Online crowdfunding donations are expected to exceed $34 billion in 2016. According to Jerry Needel, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Indiegogo, the growth of crowdfunding is on par with that of social media. “It’s going to be the next big pillar in digital marketing,” Needel says.
Although crowdfunding is becoming the mainstream way to finance everything from tech startups to non-profit humanitarian efforts, it also provides an ideal platform for institutions of higher learning to solicit funds. Let’s see why.
Crowdfunding Can Improve College Rankings
U.S. News & World Report ranking criteria draws a direct correlation between alumni contributions and alumni satisfaction with the school. The ranking assumes the percentage of alumni who give is a reliable indication of how satisfied alumni are with the school.
With statistics to support the correlation, colleges that embrace higher ed crowdfunding reap a two-fold benefit: funding for various programs, and the opportunity to rank higher in the indexes.
Crowdfunding Capitalizes on Social Media
If higher ed crowdfunding were a sports car, social media would be the wheels upon which it rolls. Indeed, the most successful campaigns build a community early in the game—actually, before the campaign has even been launched—and continue engaging that community throughout the entire campaign.
Consider 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. While the majority of presidential candidates gratefully receive “super PAC” support, Sanders chose from the beginning of his presidential campaign to seek funding directly from his supporters through crowdfunding.
“We’re not going to raise $2 billion, and we’re not going to raise $1 billion,” said Mr. Sanders, who added that he did not intend to use the help of a “super PAC.” “I do not have millionaire or billionaire friends.”
His campaign has utilized Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Reddit, and apparently done it well. According to CNN, Sanders raised $1.5 million in the first 24 hours of his presidential campaign.
Crowdfunding Attracts “Small” Donors
Although some alumni contribute generously to their alma mater, the burden of student loan payments and the lack of an established career limit the ability of many recent grads to give.
Crowdfunding’s inherent appeal to small donors makes it the ideal platform for raising contributions from alumni of all income levels, allowing even “small” donors to feel that they can have a meaningful impact.
Penn State Schreyer Honors College utilized a higher ed crowdfunding campaign in 2014 to raise money for a hunger-relief effort the college had undertaken. The campaign was 100% funded by encouraging donations as low as 25 cents.
Crowdfunding Campaigns Create Enthusiasm
Nothing builds enthusiasm among a group so much as having a common cause, and few groups are more willing to embrace a cause than recent college graduates.
When the University of Maryland needed a Windsond weather balloon, it turned to crowdfunding to raise the needed capital. From donations as low as $10, UMD raised $10,395֫—148% of its $7,000 campaign goal. Not impressed? What if I told you that the Windsond campaign is only one of nearly 60 crowdfunding projects UMD has launched, with 45 of those having been fully funded? Clearly, UMD’s stated goal to “launch big ideas to change the world” has snowballed into a successful funding platform, where, as they say, nothing breeds success like success.
Crowdfunding Engages Young Donors
A survey conducted by the American Dream Composite Index indicates that the majority of crowdfunding donors are in the 24-35 age bracket. With crowdfunding being primarily a digital phenomena, it lends itself as the perfect platform for engendering the philanthropic spirit among young people, who are, of course, more likely to embrace any and all things digital.
How The Kyle David Group Can Help
With more than a decade of experience providing technology solutions to higher education institutions, KDG is perfectly positioned to help your college or university capitalize on the growing crowdfunding market. Using our custom higher education crowdfunding platforms, we will help you to engage alumni, students, parents, faculty and donors as you achieve your fundraising goals.
KDG creates online campaign management portals that are engaging, user friendly, and that are just as usable and powerful on mobile devices as on a desktop.
Crowdfunding is the new way educational institutions raise funds successfully, but to be successful you need to partner with an organization that understands both the crowdfunding market and the technology needed to reach them. KDG is that organization. Why not contact us and let us show you the way?