Fundraising Software Firm Classy Lands $118 Million In Venture Capital

Nonprofit Funding

San Diego-based Classy, which builds fundraising software for nonprofits, said on Tuesday (April 20) that it has raised $118 million in venture funding. In a press release, the “social enterprise” said it would use the cash to “double the size of its product and engineering organization over the next two years to meet rising demand.” A social enterprise is a business that has a social, cultural or environmental purpose as its primary objective.

According to the release, the venture round was led by Norwest Venture Partners, “a mission-driven venture capital firm.” Existing backers Salesforce Ventures and Hinge Capital also participated in the round.

“Last year was especially challenging for nonprofits, forcing them to adapt their fundraising efforts” while increasingly turning to technology solutions, said David Su, partner at Norwest Venture Partners. “As the social sector looks to reach new audiences on digital platforms, Classy is poised to support this growing market demand.”

The release stated that Co-founder Scot Chisholm would step down from his CEO role and become the executive chairman. “He will now lead mergers and acquisitions and new market expansion for the company while continuing to serve on the board of directors,” it said, adding that “Chisholm’s vision for the company led to its explosive growth, helping thousands of nonprofit organizations raise nearly $3 billion for their missions.”

Christopher Himes, a longtime Classy board member and the current chief operating officer, is stepping up to the CEO role. Himes previously worked for Salesforce, including as senior vice president. He was also an executive fellow at the Foundation. Prior to that, he served as the chief financial officer at Fair Trade and has held numerous board positions with nonprofits, including the Trust for Public Land.

For nonprofits of all types, the last year has been about making the same digital shift that for-profit businesses and consumers have made. While overall nonprofit contributions were up 4.1 percent during the pandemic, online giving grew 12.1 percent. One of the challenges for nonprofits has been pandemic-related health concerns that have limited in-person fundraising events like benefits, concerts and dinners.