GiveCorps is the Kickstarter for UMBC

Online tool helps student organizations raise money outside of SGA

UMBC has many great organizations and, GiveCorps, a crowdfunding service run by UMBC is a great new way for organizations to fundraise for their causes.

Student organizations are a large part of student life on campus. Sports, social action groups and Greek Life, among many others, all share a common goal of making the UMBC student community a place where everyone feels that they can connect with others who have similar interests. The problem is that they all need funding, which is where GiveCorps, an online crowdfunding site independent from the university, helps any group of students.

Many student organizations undertake projects to help UMBC and the wider community compete in tournaments, competitions and hold events, whether on or off campus. It makes sense that many student organizations need funding to make these dreams a reality.

The UMBC Student Government Association (SGA) started out the 2014-2015 academic year with approximately $230,000. Student organizations on campus are able to request these funds when they would like to hold an event, compete, travel or do anything else that requires funding. Then, the applicant may be granted the full amount, a partial amount, or denied.

GiveCorps, started in June of 2013, allows student groups to create a page specifying what their organization does, why they need money, and how much they need. The page is then posted on UMBC’s GiveCorps and made public for anyone to see.

Felicia Felton, assistant director of Annual Giving from the Office of Institutional Direction, is a student’s best resource for help with and information about getting started with GiveCorps.

For student groups that have a cause they feel should be crowdfunded, Felton said, “student organizations need to start early when planning their fundraiser. Student organizations should plan their marketing strategies and gather their team of fundraisers … before launching their GiveCorps page.”

Some organizations that Felton mentioned as having success in the past with GiveCorps are the Alternative Spring Break programs, the Down and Dirty Dawg Band, the LaMont Toliver Alumni Memorial Scholarship and UMBC Men’s Lacrosse.

Another student organization that had recent success with GiveCorps is the UMBC Swimming and Diving team. Chad Cradock, the swimming and diving head coach, was ready to embrace the idea of crowdfunding as a way to support his team. He argued that while the University provides support, extra fundraising is needed to offset budget and travel costs.

As of February 20, the Swimming and Diving team had raised $19,170, just $830 shy of their goal with ten days to go. Cradock noted that getting the word out and caring about what these athletes do is the key to their success.

Cradock said, “Our program has always had a culture of giving. Our team, alumni, parents and friends love the program and give to what they love.”

To get the word out to potential donors, the team has been sending out bi-weekly reminders about their campaign, proving that raising awareness is one of the most important steps with crowdfunding.

It should also be noted that GiveCorps is continually being modified to best suit students’ needs. Felton said, “UMBC Annual Giving and the team at Network for Good are constantly working on new features to make the GiveCorps platform more user-friendly.”