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BU Crowdfunding—what's that?
BU Crowdfunding is Boston University’s community fundraising platform. BU groups create projects to raise money for innovative projects, service trips, events, research, and other BU-specific ventures. First things first: Read our crowdfunding policy.
Who can use BU Crowdfunding?
BU Crowdfunding users have to be part of the BU community via an academic department, student group, or other official entity. BU Crowdfunding projects have to support BU’s overall mission by improving our community—on campus and beyond.
Why use BU Crowdfunding?
Kickstarter and Indiegogo are great! But we thought it was important to build our own, BU-specific platform. Here's why we like BU Crowdfunding:
• No fees—100% of all money raised goes towards the designated project.
• Engaged audience—BU’s 300,000+ alumni support their community
• Publicity—Participating groups get access to BU's various media outlets.
• Institutional support—BU’s crowdfunding team is available to help groups create content (including video).
We also provide tech, admin, communication, and marketing support. Why? Because we think our student activity, faculty, and research groups are great.
What are BU Crowdfunding’s project requirements?
At the most basic level, projects have to be:
• Specific—be clear about what you’re trying to fund
• Meaningful to the BU community—support the greater good
• Attainable—make sure you can complete your project once you reach your goal
• Realistic—your goal should be in-line with the size of your donor base
• Time-bound—why is it important to make a donation today?
Additionally, BU Crowdfunding projects need to be supported by an active, engaged project team. That team will work with a BU Crowdfunding mentor to create content (project descriptions, videos, emails, posts, pics, etc.) for their group’s project.
Please also be sure you are leaving plenty of time between when you apply, and when you need the money. As you'll see below, it can take 10–12 weeks of active work during the actual campaign, but it can also take 2–4 weeks for project approval. Raising thousands of dollars takes time and good planning. When you think you're ready, look at your calendars and contact us ASAP. If there isn't enough time this year, start planning for next!
How much work does it take to run a BU Crowdfunding project?
A lot! BU Crowdfunding projects take 10—12 weeks of focused, intense work.
The first 4 weeks are spent getting your campaign ready (writing content, making videos, perfecting your email list, thinking about strategy). Your group will have regular meetings with a BU Crowdfunding mentor—these meetings CAN NOT be skipped or rescheduled. Missing these meetings means forfeiting your campaign.
The next 4—6 weeks make up your actual crowdfunding campaign. These weeks are crucial! During the campaign, team members are expected to send out at least 6 email asks to their personal contact lists, make 4+ updates to their project page, push out asks via social media, and otherwise make themselves available to answer questions about and raise awareness around their project.
After the project, groups are responsible for sending out thank-you emails and final updates, and for fulfilling any promised perks to donors. Remember—making your donors feel special now means that they’ll want to come back and support your next project.
How do I get my project on the BU Crowdfunding site?
BU Crowdfunding is still in its pilot phase—we’re testing and refining our crowdfunding process with a few hand-picked projects. If you think that your group's project would be a good fit during testing (and you’d like to run a crowdfunding project in the next couple of months), email email@example.com.
In the future, new projects will be submitted using the application form at bu.edu/crowdfunding.
How do I promote my project?
Crowdfunding relies on personal networking—your best supporters love BU, but they REALLY love you and your project. You can use your personal, group, department or team’s email lists, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, LinkedIn groups, etc. to promote your project.
What if I don’t have a big social network?
If you or your team don’t have a pre-existing audience (personal or otherwise), then crowdfunding might not be the best platform to raise money for your project. Have you considered applying for funding from SAO or your School or College’s discretionary fund?
Who gets the money we raise?
100% of the money you raise—whether or not you hit your goal—goes directly into your group’s BU-designated fund. As an added bonus, donations made to your crowdfunding project count as tax-deductible gifts in support of Boston University.
How are funds disbursed?
As soon as your campaign is done, you can access that money with an ISR (Internal Service Request). Your BU Crowdfunding mentor can help you with this process, if you have questions.
Yes, your gift is tax deductible, and a receipt for tax purposes, according to law, will be emailed as soon as the transaction is completed.
BU’s tax ID number is 04-210-3547.