In recent years, teachers have turned to crowdfunding to raise money for their classroom or school. The term “Crowdfunding” was added to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary in 2014, among other notable words such as “Hashtag” and “Selfie.” Crowdfunding is hip; crowdfunding is relatively new. Crowdfunding has helped numerous campaigns reach a broader audience and ultimately meet their fundraising goals. But is crowdfunding right for you?
crowdfunding: noun crowd·fund·ing \ ˈkrau̇d-ˌfən-diŋ \ – The practice of obtaining needed funding (as for a new business) by soliciting contributions from a large number of people especially from the online community
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Ebrahim Varachia, Co-Founder and President of the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform, Patronicity. Ebrahim, a truly impressive individual AND a former Kentwood student, has a unique perspective on the role of crowdfunding, both its advantages and limitations. If you ask the average person about crowdfunding, you will probably get an answer that has something to do with a campaign that went viral, or raised thousands of dollars from complete strangers because they were somehow touched by its message. While this can happen with a crowdfunding initiative, Ebrahim explained that more often than not, campaigns must rely on local or personal networks to be successful.
Chances are that your campaign will not go viral on a national scale, but could it go viral in your community? If the answer is yes, then perhaps crowdfunding is the right option for you. Certain projects might be more “crowdfundable” than others, and the way that you craft your message matters. My best tip for teachers that are considering a crowdfunding initiative is to think of your campaign as more than just the creation of a website and a few shares through your personal social media accounts. Successful campaigns require work.
For a more in-depth look at what it takes to reach your fundraising target, check out Edutopia’s crowdfunding guide, Raise Money for Your Schools Using Crowdfunding, or browse through the additional resources below.
EducationWorld – Raise Money With Crowdfunding: Top 9 Tips for Schools
GetEdFunding.com – Crowdfunding Versus Grant Writing: What’s the Difference?
Science Buddies – Crowdfunding: Fundraising Ideas and Tips for Teachers