It takes a lot of work to maintain fur, teeth, paws and whiskers. The University of Northern Iowa’s favorite cats, TC and TK, were in desperate need of help after volunteering for more than 2,000 hours in 2014.
To fund the costs that go into maintaining the condition and appearance of the mascots from head to paw, Team TC and TK turned to the UNI Foundation’s crowdfunding platform, PAWprint.
TK and TC
“The cost of keeping the Panthers from falling apart was more than the program has in its budget, and it is difficult to find additional funding,” said Sarah Crim, a graduate assistant at the University of Northern Iowa Alumni Association. “The program is so important to the university that we needed to do something, but we did not have any viable options until the PAWprint platform was introduced.”
Seven Team TC and TK security members organized a 30-day crowdfunding campaign. The effort centered on social media, numerous emails and a series of videos that shared TC and TK’s antics. In addition, the team handed out business cards at events the mascots attended and TC and TK wore Band-Aids to represent their need for maintenance.
“Crowdfunding gave us access to individuals we would have never imagined would be interested in contributing to the program,” Crim said. “We reached thousands of people every time we posted something new on Facebook or Twitter.”
The project exceeded its goal of $7,500, raising $7,645 from 170 donors. The effort also received non-monetary gifts such as bottled water and air fresheners. The funds will significantly help the program keep TC and TK in top shape so the mascots can continue to spread Panther pride throughout campus, the community and the state of Iowa.
“The most important part of this process was being able to share with the UNI community that the mascot program is not thoroughly funded by the university,” said Crim. “Being able to inform alumni and friends about our financial situation was just as important as raising the money to help this situation.”
Without PAWprint it would take Team TC and TK a few years to raise over $7,500, as they only receive funding from event appearances and semi-annual Breakfasts with TC and TK.
“It took a lot of work, but we were able to easily raise money for the program,” Crim said. “The platform was easy to use.”
PAWprint is a fundraising option that is available to any UNI student organization. If you are interested in learning more about how crowdfunding can help a student organization you are involved with, please visit uni-foundation/pawprint.