FAQs

1.  What is crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is a way to raise funds to get an idea off the ground.  However, instead of finding wealthy investors who require risk reduction plans, market analysis and revenue forecasts,  a crowdsource funding drive enlists backers at modest financial commitments between $5 – $500.  The fundraising drive is usually very focused in scope.  For example, the goal of the drive might be a limited fabrication run for your product idea, or to stage an art installation or event, or publish your app.

2.  How does the SparkPlug fit into crowdsourcing?

The vision for the SparkPlug is to seed great ideas from Penn State students with the resouces to mount a successful campaign on one of the many crowdsource platforms, ten of which are listed in #5 below.

3.  How much money can I raise?

Sky is the limit!  Some groups have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.  A typical successful group raises between $5,000 and $20,000.

4.  How long does the fundraising drive last on sites like Kickstarter?

The funding drive lasts a short time, usually between a month and two.  If you meet or exceed your target after the close of the campaign, your team will receive your backers’ money right away.

5.  Is the SparkPlug@PSU a crowdsourcing platform?

No, SparkPlug@PSU is chartered to give students a grant to enable them to mount a serious crowdsourcing effort using one of the established crowdsourcing platforms.

6.  Where can I learn more about crowdsourcing?

Here’s a link to descriptions of 10 crowdsourcing platforms.  Each one of these has a FAQ and some ideas of how to be successful on their platform.

7.  Who is eligible for SparkPlug@PSU funding?

Any group that has at least two PSU students as principal members is eligible.  Groups are evaluated on the creativity and novelty of their idea, potential for funding success and the impact that the idea could have on our world.

8.  Where do I apply for SparkPlug@PSU funding?

Fill out the application right here!

9.  Who is in charge of SparkPlug@PSU and where does the money come from?

The money that SparkPlug@PSU will award to student groups comes from a grant by the PSU Center for Research in Design and Innovation (CRDi).  The SparkPlug@PSU was conceived and is managed by an interdisciplinary group comprised of Sam Hunter, James Kalsbeek, Liz Kisenwether, Diane Parente and Matt Poese.

10.  How can I get a hold of someone at SparkPlug?

For more questions, please drop us a line at info@thesparkplug.net.

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