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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

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SDSU's Mount Laguna Observatory was represented by Strive. SDSU's Mount Laguna Observatory was represented by Strive.

Strive Hits Full Stride

SDSU’s new crowdfunding page is a fundraising resource.
By Tobin Vaughn

Just nine months after its launch, Strive, the university’s in-house crowdfunding page, is generating financial support for programs throughout campus. In the 32 individual projects it has posted so far, Strive has attracted more than 1,260 unique donors and raised more than $67,700.

“Word is getting out across campus that we’re a good resource,” said Dan Majors, electronic solicitation manager for the Office of Alumni Engagement. He notes that Strive has raised at least some funding for every campus partner that has signed on and nine projects have exceeded their monetary goals.

One of those exceeding its goal was the Astronomy Department’s Mount Laguna Observatory Project, which sought $2,000 for a general education lab class and public outreach conducted by students wherein visitors may stargaze through the observatory’s telescopes. SDSU alumni and other generous donors contributed more than $3,300, well exceeding the target.

“It's something we really needed funding for to make it sustainable,” said Mount Laguna Observatory Director Robert Quimby. “If Strive hadn't been there, there's not an obvious place to turn to for a project like this.”

Quimby explained that many of the observatory’s expenses exceed $10,000, requiring large grants or major donations.  Strive specializes in projects requesting $5,000 or less which can be accomplished through smaller gifts from a wider range of donors.

"You have to assess your need and that was the hardest part for me,” Quimby said. "Working with the Strive staff was great. They came up with a good idea about how to communicate our goal to the public, so my impression of Strive is very favorable."

Passion to support

Unlike other crowdfunding platforms which may start with rates of eight percent and can tack on escalating fees, Strive has a relatively low five-percent fee.  Strive staffers also have an understanding of the university and its alumni and can help frame specific messaging to tap into specific Aztec networks and support communities.

“We’re constantly educating our campus partners about reaching out to their constituencies and finding the best ways to make crowdfunding work,” Majors said.  “Aztec alumni are passionate about many different aspects of the university and it’s our job to translate that passion into support for SDSU.” 

For a project to be listed on SDSU’s crowdfunding platform, it must first be evaluated by the Strive staff within the Office of Alumni Engagement. Criteria are based, among other things, on funding feasibility, marketing strategies and alignment with the university’s mission and master plan.

For more information about Strive or to submit a project application, visit the Strive website.