Big Data, Crowdfunding and the Fundraising Technology Craze
Then, on Feb. 19, Vassar sent a very short teaser email — advice from Illinois Wesleyan — that simply read, “Tomorrow is an important day for Vassar College. Check your email in the morning for a message from Vassar Student Association President Deb Steinberg ’14,” below the Vassar500 logo.
“We put the Vassar500 logo on that because we wanted people to be like, ‘Huh? What’s that?’” McCarthy says.
Then at 9 a.m. the next day, Steinberg’s first message dropped announcing the challenge, stating the goal, laying out the challenge contribution from the Mars family, and asking for alumni to participate and spread the word. By 11:30, the campaign was already almost at 500 donors, and in the first four hours, the Vassar500 had already exceeded its goal.
“We were completely shocked when we met that goal in the first four hours of the campaign. We really did not expect that,” McCarthy says. “So we quickly reconnoitered and said, ‘What do we think? Let’s make it the Vassar1000 instead and see if we can get there.’”
By the time the first image update was sent around lunchtime, the goal had already been met, so Vassar adjusted its wording to read, “We slashed through our 500 donor goal and challenge you to 1,000!”
From there on out, the image updates were all labeled as the Vassar1000, upping the ante and showing the flexibility a crowdfunding campaign allows for. The second image update was sent around 5 p.m., the third on Friday a few hours before the end of the campaign and the final thank-you image that used the pun “‘Tank’ you” in reference to the well-known tank the French government had gifted Vassar following World War II in honor of the Vassar women who served as nurses during the war.