Figures like $2 million, $300,000, $10 million, and $900,000, abounded in a Washington Post story that revealed how small liberal arts schools are turning to the relatively new-ish startup concept of fundraising sites for alumni and student program donations—all through Washington D.C.-based crowdfunding website GiveCampus.com.
The success in receiving alumni donations, relates the article, is due to understanding how younger, more tech-savvy alumni like to do things: quickly, online and part of a social group.
“We all live on social media, so getting friendly reminders from your alma mater to give is not only effective, but appreciated,” said Tatum McIsaac in the Post’s article, who graduated from the liberal arts school Holy Cross in 2001 and donated via the GiveCampus campaign. “It’s a lot easier for me to make a quick contribution online than to wait for an envelope to arrive in the mail and write a check. I don’t even know where my checkbook is.”
Students have been crowdfunding for years, even for tuition; now colleges and universities are starting to follow suit, with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in donations. And the timing couldn’t be better: according to the Council for Aid to Education, though overall contributions to colleges and universities rose to a record amount in 2015, most donations were large sums to Ivy League institutions. And though the overall amount rose, alumni participation is on the decline; meaning that while individuals are making larger contributions, less people are contributing.
The crowdfunding strategy, it seems, is critical for higher education. But what are the fundraising sites that boast the most success?