Crowdfunding

University Advancement and the University Corporation are pleased to support the efforts of our campus colleagues in securing philanthropic support for research and other academic initiatives and providing the capacity for grant and gift administration, respectively. 

Typically, philanthropic support for research and other academic initiatives has come from foundations, businesses and, on occasion, from individual donors.  Recently, though, a trend has emerged whereby faculty and students have begun to seek funding from a large number of individuals, typically through online platforms.  The emergence of “crowdfunding” as a means by which members of campus community wish to raise funds to support their efforts has led us to develop a method to support the approach.

The University Corporation has established an online payment system with Higher One, which operates “Cashnet.”  This platform is already in use by several departments and affords us with the ability to securely collect and track online contributions. To see how Cashnet is currently being used to support campus activities, please visit the main UCorp Cashnet page for a list of current projects: https://commerce.cashnet.com/ucorp.

While various online platforms exist to support crowdfunding efforts, each platform has its own rules and regulations, some of which are contrary to University policies. Additionally, the number of providers makes it difficult to enter into an agreement with each and properly monitor the activity. While we are eager to support crowdfunding initiatives, we must ensure that the appropriate safeguards are in place.

Accordingly, faculty and students working on projects for which they wish to garner financial support via crowdfunding should work with University Corporation as they would for any other project. UCorp will assist them in establishing a Special Project Agreement or in adding a crowdfunding capability to an existing agreement. Any student wishing to launch such a campaign will require a faculty member to serve as Principal Investigator on the project. Please direct questions or requests to Kathleen Bruno, kbruno@sfsu.edu or x87920.

Once a Special Project Agreement is in place, UCorp will establish a Cashnet page for the project, which can then be used to collect contributions via social media. UCorp and Advancement will work together to ensure that all donors’ contributions are properly recognized.

For research projects involving Human or Animal subjects, we are working closely with our colleagues in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to ensure that proper protocols are in place, as required by each specific project.

We look forward to working with you to support your efforts, and please do not hesitate to contact either of us with any concerns.