Crowdfunding: How to Apply

Before submitting an application, take a moment to review the requirements and frequently asked questions. Crowdfunding requires concerted effort and planning and may not be for everyone. You can find a link to the application at the bottom of this page. If you have additional questions or concerns please contact Lauren Grabowski by email or phone at (860) 486-3132.

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a method of fundraising using personal networks to excite and empower friends, family, and like-minded individuals to give to a particular cause. This approach taps into the power of modest contributions from a larger pool of people — primarily online through social media. Due to their grassroots nature, crowdfunding campaigns require a team of advocates to develop and execute a marketing plan in order to make the most of their personal networks. This team is typically overseen by a project manager who develops, creates content for, and manages the marketing plan while organizing volunteer efforts.

How much time does it take to launch a crowdfunding campaign?

Campaigns have a significant preparation period. Crowdfunding campaigns require a two- to three-month time investment from start to finish.

It is imperative that would-be project managers understand the effort required to run a crowdfunding campaign. For best results, project managers should thoroughly review all training materials and best practices before beginning the planning process.

At a minimum, campaigns include:

A preparation and planning period. This typically takes two to four weeks. This will be your time to outline your strategies, coordinate and train volunteers, prepare written and video content, and identify outreach lists.

A giving period, when the prepared plan is put into action. This lasts between 30-45 days depending on the goals. During the campaign you will be responsible for sending weekly updates to your project advocates and volunteers. You will also continue to provide content for your volunteers to promote through their personal networks.

A stewardship period, where you thank your donors for their contribution. This normally occurs in the following two to four weeks after the end of the giving period, but can be as long as one year. Typically this is done by providing donors with updates on how money is being used.

Frequently Asked Questions

When are applications due?

Application deadlines are determined by the period in which you would like to run your campaign. The table below outlines the deadlines for each crowdfunding period. Once an application is submitted you should expect a response in five to 10 business days.

Crowdfunding Periods and Application Deadlines

Crowdfunding Period Deadline
July June 1
September August 1
November October 1
January December 1
April February 1

Who can crowdfund for a UConn cause?

Any member of the UConn Nation can crowdfund for a UConn cause! That means students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends. All crowdfunding efforts must support the University’s mission and improve the community.

What do I need to start a crowdfunding campaign?

  • An existing UConn Foundation fund. New funds cannot be created for a crowdfunding effort. If you are unsure if a foundation fund exists, or you’d like more information about fund minimums please contact the office of Annual Giving.
  • A realistic and attainable fundraising goal.
  • A specific timeframe. Most crowdfunding efforts last four weeks for maximum intensity and impact.
  • A designated project manager to complete an application, create a marketing plan and timeline, and prepare content for the entire campaign.
  • A team of at least three to five “project advocates” to help spread the word.
  • A solicitation list of at least 20 individuals who would be willing to support your cause.
  • A solid stewardship plan for thanking donors and communicating with them after the close of the competition.

What giving platform will be used?

All crowdfunding campaigns done through UConn must utilize the UConn Foundation’s platform, Network For Good.

This sounds like a lot of work! Do I have to do all of this?

It is a lot of work, but a successful crowdfunding campaign is well planned and organized. Crowdfunding works when you encourage your personal network to be as excited about your cause as you are. This is typically done by telling stories, sharing photographs and videos, and showing the potential impact of a donation.

If crowdfunding isn’t for you right now—that’s OK! Save your efforts for a time when you can really dedicate yourself to a grassroots fundraising campaign so you can be truly successful.

What if we don’t reach our fundraising goal?

Unlike other giving platforms, your cause will still receive all donated funds that have been raised, regardless of if your goal is achieved.

What fees are there?

All contributions to The University of Connecticut Foundation, Inc. are assessed certain administrative fees that are used to support Foundation operating expenses, as well as other priority needs determined by the school, college, or unit receiving the gift. A fee of 5% may apply.

What if I don’t have a big social network, or I don’t think my personal network is interested in supporting my project?

If that is the case then crowdfunding might not be for you. Crowdfunding is all about your personal connections and how you can encourage them to support your cause. Before starting the application process, it may be worthwhile you reach out to your connections to see what sort of support they will be able to provide.

Can I get a list of alumni from your office for solicitation purposes?

The UConn Foundation cannot provide any solicitation lists to our volunteers, nor can you request one through University staff.

I’m not a professional videographer and I don’t have any equipment. Do I have to shoot a video?

A video is not a requirement for a crowdfunding campaign. However, it is probably the most powerful tool you can have when it comes to demonstrating the impact of a donation. A video does not need to be high quality or even shot with a video camera. A homemade video, shot with a smartphone, is often more authentic and appealing. For rules and guidelines of filming a video please contact Annual Giving.

How much can I expect to raise from a crowdfunding campaign?

That depends entirely on your effort! A typical crowdfunding campaign will raise $500-$10,000 with the average gift amount being $60-$65. Our student crowdfunding campaign has an average gift of $19 due to the audience of the competition.
 
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