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Integrating online giving initiatives on your campus like giving days and crowdfunding begins from within. To this end, it’s critical to get buy-in from the internal stakeholders that will play a role in your long-term success.

The goals of stakeholder buy-in are:

  • Building awareness and excitement for the initiative
  • Forming an implementation and launch team
  • Developing an implementation plan
  • Locating your first storytelling teams
  • Promoting the initiative and any linked individual stories ahead of the public launch

As a general rule of thumb, there are three groups who will help you lay the foundation for success


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The tip of the spear is your leadership team. Having buy-in from this group gives you the authority you need to begin motivating and involving other stakeholders.

To make the case to leadership it’s important to clearly lay out the goals of undertaking online fundraising and develop materials that lay out how these goals would be achieved. Some examples might be to:

  • Increase participation
  • Empower volunteers and ambassadors
  • Ease the burden on staff to better accommodate fundraising requests
  • Create a more robust pipeline of major gift prospects

You should schedule one-on-one or small group meetings with your leadership team to discuss and understand the benefits and challenges involved with implementing focused online giving initiatives.

Advancement Staff

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Look to form your oversight and launch team with internal ambassadors you recruit within the division staff of development. This includes Annual Giving, IT, Marketing & Communications, Major Gifts, Gift Processing, Research, and select unit-based fundraisers.

Start by presenting at full staff meetings, ideally with a stakeholder packet that includes the materials you developed for leadership about the goals of the initiative as well as:

  • The vision for your online giving program
  • An endorsement from your leadership
  • The types of stories you want to include
  • Examples of a range of successful initiatives to spur ideas

Follow-up with individual meetings with interested parties and discuss the value proposition and how this endeavor will benefit their role. For example, the value proposition to major gifts might be that they can use a giving day story to make an annual solicitation on top of a major gift. For research, it might be the ability to create donor affinity profiles or for communications, it could be the evergreen content of new stories that you can build fundraising initiatives around.

Keep in mind though that these meetings should be dynamic and focused on feedback and organic ideas, not a “pitch.”

Once your core team is formed, make sure to continue to share consistent updates and conduct relevant training and webinars for remaining staff to keep them involved and continue cultivating potential ambassadors.

External Partners

icon of people sitting at a work table, people who might want to do campus crowdfunding

After forming your core team, it’s time to make a list of key programs and units that can help you locate your first storytelling teams and promote your initiative internally. Every institution is different, so a good rule of thumb is to look through your campus directory well before your outreach efforts to establish which departments would be the biggest value-add to the platform. Keep in mind how active departments are in campus fundraising, personal connections you or others in advancement might have, and the available resources each department has on hand.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Student Affairs/Activities
  • Athletics and Club Sports
  • Student Government
  • Institutional Communications
  • Research Office
  • Student Aid
  • Career Services

Reach out initially through email, but make sure to arrange a meeting with the units you think will be most valuable.

For quick reference, use this cheat sheet that reiterates what we’ve covered above:

On-Campus Stakeholder Cheatsheet

Who? Why? How?
IT Responsible for integration and ongoing support.• Email  
• Scheduled meetings• Stakeholder Presentation
Annual Giving Team Evangelists for the crowdfunding platform and will likely have some responsibility in execution and ongoing oversight.• Conversation  
• Email/Bulletins
• Scheduled meetings
• Stakeholder Presentation
All Development / Advancement Officers Evangelists for the campus platform and may have some responsibility in execution. They can also be responsible for creating internal development campaigns, funds and programs.• Conversation  
• Email/Bulletins
• Scheduled meetings
• Stakeholder Presentation
Foundation Staff Evangelists for the platform and may have some responsibility in execution.• Conversation  
• Email/Bulletins
• Scheduled meetings
• Stakeholder Presentation
Student Clubs / Orgs Encourage them to create crowdfunding campaigns and programs each semester to support campus funding needs.• Email/Bulletins  
• Meetups
• Student Org Leadership Events, Workshops
• Invitation to Creator Training Events
Deans of Colleges Evangelists for the crowdfunding platform and may have some responsibility in execution as platform administrators.• Conversation  
• Email/Bulletins
• Scheduled meetings
• Stakeholder Presentation
Athletics This is a significant source of campus campaigns, you can encourage them to set up programs for each varsity sport.• Conversation  
• Email/Bulletins
• Scheduled meetings
• Stakeholder Presentation
Marketing Department They must work in concert with platform marketing, promoting and sharing as needed through various campus channels.• Conversation  
• Email/Bulletins
• Scheduled meetings
• Stakeholder Presentation
Alumni Office Evangelists for the platform; encourage them to create campaigns and programs.• Conversation  
• Email/Bulletins
• Scheduled meetings
• Stakeholder Presentation
Office of
Ambassador for the crowdfunding platform.• In-person meetings
Evangelists for the platform. Encourage them to create campaigns and programs.• Email/Bulletins
• Social Media
• Meetups
• Class visits
• Invitation to Creator Training Events
All internal media channels such as campus radio, newspaper, blogs, etc. Major promoters of the platform. Encourage them to create crowdfunding campaigns and programs, but also share relevant stories.• Email  
• Phone
• Meet 1:1
Faculty / Staff Key players in discovering and submitting ideas in which they care deeply and great partners for eliciting interest from others.• Conversation  
• Email/Bulletins
• Scheduled meetings
• Stakeholder Presentation
(for interested parties)
Alumni Contacts This is a source of potential ambassador campaigns, as well as voluntary evangelists.• Conversation  
• Email/Bulletins
• Social Media
• Inclusion in direct mailers
• Inclusion in phonebank scripts

Once you have your list of desired participants, we encourage another formal stakeholder meeting that gathers as many of the interested parties as possible. Stakeholder meetings are a great way to share the vision for the crowdfunding campus platform, answer questions, and build awareness for the opportunities the platform presents.

A stakeholder meeting will typically include:

  • Presenting the vision for the platform
  • Basics of crowd fundraising and its value to different stakeholders
  • Facilitating conversation and discovering potential team members
    • Overview of goals & timelines
  • Q&A / Discussion

If you do this correctly, not only will you find willing allies, but you’ll inspire excitement and interest for the impact the platform can make on campus and in the world!