Crowd funding is an approach to raising funds for a project that solicits contributions from a wide range of donors - in varying levels - using online donation tools. Various platforms have become popular lately such as Kickstarter, Indieogogo, RocketHub. Differing models are available for how the funds are raised, what is offered in exchange for donations, etc. Commercial efforts usually offer the product being developed at a significant discount. Non-profit efforts offer gifts, some of them tax deductible, and the satisfaction that comes from supporting a worthy cause.
The best crowd funding efforts usually include inspiring a potential donor with a vision, a clear description of how much funding is needed and what will be done with their donation, gifts or other items as a way of thanking them, and follow-up after the campaign has concluded. "Just send us money" rarely works. Space College organizers have experience with three recent and successful crowd funding efforts: the ISEE_3 Reboot Project, the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project, and the Aerospace Industries Association "We Are The Explorers" project.
Not everyone interested in a career in space has large funds at their disposal. But they often have something and putting one's money where one's mouth is can be a potent way to instill a sense of participation and ownership. Space College will always endeavor to structure crowd funding efforts so as to get both the larger contributions as well as the smallest - and will offer thanks and appreciation to even the smallest donors.
Space College will also make certain that an overlap of crowd sourcing and crowd funding is considered when people are asked for help. This way funds can be focused better on the things that specifically require funding and those things that can be offered as in-kind donations or services used for the purposes cited above.
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