Over the past two years, Mercyhurst has been able to utilize crowdfunding as a source of fundraising to provide new opportunities and experiences for Mercyhurst students.
Crowdfunding is a way to raise money for these improvements to campus life on a wide-scale basis of generous donations. Many universities and large organizations across the nation have been using this growing means of fundraising.
This year, more than a dozen potential crowdfunding ideas were submitted to Ryan Palm, Associate Vice President for Advancement and University Advancement, who is in charge of the projects. Once the ideas are submitted from all areas of the campus community, they are then reviewed by Palm and his team to see how feasible the project will be for the school.
“We look at the potential donor base, try and estimate the excitement levels for that particular project and make sure it is something that fits in the overall campus mission,” Palm said. “This year, we had over a dozen entries and selected four out of the many wonderful options.”
The four projects that were chosen this year are “Fashion Collaborative,” “Cast On. Cast Off,” “AIM for the World,” and “Equipping a Champion.”
“We are very excited about these projects,” Palm said. “We think they represent a good variety and will impact hundreds of students on the campus.”
The Fashion Merchandising Department’s project, “Fashion Collaborative” has a goal of $3,000 to help repurpose an underutilized room on the third floor of Old Main into an informal collaboration space. This new space will allow Fashion Merchandising students to work together on group projects, meet with faculty members or relax between classes.
“Cast On. Cast Off” is a project from the Sports Medicine/Athletic Training Program that will fund new equipment and supplies for cast fitting and removal. This project has a $4,500 goal.
The Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) hopes to reach its $5,000 goal for increased support for student travel. This year, the AIM program hopes to travel on a tall-ship voyage in Florida as well as trips to Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The “Equipping a Champion” project hopes to raise $4,000 to help the Laker Field Hockey Program update its travel gear and equipment for players. The program specifically wants to purchase a branded pop-up tent for use both at home and on the road.
“I am very grateful for all the help we are receiving from the faculty, coaches and directors associated with these projects,” Palm said.
Palm and the crowdfunding team hope to help each of these unique projects from various facets of Mercyhurst life reach their goals in the short time frame.
“The race is on,” Palm said. “The projects are only open for three weeks, so we really hope the entire campus community will jump in to help. Any size gifts helps, whether $5 or $500, and we hope for some student support for these exciting initiatives.”
Donors for the projects will have the opportunity to stay up to date on the progress of the project they have helped fund as the crowdfunding committee will keep in contact via email, snail mail and social media.
While each project has a set goal of funding that they hope to reach to bring the project to fruition, unlike the Kickstarter program, all contributions to crowdfunding will be given whether or not the projects hit their initial goal. All donations also go directly to the individual projects without fees, commissions or other charges.
The crowdfunding campaign will be accepting donations until Dec. 14. To learn more or donate, visit www.mercyhurst.edu/crowdfunding.