Crowdfunding for Ocean Sciences:
University of Massachusetts Boston
Science Funding Rates Declining
#SciQuester = 1000 NSF grants not funded this year
Ecklund et al. 2012 PLoS One
Scientist's Attitudes Towards Outreach
Not So Good
In scientists’ own words, science outreach is a bleak
prospect with limited room for improvement. Seventy-four
percent of respondents list one or more significant
impediments to their ability to do science outreach, yet less
than half have concrete ideas for how science outreach could
Ecklund et al. 2012 PLoS One
Little Reward Structure for Outreach
Scientists also perceive that they are rewarded little for
science outreach work, especially in the tenure process.
Science Communication Exploding Online
What Platform Should I Use?
• What is their policy on success?
• What are their fees?
• Do they allow for givebacks?
• Do they facilitate connections to donors?
• Are they a neat platform with no projects?
My University is Cool with this, Right?
• Talk to your Office of Sponsored Research
• Or find a nonprofit foundation to work with
• THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY!
Anatomy of a Crowdfunding Proposal
2. Time Limit
• clarity is key
What do I need to know about video
• iMovie is love
• So is Audacity (for audio)
• Borrow a camera! Good video is good!
• Beware of using copyrighted material
• KEEP IT SHORT – 2-3 minutes if possible
What do I include in my pitch?
• What am I doing?
• Why is this awesome?
• Why does this matter to you?
• How will your funds be spent?
• How will you stay connected?
The Moh Dollahz Population
Dynamics of a Campaign
Now’s the time!
• Start early. Years early.
• Social media helps with momentum
• Harness network effects whenever possible
• Work with your university
• Identify community groups interested in your
• Build new relationships!
Crowdfunding and You!
1. Let’s do this thing. How do I do it?
2. What can I learn from those who have gone
Number of fans
Super-engaged fans that
contribute $ to your research
Larger number of fans that don’t contribute, but
are still impacted by your message
A version of the 1000 True Fans Model
views per email
92 views per
1 project view
per tweet per
Engagement*Effort = Success
How Can I Crowdfund my Science?
• Build an audience for your work
- Crowdfunding, Blog, Tweet, Science Cafes, etc.
• Get trained in outreach
- Media & social network training
• Ask how your work can engage the crowd
• Work to change academic culture & policy
- Hiring & promotion practices
- Collaboration with media & arts departments
Larger Benefits to Crowdfunding
• Build bridges between science & society
• Build investment in an NGO's science
• Enhanced science literacy
• Science incubator for new projects
• Look at it as funded outreach
R4 & a Video Workshop are Coming!
Wheat, R.E., Wang, Y., Byrnes, J.E.K. &
Ranganathan, J. (2012). Raising money
for scientific research through
crowdfunding. Trends Ecol. Evol., 28, 71–