By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

For most fundraising campaigns, it’s all about the dollars.

For the School of Information Studies’ current “iSchool Fuel Challenge” initiative, the focus is instead on participation—and on getting greater numbers of alumni, parents and friends to join in on the effort, regardless of how much they give—as a way to maximize the total effort.

That’s because the campaign has a unique, participation-based challenge component. Bonus dollars—based on the number of gifts received—kick in for whichever of the five student programs receives the greatest number of gifts.

As of today, 86 gifts have been made to the campaign since its launch on October 1. Those 86 gifts have yielded a total of over $5,600. There are 48 more days to go in this “Kickstarter”-styled campaign; the effort ends November 30.

$5,000 in Bonus Funds

The potential for a single donor’s gift to multiply into much more is the campaign’s focus because the “challenge dollars” add $5,000 more in funds on top of the amounts already raised through direct contributions.

Of the five programs being “fueled” by donor participation:

  • The one recording the highest number of gifts will receive an extra $3,000 in funds
  • The program with the second-highest number of gifts will earn $1,500 extra
  • The program coming in third place in number of gifts received will get an extra $500.  

The challenge is being provided by alumnus Sam Clarvit, ’10, as a way to prompt greater involvement of alumni and other members of the iSchool family, as well as to create momentum for the 60-day-long, crowdsourced online initiative. (View the website here.)

Participation Counts

“In a campaign with this type of bonus feature, every gift, regardless of size, has great potential. Every individual donation—event modest amounts like $25.00, 10.00, or even $5.00—counts equally toward the larger goal. That’s why every additional individual gift that is made has tremendous impact,” said Scott Barrett, assistant director of advancement for the School.

Barrett reported that the campaign’s launch period has gone exceptionally well. “We are thrilled at the initial response as well as the overall response to this unique effort,” he said. “There are additional plans and events coming up in the next few weeks to ensure that the momentum continues, and that there is time for even more alumni, friends, parents, faculty, staff and students can participate as they become aware of the initiative,” he added. 

Five Student Programs

The “Fuel” campaign is designed to fund five highly regarded iSchool programs that provide direct benefit and real-world experiences to students:

  • It Girls Overnight Retreat: which brings young women to campus from seven states and dozens of high schools to enjoy a weekend iSchool experience, exposing them to information and computing career opportunities and the potential of iSchool and SU college enrollment;
  • New Librarianship: funding professional development opportunities for library science master’s students to attend workshops and conferences to engage them in the field and in “libraries of the future” conversations;
  • Student Immersion: assisting deserving students who might not otherwise be able to afford to go on any of nine immersion experiences, from entrepreneurship company trips to IT-field discovery trips abroad;
  • Student Sandbox: the iSchool-hosted entrepreneurship experiential learning program in which students produce revenue-generating entities and investment-ready new firms;
  • Students of Promise: which provides critical financial resources to students whose beyond-the-norm circumstances or family emergencies that might otherwise force them to leave school.

In-House Created

The online campaign and website—modeled after the Kickstarter and Indiegogo style of crowdsourced funding–was built by iSchool students and iSchool staff professionals. Andrew Bauer ’13, provided website development. Eric Cleckner ’10, G’13, was responsible for graphic design, and Jared Mandel, ’13, provided videography for student and staff videos.