Crowd-funded science: thoughts after 185 people gave us $10,733 for research

Jacquelyn Gill provides insight on how “crowd-funding” can work as a solution for science- that is, if you are savvy with social media (calling all students!)

“TL;DR? Crowd-funding is a lot of work. It can be a nice funding stop-gap, especially for small projects or preliminary data. It’s great for students because it helps them develop communication skills. Sites like Experiment that have a nice interface to give your donors updates help connect people with your science, and add legitimacy to your efforts.Just be prepared to do a lot of work, get creative, and reach out to social media, the press, and celebrities. I’m not sure if science crowd-funding has a long lifespan, but it’s worth a shot. But it’s money! We all need more of that, right?” (Gill)

The Contemplative Mammoth

I’ve spent the last month pushing our crowd-funding campaign, to support my lab’s upcoming research in the Falkland Islands. After successfully hitting our $10,000 goal with four days to go, I feel like I have a few thoughts about the process (and a lot of you have asked), so here goes:

Crowd-funding is hard. It took Dulcinea and Kit a lot of time to put their website together, and I spent a considerable amount of time pushing the campaign out via social media, email lists, and to our university press office (definitely do this! We got local TV news coverage), not to mention the time explaining to people how the whole thing works. The effort was, at times, on par with standard grant-writing. Be prepared to put a lot of time and effort into making a really fantastic site, and to follow up with a relentless social media presence. Which brings…

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