ProjectWHOI: How it Works

How it works

What is Project WHOI?

ProjectWHOI is a crowdfunding platform to support ocean science and engineering at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). WHOI employees/students can raise funds for small projects or to bridge funding gaps for larger projects, all while raising public awareness about research and development at WHOI.

Q. How does ProjectWHOI define a project?
A. It is a limited-duration crowdfunding campaign managed by an employee/student of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. A "project" may also be referred to as a "campaign."

Q. How do I participate?
A. If you are a WHOI employee/student and you have a project for which you would like to fundraise, click on the "Create a New Project" button on the home page to access an application.

Q. If you are a member of the public, there are two ways to get involved in the work you see on ProjectWHOI:
A1. To donate to an existing project or team member's campaign, scroll down the ProjectWHOI home page to find a project that interests you. Click the "Find a project" button.
A2. To fundraise for a project, click the "Fundraise for a project" button on the homepage. Follow the instructions to develop your own personal page where you can ask your friends and family to donate or fundraise on your behalf (or both!).

Q. Is my donation tax deductible?
A. Yes. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.

Q. What if the project I give to does not reach its goal?
A. All funds raised will go to the project manager, and will be used for research or other work related to the original crowdfunding project.

Q. If I donate to a project, will I be solicited for future donations from WHOI?
A. Yes. As a WHOI supporter, we want to keep you updated about the innovative research and engineering that happens every day at WHOI. You will be included in our monthly e-newsletter, periodic emails and occasional solicitations. You may opt out whenever you wish.

Q. What if I'd like my donation to be anonymous?
A. We will honor your request to remain anonymous and we will not include your name in our annual donor report. However, you will still be solicited for future donations, and you will receive our monthly email newsletter. You may opt out of these communications whenever you wish.

Q. Are there other ways to give?
A. Yes. You may give stocks, real estate, make a planned gift, etc.

Project manager tool kit

ProjectWHOI is open to all employees and/or students at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Need funding for a small project, or have a gap in funding for a larger project? Apply to crowdfund on ProjectWHOI.

ProjectWHOI project managers:

Q. What is a project manager?
A. The WHOI employee/student who creates and oversees a fundraising campaign on ProjectWHOI from start to finish is called the project manager, and his/her work will benefit from the money raised through crowdfunding.

Q. How do I get a crowdfunding project on ProjectWHOI?
A. You must be a WHOI employee/student. That means any scientist, engineer, postdoc, student, or member of the administrative staff is eligible to apply.

  • Your project idea, crowdfunding goal (between $1,000 and $20,000) and proposed campaign length (30 or 60 days) must be approved by the Executive Vice President and Director of Research. To get approval, fill out an application by selecting Create a Project on the main page.

Q. How often can I apply for a crowdfunding campaign on ProjectWHOI?
A. We will accept applications on a quarterly basis. Project managers will have a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 60 days to run a campaign (once it is approved by the Executive Vice President and Director of Research). Each project manager may only have one active project per quarter and the project must start and end within the same quarter.

  • If you apply with less than 30 days left in the quarter, if approved, your campaign will start at the beginning of the next quarter.
  • Projects that are denied may be revised and resubmitted in a subsequent quarter.

Q. What should I consider when setting my fundraising goal?
A. Plan your goal based on the amount of funds you need to complete your project. All fundraisers must agree to set a goal between the ProjectWHOI minimum of $1,000 and maximum of $20,000. It may help to make a list of the materials, resources, and expenses needed to complete your project and the estimated costs for each item. Also consider what you can reasonably raise in 30 or 60 days. Once you launch your project, you cannot change your goal or the project duration.

Q. Why are project lengths limited to 30 or 60 days on ProjectWHOI?
A. Research shows crowdfunding campaigns that run for 30 days have a higher success rate than longer campaigns. If you feel your crowdfunding campaign needs 60 days, you have the option of selecting a 60 day goal as long as the project ends by the end of the quarter.

Q. Can a project exceed its goal?
A. Yes, projects remain live on ProjectWHOI until the campaign deadline of either 30 or 60 days, so it is possible that a project will surpass the initial goal. In this case, the project manager will receive all the funds designated for the project.

Q. What happens if I hit my goal early?
A. If you hit your goal early in your campaign period, you may want to set a stretch goal to allow yourself room to "stretch" beyond your initial goal. First, make sure to thank all the donors who helped you reach the initial goal. Consider how you will accomplish your stretch goal, how you will announce the stretch goal, and how you will reassure donors you are honoring your original intentions. This is not a "new' goal and shouldn't be considered as such since it may diminish the achievement you reached with your initial donors. If you decide to announce a stretch goal, take time to explain your motivation and your plans for additional funds on your project page.

Q. Can I have more than one project per quarter?
A. No. Due to system limitations, a project manager can only have one active project per quarter on ProjectWHOI.

Q. How do I fundraise?
A. Once your project is approved, and your project page is set up on ProjectWHOI. You can customize the look and feel of the page with a photo or video explaining your project and why you are crowdfunding. (You can make your own video or seek the help of the WHOI Graphics team).Use the ProjectWHOI Participant Center to send emails to your friends, family, and colleagues asking them to donate.

  • We also recommend using your social media networks to let people know what you’re up to and that you need support.
  • You may want to work with press to advance your campaign.

Q. Can others help me fundraise?
A. Yes. You can ask your friends, family, and colleagues to create individual team member pages to fundraise on your behalf. In fact, the crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo, says campaigns with more than one fundraiser can raise as much as 94% more than a campaign run by one person.

  • For details, read the FAQs for team members.

Q. Can I promote my project through WHOI social media channels?
A. No. In the interest of fairness, and to prevent WHOI social media from being dominated by donation requests, the Institution will not promote individual projects via its social media channels. WHOI will, however, promote ProjectWHOI at appropriate times (e.g., the beginning and end of fundraising cycles) to make the public aware the opportunity to become involved in research via the platform.

Q. What if I don't reach my goal?
A. As project manager, you will receive all funds raised at the end of the campaign even if you don't reach your financial goal.

Q. How much time should I commit to my crowdfunding campaign?
A. That depends on you. Studies show that the more time you spend creating a personal page, crafting a compelling crowdfunding case around a very specific need and message, and communicating with as many people as possible about your project, the better your chances are of reaching your goal. In fact, the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo says that project managers who communicate with their networks at least three times during a campaign raise an average of 239% more than those who don't.

Q. Is it hard to reach my goal?
A. Crowdfunding takes time and effort. Use our checklist and participate in training to prepare yourself to reach, and hopefully exceed, your goal. We also recommend looking at what others have done on ProjectWHOI and on other crowdfunding sites for ideas and inspiration.

Q. What do I do with cash or checks?
A. Although we highly recommend you encourage your donors to give through the ProjectWHOI website, we understand some donations may come to directly you. If a donor insists on giving you a check, have that person write the check out to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The donor should indicate the name of your project in the memo line. Please download the check form in the Other Resources section and mail it with the check to ProjectWHOI, Kelly Westerhouse, Development MS#40, 183 Oyster Pond Road, Woods Hole, MA 02543. This form will ensure that the donation will be credited to the proper project.

Q. When will I receive the funds?
A. When the project is complete, the funds will be deposited into your WHOI cost center within 14 business days.

Additional Resources

For the public

Cutting edge science wouldn't be possible at WHOI without your support. You can donate to a project on ProjectWHOI, or you can apply to fundraise on behalf of a project.

ProjectWHOI Team Members:

Q. I'm not a WHOI employee. Can I have a project on ProjectWHOI?
A. You can fundraise on behalf of an existing project as a team member. Here's how:

  • Pick a project you'd like to support.
  • Register on ProjectWHOI; you'll hear back from us in 24-48 hours with your login information.
  • Create your own team member page and choose your fundraising goal. Be sure to keep your goals realistic to ensure your campaign is successful for both you and your donors. Your goal cannot be larger than the team goal for the project you select.
  • Add your photo and content, then you're ready to start fundraising!

Q. What is the deadline to reach my fundraising goal?
A. The deadline depends on the project for which you are fundraising. ProjectWHOI campaigns run for 30 or 60 days. If you choose to fundraise for a project that only has 15 days left, your campaign will last a maximum of 15 days.

Q. Is it hard to reach my goal?
A. Crowdfunding takes time and effort. Use our project manager checklist as a reference to help reach your goal. We also recommend looking at what others have done on ProjectWHOI and on other crowdfunding sites for ideas and inspiration.

Q. How much time should I commit to my crowdfunding campaign?
A. Studies show that the more time you spend creating a personal page, crafting a compelling crowdfunding case, and communicating with others about your project, the better your chances are of reaching your goal. In fact, the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo says that project managers who communicate with their networks at least three times during a campaign raise an average of 239% more than those who don't.

Q. What happens if the project for which I am fundraising does not reach its goal?
A. ProjectWHOI is not like other crowdfunding platforms—the project manager keeps all funds raised during the campaign, even if it does not reach the fundraising goal. The money will be directed to the project manager for similar work.

Q. What happens if I don't reach my crowdfunding goal on my team member page?
A. The project manager can still keep the money you raised even if you don't reach your financial goal. Be sure to keep your crowdfunding goals realistic to ensure your campaign is successful for you and your donors.

Q. What if I receive cash or checks?
A. Although we highly recommend you encourage your donors to give through the ProjectWHOI website, we understand some donations may come to directly you. If a donor insists on giving you a check, have that person write the check out to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and indicate the name of the project in the memo line. Please download the check form in the Other Resources section and mail it with the check to ProjectWHOI, Kelly Westerhouse, Development MS#40, 183 Oyster Pond Road, Woods Hole, MA 02543. This form will ensure that the donation will be credited to the proper project.

Resources

Tools to help ensure a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Video production by WHOI Graphic Services

WHOI Graphic Services can design and produce a video tailored to any of your needs, including videos for ProjectWHOI. Graphics staff can help you refine your message and create a package that resonates with the public, from on-camera interviews, to creating compelling graphics, to shooting and editing video of your field or lab work.

WHOI Graphics fee: $85/hr. Typical video will take 3-6 hours; maximum cost is $850.

Example video produced by Graphics

Example video produced on a mobile device

Additional Resources

Contact us:

General Inquiries:
project@whoi.edu

Information:
Kelly Westerhouse, Director of Annual Giving and ProjectWHOI
kwesterhouse@whoi.edu
508.289.3313

Technical Support:
Ron Timm, System Support Specialist
rtimm@whoi.edu
508.289.2392