UMKC Foundation program provides crowdfunding for projects
Students across the UMKC campus are taking advantage of Launch UMKC, a UMKC Foundation-sponsored crowdfunding site, to cover the costs of projects and trips that may have otherwise been unattainable.
Projects such as hosting a week-long training in mask-making skills with a national expert, attending a conference to share ideas and experiences with fellow choral students and working to provide clean water to a small community in Panama are a few projects made possible through Launch UMKC.
“Students often need a relatively small amount of money to make a significant event happen. Launch UMKC can be just the vehicle they need,” says donor relations specialist Shannan Henderson, who manages the program.
The platform is free and open to groups and individuals affiliated with UMKC. Primarily, the funding has gone to student groups.
“Each project can be live from 30 to 45 days,” says Henderson. “But the entire project can take up to about three months of work.”
To begin, applicants need to answer 14 basic questions about their project and allow seven to 10 days for project review. Once approved, it’s time to promote.
“Getting the word out through social media – Facebook and Twitter – and direct emails to family and friends is a great place to start,” says Henderson. Most of the projects that have been funded through Launch UMKC were made possible through gifts from $10 to $100.
Alaina Bottini, who with Elisabeth Boaz coordinated this year’s project to cover students’ expenses to the American Choral Directors Conference in Oklahoma City, was a beneficiary of last year’s successful crowdfunding effort to alleviate some of the participants’ expenses.
“Launch UMKC made a huge difference. It cut our travel expenses almost in half. This year we raised enough so each participant will only have to pay $90. That includes the registration fees, four nights in a hotel and transportation. This would not have been possible without crowdfunding.”
-Alaina Bottini, Conservatory of Music and Dance student who helped lead a Launch UMKC campaign for conference expenses.
Bottini says she and Boaz, both Conservatory of Music and Dance students, spent five to six hours on this year’s project, writing posts on their corresponding Facebook page, inviting members, checking the site and writing thank-you posts. They have raised 80 percent of their goal with one week remaining and feel confident their project will be funded.
“It is not more work than I anticipated, especially for the amount of money we have received through this simple online site,” says Bottini. “I have loved our experience using it. It is a smart way to raise money through the age of social media.”