Big Data, Crowdfunding and the Fundraising Technology Craze
The volunteers who had been prepped in advance were extremely engaged, sharing, soliciting and promoting the campaign, and it continued to amplify. Just as Vassar had hoped, a real-time, personal experience was created, and the community was engrossed in the campaign.
“We had one woman from a class in the 1940s who was watching it like daytime television. She kept calling us — ‘This is so fun! This is so exciting!’ It was really cool. She was very engaged,” McCarthy says.
With the Vassar500 challenge met so quickly and the campaign rebranded on the fly to the Vassar1000, the question really was whether or not the college could actually double the initial goal. Turns out it did and then some.
Overall, 1,236 donors donated to the Vassar500/1000 campaign through the Launcht crowdfunding website with an additional 110 donors who sent money to the campaign via mail for a total of 1,346 donors. That equated to nearly $150,000 donated directly through the crowdfunding site, and $174,451 total raised over the 24-hour campaign overall.
Digging a little deeper, every class from 1941 to 2013 had members donate to the campaign with the exception of 1956 — which was removed from the campaign at its request because it was doing its own fundraising effort at the time. The majority of donors were from the classes in the new millennium, as Vassar expected, but the fact that at least 26 donors from every decade gave proved that crowdfunding is not just for the younger generations.
In addition, 132 new donors were acquired through the Vassar500, and 342 retained donors from 2013 sent second 2014 gifts to this campaign. Vassar typically does not solicit donors who already gave during a fiscal year again that same year but decided to include all donors in the Vassar500 because it knew the campaign would go viral and all donors would hear about it. Vassar didn’t want them to feel left out for not being included. Also, 453 supporters who hadn’t yet given in the fiscal year donated, while 367 lapsed donors renewed through the campaign.