Crowdsourcing Payoff

Crowds are impersonal by definition. But this past spring, LMU launched a six-week giving program that relied on a quality in alumni that comes straight from the heart — passion.

On Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, Raise the Roar was kicked off in the university’s first crowdfunding project. For the following 45 days, members of the LMU community were asked through social media to give back to six programs or projects that had set specific identifiable goals to further their work — De Colores, Special Games, Loyola Rugby at LMU, the First to Go program, an electrical engineering project in the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering, and a Student Emergency Aid Fund.

Several of the goals were met quickly — Loyola Rugby, with nearly 60 years of history on campus, topped their target in just 12 days — but all exceeded their goals by the end of the campaign. In total, almost $31,000 was raised from 370 supporters. Nearly 62 percent of the contributors were first-time givers or had not given this year.

Lisa Piumetti Farland ’87, ’93, executive director of Alumni Relations, Annual Giving, Parent Programs and Parent Giving, believes the LMU community responded strongly because the goals were focused and understandable. “When we said 100 people giving $39 dollars would allow 100 more athletes to attend Special Games, it was clear how a small gift would do the job,” Farland explained.

Well-known leaders within the six programs or projects also asked for support, which appealed to a sense of loyalty especially among the alumni, she added. “They helped us reach out to their own alumni,” Farland said, “and the message was compelling because it came from people who know the need the best.”

Farland says the Raise the Roar project confirms observations about younger generations. Young alumni are comfortable with social media campaigns, and they like transparency — the ability to track progress. But there’s more, she added. “They particularly want to be part of something much bigger than themselves.”