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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 in order 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 pre-determined 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 the foundation's Chris Cooper, director of marketing and annual campaigns, at chris.cooper@nufoundation.org.

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 in 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 the foundation's Chris Cooper, director of marketing an annual campaigns, at chris.cooper@nufoundation.org.

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 items, for supporting your effort. Instead, your benefits should be tied to items such as public recognition, recognition at one of your events or different ways that do not involve a tangible gift item to your donors.

Grow University of Nebraska FAQ

Questions about creating a crowdfunding page

Who can create a fundraising page to benefit the University of Nebraska?

Anyone who cares about and wishes to encourage giving to the University of Nebraska, including donors, alumni, staff, students, faculty, patients, athletics fans and others, may apply and acknowledge the user agreement.

How do I begin fundraising?

Making an impact is easy, and we are here to help you every step of the way. To get started and to initiate your application, please contact the foundation's Chris Cooper, director of marketing and annual campaigns, at chris.cooper@nufoundation.org. 

What are the page review and approval process?

You will begin by submitting your fundraising concept, goal and basic contact information to the foundation’s crowdfunding administrator. Once we’ve reviewed and approved your concept, we will help you establish your fundraising site.

How do I indicate which cause at the University of Nebraska I want to support?

During the application process, you will be asked to identify the objective for your crowdfunding effort and the cause you want to support. The foundation will then match up the cause with one of its existing funds as part of the approval process.

Can I incorporate a video into my fundraising page?

Yes, you can embed YouTube and Vimeo videos into your fundraising page.

Can I choose a monetary goal for my effort?

Yes, you will establish a goal for dollars raised.

Can I use the crowdfunding site to accept registration payment for my event benefiting the university?

No. At this time the Grow University of Nebraska crowdfunding site cannot process event registrations or accept event registration payments or fees. There are also possible tax implications for receipting these types of funds.

I am under the age of 18; can I still fundraise for the university?

Yes, no matter what age you are, you can make a difference. If you are under the age of 18, you will need to collaborate with a parent or guardian or have a project sponsor work with you who is over 18.

Whom may I contact with questions about crowdfunding for the University of Nebraska? 

Please contact the foundation's Chris Cooper, director of marketing and annual campaigns, at chris.cooper@nufoundation.org.

Questions about donating to a crowdfunding page

Are contributions tax deductible?

Yes, all philanthropic contributions made on the Grow University of Nebraska crowdfunding platform are considered gifts to the University of Nebraska Foundation, which is a private, nonprofit 501(c)3 charity. Gifts to the foundation are tax-deductible as prescribed by law based on donors’ tax circumstances.

Do donors receive a receipt for their contribution?

Yes, the foundation will send contributors a receipt shortly after the gift is made.

When are credit cards charged for a gift?

Credit cards are charged immediately upon submitting a gift on the website. The credit card information is not saved.

Are gifts accepted by people outside the United States?

Yes, the foundation and the Grow University of Nebraska crowdfunding website accept gifts made from international locations when the gift is made via credit card. Gifts made by check and payable to the University of Nebraska Foundation are also accepted but will not count toward your online fundraising goal. Only gifts made online count toward your effort’s goal.  

Are there fees associated with gifts made through this website?

As with most crowdfunding platforms and companies that provide them, there are some nominal fees involved. The foundation will cover your page setup fees and the credit card processing fees. A small portion of the donations made on the site will help cover the fees charged by the platform vendor.

Where do the gifts go?

Gifts made on this website go to the foundation and are deposited into the existing, designated fund listed on each fundraising page. The university department, area or unit associated with the gift then has access to request the funds and use them as the agreement for the fund designates.

What happens to the personal information collected on the site?

Donor data, such as name, address, email, gift amount and more is stored securely in the foundation’s database, which allows for timely receipting and gift acknowledgment. No credit card information is retained or saved. For more information on this topic, please see the foundation’s privacy policy at nufoundation.org. Classy, the crowdfunding vendor, also has a privacy policy.

Questions about editing and changing your site

Can I change the fundraising goal amount?

Yes, you may change your goal amount, as appropriate, during the timeframe of your fundraising effort by contacting the foundation representative assisting you with your site.

Can I change the photo on my fundraising page?

Yes, you will be able to change the photo on your fundraising site.

Questions about donations to your crowdfunding site

How will I know if someone makes a gift to my effort and site?

When you go to your fundraising site, you will be able to see your list of donors. Please be sure to thank them.

Can people give me checks or cash to contribute to my fundraising effort?

Preferably, your donors should make their gifts on your online site, as doing so will go toward your goal. The foundation will accept gifts made by checks and cash for the university cause you’ve chosen to support, but unfortunately these gifts will not go toward your online crowdfunding goal. Gifts made by check are preferred over cash gifts. Checks must be made payable to the University of Nebraska Foundation, and the fund name should be enclosed with the check. It is not advisable to send cash in the mail, so these donations should be made at one of the foundation’s three office locations. Checks may be mailed to University of Nebraska Foundation, PO Box 8255, Lincoln NE, 68501-2555.