About Blazer Funded

Blazer Funded - VSU Crowdfunding

The Division of University Advancement, the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Administration, and the VSU Foundation have been working to launch a crowdfunding platform for the University.  We are finally ready to introduce this opportunity to the faculty.

Blazer Funded is VSU’s own integrated crowdfunding platform that helps our award-winning faculty and registered student organizations fund their passion projects.  Blazer Funded projects are successfully funded by the active engagement of donors and supporters through social media and direct communications.  Our staff works closely with each project team to provide strategic crowdfunding management and consulting in communications, your online presence, and fundraising opportunities.

Who can use Blazer Funded?

All registered VSU student organizations, full-time faculty, colleges and departments that have a passion project can use the Blazer Funded platform. 

Does this sound like your team?  Excellent!  Let’s talk:

Email: mamarshall@valdosta.edu 

Crowdfunding Project Phases: 

1 – Quiet Phase:  

  • The quiet phase takes place at least four (4) to six (6) weeks prior to the project’s launch date.
  • This phase is used to prepare for the campaign - project leaders are identified who will be charged with managing the team and everything involved with setting up the campaign, including assigning various tasks to team members.
  • Each project team will have support from the Office of Sponsored Programs & Research Administration to help plan and develop their campaign.

2 – Live Phase (Campaign Launch)

  • The live phase of a campaign lasts approximately 30 days.
  • During the campaign, team members are expected to send out at least four (4) email solicitations or “asks” to their personal contact lists, make four (4) updates to their project page, push out asks via social media, and otherwise make themselves available to answer questions about and raise awareness around their project.

3 – Stewardship Phase:

  • After the project has ended, groups are responsible for sending out thank you emails, final update videos, and any promised perks to donors. If your project involves a trip, the group should provide additional follow-up to donors after the trip is complete.
  • During this phase, it’s important to show donors how their support has made an impact on the project. Donors who feel appreciated and know their gift made a difference will be more likely to support future projects.

Contact:

The Office of Sponsored Programs & Research Administration administers the VSU crowdfunding platform. Questions regarding projects or the application process should be directed to Mary D. Marshall at mamarshall@valdosta.edu

What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people. Crowdfunding campaigns are driven by peer-to-peer relationships and allow groups to utilize their personal networks to raise funds for a specific cause in a relatively short amount of time.

Who is eligible to utilize Blazer Funded at Valdosta State?

Blazer Funded is a resource available to all faculty, registered student organizations, and staff at Valdosta State University who are raising funds for university-affiliated initiatives.

Apply Now

What type of projects will be considered for a Blazer Funded Project?

Projects that further the mission of Valdosta State University with a tangible benefit to students, faculty, or the Valdosta State community as a whole will be considered. Projects are taken into consideration on a case-by-case basis. Projects that do not directly benefit VSU students, faculty, or programs will not be considered. Projects with goals to fund individuals, office supplies, catering costs, t-shirts, or similar items will also not be considered. Blazer Funded cannot be used to fund independent business or charity ventures.

I think my project is right for Blazer Funded. What’s next?

▪ Applications can be submitted using the Apply link above and are reviewed upon receipt.

▪ Applications are submitted on a rolling basis with no established deadline and are reviewed by the Office of Sponsored Programs & Research Administration before being presented to the leadership committee for final approval.

▪ Student groups should identify a faculty or staff advisor in the application.

I need to raise funds by a specific date. When should I apply?

Using the timeline outlined above, start with the due date and work backward. Also, keep in mind that on rare occasions a campaign may be delayed for any number of reasons. Applicants are expected to dedicate ten (10) to twelve (12) weeks to each project.

How much information do I need to provide in the application?

As much as possible! When submitting an application, you should provide as much detail as possible, especially regarding the budget and distribution of funds raised, in order to ensure the project is approved in a timely manner. You will also want to demonstrate in full detail how the project will impact the VSU community in a positive way.

How are Blazer Funded funds disbursed?

▪ Funds raised through Blazer Funded are disbursed through a specific project fund within the Valdosta State University Foundation. Project funds may be disbursed as reimbursements to the university department where the project is based or may be paid out to individual vendors associated with the project. The VSUF accounting office can provide more details regarding funds disbursement. 

▪ All new crowdfunding projects must establish a project-specific fund with the Valdosta State University Foundation. Departmental business managers within the college or unit should be involved in one of the initial project meetings to ensure all financial processes are managed properly. (Note: If you need to create a project fund, a request will need to be submitted to the VSU Foundation. Project requests should be submitted as soon as the project is approved, and no later than three (3) weeks prior to the projects’ start date). 

Why should I use Blazer Funded rather than another crowdfunding platform?

▪ Blazer Funded is the only approved fundraising platform for crowdfunding projects affiliated with Valdosta State University, and all projects receive support from OSPRA, University Advancement, and the VSU Foundation, INC.

▪ 100% of the funds raised go directly to the project. There are no fees associated with making a gift through Blazer Funded, and donors do not have to worry about the authenticity of the cause they are supporting. 

▪ Donors who give through Blazer Funded are making a gift directly to the Valdosta State University Foundation rather than giving to a third party crowdfunding platform (like GoFundMe). That means their gifts are tax-deductible and they are subject to the same record-keeping procedures as regular VSU Donors.

What types of projects are successful on Blazer Funded?

Ideal crowdfunding projects should have an achievable goal (generally between $2,000 and $10,000), a compelling case, a tangible student benefit, and a large audience to appeal for support. It is also important for Blazer Funded projects to have a solid group of participants willing to invest time and effort into planning, launching and fundraising for your project.

Who should I contact if I have additional questions about a Blazer Funded project or application?

Mary D. Marshall, Blazer Funded coordinator administers the Blazer Funded platform. She can be reached at mamarshall@valdosta.edu

Is my payment secure?

Yes. All payments will be processed through our secure giving website facilitated by the Valdosta State University Foundation.

Will my gift be tax-deductible?

Your gift will be tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the law.

Will I receive a receipt for my contribution?

Yes! You will receive an immediate email confirmation, and the Valdosta State University Foundation will send you a receipt for your contribution shortly after you make your gift.

When will my card be charged?

Credit card gifts are processed immediately upon finalizing your gift on the site.

Can I make a recurring gift?

No, only one-time gifts will be accepted for Blazer Funded projects.  However, you may always contact the Valdosta State University Foundation, Inc. or visit www.valdostastate.org/give to learn more about giving future gifts to support the projects. 

Can I send a gift by mail or phone?

No. Ideally, all gifts to Blazer Funded projects will need to be submitted online through the platform to the specific project you wish to support.  To send a check or learn about other avenues of giving, please visit www.valdostastate.org/give