Crowdfunding Resources

Signing up a group of people to support a cause by volunteering and making financial contributions isn’t a new concept. But call it “crowdfunding” and combine it with a group of passionate online volunteers, and you’ve tapped into a hot new trend for raising money. Education institutions are using crowdfunding to raise money for everything from research projects and academic initiatives to initiatives proposed by student entrepreneurs and groups, as well as many other purposes. And, because Millennials are more prone to give online — and have proven elusive for many colleges and universities to reach otherwise — crowdfunding may be a way to reach a new and desirable group of givers.

Want to know more about crowdfunding? Here’s a list of resources from Higher Ed Live, CASE, our team, and more.

Crowdfunding & Higher Ed, Part 1

Will higher ed carve out a place for itself in this rapidly expanding space, or will we double down on tried and true fundraising methods that have served us well in the past?

In this episode, Advancement Live host Andrew Gossen discusses crowdfunding with Colleen Wainwright and Ryan Davies. Colleen shares insights on managing a crowdfunding campaign derived from her successful 50-for-50 project. Ryan walks us through how Carleton University went about developing and launching its Futurefunder initiative.

Crowdfunding & Higher Ed, Part 2

Institutions exploring crowdfunding have two choices: They can build their own platform, as Carleton University did with their Futurefunder initiative, or they can work with one of the crowdfunding platforms serving the education market. In this Advancement Live episode, representatives from three of the leading crowdfunding platforms — USEEDIndieGoGo, and ScaleFunder — join host Andrew Gossen to talk through some of the challenges and opportunities that crowdfunding presents to institutional advancement offices.

This conversation includes perspectives on working across silos, hyper-local perks, and addressing concerns that crowdfunding may destabilize fundraising practices that have provided essential support for institutions over the years. However, the single theme throughout the hour is storytelling. Crowdfunding offers higher education a powerful new storytelling tool that integrates fundraising, engagement, and communications goals in a format perfectly suited for the online world in which our constituents are spending an increasing amount of their time.

How to Promote a Crowdfunding Project

It’s time to shift your focus from making the case for crowdfunding to making sure that your projects are positioned to succeed. Students, staff, and faculty have plenty of interest in crowdfunding, but when it comes to raising dollars, interest is no substitute for experience and a plan. 

In this Advancement Live episode, host Andrew Gossen talks through strategies for promoting crowdfunding projects with Megan Miller and Heather Green, two of the people behind LaunchUTSA, the University of Texas at San Antonio’s crowdfunding initiative. From preparing project teams well to promoting projects at live events, many techniques can position projects to achieve the goal of being 100 percent funded.

Prepping a Project Team for Success in Crowdfunding

Learn how Middlebury College prepares teams to promote their projects successfully on MiddSTART, higher ed’s first crowdfunding platform.

A Tale of Two Crowdfunding Programs

Learn from two of the pioneers on how you can guide your institution to a successful crowdfunding initiative.

In fall 2013, Cornell University and Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies launched crowdfunding campaigns for initiatives at their institutions. Cornell chose to use a start-up partner, USEED, and Syracuse built its own solution. This session reviews the experience of both institutions, focusing on:

  • How each university approached communicating and marketing the crowdfunding initiatives to its respective constituencies.
  • How each school used the crowdfunding programs to engage alumni and donors and attract gifts.
  • Similarities and differences between each approach.
  • Metrics, tracking, and data collection.

CASE InfoCenter

The CASE InfoCenter has a great bibliography of articles and case studies on crowdfunding; a CASE membership and login are required for access.


Andrew Gossen, senior director for social media strategy in Cornell’s Division of Alumni Affairs and Development and host of Advancement Live, authors a blog, Higher Ed Crowdfunding. This blog is invaluable for case studies and best practices.

Keith Hannon, associate director for social media strategy in Cornell’s Division of Alumni Affairs and Development, shares a lot of insights about crowdfunding and other social-media based fundraising on his blog, Social Matters.

Jenna Buckle, marketing associate at EverTrue, authored the post Who’s the Best in Higher-Ed Crowdfunding? The post includes a slideshow of 20 crowdfunding initiatives.