New crowdfunding program allows UO community initiatives to take flight

A new, innovative program soon to launch at the UO will allow faculty and students to tap into the power of crowdfunding to aid student and faculty research and other initiatives.

The new program is being offered across campus. The DuckFunder site — — launches a pilot project Oct. 20 benefitting the UO's SAIL program.

“We want to showcase the great work being done by students, faculty and staff across the entire UO campus,” said Rodrigo Hernandez, the assistant director of innovative solicitations for Annual Philanthropy. “This program is designed to help raise funds for specific initiatives that might otherwise be overlooked by their department due to budget constraints.”

The program is looking especially for proposals that align with the current UO campaign priorities: access, excellence and the UO experience. Crowdfunding projects can range from a new projector in a classroom to travel expenses.

Before submitting a proposal, interested applicants should set up a meeting with Annual Philanthropy in order to assess the potential project’s viability. The application window is coming up: The giving program (in coordination with the appropriate department, college or school) is accepting submissions between Monday, Oct. 19, and Sunday, Nov. 8.

Email to set up an appointment prior to applying.

The idea for a crowdfunding program at the UO has been in the works for two or three years, Hernandez said. The program mirrors that of the University of Maryland, with which the UO collaborated closely during development. DuckFunder, however, emphasizes a specific focus on UO students, faculty and staff, rather than just students as is typical with other academic institutions.

“It has been a very creative, challenging and fun process but definitely worth the time and investment,” Hernandez said. “I’m excited to provide this new tool to the UO community; it will hopefully begin to educate our students, faculty and staff on the importance of giving back to Ducks across the campus.”

Typical goals for crowdfunding projects are between $1,000 and $15,000, although it can be any amount. Projects will be live online for 30 days, regardless of whether the goal is reached or not. The program expects to have six to 10 projects launched in February 2016.

“A successful campaign has a lot of moving parts throughout its duration,” Hernandez said. “Teams need to strategize, develop a marketing and communications plan, regularly check and update their social media pages and more. Teams will literally be running their own business for an entire month; before you apply, you should really consider if you have the time.”

Those interested in submitting a proposal to or more information about the DuckFunder program, should contact Annual Philanthropy as soon as possible using the email listed above, by phone at (541) 346-3016 or by visiting their office in the Ford Alumni Center.

— By Nathaniel Brown, Public Affairs Communications