Learn how US nonprofit Outreach360 saved $6,000 in platform and transaction fees by switching from Classy to Zeffy for their online fundraising needs.
saved on fees
April 28, 2022
Sometimes, life gives you nothing but lemons. Your revenue stream dries up while national conflict and a global pandemic make your operations untenable. For most organizations, this would be cause to close up shop and head back to the drawing board. For Outreach360, it was an opportunity to get really good at making lemonade.
In this case study I’m speaking with Coco and Adie, respectively the President and Academic Director of Outreach360. The organization has been in operation for more than 26 years, bringing language skills and financial independence to hundreds of students across Latin America.
Prior to 2018, Outreach360 operated learning centers in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. These centers were able to provide students from the area with a free English-language education and a TOEFL certification which they could use to pass on their English skills and pay their way through college.
That year, a wave of anti-government protests broke out in Nicaragua, making it too dangerous for Outreach360 to continue accepting international volunteers. Thankfully, they were able to continue their volunteer program in the Dominican Republic, and kept operations going in Nicaragua thanks to their dedicated staff. However, a large part of their revenue came from volunteers fundraising for the program before heading down south to teach. Half the volunteers essentially meant half the revenue for their operations.
Two years later, another crisis broke out. With the COVID-19 pandemic limiting travel and face-to-face interaction indefinitely, Outreach360 was forced to stop accepting volunteers entirely. Not only did they lack the personnel to continue operations, but the revenue needed to provide each student with a full scholarship to the English program was no longer there either.
Outreach360 decided that, if they couldn’t keep doing things in person, then they would have to move online. They launched an online pilot program with some engaged students and volunteer teachers. The program was a success and soon they were looking to expand again. They had their students circulate an invitation to attend the program. To their surprise, these invitations were circulated not just among friends, but across both Nicaragua and the DR and even into some neighbouring countries.
Still, the situation was tenuous:
“We were trying to see what kind of alternatives there are to cut costs in a time where we want to survive and thrive as opposed to going under…we needed a way to cut costs but maintain quality.”
While previously Outreach360 had used Classy for their donations and fundraising, they now needed a different solution.
“The need to cut down on expenses meant replacing Classy. We found Zeffy online and thought, ‘this is too good to be true,’...I reached out and Francois [Zeffy’s founder] got back to me. He was really open and helpful getting us onboard.”
Since then, the program has continued to expand, both in terms of students and volunteers. Outreach360 now serves students from across Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. In terms of teachers, Outreach360 now has a robust network from six continents, with volunteers helping the organization meet its goal of educating students to be fluent English-speakers, experienced teachers, and leaders for the next generation of Outreach360 students.
While eliminating subscription and transaction fees helped cut down on costs, increased visibility from around the world meant more volunteers, more pledges, and a bigger operation. Students now attend the academy five days a week, learning English fundamentals and conversation, as well as practicing their reading and writing skills in Spanish.
To date, Outreach360 has been able to save six-thousand dollars by switching to Zeffy. Rest assured, that money will go to good use. Currently, Outreach360 is working to bring more working professionals into their organization, both as sponsors and instructors. As Adie explains to me, the students “are really engaged learners, but need more awareness of the different careers that exist.”
Regardless of what career they choose, the goal of Outreach360 will always be to inspire and empower people to reach their full potential and give back by expanding educational, leadership, and service opportunities.” This same goal holds true for both students and volunteers.