corporation, the highest standard of social and environmental performance for business. The move to a PBC integrates our commitment into the company’s governance, one of the most meaningful steps you can take as a business to ensure that your values are everlasting.  

On the team side, we also have a few exciting moves to share with you.

First, the Board of Directors is thrilled to welcome two new members. The first is David Su, a partner at Norwest Venture Partners who will be joining the board as part of the financing. The second is Depelsha McGruder, the COO at the Ford Foundation, and the founder of Moms of Black Boys (M.O.B.B) United, a nonprofit dedicated to positively influencing how Black boys and men are perceived and treated by law enforcement in society. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome David and Depelsha to the Board as part of this next chapter. 

And finally, after over 10 years as Classy’s Chief Executive Officer, I’ve decided to transition to a full-time Executive Chairman role and hand the CEO reins to my longtime Classy partner, Chris Himes

Chris has been involved with Classy for over seven years as an advisor, investor, Board Director, and most recently as an operator, currently serving as Classy’s Chief Operating Officer. He’s a tremendous leader with a background in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and I couldn’t think of a better person to help take Classy to the next level. In my new role, I’ll be focused on next horizon product development, Mergers & Acquisitions, and playing a leading role on the Board of Directors. 

We recently sat down with Chris to reflect on his partnership with Classy over the years, our shared vision for the future, and how our Series D will enable us to accelerate the impact of more organizations around the world. 

I couldn’t be more excited about Classy’s future, and for the future of all of our stakeholders. Please join me in welcoming David and Depelsha to the team, and Chris to the new role! 

Onward!

Scot Chisholm

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