Ep 124: The 5 Giving Trends That Will Define Online Fundraising (with Scot Chisholm)

by Joan Garry

Where is online fundraising headed post-pandemic? Scot Chisholm, founder of fundraising software platform Classy, looks into his crystal ball and tells us what he sees.


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For decades I have worried that nonprofit leaders don’t have what they need, have no time for professional development, and about how nonprofits raise money.

Over the past year, this last worry was exacerbated. From cancelled annual events to lack of robust individual giving programs, nonprofits had to overcome enormous challenges.

This is an episode that explores what happened to giving when COVID-19 hit, but also new opportunities that 2020 made possible. In many cases, accelerated by the pandemic, nonprofits had a renewed focus on how to get online giving right.

My guest today has helped empower nonprofits to raise over $2 billion dollars online through Classy, a social enterprise that helps nonprofits maximize their impact through a suite of world class online fundraising tools. Scot Chisholm started Classy as a passion project to raise money for a cancer society, and since then Classy has become one of the most successful online giving platforms available.

Have a look at his crystal ball and the five giving trends he sees for 2021. I think you will really benefit from what he has learned and shared with us today.

About Scot Chisholm

Scot is the CEO & Co-Founder of Classy, a social enterprise that helps nonprofit maximize their impact through a suite of world class online fundraising tools. Since 2011, thousands of nonprofits have collectively raised over two billion dollars on the Classy platform, tackling social and environmental issues of every kind.

Scot co-founded Classy when one of the largest cancer organizations in the country refused to accept the money he raised during a fundraising pub crawl held to honor his mom, a two-time breast cancer survivor. Scot was inspired to start Classy to make it easier for anyone to support a cause that’s meaningful to them, while at the same time making it easier for organizations to make lasting connections with the next generation of supporters. Classy is well known for its company culture and social enterprise business model that includes the Classy Awards, now the largest social impact award show in the country, its early support of the Pledge 1% movement, and its employee giving program called #Classy Gives. Most recently, Classy was San Diego Union-Tribune Top Workplace and Entrepreneur Best Company Cultures.

Scot’s recent recognitions include and in Businessweek as one of the “Top 5 Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs.” Scot currently serves on the Leadership Council for the California Nature Conservancy, on the Board of Directors at Street Soccer USA and ASC San Diego and on the Advisory Board at Team Rubicon, having previously served a four-year term on the founding Board of Directors. Scot is a frequent speaker on social entrepreneurship, trends in giving, and the journey of scaling a startup-for-good. Past speaking appearances include Amazon’s Imagine A Better World Conference; TEDx; Dreamforce; SaaStr; Collision; SOCAP; AFP; Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC); and Inbound.

Prior to Classy, Scot worked at Booz Allen Hamilton and helped create and lead their Lean Six Sigma practice on the west coast. Scot received a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.