Faculty, staff, and students from many institutions have utilized crowdfunding websites to raise money to support a wide range of projects, from commercialization to research or public service. Individual projects typically are outside the normal funding channels such as research contracts, foundation funding, or even individual gifts. More than a fundraising tool, crowdfunding is a new way of engaging the public in everything we do in higher education. Not surprisingly, success at engagement leads to an increased success in fundraising. Crowdfunding not only supports university outreach, but can be actively incorporated into more traditional outreach activities.
To date, institutions have played a minimal role in facilitating or overseeing this process. Presenters in this session discuss their experiences and lessons learned in managing and operating crowdfunding sites.
Michigan Tech University has developed and launched a crowdfunding site, called Superior Ideas (superiorideas.org), which was designed specifically for university research and public service projects. Superior Ideas is a donation-based crowdfunding platform, regardless of the funding goal was met or not, the researcher receives all donated funds. Donations are also tax deductible, which is an incentive for donors.