Student philanthropy program accepting applications

Applications close Feb. 26; program raised $10,000 for student projects in 2019



One student project last year focused on ensuring student veterans had access to technology to complete their homework.

ANDREA GONZALEZ, Evergreen reporter

CougStarter, a student-driven philanthropy program under the WSU Foundation, is accepting applications until Feb. 26.

Six student groups will be accepted into the program. The program allows students to be advocates and philanthropists for their own projects, said Bailey Erickson, WSU Foundation digital fundraising coordinator for annual giving.

This year is the first time the campaign is being run in both the fall and spring, said Liz Becker, WSU Foundation development coordinator for annual giving.

Becker said previous CougStarter campaigns took place in fall 2019 and fall 2020.

During its first year, having a campaign in both fall and spring semesters was not feasible because of personnel restrictions, Erickson said.

In 2019, the program raised about $10,000 for student projects, he said.

Anybody can donate money to student projects. The donations are accepted from March 17 through April 7, which is the period of time the groups are actively fundraising, Becker said.

CougStarter uses the platform ScaleFunder to fundraise, she said.

The campaign is a way to help the students get their ideas out to a larger crowd, she said.

“They get to see their projects come to life and become funded,” Erickson said. “They also get great professional experience from this as well, and then building on that, the community also benefits from this.”

One student project last year focused on making sure student veterans had access to technology to complete their homework, he said.

Requirements for applicants include being part of a registered WSU student organization linked to student affairs and having an active 17A fundraising account so donations can be accepted. Fundraising groups must also have a lead and a co-lead, Erickson said.

After the application is received, groups must complete a live interview, he said. Students are able to share about their project and previous fundraising experiences.

Erickson said the application process has a rolling deadline and is first-come-first-served.

Becker said students have to come up with a specific fundraising goal to show how they would use the money. The priority deadline for applications is Feb. 12, but groups can be notified as early as Feb. 19.

“We want to encourage all student groups that qualify for the requirements to apply,” she said.

A committee looks over a rubric, application requirements and interviews to determine which groups to select for the program, she said.

Erickson said the committee consists of himself, Becker, the director of annual giving, assistant marketing specialists and others.

“We really look for students that have great communication skills as well because there’s a lot of emailing back and forth,” he said.