WSU's Online Crowd Funding Website.

Perhaps you have heard about “crowdfunding,” but what is it, exactly? How is it making a positive impact at Winona State University?

In its essence, crowdfunding is collaborative fundraising on the web. It utilizes social media to highlight how small gifts from many donors can make a big impact on an organization. According to the Network for Good Digital Giving Index, online giving continues to outpace the growth of overall giving: in 2015, online giving increased by 9% while overall giving grew just 2%. This trend is expected to continue, and while millennials have been the earliest adoptors, research shows that all generations give online.

In fall 2016, WSU partnered with GiveCampus, an online crowdfunding platform created specifically for education institutions. This platform allows donors to make an online gift to WSU and share the news with friends and family members via social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter. Donors can choose to post a message, video, or link about their gift and invite others to support WSU as well. In this way, donors become advocates of the University and can receive rewards for gifts they generate.

This past November, the WSU Softball team held their annual “Adopt-a-Player” fundraising campaign via GiveCampus. In just 30 days, they raised over $7,800 to fund spring training and travel costs for the 2017 season. Greg Jones, Head Softball Coach, was excited to try the crowdfunding approach. “In the past, we have relied on sending out donation requests by mail,” he said. “Not only was the online campaign easier to set up and manage, but we also used multiple social media platforms to reach a much larger and wide ranging audience. We were able to receive more donations from people we never would have reached by just using mail or phone calls.”

More recently, Winona State utilized the GiveCampus forum to launch a crowdfunding campaign as part of its second annual “I (Heart) WSU Week,” which took place February 13-20. Future campaigns are in the works and will be posted to WSU’s crowdfunding website at wsu.mn/give2wsu – be sure to check it out! Together, we can make a difference. Together, we create a community of learners improving our world.

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