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How Community Music School of Santa Cruz found the online fundraising platform they were looking for.

Case study

Community Music School of Santa Cruz (CMS of Santa Cruz) has been providing music experiences to people of all ages in for over 30 years. With an annual budget of around $60,000 that supports youth music programs and scholarships to music camps and workshops—they needed a fundraising platform that let them keep every penny they raised. Enter Zeffy. (The fees CMS of Santa Cruz saved were calculated with a 5% average fee—platform and credit card transaction fees combined.)




saved on fees

David Purkis


December 6, 2023



min read

The background:

Back in 2022 the free donor management system Community Music School of Santa Cruz (CMS of Santa Cruz) had been using since 2018 decided they were no longer going to offer a free version.

The challenge: The search for a free donor management system begins.

After their last donor management system eliminated their free version, CMS of Santa Cruz was left scrambling to find a replacement that would help them transfer their years of data. As you probably know, there aren’t a ton of online fundraising platforms out there that are actually free. Sure, there are a lot that claim to be free. But the hidden fees can add up fast.

That’s where Zeffy comes in.

The solution: The only free online fundraising platform.

What started as a donor management tool for CMS of Santa Cruz quickly became a lot more.

I love the ability to quickly email people who’ve attended any one of our past events—it’s simple and the “from” line in the customer’s email is our name, so there’s no confusion. I also appreciate the ability to embed the donation form or ticketing form into our website—it gives us a professional look. Finally, I couldn’t ask for better customer service. My questions are always responded to promptly, and the team always seems to welcome suggestion for future improvements.
- Susan Willats, The Community Music School of Santa Cruz

The results: Over $2000.00 saved in fees so far.

We’ll just let Susan take this one for us.

What started as a way for me to track donations soon became a solution for much more: not only could we receive donations without any charges, we could also conduct our camp registration and concert ticket sales, too. Over the past 17 months, we’ve saved over $2000 in fees that we’d normally pay to PayPal or Square. That is a big chunk of money for us!
- Susan Willats, The Community Music School of Santa Cruz

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