On the heels of Tuesday’s news that Sweet Briar College would close its doors at the end of this academic year due to what the school called “insurmountable financial challenges,” alumnae of the 114-year-old institution have launched a crowdfunding campaign to try to save the school.
The crowdfunding campaign is looking for $20 million toward a goal of $250 million to keep the college open. It’s an ambitious goal for any type of fundraising campaign, but it’s a level unheard of for crowdfunding. The initiative’s eight-figure goal is greater than the capital campaigns of some colleges.
Most crowdfunding efforts tend to seek support for smaller projects during a limited time frame. For the Sweet Briar effort, the tight time frame is in place — 90 days — but not the modest fundraising goal. I’m not aware of any higher education crowdfunding effort of this magnitude.
Will the #SaveSweetBriar campaign work? Can crowdfunding scale to the multimillion dollar level?
The good news is that early donations have already cracked six figures — over $400,000 as I write this. But only time — specifically, 90 days — will tell us if this campaign succeeds.