Jun 21 2022
Data Center

Classy Collaborative 2022: Three Key Takeaways

Data was the big story during this year’s Classy event, but cryptocurrency’s imprint on nonprofits is worth keeping an eye on.

Those who attended Classy Collaborative in person this year got to see a nonprofit sector that felt vibrant rather than stuffy, and one just as obsessed as ever with the power of data and results.

The location of the event, at a rock music venue in Philadelphia’s Fishtown district, allowed for both intimate groups and energetic conference keynotes, reintroducing attendees to some of the most important discussions within the nonprofit sector in 2022. Read on for just a few of them.

1. Data Remains Nonprofits’ Most Important Tool

At the center of Classy Collaborative was the idea of data — how it can lead to better results, highlight opportunity and create a better story — and with good reason. As Woodrow Rosenbaum, chief data officer of Giving Tuesday, put it during a session, data and trust are often closely tied together.

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“A donation’s intent is driven by a personal emotional connection and a sense of urgency. Trust is the table stakes,” Rosenbaum said. “And the good news is, communicating that sense of impact and communicating that you're delivering on the mission of the gift of that giver happens to also build trust, so that you are using data to inform an emotionally impactful story.”

When that mission is poorly conveyed, it creates missed opportunities and lost ground; for instance, Rosenbaum said he was recently told by a fundraiser that a benefit of donating was that it would decrease the cost of fundraising.

Perhaps for that reason, Classy Collaborative was filled with useful statistics on fundraising and other topics, all of which spoke to a broader goal of reaching desired audiences in the most effective ways possible.

2. The Power of Bringing Disparate Parties Together

Deesha Dyer, the main keynote speaker during Classy Collaborative’s first day, didn’t have a traditional education, but nonetheless found opportunities in the nonprofit sector that ultimately led her to becoming White House social secretary during the Obama administration.

Dyer, who was working on her community college degree when she was chosen for the White House job, said that it was her experience as a unifier in the nonprofit sector that got her in the door. She emphasized that nonprofits need to embrace a foundational rethinking, something highlighted by recent geopolitical events, including the death of George Floyd.

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“Bring some new people in. Look at how the world has been shaken up. Right? Look at where we are right now,” she said. “We need you. We need your brilliance. We need your confidence. We need your ideas. They may not seem like they're status quo ideas, but bring them to the table. Bring up, speak up and say what you have to say.”

One powerful way that nonprofits excel at bringing together people and resources is through stronger donor engagement, including the advanced use of peer-to-peer fundraising strategies that draw new types of people, including donors and volunteers, into the fold.

3. Cryptocurrency Is Emerging, Even as the Market Slips

The growth of cryptocurrency as a form of fundraising — one of the most prominent nonprofit trends of the past year — has been top of mind for many nonprofits, including those that attended Classy Collaborative.

The hard knocks of the market were hard to ignore during the event, as Classy nonetheless announced a number of cryptocurrency integrations into its platform. Chris Silver, Classy’s vice president of product marketing, said that even though the market was down, crypto was far from out, especially given millennials’ interest in the technology.

READ MORE: Learn why nonprofits should consider restructuring to support recurring donations.

“Crypto has been in the market and in the news quite a bit,” Silver said. “There's a lot going on with crypto, but it's out there. It's here to stay.”

She emphasized that having the option available was what mattered, so that those who want to use it can do so when they’re ready.

Ultimately, the power of a strong technology stack, as highlighted during other parts of the conference, showed that having the capability available when needed matters just as much as putting it to use.

Keep this page bookmarked for coverage of the event, and follow us on Twitter @BizTechMagazine and the official conference Twitter feed, @ConnectAtCollab.

Former White House social secretary Deesha Dyer. Photography by Ernie Smith

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