Crowdfund UC Davis Guidelines

Crowdfund UC Davis Guidelines

UC Davis is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational institution with a mission of teaching, research and public service that reflects a passion for critical inquiry, debate, discovery and innovation, and a deep commitment to contributing to a better world. All projects must comply with the institution’s mission. Projects cannot violate any laws or UC Policies.

UC Davis reserves the right to decline any project based on content or discontinue an active campaign at any time due to changes in the group’s eligibility status.

Why Crowdfund UC Davis vs. other fundraising platforms?

Schools, colleges and units are highly encouraged to use the UC Davis Crowdfunding platform or the UC Davis online giving website ( for their online fundraising efforts.

Use of external crowdfunding platforms such as Facebook and GoFundMe is highly discouraged.

In cases where external crowdfunding platforms are used, funds raised would be received directly by the requestor, creating personal income and the related tax liability, and not providing the donors with the tax deductible benefit of a gift to a 501(c)(3) charity.

In addition, external platforms charge fees to facilitate the receipt of monetary donations, therefore reducing the impact of the gift.

Who manages Crowdfund UC Davis?

Crowdfund UC Davis, under the direction of the Annual & Special Gifts Program (ASGP), in its sole discretion, will determine the eligibility of participating projects.

Crowdfunding at UC Davis is currently managed via the ScaleFunder platform at

Crowdfund UC Davis may discontinue an active fundraiser at any time because of a project’s failure to comply with these guidelines.

Are there any fees affiliated with Crowdfund UC Davis?

Yes. There is a 6% gift processing fee per transaction for current use funds through Crowdfund UC Davis. Funds deposited into project accounts will already have these fees removed from their totals. However, project totals online will display the full amount.

Crowdfund UC Davis applicants FAQ

Please review the frequently asked questions below for more detailed information on what is required to apply for and participate in Crowdfund UC Davis. This process can take several weeks! So to help you better plan, we've prepared a few tips. Please watch the video below for a description of the review process all projects must go through to participate in our crowdfunding program.

Before the crowdfunding cohort begins, it is the Project Lead’s responsibility to review and understand the following Crowdfund UC Davis guidelines.

UC Davis reserves the right to revise these guidelines at any time.

Requirements to apply for Crowdfund UC Davis
  1. Affiliation with UC Davis or UC Davis Health.
  2. A sponsoring UC Davis department, program, or center.
  3. A UC Davis affiliated fund into which donations can be deposited.
  4. Project leaders who are willing to create materials and implement promotions before, during and after the campaign.
  5. Submission of an application and project pitch before the established deadline.

Development and Alumni Relations (DEVAR) will likely request a list of potential donors prior to the project’s approval to determine project eligibility and goal capacity.

However, DEVAR does not provide any contact data on alumni, parents, friends or students. It is up to the participants in Crowdfund UC Davis to contact their personal affinities and contact lists. While DEVAR may promote the crowdfunding platform during campaigns, groups should not rely on this for fundraising success. The manager of the Crowdfund UC Davis program will work with groups to generate ideas for marketing and outreach.

Can I apply if I don’t have a fund?

Yes. Submit your application without one, and DEVAR will determine if there is one that will work for your project. If there isn’t, one can sometimes be created for you before your cohort begins, but that is not guaranteed.

Why is a fund necessary? What are the guidelines for a fund?

A fund is necessary to store the funds you raise. For a thorough understanding of what is needed to ensure compliance with UC Davis guidelines, please review the fund requirements below.

  1. All projects must have an established and approved UC Davis Foundation or Regents gift fund account to which donations can be accepted and then distributed to the respective campus unit’s account on the Davis ledger. 
  2. Groups may use a gift fund associated with a sponsoring unit, such as a department, program or center, with the approval of the development area. If an appropriate sponsoring unit gift fund is not available, DEVAR will determine whether the project qualifies for its own gift fund as long as there is a finance officer available to manage the account and the sponsoring development area approves. 
  3. Gift funds and accounts must be approved by ASGP and Advancement Services before the project can begin fundraising. 
  4. Projects without established and approved fund accounts cannot be accepted according to university policy.
What information should I include about my project?

Projects should have specific goals and be driven by tangible accomplishments – for example, purchasing new equipment, funding travel fees, or providing student workshop opportunities. Projects without a specific goal are generally less successful and may not qualify for their own project page.

Who is going to promote my Crowdfund UC Davis project?

Please note that none of UC Davis’ main social media accounts can be used by Crowdfund UC Davis to raise funds for your project.

Instead, all project teams are responsible for promoting their own campaigns via social media, email, phone calls and on-campus, when appropriate; preparing personal thank-you messages to donors; and providing regular updates on their project.

Groups should consist of at least five people that will each focus on marketing and outreach for at least 5 hours a week. The larger and more active the crowdfunding project group, the more likely they will succeed in reaching their goal.

Groups that are able to achieve 30% of their goal within the first 48 hours of a campaign are the most likely to achieve their total goal.

What happens if my project is approved?

Once a project is approved, a representative from Development and Alumni Relations will be in contact to help finalize a goal, develop a project page, and provide consultation throughout the crowdfunding process.

All content on project pages will be approved by DEVAR, which has the right to edit, or require project content edits, at any point in the campaign.

Projects will be hosted on the Crowdfund UC Davis platform for a pre-determined amount of time, typically a one-month-long period. Some exceptions may apply.

The same group may not fundraise in consecutive campaigns, but may be eligible for future crowdfunding efforts. Similarly, one project team leader cannot manage multiple projects in one cohort.

For questions regarding these guidelines, please contact

What is expected of projects participating in Crowdfund UC Davis?

When applying for Crowdfund UC Davis, Project Leads agree to adhere to the deadlines provided and to attend a required training session on Crowdfunding best practices. 

A Crowdfunding Contract, which outlines how the money will be spent, is also a required agreement to be signed by the project lead before the Crowdfund UC Davis page will be activated.

As noted above, projects will be hosted on the Crowdfund UC Davis platform (Scalefunder) for a pre-determined amount of time, typically a one-month-long period.

In addition to the above requirements, Project Leads must provide the following for their site:

  • Project description and case for support
  • Images for description, social sharing and crowdfunding home page
  • Project leader bios and photos
  • Budget breakdown (how donations will be spent)
  • Non-monetary perks for donations at multiple increments
  • Signed Crowdfunding Contract noted above (must be signed before the project can begin fundraising)
  • Project updates throughout the campaign
  • Ongoing outreach to promote the project after launch
  • Video (it is the Project Lead’s responsibility to create, film and edit) *not required, but highly encouraged for site visibility*
  • Personal thank you (i.e., stewardship) messages after the campaign concludes to thank donors, let them know of their impact on the project and its progress
Can I use giveaways to encourage donors to give to my project?

No. Monetary premiums and monetary perks are not to be used to incentivize gifts. Such items as t-shirt giveaways or other promotional items are not permissible, as they affect a donor’s right to a tax deduction.

How do I handle tax receipts?

You don’t. DEVAR, through the crowdfunding platform ScaleFunder, will provide official tax receipts to the donors. Project teams should not modify these receipts in any manner.

Is there a minimum gift requirement for Crowdfund UC Davis?

Yes. There is a $5 minimum donation requirement through the Crowdfund UC Davis platform, ScaleFunder.

How can I use the funds I raise for my project?

Gifts received must be used for the project’s stated purpose(s) and must support UC Davis programs and initiatives. All projects must be non-profit in nature. 

Individuals are strictly prohibited from keeping any portion of the funds raised as a profit or compensation.

Funds cannot be redirected to a third-party, external charity or other non-profit. UC Davis cannot act as a “pass-through” entity to provide funding to other charities.

What if funds are raised offline?

Most gifts will be raised online through Some offline funds may be used toward the project’s goal. This includes, but is not limited to, cash, checks, gifts of stock and other funds awarded or received during the crowdfunding campaign.

Crowdfunding projects cannot count gifts from pledges, bequests, gifts already allocated to another fund, matching gifts, or money raised through sales, such as bake-sales, car washes, or other “give-to-get” fundraising. All gifts must be collected prior to the project’s deadline.

All funds raised from outside of the Crowdfund UC Davis platform, ScaleFunder, must be delivered to DEVAR for deposit. If a delivered gift is intended to count toward a Crowdfunding project total, please attach a note indicating the project and associated fund. This is to ensure that the donor receives proper credit and receipts as well as manage project reporting. If this occurs, contact the Manager of Crowdfund UC Davis for instructions.

What if my project doesn’t reach its goal?

If the project is not fully funded within the allotted period, any monies raised will still be allocated to the project. All funds, even without meeting the goal, should be spent to offset the cost of the promoted project or utilized to the group’s best ability. Projects should notify their donors and inform them how their donations will be spent.