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From the Vice President

Fundraising Game Changer at Boise State: Crowdfunding

Sept. 14 Boise State launched PonyUp, our new crowdfunding site, and the first project to go live literally aimed for the stars.

In just the first 10 days following launch, we raised more than $5,360 for Professor and astronomer, Brian Jackson’s project to bring back the Boise State Observatory. With 19 days left to go, the project is already 67% funded.

Dr. Jackson’s PonyUp project made the local evening news and headlines on Boise State Public Radio. People are pulling for this unique and exciting project. Significant fundraising happens at a grass roots level with this far-reaching method connecting the university’s philanthropic needs with the student body and the donor community. Projects that may not have received funding otherwise may work best through crowdfunding, where smaller gifts have real impact because “the crowd” is ponying up, too.

Behind the scenes of PonyUp, the Annual Giving team within University Advancement is actively working with cross-campus partners from research, communications, academic affairs, student programs and athletics to find great PonyUp projects. Our Student Foundation is taking the lead on developing the projects, getting them ready to launch and managing the activity. PonyUp not only raises funds for unique initiatives, but also provides students with real-world fundraising experience and education about philanthropy.

Boise State’s student-centric model is cutting edge for crowdfunding, a relatively new practice for universities. Boise State is among the first to adopt the practice. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) reports that fifteen percent of institutions have held crowdfunding campaigns. Likely, even smaller percentages have launched their program on a platform that effectively manages micro-philanthropy. PonyUp runs on technology that allows University Advancement to effectively manage crowdfunding in a way that promotes a lifelong relationship with Boise State and benefits both the university and donors.

It’s easy for Boise State donors, alumni and friends to get behind PonyUp projects (more projects are going live in October). We also welcome new donors who come to us through crowdfunding. What we’re really doing is building a culture of philanthropy at Boise State—and inviting everyone to join.

You can PonyUp to bring the observatory back to Boise State (check out the donor incentives which include a private star-gazing party)!

Learn More about PonyUp or suggest a project for PonyUp.


Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.

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