Lauren Fussner stands beside a poster describing her research on adolescent depression, sensitivity to social feedback, and social functioning.

Project takes flight on HawksNest

Lauren Fussner and another person sit at a table reviewing paper documents and consulting a laptop.
Lauren Fussner, left, is lead investigator of the first project successfully funded through HawksNest, a new crowdfunding platform at Miami University.

Lauren Fussner, a graduate student in clinical psychology at Miami University, is lead investigator on the first project successfully funded through Miami’s new crowdfunding site, HawksNest.

Fussner says she was excited about using HawksNest to raise funds for her project because she had previously had difficulty obtaining funds from national funding sources to support her project. HawksNest allowed her reach people who had a personal interest in her project, which seeks to identify shared or common risk factors contributing to depression and eating disorders in adolescent females.

“Instead of competing broadly, on a larger scale, I was able to network through my personal contacts, as well as reach out to individuals who may have a personal interest in helping teens with depression and eating disorders,” Fussner says.

Crowdfunding allows researchers who, like Fussner, are conducting meaningful research and have a compelling story to tell, to raise funds by leveraging personal networks. This requires both initial generation of excitement about the project, as well as continuous promotion throughout the campaign (learn more here).

Fussner posted information about her project on her personal Facebook account and encouraged others in her lab to do the same. She also used contacts from her Notre Dame undergraduate Facebook alumni group and clinical psychology alumni group to help spread the word about her project.

Fussner further attributes her fundraising success to setting a realistic, attainable goal.

“With a modest goal of just over $500, we were able to raise our funds quickly. After the first donation was made, others quickly followed,” she says.

HawksNest was created to help Miami University students, faculty, and staff engage the Miami community to help fund student-centered projects.

Written by Tricia Callahan, Director for Proposal Development, Office for the Advancement of Research & Scholarship, Miami University.

Images courtesy of Lauren Fussner.

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