Classy raises $30 million to help nonprofits raise donations, make a greater impact

A San Diego startup called Classy has raised $30 million for software-as-a-service that helps nonprofits raise donations online, and keep supporters engaged in a good cause for the long run.

Specifically, Classy helps 501c3 or other nonprofit organizations to run crowdfunding, online and mobile campaigns, awareness and fundraising events all under one roof.

This makes it possible for nonprofits to easily compare the costs and results of such different efforts, and to understand their base of supporters, broadly.

The company’s platform is deeply integrated with Salesforce, an enterprise app widely used within the nonprofit world.

Today, Classy works with more than 2,500 organizations including well-known philanthropic brands like Oxfam, Teach for America, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and many others including those who use tech to make a positive social impact, such as Girls Who Code, or Ushahidi. helps nonprofits to easily design sites, apps and fundraising campaigns. helps nonprofits to easily design sites, apps and fundraising campaigns.

A SaaS-focused firm called JMI Equity, which is also based in San Diego, led Classy’s Series C round. The startup’s earlier backers also participated in the deal, including Bullpen Capital, Galileo Partners, Mithril Capital Management and Salesforce Ventures. The funding brings Classy’s total venture capital raised to $53 million to-date.

Classy CEO and cofounder Scot Chisholm said the company, which employs 190 full-time today, will use the new capital for hiring, product development and to expand both within and beyond the U.S.

Many of the largest nonprofits using Classy raise funds outside of North America, so the company has expanded its platform’s capabilities to process donations, and issue receipts to donors across the world, in at least 100 currencies.

The company is also investing in artificial intelligence and marketing automation systems that can help nonprofits not just get a backer to support them for one campaign, but stay engaged long-term.

Chisholm said, “We have always been very campaign focused. That’s because campaigns are top of the funnel, revenue generation for our clients. But we have also begun to focus on retention because the elephant in the room for nonprofits is that the average churn is 60% to 70% in a year. That’s really bad and we can use technology to improve that.”

Classy cofounders Pat Walsh and Scot Chisholm. cofounders Pat Walsh and Scot Chisholm.

Brian Hersman, a General Parnter at JMI Equity, will join the company’s board of directors. The investor lauded Classy’s rapid user growth within an industry not known to embrace new technologies, quickly.

“Nonprofits are careful,” the investor said. “If you think about it, implementing enterprise software can directly effect their ability to fulfill their mission.”

Chisholm reports that Classy is on target to hit a $1 billion run-rate on donations made via its platform in 2018. The company does not disclose specific revenue numbers, and the CEO and investors declined to disclose a post-money valuation for the Series C deal.

Classy’s primary competition is the publicly traded Blackbaud, but myriad startups and bootstrapped businesses offer donor management and nonprofit accounting tools online as well.