There were over 1.6 million new cases of cancer diagnosed in 2015 in the United States alone. 1.6 million.
Classy was founded by a group of friends who wanted to raise money for research to eliminate this awful disease. It has now been 10 years (yes 10!) since Classy’s first pub crawl fundraiser here in San Diego, and five years since we evolved from fundraisers ourselves into a technology company that helps over 2,500 social enterprises across the United States and Canada solve a myriad of social problems.
In any entrepreneurial journey there tend to be “full circle” moments that cause the team to take pause and reflect on the meaning of a milestone in relation to their own mission. Well, today happens to be one of those days for all of us here at Classy. We’re proud to welcome The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), one of the largest cancer organizations in the world, to the Classy family.
Check out our official press release: Classy and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Announce Innovative Five-Year Online Fundraising & Events Partnership
Together, we’ve already started the transition of all of LLS’s existing campaigns and events onto the Classy platform, starting with Team in Training (TNT), the world’s first and largest charity sports training program, which has raised nearly $1 billion for blood cancer research and patient support since its inception 20 years ago.
We sat down with our CEO & co-founder, Scot Chisholm, to find out why welcoming LLS to the Classy family is such a powerful moment for the company, and how the partnership is going to benefit all organizations on the Classy platform.
Q: At the highest level, what does a partnership with LLS mean for Classy?
A: We initially founded Classy to raise money for cancer research and treatments, so this is quite a moment for the team to be able to forge such a long-term partnership with one of the largest and most impactful cancer organizations in the world.
LLS will be transitioning all of their campaigns, events, and donation capability to Classy over the course of the next 18 months, amounting to approximately $75M in online fundraising. We believe the Classy platform will help them build on this amazing base of support and further amplify the impact they are already having in the global cancer community.
I also think that LLS symbolizes an important milestone in Classy’s growth as a company. By the end of the initial implementation phase this summer, we’ll have taken the platform’s features to a world-class level. In particular, enterprise feature sets, including more advanced permission capabilities, will be powerfully upgraded. By strengthening the platform in these important ways, I think that the LLS partnership will showcase that the Classy platform works for any organization in the world, regardless of size.
Q: Why should other Classy customers care?
A: Good question! The simple answer is that since Classy is a software as a service (SaaS) platform, every product improvement we make for LLS will benefit all other customers. Because of the size and sophistication of events like Team in Training, we will be accelerating our roadmap even further than we otherwise would have in 2016.
The bottom line for customers is that we will be launching more features and improvements in 2016 than we have in our first five years as a company, and the LLS partnership is one of the major drivers of this.
Q: Why do you think LLS chose Classy as its technology partner?
A: In the early 2000s, LLS built an innovative in-house peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising platform that really pushed the envelope of nonprofit technology at the time. Many, including myself, consider them a pioneer in the P2P and crowdfunding space. In fact, their early innovations ultimately provided inspiration for future entrepreneurs as more modern technologies developed.
We were fortunate enough to connect with the LLS team as they were asking themselves if they should continue to invest in their in-house platform or partner with another technology leader. From the very first meeting, our teams connected on a personal level and came to realize our like-mindedness fairly quickly.
As we continued to unveil our product roadmap, it was apparent that our teams had a similar vision of an ideal technology and feature set. Developing in-house is an expensive and complicated venture. By partnering with Classy, LLS is empowered to reach their technology goals more efficiently and at a lower cost.
Q: What personally excites you most about bringing LLS onto the platform?
A: Last week we talked about delivering on our promise of innovation in 2016, and I think that the LLS partnership absolutely helps us deliver on that promise to all of our customers—of any size—because it accelerates our roadmap even further this year.
I also think the LLS partnership will showcase the fact that Classy can work with the largest social impact organizations in the world in a very meaningful way. I’m excited to offer a new and innovative alternative to the few traditional options that have been essentially monopolizing the space for decades.
And finally, on a more personal note, it truly is a full circle moment for me and many here at Classy because of the amazing work that LLS is doing and the connection to our founding story. I personally can’t imagine a more fulfilling prospect than Classy playing even a small part in helping LLS and other incredible cancer-fighting organizations find a cure for cancer in our lifetime. It’s moments like these that re-inspire me and keep all of us connected to the reasons we started Classy in the first place.