Iowa State University Sees Early Success with Crowdfunding Platform

Last year, Iowa State University’s fundraising group, the ISU Foundation, joined the many colleges and universities branching out into crowdfunding to help raise money for student-run projects.

The concept is win-winstudent groups get to plan, operate and spread the word about their own causes (not to mention raise money for them), and all the foundation has to do is provide a centralized place to host the projects. That frees up valuable time to pursue major donors and big gifts.

Groups who want to apply to use FundISU need to be officially affiliated with ISU or be recognized by the Division of Student Affairs as an organization. They’re also encouraged to create a video to pitch their project, which is then used on the FundISU website.

Although it’s less than a year old, one group has already raised over $50,000 to build a training center in rural Uganda and nearly $10,000 to fund design student projects in Peru. A campaign for the 2016 ISU Fashion Show, a long-running event at the school, has raised just over 20 percent of its $20,000 goal, with less than a month left.

Although campaigns can use incentives, so far they have have been using the feature more for tangible giving notes; listing how much various elements of the projects cost and how a $25, $50 or $100 gift will help them.

FundISU is powered by Scalefunder, a platform that also drives crowdfunding tools for Pitzer College, Pepperdine University, and the University of Maryland.