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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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SDSU's Rock 'n Roll mural project was funded through Strive. SDSU's Rock 'n Roll mural project was funded through Strive.

Strive Launch Exceeds Expectations

The new SDSU crowd funding site successfully funded five projects in its first month.
By Tobin Vaughn

San Diego State University launched its first crowd funding site, SDSU Strive, on July 25, with a goal of securing donations for university-related projects.

By the end of its first month, five of the inaugural projects listed on the site were more than fully funded.

One of those was a request for $4,000 to help the library unpack, catalog, and make available for research and public use a comprehensive collection of more than 20,000 comics donated to SDSU’s Special Collections and University Archives. In less than 30 days, 28 donors — mostly Aztec alumni — made individual gifts totaling $6,391 to fully fund that project.

"I am overwhelmed and touched by the level of support we received and I'm thrilled people have faith in this," said Special Collections and University Archives Librarian Anna Culbertson, who was one of the first to submit a project application for Strive. 

Thanks to the gifts from donors, she believes the library will be able to complete its project before the end of the academic year.

Other funded projects were submitted by the Zahn Innovation Center, the Marching Aztecs, SDSU’s Anthropology Department and Aztec Proud, a scholarship initiative on behalf of the SDSU class of 2019.

Dan Majors (’03), electronic solicitation manager for SDSU’s Office of Alumni Engagement, says Strive works because it helps expose large numbers of Aztec alumni to areas of the university in which they have a deep interest.

"We’ve had a lot of success with new donors contributing to the website who haven't donated before,” Majors said. “People are obviously attaching themselves to projects that they feel passionate about.”


Majors said his office received a lot of positive feedback about the projects initially posted on Strive.  In the next two weeks he said he hopes to have at least three new postings.

"We're looking to keep up the momentum,” he said. “If we can keep up the pace and keep up the type of excitement, which I think we can do, then we're going to be successful all year."

Last year before Strive, Majors and his team were soliciting donations solely through e-mails. In just one month, he said, Strive has brought in more donations than six months of emails.

"This has actually exceeded our expectations,” he said. "We’ve exceeded last year’s money and donor totals already and it’s only August.”

Majors credits the effective use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter with reaching more alumni and communicating the university’s needs more effectively.

Despite Strive’s initial success however, he expects everything about the site — including its marketing and project selections — to evolve as more is learned about its efficacy.

In the meantime, he encourages university programs with passionate followers to apply for a stint on Strive. He also urges alumni to periodically revisit the site to discover what crowdfunding can do for SDSU.