About #CATSGiveBack

What is Catalyzer?

Northwestern’s Catalyzer (catalyzer.northwestern.edu) is a crowdfunding platform that enables student organizations, alumni groups, and departments on campus to raise money for meaningful projects that make an impact—socially, culturally, and globally. With Catalyzer, we invite you to connect your passion to meaningful Northwestern causes. Your generosity will ensure these worthy projects spark transformative change. 

What is Giving Tuesday and #CATSGiveBack?

#GivingTuesday is a global day of philanthropy on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The University’s dedicated campaign is called #CATSGiveBack, and on this day the Northwestern community comes together to support a variety of meaningful University causes.

Last year’s #CATSGiveBack effort demonstrated the incredible generosity and dedication of our alumni, parents, and friends. Northwestern raised over $535,000 from more than 1,900 donors, with gifts earmarked for hundreds of areas across the University—all in just one day. Donations to Catalyzer projects will count toward the final tally for this year’s #CATSGiveBack fundraising drive.

How does the Catalyzer/#CATSGiveBack partnership work?

Typically, Catalyzer fundraising campaigns run for four weeks. During the #CATSGiveBack/Giving Tuesday campaign, the campaigns will be live for only 24 hours. Students have developed these fundraising projects through which they hope to raise anywhere from $500 to $5,000 (or more). Projects can include any tangible goal—for example new equipment, or funding for a new program or speaker.

>> For Student Groups Interested in Applying

How do I know if a #CATSGiveBack Catalyzer campaign is a good option to fund my project?

A #CATSGiveBack Catalyzer campaign is best for projects that need $500-$5,000 in funding for a Northwestern-related project, event, or initiative. Catalyzer projects have specific, tangible goals that benefit the broader Northwestern community, further the mission of the University, and feature an educational component.

Catalyzer projects looking to buy new equipment or supplies for a team or club must be run in collaboration with a University department. Additionally, funds raised through Catalyzer cannot be redirected to outside charitable organizations per Northwestern gift acceptance policies. 

To be eligible to participate, student groups must have a Student Organization Finance Office (SOFO) account or gift account; be an organization in good standing with the Office of Student Affairs; be at least one year old and listed on Wildcat Connection; and have the support of their advisor before applying. 

What is the time commitment of pursuing a #CATSGiveBack Catalyzer project?

Running a successful crowdfunding campaign is a lot of work! It takes active commitment from the project team throughout the main phases of a crowdfunding campaign. Before the start of Catalyzer campaign, at least two project leaders are required to attend a Catalyzer platform training. The project team is then responsible for producing project page content and campaign materials, including emails, project updates, videos, and social media posts. During the campaign, be prepared to communicate regularly with personal networks and contributors during a 7 day quiet phase fundraising period and throughout the big day on Giving Tuesday. 

How many people from a student group need to be involved in the project?

You should plan on having at least 2-3 project leaders, 3-5 project champions, and as many ambassadors as possible. Multiple campaigners generating enthusiasm, connecting with diverse constituencies, and sharing their passions will result in a much higher level of success than a lone campaigner reaching out to their limited audience. 

Project Champions assist project leaders with content creation and donor outreach. These people are committed volunteers invested in their student group's crowdfunding success. Ambassadors are additional group members or volunteers willing to share the project with their personal networks. 

When does the student group receive the funds raised through Catalyzer?

Once a Catalyzer campaign is finished, all gifts will be entered into the accounting system by our office. Our office will then work with the Student Organization Finance Office (SOFO) to transfer funds to your SOFO account. This process takes about two to three months after a campaign officially ends.

Interested in applying to participate in #CATSGiveBack? Apply here.

For questions regarding a potential #CATSGiveBack project, please email NUFundraising@northwestern.edu

Reunion Initiatives FAQ

Is my donation tax deductible?

Yes. You will receive a receipt for your donation. If you select a contribution level that has a thank you gift, the cash value of the gift will be deducted from the total amount of the contribution.

Does my entire donation to Catalyzer benefit the student, alumni, or department group?

Yes; 100 percent of gifts made through Catalyzer directly support the designated student, alumni, or department project, whether or not the project reaches its fundraising goal.

Will my gift to a Catalyzer project during the #CATSGiveBack campaign on November 28 qualify me for matching challenges and giveaway offers on that day?

Absolutely! Your gift will automatically be considered for these special initiatives during #CATSGiveBack.

Does my gift count toward the campaign and/or my reunion class gift?

Your gift will count toward We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern and, if you are in a 2017 Reunion class, you will receive credit toward your class gift.

When will my credit card be charged?

Your credit card will be charged immediately.

What if I have other questions about my contribution?

Please get in touch by calling toll-free 800.222.5603 or emailing giving@northwestern.edu. We’re here to help. 

Our Crowdfunding Groups