Students and faculty will have the opportunity to raise funds for projects through a new crowdfunding platform university officials developed, which will be available in April.

The Office of University Advancement is currently working with Community Funded, a crowd funding solutions company based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Community Funded works with many other universities who have already built successful crowd funding programs.

“We think it’s a strategic tool that we can provide the people we serve on campus, in order for them to be able to reach out to their networks and fund the high priority and most important work and projects that they are doing right now,” said Wesley Clark, director of annual giving.

The company’s goal to create an informal, interactive online webpage will allow students and faculty to market their projects and raise funds through the school, Clark said. Funds will depend on the drive of the organization members and their ability to rally connected networks to raise funds, rather than relying on donors from the local community or alumni.

Crowdfunding is an online tool utilizing peer-to-peer relationships in order to raise funds. Since 2012, crowd funding has become a growing trend on college campuses nationwide for quick, large sum fundraising.

Clark said it provides an outlet for students and faculty to reach out to the extended networks of people and raise the money, in addition to conventional fundraising and school funds allocation.

Students and faculty won’t rely only on gifts from alumni, donations from friends of the university and funding from government entities, he said.

“(Students) know the projects better than we do,” Clark said. “They can tell their stories, their way.”

Letting organizations market and network themselves means smaller groups with little alumni support, or groups just starting out, will have the same opportunities to take trips or fund projects as larger, better-endowed organizations on campus.

“I’m for this kind of fundraising,” said Jovan Marin, Texas State alumnus. “It allows student to choose where the funds they bring in go to.”

Athletic teams and clubs have used similar crowdfunding programs, such as the University of California, Los Angles gymnastics team raising over $150,000 for renovations.

Texas State organizations have utilized crowdfunding in the past.

According to an April 11, 2014 university press release, the Entrepreneurial Action Us chapter launched a crowd-funding project after earning a spot in the 2014 Enactus National Expo. The team managed to raise a substantial amount of money through crowd funding, local donors, and the national chapter.

There are many factors influencing whether or not this program will truly be successful, said Vicki West, marketing lecturer.

“Depending on the project, (and) the reputation of the organization, success may vary from group to group,” West said.

Source: New university crowdfunding platform provides opportunities for organizations | The University Star