How the Best Crowdfunding Platforms for Higher Education Are Engaging Donors and Boosting Giving

Brian GaworVice President of ResearchFebruary 3, 2022

Online giving showed massive growth in 2021, fueled by both pandemic needs and extending a long-term trend in digital giving. A big driver of this growth is rise of crowdfunding, a socially-boosted and low-friction giving option. Over the years, RNL ScaleFunder has become one of the top crowdfunding platforms for higher education, with hundreds of institutions using it to create engaging campaigns with their constituents. With so many institutions using the platform so well, it’s hard to choose a few to spotlight, but I challenged the RNL digital giving team to select examples of great crowdfunding campaigns. Here are a few gems from the RNL ScaleFunder community.

The Ohio State University’s Buckeye Funder platform is one of the best in the nation, with more than $1.7M donated by givers from across OSU’s diverse and passionate community. They’ve taken it to the next level with an opportunity for donors to set up their own campaigns to support OSU.

Ohio State makes giving a full community effort with personal fundraising pages

Crowdfunding Platforms for Higher Education: The Ohio State University Crowdfunding Campaign
The Ohio State University’s innovative fundraising portal provides an incredible opportunity for Buckeye supporters to craft personal campaigns.

“The Ohio State University has converted one of their Crowdfunding Group pages to a Personal Fundraising page where OSU alumni and friends can honor someone special, celebrate a milestone event, or support a cause they are passionate about at OSU. Too many platforms limit their crowdfunding to faculty, staff or student projects. OSU has found a way to open up the platform to anyone, anywhere who has a cause they care about at the University. I just love that!” –Theresa Jubert

Culver-Stockton College goes all in with engaging and friction-free giving options

As crowdfunding has expanded, we’ve seen RNL partners really utilize the new features on the platform to engage in a comprehensive effort. Culver-Stockton’s Unite platform is a great example.

Culver-Stockton University: Crowdfunding platforms for higher education
Unite at Culver-Stockton College serves as main giving hub and also spotlights key campaigns and Greek life giving.

“Culver Stockton not only uses an RNL ScaleFunder Evergreen page for their main giving form, they also do a great job of utilizing the group feature, which clusters key giving areas like colleges and departments. I also love that they have a group portal specific to Greek life. They are using that group in conjunction with their phonathon and making it easy and fun for donors to complete a pledge. They also use an animated GIF as their main crowdfunding banner. It helps keep the page dynamic and is very eye catching. It’s great to see an institution go all in with an engaging giving portal that encompasses so many areas of donor interest.” – Janice Ridolfi

California State University Northridge expands charitable crowdfunding engagement with innovated project application portal

Crowdfunding success starts with recruiting a diverse and engaging group of projects. CSU Northridge is using the RNL ScaleFunder application feature, creating a custom application to help find projects. They’ve received almost 80 applications from campus groups.

California State University, Northridge: Best crowdfunding platforms in higher education
The California State University, Northridge, crowdfunding application uses custom questions to recruit great projects for their growing platform

“CSU Northridge is a real leader in project recruitment. Using custom questions in the RNL ScaleFunder application feature, they’re finding projects across the university with a high likelihood to success. Once approved, they can also invite the project applicant as a collaborator to start building content. All that information is collected and managed within ScaleFunder, allowing real ease of use for the Northridge leadership. This is the future of a full campus giving engagement effort.” – Maile Juranits

Take your charitable crowdfunding to the next level with RNL’s crowdfunding platform for higher education

We’re excited about how RNL ScaleFunder partners are innovating, and these institutions are just a handful from the hundreds who are using our crowdfunding platform for higher education to make giving exciting and easy for their donors.

These examples have a few things in common: opening up giving to a diverse community, real attention to making giving easy and fun, and an emphasis on why the gift matters. With tools like project updates, the opportunity to engage volunteers, and integrated videos, and integrated personalized video stewardship, we’ve made some big leaps in technology over the past few years to make it all possible. Are you ready to take your crowdfunding engagement to the next level? Want to offer great giving pages, that accept Venmo, Apple Pay, Paypal, and let your donors make a gift in less than a minute? We’ve got the tech for that, so contact us today and we’ll have an RNL expert show you how.

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Find out how RNL ScaleFunder can power your crowdfunding and Giving Day campaigns to new heights. Ask for a guided demonstration and see why it is the leading crowdfunding platform for higher education fundraising.

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About the Author

Brian Gawor

Brian Gawor’s focus is research and strategy to help propel both alumni engagement and fundraising results of RNL clients. Brian has 20 years of higher education experience in student affairs, enrollment management, alumni engagement and...

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