Crowdfunding Guide for Faculty Members and Students

Thanks for your interest in fundraising for UCSF!

Crowdfunding can be a wonderful way to engage your community in your work (or the work of someone close to you) while raising funds for a project that is especially meaningful to you.

Before you get started, please review the crowdfunding guidelines below to ensure that your project is eligible for a crowdfunding campaign.

You may also want to ask yourself a few simple questions to find out whether crowdfunding is right for you.

Crowdfunding Guide FAQ for Faculty and Students

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding involves financing a project with relatively modest contributions from many individuals, typically online. Success relies upon the fundraiser’s ability to canvass a sufficiently large group of potential contributors, often by marketing to a network of personal contacts and strategically using of social media.

Who oversees crowdfunding at UCSF?

UCSF’s Office of University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR) coordinates the University’s crowdfunding activities and ensures that they adhere to UC Regents' fundraising policies, UCSF crowdfunding guidelines, and the UCSF Foundation’s gift-processing procedures. UDAR does not provide lists of prospects or donors.

How does crowdfunding for UCSF work?

UCSF has a licensed crowdfunding platform branded to match UCSF’s online look and feel. The platform features multimedia opportunities, optional giving levels, built-in social sharing, project update capabilities, and a donor wall. UCSF faculty members and students can use the fundraising platform for free after obtaining approval from UDAR.

One hundred percent of the money raised – less the Infrastructure and Operations Fund assessment – directly benefits the project, regardless of whether the campaign’s revenue goal is achieved. The platform is integrated with UDAR’s gift-processing and donor-stewardship procedures.

Can UDAR help me with my crowdfunding project?

Yes, UDAR experts can help you develop your fundraising strategy, campaign materials, and communications plan.

Do I need to work with UDAR to run a crowdfunding campaign?

Yes. UCSF policy requires that all fundraising activities be coordinated through UDAR, which helps ensure adherence to the Regents' policy on fundraising campaigns and the UCSF Foundation’s gift-processing procedures.

Are there other crowdfunding platforms I can use?

Yes, UCSF faculty and staff members also can use Indiegogo or Crowdrise for their crowdfunding campaigns. (See the next two questions for more details about their attributes.) Gifts to UCSF from other crowdfunding sites will be rejected, but we continue to review other services (and will review recommendations) for possible inclusion on the list of approved crowdfunding sites.

Why does UCSF require the use of specific crowdfunding sites?

There are a number of reasons UCSF maintains a short list of approved crowdfunding platforms:

  • Name usage: UCSF’s name may only be used to raise money that will be deposited into established university gift funds and in accordance with UDAR policies.
  • Donor information and experience: These three sites provide information to UCSF – including anonymity, recognition, and communication preferences – allowing us to engage with donors who have opted in and consider them for future solicitations.
  • Intellectual property: On the three UCSF-approved crowdfunding sites, safeguards are in place to protect the intellectual property of our UCSF community.
  • Compliance: All sites adhere to UC Office of the President (UCOP) guidelines around online payment and other processes.

What do I need to know about using Indiegogo for my fundraiser?

For campaigns seeking affiliation with UCSF’s nonprofit entity, the platform emails UDAR and requests approval. Indiegogo charges 5 percent on all funds raised. In addition, Stripe, which processes the online payments, charges 3 percent plus 30 cents per transaction. Indiegogo allows gifts of as little as $1, which are processed, receipted, and transferred through FirstGiving. The platform accepts credit cards and Apple Pay.

What do I need to know about using Crowdrise for my fundraiser?

For campaigns affiliated with UCSF, the platform emails UDAR and requests approval. The platform supports traditional crowdfunding campaigns as well as team-based challenges and event fundraisers. Gifts are dispersed regardless of whether the campaign goal is achieved, and the campaign timeline can be adjusted.

Crowdrise requires a $10 gift minimum, accepts only major credit cards, and – for those using its starter package – charges 5 percent plus credit card fees of 2.9 percent and 30 cents per transaction. Crowdrise’s charitable affiliate, Network for Good, sends payments on the 15th of each month of all donations made in the previous month.

Donors do not receive a receipt from UCSF; they also are not wealth screened or included in donor stewardship programs. Should we choose, UDAR can download donor name, email, physical address, amount of donation, and the date/time the donation occurred.

Can I solicit patients for my crowdfunding campaign?

If you would like to promote your fundraising project to your patients, you must first consult with UDAR on the allowable uses of protected health information (PHI).

You may be advised to use indirect methods, which allow patients to self-identify as prospects for your campaign. These include having flyers about your campaign available in the waiting room for patients, or wearing a pin advertising your campaign.

To comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and protect patient privacy, we follow strict guidelines when direct marketing to patient populations.

  • UDAR is the authority for producing lists of patient fundraising prospects. UDAR maintains protocols that protect identification of patients who have opted out of fundraising communications or who have medical issues that do not permit fundraising uses. Such prohibited PHI includes information related to mental health, psychotherapy, substance abuse, communicable diseases, sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, genetic testing, and infertility treatment, among others.
  • Patient prospects are identified by the general department of service. Any program designation below a division, however, may not be allowable by HIPAA since it could inadvertently identify a patient’s diagnosis.
  • A program must have at least 1,000 solicitable patient prospects to be eligible for a direct marketing solicitation campaign. Evidence shows that fewer than 1 percent of patients convert into donors.

Contact Us

Karolina Zatz
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