In almost every organization, large or small, finding funding for activities is a necessity. Despite the high price of tuition, an institution like Colorado College is no different, and must utilize every vehicle it has to raise money for the various services and clubs offered on its campus. The newest of these methods is crowdfunding, which allows student groups to ask the public to help fund whatever projects they wish to pursue.
“This is the first time crowdfunding has ever been utilized at CC as a fundraising vehicle,” said Sean Pieri, Vice President for Advancement.
Crowdfunding is not the only way CC receives money from sources besides tuition, but it is the newest. CC depends greatly on donations and pledges to function as an institution. This need for external revenue was represented on Generosity Day in Block 7.
“This day literally represents the moment in an academic year when tuition stops funding all activities on campus, and private gifts provide each opportunity,” said Pieri. “Approximately 25 percent of the entire college budget[…] is a direct result of private gifts—whether given this year or in the past and invested in the endowment.”
The many grants that CC gives each year are a tangible effect of these private gifts and endowments. The 16 Venture Grants approved between 2015 and 2016 were direct beneficiaries of this philanthropic contribution to the college. However, while the benefits that private endowments give to the school are invaluable, they are sometimes not enough.
The CC Nordic Ski Team has been one of the first to use CC’s new method of fundraising. Started in 2013 by senior Kayla Fratt, the CC Nordic Ski Team began as just a small group of students skiing together.
Last year they received formal recognition as an official club and a small amount of funding, but given the club’s newness it was hardly enough to sustain the expenses. There was no alumni base or network for fundraising, so the members had to make up for the difference out of pocket.
“My freshman year everybody in the club paid like almost $300 each in hotel costs and race entry fees,” said sophomore Rowan Kowalsky. “We then realized that there was no way we could keep that up.”
This year Fratt moved to have CC Nordic be recognized as an official club team. 2015 marked the first year that they were considered an official club team, and this recognition pays for entry fees for races, hotel costs, and some travel expenses, as well as letting them compete in collegiate races. However, this new income does not solve all of their financial woes.
“When we became a club team we got some amount of funding… but it doesn’t cover the cost of equipment, so crowdfunding is really important for that,” said first-year Grace Ford.
The CC Nordic Team has currently raised 30 percent of their goal of $2,500, which will go towards buying skis, boots, and other equipment. This is essential for bringing new members into the team who may not have the necessary equipment to try this activity. While they are far from their goal, they remain optimistic about the crowdfunding process.
“It’s not going quite as well as we’d hoped, but the money that we have raised will buy two new sets of skis for the team and boots,” said Ford. “We’ll definitely try to do more ‘learn to ski days’ with people who have never skied before.”
Other groups utilizing CC’s crowdfunding apparatus include CCycle, CC bike share program, the class of 2016’s Senior Gift Challenge, and the Geology Department, which is trying to raise enough money to afford a new “high definition camera.”