Real Leaders

Scot Chisolm, CEO of Classy: A Real Leaders Top Impact Company

PODCAST PEOPLE: A Summary from the Real Leaders Podcast

“Companies are at the epicenter of the good and the bad, and I think they can be a massive catalyst for positive change moving forward.”

Scot Chisolm is the CEO and co-founder of Classy, a social enterprise technology company serving the nonprofit community. Classy is named among the Real Leaders 100 Top Impact Companies of 2020.

The following is a summary of Episode 82 of the Real Leaders Podcast, a conversation with Classy co-founder and CEO, Scot Chisolm. Watch, read, or listen to the full conversation below.

Stay Classy San Diego

Scot shares the humble origins of his social enterprise: a name inspired by the iconic line in Anchorman, and a group of guys in their 20s who wanted to spread some good in the world. They started off hoping to curate charitable events that would attract a younger crowd. But complications that arose with the money raised from their first unsanctioned pub crawl resulted in a greater opportunity to change the possibilities for giving in a much bigger way.

“The experience for us, trying to do what we call in our world a “third party event,” had so much friction. We were left saying, “Why does giving need to be so hard?” All that we wanted to do was make giving easier, more accessible, and even fun, especially for young people and the younger generation, because we felt like there was a disconnect between the way we wanted to give on our own terms, and the end product the organization was providing us.”

Listen to Episode 82 on Spotify, Anchor, Crowdcast, and Apple Podcasts

Transformation into Social Enterprise

Classy has evolved from something between a nonprofit and a for-profit into the social enterprise it is today. The site offers world-class online fundraising software and a full online fundraising platform for nonprofits of all sizes. Classy campaigns make fundraising more sustainable because they are attractive to a new generation that otherwise wouldn’t be contributing.

Some of the many avenues powered by Classy include websites, fundraising events, and peer-to-peer pages. However, they are all fully white-labeled for nonprofits’ use.

“We’re almost like WordPress is to a website or Shopify is to e-commerce. We’re behind the scenes. So we’d like to say philosophically, it’s their brand before ours. We’re not out there promoting ourselves. And I think that’s also been one of the key ingredients to our success, putting them in the forefront.”

Business Insight from Nonprofits

Scot sees so much activity in the nonprofit space that goes into quantifying and measuring a program’s impact. He believes businesses would benefit from undertaking similar efforts, and sees impact measurement as the future of all businesses and nonprofits.

“The work that organizations in the nonprofit sector are doing day to day on the ground is leading to innovations that eventually end up in the market. A lot of the nonprofit’s are actually trying to solve the root cause. And that’s where this impact measurement really comes in. What problem are you trying to tackle? And what’s the best way to tackle the problem?”

Classy has worked extensively to build an impact measurement framework and hosts impact awards of their own, the Classy Awards, which measure nonprofits on the merit of their impact.

Watch a segment of the conversation with Scot Chisolm on YouTube.



Find Scot Chisolm at: or

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