Many groups around campus and the Chapel Hill community have recently used crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe and Kickstarter to help bring in much needed money.
A cappella group Tar Heel Voices is currently trying to fund its latest album, which is released every two years. Usually, the group relies on paid performances as its main source of fundraising but this year decided to use GoFundMe to add an additional source of funding.
“This time we thought we were going to fall short, and someone suggested this idea to fill in the gaps,” said Davis Plunkett, president of the group. “It really raised a ton of money. I was amazed by how successful it was.”
Eden Sipperly, president of UNC-founded Epsilon Eta, the nation’s first environmental honors fraternity, also speaks highly of the GoFundMe site.
“Any money we’ve raised we can actually keep instead of not getting it all if it’s not by our date,” she said, referring to how similar sites such as Kickstarter force users to reach their goal by a set date.
The fraternity’s latest event, Solar Spring Break, is an alternative break program in which students travel to California to install solar panels in underprivileged areas. The group of students needs to raise $5,000 dollars and, using GoFundMe, it’s raised almost half of this goal.
For some groups, crowdfunding hasn’t been as successful. Beards and Brunch — a small business founded by a UNC student and her friends dedicated to documenting bearded men eating breakfast foods — started using the crowdfunding website Kickstarter to raise $1,000 for the organization. The group only raised $50 before its deadline closed on Friday.
The founders of Beards and Brunch — friends Molly Moser and Haley Williams, both 2014 graduates, and Bailey Johnson — are in the process of creating a calendar featuring scruffy male models having brunch at local restaurants. What started as a hungover joke turned into a fake Craigslist ad calling for bearded male models enjoying morning meals. Now, with the help of social media and a Kickstarter campaign, it’s turning into a real plan.
“We kind of figured everyone loved bearded men and brunch, so it’s a good collaboration,” said Williams.
The women are currently focusing on building a social media presence in order to gain support for the project. They currently have plans to buy photography equipment and possibly rent their space for shoots and are hoping donations to their Kickstarter will help them reach these goals.
Throughout the process, all groups said they were grateful for the support.
“It does seem like a lot of money that people are donating helps,” Sipperly said.
“It helps with networking skills, too — you gotta charm ‘em.”