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Want to Help Change the World? New UT Crowdfunding Tool Lets You Pick How

From Alzheimer’s research to spectacular science images for the public domain, these projects are made possible by your direct support.

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HornRaiser, the university’s first crowdfunding platform, helps garner community support for innovative extracurricular projects that embrace the university’s motto, “What Starts Here Changes the World.” 

Longhorns are digitizing fossils, tracking migrating butterflies and building sanitary bathrooms at an elementary school in a developing country.

But they need your help to complete these projects.

Through HornRaiser, the university’s new crowdfunding platform, the Longhorns spearheading these and other projects are asking for financial support to turn their plans into realities.

Each campaign aims to raise a modest amount of money no more than $15,000 in a short amount of time, between 30 and 45 days. Giving donors a direct way to connect with specific projects on the Forty Acres, HornRaiser also allows students, faculty and staff to kick start new projects and push existing ones to new heights.

“It’s a new channel that not many colleges and universities are using yet,” says Adrian Matthys, director of Annual Giving.

The first three HornRaiser projects began raising funds in late November and completed campaigns at the start of 2015. More than 200 people contributed a combined total of more than $30,000 during that initial round of HornRaiser campaigns.

Those donations helped cover costs for McCombs School of Business students to travel to Central America to help vocational students create business plans and secure microloans. They also helped fund the construction of a solar-powered home students are creating as part of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

“All of these donations,” Matthys says, “go to real projects to accomplish real things.”

The donations also come with some fairly unique perks, such as use of a high-tech camera to take photographs of bugs, adopting a fossil of your own or watching a student band perform in a private concert.

[Help fund world-changing projects and get insider access: Contribute via HornRaiser.]

The second round of HornRaiser projects, which are currently accepting donations, include:

“There are so many projects happening all across campus,” Matthys says. “Not everybody gets all the funding they need, and that can be hard. HornRaiser helps fill the gaps and push projects to the next level.”

[Large or small, every gift matters. Make a gift to UT.]

Furthermore, he says, researchers often have to spend too much time trying to secure funding instead of working on projects. Researchers who get donations from supporters of their work will, in turn, have more time to spend in labs and the field.

If campaigns raise more money than anticipated, the extra funds will typically pay for additional research, more work on the project or additional tools to help improve the original concept. If the campaigns are unable to meet the goals the money will be used to partially fund the original concept.

Unlike some other crowdfunding platforms on which donors pledge an amount that isn’t contributed until an overall goal is met, HornRaiser donors contribute to the projects both immediately and regardless of the goal being reached. Donations made through HornRaiser are completely tax deductible, and the funds go entirely into university accounts.

Matthys says a third round of projects will raise donations on HornRaiser in the fall. Interested applicants, however, may apply at any time.

“We want people to know,” Matthys says, “there are countless giving opportunities at all levels across the university.”

“Honey bee visits Texas bluebonnet” courtesy of Alex Wild and Insects Unlocked on Flickr.