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Crowdfunding for the University of Nebraska

The University of Nebraska Foundation crowdfunding website, Grow University of Nebraska, provides the opportunity to have a customized fundraising campaign page for a University of Nebraska cause. Gifts made using this crowdfunding site are charitable donations and are tax-deductible based on an individual’s own tax situation as prescribed by law.

Crowdfunding for the university enables individuals, groups and campus organizations to seek donations for areas and causes at the university that matter most to them. Just a few examples include student scholarships, academic department support, medical research, health care and so much more.

Whether you’re seeking gifts as part of a University of Nebraska event, or if you want to raise funds to bolster a university cause that’s important to you or your group, this online fundraising site makes it possible.

Steps to your success

Please consider the following information before requesting an application and beginning your crowdfunding effort. We want you to be as successful as possible, and there are items that all successful efforts have in common.

Fundraising objective and goal

For your effort to be as successful as possible, create a clear, concise and measurable objective to guide you. Set a reasonable and obtainable fundraising goal based on the donation total you can achieve rather than, for example, a target based on what your organization or group may need for its total budget. You and your team should have a good number of individuals that can be readily contacted by email and social media to be as successful as possible. You will provide your objective and fundraising goal in your application.

Target audience

Once again, your effort will succeed by having access to a viable network of potential donors you can easily reach by email and social media channels and who are very likely interested in your cause. Each member of your group should be able to provide a list of people they are willing to contact personally. The larger your crowd base, the greater your donation success will be.

Project timeline

Your crowdfunding effort will run for a predetermined amount of days with an end date that does not exceed 90 days. Having a set timeline helps provide a sense of urgency to your cause and effort and encourages your donors to give now rather than later.

Project champions

Your group or team should have one or two project champions who serve as leaders and a core planning group of between three and five members. Efforts with the most success often have even more highly involved and invested project members. You will identify your lead project champion when applying.

Identify a fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation

One of the first steps in planning your effort is identifying the fund managed by the foundation to which donations received during your effort will be deposited. The foundation manages thousands of funds that benefit academic units, organizations, departments and groups across the university system. Consult with the head of your university area to determine the appropriate fund to use for your fundraising effort. If you do not have a university contact, please contact Chris Cooper, director of marketing and annual campaigns, at

Approval process

Before beginning your fundraising effort and starting your online site, your project must be approved by the University of Nebraska Foundation. As part of this approval process, your project leaders or champions must acknowledge they have read and accepted the foundation’s crowdfunding user agreement. Your project will then be reviewed and approved by the foundation’s director of marketing and annual campaigns. 

Associated fees

When planning a crowdfunding effort, it’s important to recognize that there are associated fees with managing your fundraising campaign. Crowdfunding platforms, including the website platform you will use, charge various fees for using their services. Costs are also incurred when processing credit card gifts. These fees are typical and standard. A small portion of the donations you receive will cover the fees charged by the crowdfunding platform. If you have questions about these fees, please contact Chris Cooper, director of marketing and annual campaigns, at

Communication efforts

You are responsible for creating your crowdfunding page content, communication plan and email and social media communications. The initial content for your crowdfunding site and communications must be approved by the foundation before the effort launches. Focus your communication on your objective and mission, and share how making a gift will benefit people and the university cause you care about. The foundation can provide you with examples of communication used for previous efforts.

Updates and stewardship

Campaigns are most effective when you keep your donors engaged and informed. It’s recommended that you provide updates at least twice a week and that your first two updates are planned before your launch. You will also be responsible for any promised donor stewardship efforts (e.g., each donor of $100 or more will be acknowledged on your group’s Twitter page, etc.). These efforts encourage your donors to provide additional, ongoing support for your project or group.

Offering benefits for giving

Providing benefits and perks at a certain giving level can be a good way to recognize and thank your donors; however, by federal law, these benefits must be intangible. For example, you may not promise your donors a complimentary gift item, such as a T-shirt, water bottle, gift card or other item, for supporting your effort. Instead, your benefits should be tied to rewards such as public recognition, acknowledgment at one of your events or appreciation shown in another way that does not involve a tangible gift item for your donors.

Measure your life by the difference 
you’ve made in someone else’s.

When you make a gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation you can trust that it will be used in the way in which it was intended. That’s a promise we’ve kept with our donors since our organization was founded in 1936.