Leverage Crowdfunding: How to Obtain Seed Funding Online

Workshop 2 of the New Digital Scholar Training Initiative

August 20, 2014

In collaboration with Experiment, a donation based crowdfunding platform for scientists

In this workshop, you will learn how to leverage science crowdfunding, an alternative approach that couples fundraising and outreach. Scientists in academia and the private sector have already successfully used it to supplement and substitute grants.

Participants will get an overview of various digital scholarship approaches and receive hands-on training, allowing them to apply the new knowledge to advance their specific research and career goals. The training will have a special focus on clinical and translational health sciences.

You will have the opportunity to develop a crowdfunding campaign with the Experiment team, post your campaign on the Experiment online platform and get marketing support to help achieve your funding goals.

Workshop at a Glance

Complete the application form onlineApplication deadline is Sep 8, 2014. Awardees will be informed by Sep 12, 2014.

Date/Time: Tuesday, Oct 7, 2014, 1-3pm

Location: USC Health Sciences Campus, CSC, Harkness Auditorium, 2250 Alcazar Street, Los Angeles, CA 90089

Open to: USC/CHLA community

Designed for: Faculty, clinician-scientists, post-doctoral scholars, PhDs; USC/CHLA community


About This Workshop

Since 2010, 80% of principal investigators spend more time writing grant proposals and 67% are struggling with less funding.

Data suggest that crowdfunding may become a valuable additional source of funding for early-stage innovators, from basic research and drug discovery to clinical trials and community research.

In this workshop, we will look at the underlying dynamics of success and failure among research crowdfunding campaigns, language suited for a non-scientific audience, and activity/promotion strategies on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as a key factor in the success of these campaigns.

Workshop Syllabus

During the workshop

1. Defining Crowdfunding

  • Introduction: What is crowdfunding, and how does it work for science research?
  • Underlying dynamics of success and failure among crowdfunding campaigns
  • Typical projects well-suited to crowdfunding for science
  • Case studies of campaigns that have succeeded in raising substantial funds and/or creating engaging content

2. Developing a Crowdfunding Campaign

  • Understanding the components of a crowdfunding campaign
  • Public disclosure and intellectual property rules
  • Budgeting and the all-or-nothing (AON) funding model
  • Using language for a non-scientific audience that gets people to donate
  • Understanding activity and promotion on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc.
  • Talking to the Press
  • What backers get in return

After the workshop

3. Campaign video production: SC CTSI will provide video production support for all researchers and their campaign videos.

4. Campaign marketing: Experiment and SC CTSI will collaborate to provide support to promote and increase the reach of the campaigns.

Recommended Background

There are no prerequisites for this workshop.

Suggested Reading

Research on Crowdfunding

Examples of Successful Crowdfunding Campaigns

Additional resources will be provided at no cost during the workshop.

Course Format

The two-hour workshop will use lectures and videos, template resources, and practical examples, allowing participants to apply the new knowledge to their specific research goals.


Will I get a certificate after completing this workshop?
Yes. Participants who complete individual workshops or the entire series will receive a certificate signed by Jonathan M. Samet, MD, MS, Distinguished Professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC, Director, USC Institute for Global Health, Director of the SC CTSI Education, Career Development, and Ethics program, and lead instructor Katja Reuter, PhD, director of Digital Strategy and the eHome program at SC CTSI.
What resources will I need for this workshop?
Please bring your computer and your phone. You will need Internet access.
What tools will we be using in this workshop?
We will introduce several crowdfunding platforms used for non-research applications, and then use Experiment’s platform for the hosting of the research campaigns. In addition, we will demonstrate the use of multiple social media tools used primarily for promotion of the campaigns.
In support of the workshop series and follow-ups, we will use USC Blackboard and a blog.

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important - All publications resulting from the utilization of SC CTSI resources are required to credit the SC CTSI grant by including the NIH funding acknowledgment and must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.