Crowdfunding for Universities

“Crowdfunder is working with universities across the UK to bring crowdfunding to students, alumni, research departments and faculties. Working with Plymouth University, we’ve developed new finance, fundraising and enterprise skills and are now opening up new educational and business opportunities in educational institutions and learning communities across Britain.”

Phil Geraghty, MD, Crowdfunder

How universities are using crowdfunding

Crowdfunding for Student Fundraising

Universities are using Crowdfunder’s crowdfunding technology to deliver engaging fundraising campaigns across their campuses. Crowdfunder’s University branded platforms aggregate, host, promote and support enterprise and fundraising from students, faculty members, researchers and connected projects.

The Crowdfunder branded platform can sit on the university’s own website and  provide a home for university project owners to run their own crowdfunding campaign, connecting them directly to the university community and beyond.

Project owners can promote, market and share their fundraising campaigns, raising the funds they need to make their great ideas a reality. Popular student projects include sports, societies and research fundraising.

Theatre Society 2

University of Surrey Theatre Society

CASE STUDY: £635 raised of £500 target from 47 backers – University of Surrey Theatre Society

We wanted to step up our Theatre Society, explains Emily Jeeves, coordinator for the societys University of Surrey Crowdfunder campaign, We do a show every year and we wanted to do one with a higher production value so our members would have the best opportunity to learn about the industry, especially the production side. We wanted to offer our members more of a chance to get involved with prop making and set building and so on. To do that we need a higher production value show, and that costs money.

Its just such a great platform to do it on and it gets the word out there,she says. I wouldnt have known how to raise that money in that short space of time without the University of Surrey and Crowdfunder.

Crowdfunding for University Research

University research programmes are using crowdfunding to attract new audiences  and additional funding, as well as to validating, and demonstrating the impact of research projects. 

With crowdfunding you can raise finance from the crowd for research projects and increase eligibility for match funding from funding bodies

Research, funded and supported by the crowd, attracts strong community interest and PR as well as offering marketing opportunities to showcase innovation in university research programmes. 

Crowdfunding Education for Enterprise

BusinessPhoto 003

Jim Sears, Senior Teaching Fellow in Entrepreneurship at the University of Surrey

Alongside the Crowdfunder branded platforms, universities are unlocking many educational opportunities for their learning communities. Crowdfunding is now being added to business module curriculums as as part of the alternative finance mix for start ups and SMEs. The University of Surrey will be working with their students during Freshers Week to plan, create and launch projects as part of their introduction to their courses in 2015.

Jim Sears, Senior Teaching Fellow in Entrepreneurship at the University of Surrey commented: Crowdfunding is disrupting entrepreneurial finance, and here at the University of Surrey we believe strongly in embracing educating our students about crowdfunding, equipping them with the knowledge and skills theyll need as they start their journey into the world of business.

Crowdfunder provides educational materials, workshops and coaching from the Crowdfunder Academy to help facilitate learning at each university.

Crowdfunding for Alumni Engagement

Universities are able to engage with Alumni on two-levels via crowdfunding:

Fundraising – Universities looking to broaden their revenue streams, can reach out to  their Alumni networks requesting support and funding for student projects and university development projects.

Support for Alumni business, charity campaigns and social enterprise – University Alumni are able to use the university crowdfunding platforms for their own businesses, charity, social enterprise and community projects – further showcasing and strengthening Alumni relations.

Beyond Campus – Universities and Crowdfunder Local

Universities can increase cohesion between the university and its surrounding  local community by sponsoring their Crowdfunder Local campaign.

Crowdfunder Local is a series of regional crowdfunding campaigns which aim to stimulate local economies with an ambition to raise £1,000,000 per affiliated region. Crowdfunder Local campaigns are delivered by a partnership of Local Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, local employers and community groups.

Plymouth University, The University of Surrey and Nottingham Trent University have all partnered with Crowdfunder to facilitate and fund crowdfunding projects in the cities surrounding their campuses – enabling economic regeneration, community partnerships and business development.

The Crowdfund Cornwall pilot, sponsored by Plymouth University,  launched in 2013 and has already raised over £700,000 for the region.Plymouth University is also a key stakeholder in Crowdfund Plymouth, which was launched in partnership with Plymouth City Council – with a match fund pot of £60,000 of  from the new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) for community projects across the city.

The University of Surrey is the headline sponsor for Crowdfund Surrey, the regional initiative created to promote economic development and crowdfunding opportunities for their wider community which has already raised over £130,000 for Surrey businesses, charities, social enterprises and community groups.

The Crowdfunder University Network 

Plymouth University – Founding Partner of Crowdfunder

PuPlymouth University, the UKs leading social enterprise university is a founding partner of Crowdfunder, having supported the digital startup from its launch in 2012.

The university is the first in the world to employ a Crowdfunder in Residence and has increased student employability by providing placements and work experience opportunities for their students in the alternative finance industry.

Professor David Coslett, Interim Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, said: “We are proud to be a founding partner of Crowdfunder which offers unrivalled opportunities for our students and leading edge entrepreneurial support for the University, its partners and the community.”

University of Surrey

117The University of Surrey, ranked 6th in The Guardian University Guide 2015, has joined forces with Crowdfunder to expand, innovate and build on student enterprise.

The University of Surrey’s bespoke crowdfunding platform provides a focus for philanthropic giving, enterprise work-experience and real-time fundraising alongside providing in-depth education in marketing,  research, planning and development. The initiative has created a go-to hive of activity driven directly from the University’s strategic aims and ambitions.

Innovation and enterprise have long formed an integral part of the culture here at Surrey. Through the partnership with Crowdfunder, we can now provide a very exciting opportunity for our enterprising students and staff to seek funding for their great ideas,said Chris Gethin, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the University of Surrey. Crucially, through this platform, we can embed further the culture of philanthropy on campus and demonstrate the great things that can be achieved through it.

Nottingham Trent University

ntNottingham Trent University, ranked amongst the UK’s greenest universities in the Green League for their environmental commitments, teamed up with Crowdfunder to continue to drive innovation and inspiration as part of their strategic plans.

The university is the first to have enabled a student cohort to facilitate crowdfunding across campus from the Students’ Union right through to its  sports clubs and societies.

Nottingham Trent University have expanded their reach into the community by becoming headline sponsors alongside Heart of Experian to fund projects across the region. Garry Smith, Commercial Director, commented, Nottingham Trent are proud to support Crowdfund Nottingham in support of our strategic ambition – Enriching Society. We aim to strengthen our civic role to support the social, cultural and economic vibrancy of our City and Region.

The future of university-based crowdfunding

Crowdfunding harnesses the power of the crowd to make great ideas a reality – and with university engagement and innovation, opens up three  strategic opportunities:


  • Universities embracing crowdfunding will be delivering leading-edge innovation in business, entrepreneurialism and community-led cohesion and partnerships

Digital Tech:

  • Crowdfunding offers exhaustive digital tech opportunities including social media growth, skills and strong content-led opportunities via case studies, audience growth and engagement

New revenue streams:

  • Crowdfunder branded platforms will radically transform how universities create new revenue streams from donors, business sponsorships and community development

To discover how you could get involved in Crowdfunding for Universities, please contact Joel Hughes on



Calling all students! Shape the kind of future that you want to see by making your ideas happen with Crowdfunder
Crowdfunding for Universities - University of Surrey launches Crowdfunder platform