Now, crowdfunding for college fests ?

Renu Singh,  TNN Feb 2, 2014, 01.49PM IST

Students at BIT Mesra, Ranchi have turned to crowdfunding to generate money for their fest. Is it a model other educational institutes can emulate?

We have heard of filmmakers, start-up companies, even political parties reaching out to the public to raise funds for their projects. But for an educational institute to source crowdfunding for their management fest – that’s a first. And that’s exactly what BIT Mesra has done – invited crowdfunding apart from sponsorships for Bitotsav, their techno-cul-management fest this year.

“The idea was jointly endorsed by all members of the core committee,” shares Nitin Gupta, member of the Bitotsav core committee, before going on to explain where the idea germinated from. “We knew crowdfunding has benefited start-ups and filmmakers, so that’s where the inspiration came from. Since Bitotsav is something that everybody on campus looks forward to all through the year, and in an endeavour to take the level of the fest a notch higher, we thought of inviting funds from the public, apart from getting sponsors for the event. We have a target of collecting one lakh rupees, and till now, have received 71,000 (out of which the major contribution is by our alumni). For the contribution given to the fest, we have kept certain rewards, from couple passes to Farhan Akhtar’s show to souvenirs and mementos. To ensure the funds are not misused, the accounts of Bitotsav are closely monitored and audited by institute authority,” he says.

Bitotsav aside, could this be the beginning of a new trend?

PUBLIC SE PAISA NIKALNA MUSHKIL HAI

While the idea is unique in its application to college fests, not everyone is convinced that it can be successfully executed. Anuraag Dhingra, part of the organising committee of Manfest, at IIM Lucknow, says, “I think crowdfunding can help build the brand of the institute, but not so much to get funds, unless there is a social cause associated with the event. Nevertheless, it will entirely depend on how the public is being approached. Perhaps in the future, we could use this way to generate some money.”

Akhil Agarwal,a B Tech final year student at IIT Delhi says, “Crowdfunding for college fests is a very interesting idea and there is nothing wrong in it. Par public se paisa nikalana thoda mushkil hota hai people will spend 100 on pani puri, but will resist in donating even ten rupees, such is the mindset of people. I don’t find it a viable option for college fests – the effort required to woo the public to give funds, only half of that is required to convince sponsors and alumni.”

THE ADMINISTRATION WON’T ALLOW US

Approaching the alumni is a popular concept adopted by institutes to raise funds for their annual fests. Prateek Kishore, student of final year B Tech from IIT Kharagpur says, “We have been approaching our alumni for donations to fund the annual cultural fest of IIT Kharagpur, and we always get an encouraging response from them, they are happy to send in their contributions.” He adds, “Crowdfunding by any educational institute is a novel concept and I am hearing of it for the first time. Though it seems exciting, I doubt the IIT-Khg administration will ever allow us to do it.”

In some institutes students themselves pitch in funds for their fest. Like at Saarang, the annual cultural fest at IIT Madras. “In IIT Bombay too, students are made to contribute for the fest. Back in IIT Madras, we collect some funds from students by ticketing the star night,” says Aditya Bharadwaj, part of the organizing committee of Saarang, adding, “Crowdfunding will be the last option for us because Saarang is a student-oriented fest. And if ever one wishes to go for it, an upper limit of the amount to be collected from the public should be declared in advance.”

Udit Singh, media coordinator for Alcheringa, the annual cultural fest at IIT Guwahati, says that while they would never get the goahead from the institute to source funds from the public, he also emphasises the need for transparency if someone does opt for crowdfunding a fest. “The big question in my mind is the transparency – will the institute be able to maintain that in the usage of the funds?” he asks.

Source : Times of India

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