Have you noticed the growth in ‘crowdfunding’ campaigns? Likely you have seen organizations and individuals utilize platforms such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe to raise funds for specific purposes. As the name suggests, crowdfunding involves pitching an idea to a crowd of people. Individual contributions are pooled together to reach a target.
The College of Pharmacy is no stranger to the crowdfunding craze. In recent years, the College has launched campaigns focused on raising funds for mental health/well-being, student travel to professional meetings, scholarships, and more. Most recently, the College took part in the annual Beat Week giving challenge with Auburn University. Another annual tradition has become the UGA Giving Day.
Why have these campaigns become so popular, and are they effective?
“There are numerous reasons for the growth in popularity of crowdfunding,” said Lee Snelling, Senior Director of CoP’s Development and Alumni Relations. “New technological trends have provided platforms to raise funds. Whether websites, social media or text messaging, technology has provided an avenue to communicate with the masses. We also can thank the low-cost nature of crowdfunding. Other than human capital, the expenses are minimal. For example, postage and printing are not necessary.”
Since launching its first crowdfunding campaign in 2018, the College of Pharmacy has received more than 750 contributions and just shy of $100,000 in support. This past spring, the University of Georgia launched its first 24-hour UGA Giving Day and as a result, received 9,339 gifts totaling $5,321,957 in support. Numbers don’t lie – crowdfunding is effective and here to stay.
When analyzing the giving data, the popularity of these campaigns amongst all ages is evident. It is not just young alumni who support these efforts. What we often hear is that these campaigns provide a tangible way to have a direct impact. For example, regardless of your area of practice, pharmacists tend to be involved with a professional organization. If you attend a professional meeting, whether it is ASHP, AACP, or GPhA (pick your acronym!), there is a likelihood you are going to interact with students. It is also likely that these students have benefited from alumni donating to the College to support their travel to that meeting.
Crowdfunding campaigns help support the College’s strategic initiatives to develop diverse pathways for alumni to give back and connect with our young alumni who have grown up with technology and social media.
“Creating an endowment is a commitment,” said Snelling. “We thank the more than 150 alumni and friends who have made this commitment to support our students and faculty. But not everyone has the financial ability to do this. Crowdfunding, on the other hand, allows every alumnus to be involved and make a difference. This growing trend has become a philanthropic equalizer. We can all have an impact through our generosity.”
For those that have supported one of the College’s crowdfunding campaigns – thank you! If you haven’t had an opportunity to do so, there will be plenty of programs coming up in the future. Our next one will be the 2023 UGA Giving Day. Watch this space for details.
For further information about crowdfunding at the College of Pharmacy, contact Lee Snelling.