The crowdfunding phenomenon is beginning to reach universities as a viable means of raising money for special projects and other needs. One very strong emerging strategy is the advent of crowdfunding websites that allow people to contribute directly through the website to the college. Some of the contributions can be tax-deductible and are appealing to alumni as well as donors that are not affiliated with the university at all.
Specific developmental, research and entrepreneur projects seem to be the most popular areas in which to donate in order to provide funding for their completion. A leading proponent of this type of funding has come out strongly for a continued promotion in the manner that has proven to be successful in the past.
Many of the projects have been student led, which might suggest that they are learning their craft well in school, that of deriving a result from a good effort.
The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. kicked off its first crowdfunding initiative to test a six-month pilot program. The executive director of college innovation of the school said that this has generated a great deal of interest in crowd spontaneity and allowing potential donors a say in where their interests lie.
The University of Vermont started a similar crowdfunding project and has already had a 50% completion of project fast start in a manner of weeks. It seems that this approach helps people focus on immediate project needs, and helps them to organize their thoughts in regard to their giving.
In retrospect, the success of these, and other crowdfunding projects is not solely due to throwing up a website and letting it sit out there alone. A great deal of the progress and awareness of the need at any moment in time is largely due to social networking that proceeds on an ongoing basis. This is occurring both online and offline. Appealing to friends and family is the first big step in getting any kind of results.
Secondly, the results are in and there is a significant amount of credit given to a very aggressive use of social media sites where students and alumni are encourage to promote the cause.
Studies are showing that crowdfunding can have a major impact on helping to decide what technologies and entrepreneurial ideas make it from the classroom to the marketplace. Although one would think that consumers and investors might have the ultimate say, that is not always the case. Adequate funding has a lot to do with any business getting off the ground and a head start is always and advantage.
When talking technologies translated into business the focus is upon a successful funding proposition to the point many of the initial quirks of market testing and product finalization has already taken place. This can be fairly expensive, yet university crowdfunding has already helped to move this along very rapidly. It then becomes a matter of scaling and putting together the right marketing formula with the right product.
University crowdfunding is not all pie in the sky. When putting things to a practical use, universities can do a pretty fair job of getting things in order so they can get preliminary things rolling before the real life version gets kicked off.