Credit to Piet Schönherr from the Oxford Crowdfunding society for this article.
Crowdfunding fills a unique gap in the funding landscape in terms of investment size that is exactly suited for students’ purposes if support from family and friends is too small and micro venture capital too large. Since university degrees are a big funding patchwork for those not lucky enough to receive a full scholarship, crowdfunding is just the right option to ship in the extra bit or raise for an entire degree.
Student crowdfunders who either raise for their education or a research project demonstrate their determination. This supports their funding applications because the funding body can trust that the candidate has the drive to fight for their project and to be successful. Crowdfunding means taking ownership of the fundraising process in addition to writing grant applications. This is the essence of any academic career apart from technical excellence: fundraising for oneself or convincing others that the research one does is important.
Being convincing in telling one’s own story is key to do crowdfunding successfully. For example, a university-wide platform under Oxford’s logo would be ideal to help Oxford’s students leverage the brand of one of the top universities in the world for their campaign and connect with strong alumni. The student’s offer for their course and the detailed funding situation should be made available to maximise transparency. It goes without saying that the actual work lies in attracting people to the website to donate. A crowdfunding campaign is a serious challenge with highs and lows but it is a very personal way of raising funding and a unique experience.