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There’s no denying it: crowdfunding is one of the most successful fundraising strategies on the internet, and it’s not hard to see why universities want to get in on the action.
When you can empower friends, family, alumni, and other supporters to fundraise on behalf of your school, there’s no stopping your movement from spreading far and wide across the web.
If you need to brush up on the basics of crowdfunding, this simple fundraising method allows organizations like your college to create online fundraising pages based on unique campaigns. Your school can then call on your supporters to share your crowdfunding page on their social media profiles and among their circle of friends online.
Because newcomers to your cause are introduced to the campaign by people in their own networks, they’re more likely to contribute since they associate your organization with their friend or loved one. Crowdfunding has long been a popular fundraising method for nonprofits and individuals alike, but it’s only just now gaining traction with universities and colleges like yours.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder that your school wants to learn more about making the most of your university crowdfunding platform.
Ready to get your hands on some of our favorite strategies? In this article, we’ll go over some of the best ways your school can crowdfund like a pro on your university crowdfunding platform:
- Market your university crowdfunding platform on social media
- Leverage peer-to-peer fundraising to crowdfund for your college
- Host fundraising events to bookend your college’s crowdfunding campaign
Can’t wait to get started? Let’s dive right into these expert strategies so your university can start crowdfunding!
1. Market your university crowdfunding platform on social media
Crowdfunding thrives by being shared on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, so your university will need to develop a surefire social media strategy before launching your campaign.
Luckily, it’s never been easier for schools to spread their message across social media to get the word out about their campaign.
With the right tools in place, your university will be able to reach more donors than ever before while also inspiring supporters to fundraise on behalf of your cause.
Let’s go over some ways your university can start bringing more attention to your crowdfunding campaigns on social media.
Share your hashtag
The best way to generate buzz for your university’s crowdfunding campaign? By creating and promoting a unique hashtag, your school can get your fundraiser trending in no time.
You can create a unique hashtag for your university, but to make sure people start following your fundraising campaign, it’s a good idea to develop hashtags that are specific to each crowdfunder.
Your hashtag should be short, sweet, and to the point, and you should make sure that it doesn’t include any commonly misspelled words. Verify that the hashtag isn’t already being used to promote another topic as well, just to ensure that the conversation stays on your campaign.
Once your school picks a hashtag, you can promote it online by including it in all of your posts about your university’s crowdfunding campaign. These posts shouldn’t just be limited to text posts, though; you can add hashtags to photo captions or under video descriptions, too.
Hashtags aren’t simply for making people take notice of your crowdfunding campaign, though. If you choose a university crowdfunding platform that also offers text-to-donate capabilities, you’ll be able to empower supporters to give as soon as they see your hashtag.
All individuals need to do is text your campaign’s hashtag to a short phone number. In seconds, they’ll be sent the link to your crowdfunding campaign’s giving page and they’ll be able to make their donation in just a few clicks.
Post photos & videos
In addition to hashtags, one social media strategy your team can use to generate buzz for your campaign is leveraging photos and videos to get your campaign trending.
Many social media sites favor photos and videos in their newsfeed algorithm. Instead of simply showing the most recent posts at the top of a feed, websites like Facebook and Instagram sort the feed by what a user will most likely want to see.
For these sites in particular, their algorithm assumes that users want to see photos and videos more than text content, so if your university shares visual content like this, it’s more likely that individuals will encounter it when they log onto their accounts.
Thus, your school should ensure that a steady stream of photos and videos are produced that help promote your crowdfunding campaign.
For example, visual content that your school may want to share on your crowdfunding platform includes:
- Images of your student community
- Video interviews with alumni givers
- Impact videos sharing how your school helps your community
- Pictures of your text-to-donate hashtag and phone number
- Livestreams of fundraising events
- And more!
You can also use visual content to customize your university crowdfunding platform by including photos and videos on your giving page. The more customized your page, the more likely it is that your supporters will give. Since there’s no question where their donations will be going, your supporters won’t hesitate to make their gift to your crowdfunder.
2. Leverage peer-to-peer fundraising to crowdfund for your college
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a special type of crowdfunding that puts even more power in the hands of your university’s most dedicated supporters.
With peer-to-peer fundraising, individuals set up fundraising pages on behalf of your school. They then “host” this page and run a mini-campaign all on their own. All your school needs to do is provide them the platform and they’re able to hit the ground fundraising.
This is in contrast to traditional crowdfunding which requires your school to create an individual campaign that your supporters share. There are different kinds of benefits to the two styles of crowdfunding.
With traditional crowdfunding, your school has more power over the campaign and its message. You set the campaign timeline, you manage the appeals, and the fundraising goal is in your hands.
When it comes to peer-to-peer fundraising, supporters are able to put a more personal face on the campaign for their networks. They can include personal photos and videos on their pages and make updates on their page to encourage donors to give (and keep giving).
Because supporters have more of a direct hand in peer-to-peer fundraising, it can make it easier for your school to reach people in their personal networks who you may not otherwise interact with online.
However, both traditional crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising are effective fundraising methods and one shouldn’t be prioritized over the other. These methods work best when used together to complement your university’s fundraising efforts.
For example, traditional crowdfunding campaigns are a great way to raise money for a short term fundraising goal. This can include:
- Academic projects that need to be funded by the end of the semester
- Grants for students to launch startups
- Community improvement projects that uplift your college’s town
- And more!
In contrast, peer-to-peer fundraising is well suited for fundraising campaigns with all kinds of timelines. They can be used to supplement your annual fund, finance a new building on campus, or pay for a student trip abroad.
Because anyone can set up a peer-to-peer fundraising page for your university, just about anyone can get in on the action. This makes it well suited for established alumni, recent graduates, and current students alike.
For members of your student community, setting up a peer-to-peer fundraising page is a also great way to give back if they can’t afford to regularly give on their own.
3. Host fundraising events to bookend your college’s crowdfunding campaign
Fundraising events and universities go way back. For decades, fundraising events have been one of the number one ways that schools excite their communities and inspire giving.
However, now that so much fundraising happens online, many universities are missing a great opportunity to combine their online giving efforts and their fundraising event strategy by integrating crowdfunding into their fundraising events.
Crowdfunding campaigns are at their best when they’re paired with fundraising events to bookened the campaign. Events that work well with crowdfunding campaigns include:
- Walkathons and runs
- Dance marathons
- Community improvement event days
- Field days (students vs. students, faculty vs, students, etc.)
- “World record” breaking events
- And more!
Events like walkathons, runs, dance marathons and other contests are great vehicles for crowdfunding campaigns. Your school can launch a campaign tied to an event like these and encourage donors to give by the date of the event.
As the event approaches, your university can share photos and videos of past events, and when the event is over, you can share visual content as a way to keep people talking about your school.
With peer-to-peer fundraising in particular, supporters can even “sponsor” individuals in events as a way to spark fun competition among your dedicated community.
Another form of crowdfunding, team crowdfunding, allows your school to do something similar to regular peer-to-peer fundraising, but on a larger scale.
Campus organizations can set up fundraising teams to raise money on behalf of your school either for projects specific to their groups or for broader university fundraising campaigns.
At your school, most fundraising events are specific to campus organizations and are set up to fund more targeted projects for these important associations.
By enabling team crowdfunding, your school empowers student organizations to fundraise online as well as at these events, and to capitalize on the buzz created by fundraising events that they host.
What’s great about fundraising events for your university, its students, and campus groups alike is that they help give campaigns the momentum they need to catapult to their goals.
When people are looking forward to the campaign’s deadline, they’ll be more excited to give and spread the word about your campaign.
But that’s not all: fundraising doesn’t have to stop once the event starts. At the event, you can accept crowdfunding donations using an on-site payment swiper.
Even better? If your event incorporates an auction, you can collect bids using auction software that allows supporters to give right from their phones.
Crowdfunding is one of the most dynamic ways for universities to raise money in the modern world. By making the most out of your university crowdfunding platform, the sky is the limit for your school’s fundraising success!
- Alumni Engagement Guide. Effective alumni engagement can be the key to reaching your university’s fundraising goals. Check out our alumni engagement guide to learn more about connecting with these important supporters.
- Alumni Fundraising. Excited to learn more about alumni fundraising? Our post outlines everything your university needs to know about raising money with this key demographic.
- Online Fundraising Guide. If your university wants to fundraise successfully these days, you’ll have to master online fundraising. Read our guide to learn how you can leverage online fundraising solutions for your school.