Those looking to make a difference at NIU have a new tool to help raise much-needed financial support. NIU Impact, the NIU Foundation’s new crowdfunding program at http://crowdfund.niu.edu and features ten campaigns.
One of those campaigns is “Curtain Call! – Support Graduating Senior Arts Projects” to assist with the funding of capstone projects and industry standard portfolio and audition materials for students in the College of Visual Performing Arts as they prepare to start their exciting careers in the arts.
Here’s an example of just one of the senior arts projects funding could benefit.
The crowdfunding campaign for supporting arts students will run through May 10, with a goal of raising $2,000 for students in each of three schools that makes up the College of Visual and Performing Arts (College of Art and Design, College of Music, College of Theatre and Dance.)
The NIU Foundation has experienced significant growth in its digital giving program, seeing an increase of over 100% from fiscal year 2018 to fiscal year 2020 in dollars raised. “In 2018, we raised nearly $290,000 through digital giving ,” shares Michael Adzovic, Director of the Northern Fund. “Last year, in 2020, we raised $580,000. Already, in fiscal year 2021, we’ve raised $683,000.”
Much of this growth can be attributed to the NIU Foundation’s Day of Giving program implemented in 2019, but other factors have fueled growth as well.
“The pandemic has been a factor,” shares Adzovic. “We’ve relied more on digital giving opportunities during this season and have found that many people are comfortable and prefer giving online. This is the future of our direct response program.”
That growth has inspired the NIU Foundation’s new crowdfunding program.
How Crowdfunding Works
Crowdfunding is not new, of course. This method of raising funds has been common for years, popularized through sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe. However, it has just recently become popular in higher education fundraising.
“We see great potential in crowdfunding at NIU,” shares Adzovic. “The platform allows us to work with campus partners to conduct targeted, goal-oriented and time-sensitive campaigns that harness the power of volunteers and their individual networks.”
A key difference between crowdfunding and the NIU Foundation’s traditional methods of fundraising is that crowdfunding is driven primarily by volunteers reaching out and amplifying a cause to their individual networks, as opposed to communications being institutionally driven. The dollar goal for crowdfunding campaigns tends to be smaller—commonly between $3,000-$5,000. These funds usually support very specific initiatives, such as student travel to conferences, research projects, and scholarships. The duration of a typical campaign is four weeks.
“We see crowdfunding being a great fit for many of our campus partners to fund needs for which we wouldn’t normally fundraise through traditional methods,” shares Adzovic. “We also view it as an excellent way to attract new donors to NIU.”