Introducing Classy Studio: Unleash Your Online Fundraising Potential

Food Bank For NYC Prioritizes Storytelling to Achieve a 52% Retention Rate

Mission

To empower New Yorkers to achieve food security for good

Challenge

Keep up with pandemic growth through improved acquisition and retention strategies

Solution

Combine PR and media efforts with Classy’s comprehensive online fundraising tools to increase brand visibility and unlock higher donor and retention numbers

Telling our story and getting it out there through our PR efforts has resulted in thousands of brand new donors finding us. With a multi-channel approach, the powerful storytelling brings them in the door, and the ease of giving on Classy drives donors to give.

– David Jones, Vice President for Fundraising Operations

The Results:

3,787

new donors in FY23

52%

retention rate at the end of FY23

54%

overall conversion rate on Classy in the last year

Food Bank For New York City is NYC’s largest hunger-relief organization, serving the city’s five boroughs: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. For more than 40 years, the organization has provided 1.2 billion free meals to New Yorkers facing hunger. 

Meeting Donors Where They Are Through Modern Fundraising

To establish deeper connections with today’s modern donors, nonprofits need to meet them where they are, whether it’s with friends, at events, online, or through physical mail. Food Bank For New York City understands this evolving dynamic between organizations and their donors. As a way to rally its local supporters, it launched the 5 Borough Challenge.


A campaign initiated in 2020, the Five Borough Challenge utilizes Classy’s peer-to-peer fundraising platform to galvanize supporters of the food bank to fundraise on behalf of their own borough. It is a fun way to engage with the community, show neighborhood pride, and raise money for those in need. The real winner at the end of the campaign is not the borough that gets crowned, but the 1.2 million New Yorkers the food bank serves.

5 Borough Challenge Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Page

According to Classy’s 2023 State of Modern Philanthropy report, 80% of people who give to a peer-to-peer campaign are new to the organization, showing the potential of peer-to-peer fundraising as an effective acquisition tool. This year, the 5 Borough Challenge’s goal is to raise one million meals for New Yorkers in need ahead of the holiday season. 

Marketing is truly about building connection. Our client, Food Bank For New York City, has been able to see wonderful success at creating connection because of the modern tools that Classy offers. Especially for their 5 Borough Challenge that leverages Classy’s P2P tools and enables New Yorkers to fight hunger in the borough they are most connected with.

Jenn Thompson

VP of Strategy at RKD Group

Telling A Story That Resonates With Supporters

Early on in the pandemic, there was an overwhelming influx of new donors to the food bank. To keep up with the increased growth, Food Bank for NYC pivoted its typical acquisition strategy and invested its budget into public relations, media, social, and digital paid advertising. This shift brought a renewed focus on storytelling in a way the community resonated with, captivating new and returning supporters. 

In 2022, the food bank:

  • Ran ads in The New York Times, on subways, buses, and digital trucks
  • Partnered with SHAPE’s Women’s Half Marathon
  • Hosted repack events and ran an ad in Times Square
  • Rang the opening bell at NASDAQ
  • Promoted during Fifth Avenue Merchants Association’s holiday festivities on WABC

These efforts garnered millions of impressions and often included a QR code that linked to special Classy donation forms for donors to make a gift. The quick checkout process and multiple payment options made it easy for supporters to make a gift. In the last year, Food Bank For New York City has enjoyed a 54% overall conversion rate–3x the industry standard!

Earning Donors’ Trust Everyday

We are entering a new era of giving, where there may be fewer donors, but their propensity to give is higher. Now more than ever, it is imperative to unlock the generosity of your most passionate supporters through genuine connections. 

At the end of the day, donors all want the same thing: to know how their charitable support is impacting your mission. With a compelling story about what the organization is able to do with donor support and a suite of fundraising tools from Classy, organizations like Food Bank For New York City are earning donors’ trust and engaging with them in meaningful ways that lead to greater support for the mission.

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Food Bank For New York City

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