Crowdfunding Platform Off to a Busy Start
Crowdfunding — or crowdsourcing — is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via social media channels. Launched in the spring of 2017, The Hive allows Radford University students, faculty and staff to create digital fundraising projects for meaningful high-impact programs and causes.
“By launching The Hive, Radford University is able to showcase unique fundraising opportunities and allow supporters to follow, share and donate to the projects that resonate with them,” says Brea MacBrien, director of annual giving.
Although each project on the platform will be different, each will have fundamental similarities. Eligible projects must be affiliated with Radford University; have a clear, specific and time-sensitive funding purpose; have a sponsoring Radford University faculty representative; and must consist of a project leader or leaders that are willing to devote time to create and promote their project before, during and after the project is active on The Hive.
Which is where crowdfunding differentiates itself from other, more traditional forms of fundraising. A team of volunteers — or project owners — will promote projects via their personal networks (i.e. social media), introducing new individuals and in turn inspiring them to make a difference by supporting a specific initiative. Crowdfunding meets the growing desire of supporters — especially today’s students and graduates, who identify as “millennials” — to feel they are part of a larger community that is working together to make a difference.
People like the ability to interact with the project they are funding, which is something that The Hive can provide.
This is where the name, The Hive, comes in. “It is a nod to our Radford University history as the official seal — a beehive — which represents industry, thrift and wisdom, also symbolizes many coming together as one for the benefit of the whole,” explains MacBrien. “I think that is the whole point of crowdfunding.”
While the platform is still in its infancy, it has already supported several successful projects. Following the tragic death of nursing student Bridgett J. Oliver in March 2017, a project was established to raise the funds needed to start an endowed memorial scholarship to honor her memory. The project quickly reached its goal, raising $25,000 from over 100 donors to help establish the Bridgett J. Oliver Memorial Scholarship.
As one of the first projects to launch on The Hive, the Men’s Club Rugby Alumni Association raised more than $5,000 from 36 supporters in just two months. The donations were added to a scholarship endowment that will enhance the club’s ability to recruit, retain and reward exemplary student-athletes.
“I think the early success of The Hive shows that people like to have the instant gratification of seeing their gift added to a goal, and seeing that bar inch closer to the goal,” says MacBrien.