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Donors are looking younger these days


Donors are looking younger these days.

How the University of York engaged more young alumni than ever before.

As the first UK university to use a digital crowdfunding platform to raise donations, the University of York is reaping the benefits – including attracting more alumni donors aged under 30 than any other UK university. So, how did they do it?

A crowdfunding platform

When the university’s Development and Alumni Relations team needed new ways of fundraising for a range of departmental, sports and student projects, they worked with Hubbub. The result was YuStart, a University-branded digital crowdfunding platform.

Involving students

YuStart is a platform that actively engages students and gives them the support and training they need to develop valuable transferable skills and raise the project funds they need. Involving them in crowdfunding gives them a taste for philanthropy that they carry with them after graduation.

Hubbub’s crowdfunding and ambassador platforms enabled the University of York to engage students to the extent that 24% of crowdfunding donors are existing undergraduates.

Students who donate become graduates who donate

The success of YuStart can be measured in the increase in donations from recent graduates. Students who are involved in crowdfunding while at university gain a taste for philanthropy and are more likely to continue to be donors after they leave.

In fact, at the University of York, the proportion of donors who are alumni aged under 30 is the highest of any UK university, at 4%.

More donors, giving more

Hubbub’s crowdfunding platform encourages students to promote projects to their networks both inside and outside the university, using tailored social media and email sharing tools.

This extends the reach of the message and at the University of York, has resulted in 700-1000 crowdfunding donors each year. It also led to an increase in people donating to more than one project – 15.3% of donors have donated more than once.

First time for everything

The Hubbub digital crowdfunding platform makes it easy for students and other campaigners to spread the message about projects they feel connected to. They can follow subject areas or particular projects they care about, post to social media and update people on progress.

At the University of York, this has resulted in an increase in first-time donors. The shareability of information and stories extended the reach of the university’s projects. This led to 36% of all donors being new to the university and among alumni, 91% are new supporters.

More money

Of course, the YuStart platform will be judged on results and, so far, over four years, the University of York’s total crowdfunding donations stand at £50K per year (excluding any matched funding).

With an ROI of four to one, it’s an impressive result.

As Susie Braithwaite, the University of York’s Deputy Director of Development says: “We couldn’t have done this without YuStart. And we couldn’t have done that without Hubbub.”

Find out more about the University of York’s approach: case study here.

Duncan Knox

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