"Crowds" Give a Little, or a Lot
By Karen Angelo
The Cool Science project is pushing traditional fundraising boundaries by launching a “crowdfunding” campaign.
Using the site IndieGoGo, (www.indiegogo.com/projects/cool-science), the Cool Science project – led by Assoc. Profs. David Lustick and Jill Hendrickson Lohmeier, both of the Graduate School of Education, and Prof. Robert Chen of UMass Boston – introduced the online campaign. Donors can contribute amounts as low as $10 or as much as $5,000, and in exchange will receive thank you gifts such as a mention on Facebook or framed, climate change artwork produced by students.
The goal is to raise $12,000 in three weeks, starting July 15 and ending on Aug. 4. The Graduate School of Education will provide matching funds up to $5,000 donated through IndieGoGo. All donations are tax deductible. The money will be used to fund a Cool Science artwork contest that educates hundreds of schoolchildren about climate change.
“By participating in the contest, children across Massachusetts can express their understanding of climate change science through the visual arts,” says Lustick. Winners will be selected and the artwork will be displayed on buses throughout Lowell to educate the public.
If more than $12,000 is raised, more winning artwork will be selected and displayed throughout the mass transit system.
“By using this crowdfunding site with its social media tools, we expect to rally the community together around the important issue of climate change,” says Lustick. “We’re hopeful that with the public’s support, we’ll be able to expand our Cool Science program to give more children and young adults the opportunity to engage and make a difference.”
This project builds upon the success of the first Cool Science campaign that ended in June. The drawings of the first contest winners were displayed throughout the region on 9-foot-long placards on Lowell Regional Transit Authority (LRTA) buses that transport over 5,000 commuters per day. See all six winning, second-place and honorable-mention entries on the University’s Cool Science website.
The LRTA and Anastas Advertising Associates will once again donate the advertising space for the second contest. The funds raised through IndieGoGo will be used to print the media and implement the project.
A New Frontier in Education Fundraising
Reaching beyond traditional fundraising boundaries is necessary as prospective donors can be difficult to engage, especially younger ones, says Louise Griffin, director of corporate foundations and relations at UMass Lowell.
“Crowdfunding sites give donors easy and immediate ways to discover charities and causes that they care about,” says Griffin. “It makes giving more immediate, fun and personal for donors who want to see the impact of their gifts and it may hold the key to engaging younger donors. We hope this pilot will be the first of many for the University since people tend to fund projects they are passionate about.”
Help raise awareness about climate change through visual arts by making a donation to the Cool Science project.