By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

The results of a unique and highly successful fundraising initiative for the School of Information Studies “Fuel the Future” campaign are in.

The effort raised a total of 170 gifts–and nearly $30,000–through the generous direct contributions of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends of the School.

The online crowdsourced campaign has been underway for the last 60 days. It began October 1.

The challenge funds–$5,000–were provided by alumnus Sam Clarvit ’10, to provide a little competition and excitement for the five student programs participating in the fundraising campaign. His first, second and third place awards boosted the total amount raised by direct contributions made to support programs that enhance student educational experiences and professional development.

Here are the results:

Total Gifts, Dollars

  • Total number of contributions: 170.
  • Total dollars raised by individual, direct contributions is $24,844.44.
  • The total amount contributed with the $5,000 challenge funding included is $29,844.44.

Student Immersion Tops

Reaching first place, with the most number of contributions made, is the Student Immersion program.

That effort garnered a total of 41 separate gifts, amounting to $5,214 contributed. As the top gift-earner, that program also will benefit from $3,000 in additional funds from Clarvit’s challenge contribution, for a total of $8,214 raised.

“I had a chance to meet with students on the EntreTechNYC student immersion trip this past May, and with Spring Break in Silicon Valley students last year, and I was very impressed by the experiences that they had,” remarked Clarvit. “I'm glad that the proceeds from the Fuel challenge will provide support for student trips like these.”

Second-place in the number of gifts received is the It Girls Overnight Retreat program.

That program received 39 individual gifts, with contributions totaling $5,321.

The program also receives the second-place award of an added $1,500 from Clarvit’s challenge funding (for $6,821 total raised).

Coming in as third place in the number of individual gifts received is the New Librarianship program. With 36 gifts totaling $3,816, the program also receives Clarvit’s third-place challenge gift of an added $500, bringing in $4,316 total to support students benefitting from that program.

Fourth in the total number of gifts made is the Student Sandbox program. The 28 gifts contributed add $5,457.44 in funding assistance.

Fifth-place in the effort is the Students of Promise program. That category garnered 25 gifts, and $5,036 in total funding from those contributions.

All campaign updates can be viewed here.

Extraordinary Effort

“We are thrilled with the results from the iFuel Challenge. Our alumni, parents, friends, staff, faculty and students responded with extraordinary generosity and enthusiasm,” observed Scott Barrett, assistant dean for advancement for the School. He said that the unique nature of the campaign was reflected in the diverse range of contributors and in results that were significantly different from past fundraising efforts. “iFuel has allowed the iSchool to tell multiple, compelling stories to wide and diverse audiences,” he noted, also citing these statistics:

  • Results were between 2-3 times greater than the previous most successful appeal on record for the iSchool.
  • Donors came from all age groups, programs and areas of the school.
  • More than 49 per cent of donors had never made a gift to the iSchool before.
  • More than 39 per cent of campaign donors had never made a gift to Syracuse University before this effort.  
  • “Fuel the Future” was conducted as an online crowdsourced campaign, and was a first for the School, as well as the first effort of its kind at Syracuse University. It also comprised a leading-edge effort in academic circles, particularly because it was produced entirely in-house.

Modeled after successful online crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the online campaign and website was created and built by iSchool students and iSchool staff professionals.

“I'm very appreciative of the iSchool alumni and friends who have made a gift to the Fuel challenge over the past two months,” said Clarvit. “Their contributions will directly affect the student experience at the school.”

“We are indebted to the students/recent iSchool grads who designed and built the site, Eric Cleckner and Andrew Bauer, plus Jared Mandel, who produced videos,” Barrett said. “They were great to work with and extraordinarily talented. Dean Liddy and Sam Clarvit  were so supportive of this work, and the internal iSchool team, led by Jessica Murray, was simply outstanding. It was great to work on this first attempt at crowdfunding at the iSchool and the University,” he added. “In light of the results, we are already discussing appropriate follow-up opportunities for 2014.”