Alumni have a new way to give back to their academic community through crowdfunding, thanks to the Quinnipiac Development and Alumni Affairs.
[media-credit name=”Screenshot from alumni.qu.edu” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Sarah DeWolf, assistant director of annual giving, said that the reason behind creating her position was because the department wanted to begin crowdfunding.
“What that means is working with our internal community to really see what their funding goals are and what their funding needs are and see how our department and our resources could enhance their experiences,” DeWolf said. “I’ve been tasked with overseeing it within the application process all the way through to training our faculty and students on how to be most effective when fundraising.”
This is the first time that the alumni department is attempting a crowdfunding process, according to DeWolf, although the process was tested beforehand with a few ‘pilot’ projects just to ensure that it would be successful.
These pilot projects can still be found on the official alumni website under the crowdfunding section to serve as examples of what type of projects students, faculty or staff can create for themselves.
Senior journalism major Emma Spagnuolo was a part of one of the pilots when she was raising money for the student radio station, WQAQ.
“I think it was last winter. I did it through the alumni office and basically my goal was, because I’m a general manager at WQAQ, we were looking to raise money to buy new music for our automation system,” Spagnuolo said. “Our goal was $2,000, and the alumni office really helped us out because they blasted out our crowdfunding page to all of our alumni and we ended up surpassing our goal. We raised [over] $2,300.”
Spagnuolo’s crowdfunding project is still visible online titled “Help Save the Soundtrack of WQAQ.” She said that the project began after expressing interesting in raising money for the radio station to former student media advisor, Lila Carney.
“[Carney] put me in contact with the alumni office and then they reached out to me. I worked with that office primarily and we got it together, but that’s not to say that my staff didn’t help,” Spagnuolo said. “We had students put together a crowdfunding video. Some of the WQAQ members helped as well but primarily it was me and Sarah DeWolf that was in constant communication throughout the entire process.”
Spagnuolo said that the crowdfunding process was very easy and helpful, since DeWolf and her were often working together throughout it all.
“I worked primarily with DeWolf from that office and she was wonderful. We met once a week I think, and we were just in constant communication,” Spagnuolo said. “I provided her with information to send out to our alumni. She helped me with writing everything and creating it. They were just a huge help, I have no complaints about the whole process.”
Jason Burke, director of veteran and military affairs was also a part of a crowdfunding project called “Help Student Veterans Become Members of American Legion” in 2018 in order to help connect student veterans with their local community.
“There are veteran entities in the local area, and nationwide too. One of them is the American Legion, which is a national nonprofit that advocates for veterans and any veteran can join. There happens to be one in Connecticut off of Dixwell Avenue,” Burke said. “We have 180 student veterans, undergrad and grad, and they don’t live on campus. They live in apartments or homes that they either purchased or rent. So this was a way of linking these veterans in an extracurricular way with our community.”
Burke said that he worked with the membership of student veterans as they too got assistance from DeWolf to raise money. The project managed to raise $1,232, getting enough funds for 31 American Legion memberships.
“What the American Legion has is it has areas for meetings, so our student veterans’ organization has held meetings there,” Burke said. “[The student veterans] could go in and get a beer if they want, hang out and have a meeting and do those things, and link with the veterans who are in the community that aren’t students here. It’s good anywhere in the country. They could go anywhere in the country that has one.”
Everyone who is involved in a crowdfunding project will be provided with the resources to create their own fundraising website, review it, and then use it to reach out to family, friends, professors and the alumni community, according to DeWolf.
Senior psychology major Shaylah Zorn sees the university getting involved with crowdfunding as a positive addition to the academic community.
“I think it’s a great idea. It allows the community to bring more issues that they’ve noticed and it gives them a platform to do something about it,” Zorn said. “They may have not been able to do that before this platform was available to them.”
The projects are currently in the application process and anyone can apply by filling out the crowdfunding application form under the crowdfunding section of the official Quinnipiac alumni website.
“[The application process] began at the beginning of February,” DeWolf said. “Because this is the first time we’re really implementing this specific process, we’re going to be extending it outward into the first week of March. So I believe March 8 is the date that we decided on.”
The applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so applicants will find out if they’ve been accepted as soon as possible. From there on, DeWolf works one-on-one with the approved projects and whoever is involved in them.
DeWolf said that there will be at least one email in the future to inform the community that anyone can start a crowdfunding project as long as they apply early, including students, faculty and staff. DeWolf is hoping that by the second week of March, she can start sitting down with project owners and making game plans.
DeWolf is open to speaking with anyone who has any questions or concerns regarding crowdfunding.
“There’s no question that is too small for me to answer. There’s no person on campus that needs to feel their need is not a big enough deal to talk about,” DeWolf said. “So feel free, we want to have that line of communication with our community.”