How Susan G. Komen’s SVP of Development Gets People to Invest in Possibility

March 23, 2018

Christina Alford had over a decade of nonprofit experience when she came on as senior VP of development at Susan G. Komen. She shares a few of the lessons she’s learned along her journey, including why diversified revenue is key to successfully forecast and innovate, how to prioritize tasks in a resource-constrained environment, anecdotes about a major rebranding initiative, and more.


How PBS’ SVP of Development Services Engages New Generations of Donors

March 16, 2018

In this episode, we sit down with the senior vice president of development services at PBS Betsy Gerdeman to learn from her 20 years in public television. Hear her expert insights on managing a large network of affiliates, adapting to an ever-changing sector, and balancing suppor for hundreds of chapters that each have their unique challenges. You’ll see why Betsy believes a core message doesn’t change, only the way it’s articulated.


Charity Navigator’s Chief Development Officer on Modern Donor Expectations

March 9, 2018

In this episode, Shannon McCracken, chief development officer at Charity Navigator, discusses how the roles of the fundraiser and marketer have transformed over the past two decades, and how the modern donor expects to be engaged. Learn how connected data creates stellar donor experiences, Shannon's tips for nonprofits whose impact can be difficult to explain, how experiments impact their fundraising success, and more.


How the UW Carbone Cancer Center Grows Their Annual 5K

March 2, 2018
Among her many responsibilities, Murphy Dunne spearheads the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center’s online fundraising and runs one of their largest annual events, Race for Research 5K. Learn how she constantly upgrades the run/walk to increase participation, implements modern tools that drive success, and successfully engages communities year after year. 

How Teach For America’s Managing Director of Annual and Major Giving Engages Alumni

February 23, 2018
As the managing director of annual and major giving at Teach For America (TFA), Meghan Cressman is focused on expanding the organization’s individual giving from the national level. Learn how she supports 53 TFA regions—each with their unique philanthropic landscapes—to cultivate a culture of giving within their communities, especially among their alumni. 
Get ready to learn how TFA motivates their alumni to contribute financially, how they leverage and activate their national and regional boards, how Meghan helps maintain consistent branding across 53 regional chapters, and more.

How Heifer International’s Director of Influencer Marketing and Brand Partnerships Activates Power Players

November 14, 2017

Before joining Heifer International, Linda Rogers oversaw the corporate social responsibility arms at two companies you might have heard of: Disney and Coca-Cola. When it comes to corporate partnerships, she’s a seasoned expert that has sat on both sides of the fence—and she’s using her wealth of knowledge to engage influencers. Learn how to identify a strong partner and steward them from start to finish, create ambassadors of your brand, conduct change management, and more.


Vitamin Angels’ Former Senior Digital Marketing Manager on Data-Driven Strategies

November 3, 2017
As the former senior digital marketing manager of Vitamin Angels, Sarah Wright oversaw a uniquely structured team that managed over 100 corporate partnerships. But she was also focused on using data to expand their supporter base and diversify their income. Tune in to learn how she navigated and balanced it all.

From Apple to The Salvation Army: Lessons From the Southern Territory’s Director of Digital Strategy and Engagement

October 27, 2017
After working at Apple for three years, Piper LeJeune brings important lessons learned from her time with one of the most forward-thinking companies in the world to The Salvation Army, Southern Territory. Hear how her leadership and philosophies are moving the organization’s marketing into the future.

Convoy of Hope’s ED of Integrated Marketing Talks Excellence in Leadership

October 20, 2017
From selling cars for about a decade, to launching and running a couple publicly traded companies, to stepping into his current role as Executive Director of Integrated Marketing and feedONE at Convoy of Hope, Jeff Roman has cultivated a rich history of diverse leadership experience. Over the years, he’s honed a leadership style that has built and drives a nonprofit department rooted in excellence. 

How Oxfam’s Digital Engagement Director Drives a Winning Team

October 16, 2017

As the director of digital engagement at Oxfam America, Mason Weintraub shares how they built a digital team that thrives on a culture of collaboration, creativity, and empowerment. As a leader, they know that their team environment translates directly into the success of their digital efforts. You won’t be afraid to try bold, new ideas after listening to this episode.


How Classy’s CEO Built a Top Fundraising Platform for the Social Sector

August 4, 2017

Why does fundraising have to be so hard? It’s a question that guided Scot Chisholm as he transitioned Classy from a neighborhood fundraising event into a leading SaaS company in San Diego. Learn about his serendipitous journey from pizza parlor to CEO, how he handled challenges building an organization from scratch, how the for-profit and nonprofit worlds can work together, and how to create a work environment that drives professional and personal growth for employees.


Former COO of charity: water Shares His Keys to Growth

July 28, 2017

In this episode, former COO of charity: water Rod Arnold discusses their emergence as a premier nonprofit brand and his years of experience as a nonprofit consultant. Tune in to discover what led to their success, how to leverage inbound marketing to capture target audiences, and Rod’s expert advice for tackling growth as a nonprofit organization.


How the Karam Foundation Takes On the Syrian Refugee Crisis

July 21, 2017

The Karam Foundation began when Lina Sergie Attar and her friend started holding social events with a humanitarian spin for Chicago’s Arab-American community. But when the Syrian Civil War created the largest humanitarian crisis of recent times, Lina (a Syrian-American herself) and her team were called to move from small-scale funding to on-the-ground programs. Learn how they stay grounded with a mission of immense scale.

In this episode, Lina shares how Karam adapts their fundraising strategy in response to current events, how her expertise in architecture and design informs Karam’s web presence, where she finds inspiration and motivation to keep going, and more.


How The Honor Foundation’s CEO Maintains a Growth Mindset

July 14, 2017

In this episode, the CEO and founder of The Honor Foundation discusses the unconventional mindsets and practices that grew the organization’s online revenue by 191 percent in one year. Tune in to discover how to stay close to your mission through growth, overcome challenges unique to founders, and hire the right team to take you to the next level.


Why buildOn’s Founder Won’t Play It Safe

July 7, 2017

Jim Ziolkowski left a plum job at GE to start buildOn, a nonprofit organization that breaks the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education. But his lofty mission was met with a string of rejections and setbacks. Find out how this failure powered Jim and his team to develop the humility and grit to keep going.

In this episode of the Classy podcast, Jim shares:

  • Why he couldn’t walk away when failure seemed certain
  • How an executive assistant gave buildOn a chance
  • Why he shares their methodology with other organizations
  • How risk-taking created this 25-year-old international nonprofit
  • Why buildOn is not a charity



Brad Ludden’s Founding Story Started on a Kayak

April 18, 2017

Brad Ludden has spent the last 16 years taking young people with cancer on epic adventures around the world. His work has transformed the lives of hundreds of participants, including his own. Join us as we dive into his journey from working as a professional whitewater kayaker, to founding his nonprofit First Descents at age 20, to recently being honored as a CNN Hero.

In this episode, Brad shares:

  • Why the right board of directors is instrumental in your early days
  • The formula for locking in the right corporate sponsor
  • How to measure the impact of outdoor adventures on participants
  • How he conducts critical check-ins to reevaluate how he provides value as a CEO

Forbes Under 30 Entrepreneurs Share (Refreshing) Leadership Advice

April 11, 2017

Two Forbes 30 Under 30 stars are building successful social businesses to address food access in two very different ways: Noam Kimelman through healthy meals on-the-go in Detroit, and Shobhita Soor through insect farming in Ghana. What they have in common is a keen sense for establishing a solid revenue stream for their budding nonprofits and re-aligning the way work shows up in their personal lives. 

In this episode, Noam and Shobhita share:

  • Their founding stories building Fresh Corner Cafe and Aspire Food Group
  • Why they opted for a new revenue model outside the traditional nonprofit route
  • How they’re working towards financial self-sustainability
  • The business advice that influenced their early days
  • How this generation accepts entrepreneurship as a way of life
  • What they stand for: rebelliousness and opportunity

Paula Schwarz Is Solving Europe’s Refugee Crisis

April 5, 2017

At 26-years-old, Paula Schwarz is a serial entrepreneur working on the frontlines of the international immigration crisis. This Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree is developing innovative solutions to the unique needs of refugees, and then testing them in camps around the world through her company, StartupBoat.

In this episode, Paula walks us through her leadership strategies and how to stay focused in the face of adversity. She shares:

  • How to attract partners like Facebook, UBS, Bayer, UNICEF, and Aspen Institute
  • Advice for assembling a team of lifelong learners
  • What the international immigration crisis really looks like

PLUS, stay tuned for a guest Q&A between Paula and Classy engineer Morgan Snyder, another Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree.


Jeffrey Martín Is Transforming Atlanta Into the Silicon Valley for the South

March 28, 2017

It’s been a whirlwind year for Jeffrey Martín. In February he signed his first big client deal, in May he brought on a team of interns, in September was his big fundraiser, and in October he won the Forbes $1M Change the World Entrepreneurship Competition as part of the Forbes Under 30 Summit. He always said starting his organization honorCode was a risk for him, until things started to fall in place at the end of 2016.

honorCode is a new social enterprise that’s feeding K-12 classrooms in Atlanta web development training and curriculum. As the CEO and Founder, Martín envisions Atlanta becoming the Silicon Valley for the South and is closing opportunity gaps with modern technical education. He wants Atlanta's next generation to be educated as coders and able to compete for lucrative jobs in their hometown.

Born into poverty, Martín is the epitome of the students he aims to empower today. With education from the Wharton School, grad studies at Brown University, teaching for Teach for America and a stint at Goldman Sachs, he’s now lived many lives. His experiences converge into one timely interview, as we speak to Jeff on his 26th birthday.

In this episode, Jeffrey shares:

  • The growth levers that took honorCode from an idea to a business
  • How to attract lucrative corporate partners, like Google and Forbes
  • The data points you need to use to validate your startup
  • Why you should apply to competitions and accelerators, and advice on how to do it right

Toilets & Water Filters: Two Startups Redefining Nonprofit Tech

March 17, 2017

In Classy's first ever podcast panel discussion, and in honor of World Water Day, we speak with two cutting-edge leaders in the WaSH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) sector, Jason Kass and Natalie Relich. 

Natalie is the Executive Director at O’Horizons, a nonprofit developing solutions that are characterized as Low-Tech, High-Thinking. Most notably, they've created a wood mold bio-sand filter that makes it cheaper, faster, and easier to get safe drinking water. Jason is the president and founder of Toilets for People, a social enterprise that designs and manufactures waterless bathroom products and trains NGO partners in the developing world how to build, install & maintain them. Their signature sanitation solution is an affordable, self-contained waterless toilet that uses technology to safely treat human waste.

In this episode, Natalie and Jason share:

  • How to stay forward-thinking at your own social startup
  • Tips for collaborating with like-minded organizations
  • Tactics for incorporating low-tech, high-thinking solutions into your nonprofit programs
  • Why lean startups like theirs are poised to drive significant change for the international development community
  • How low-tech, high-thinking solutions are a more sustainable approach to today's world problems
  • An insightful approach to the definition of "social innovation"