Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is Superior Ideas?

Superior Ideas is an entity of Michigan Technological University that helps bring university research and public service projects to life. By harnessing the power of crowdfunding, we can raise funds for small, high-quality university research projects that are not normally suited for grant funding. Funding is raised through many small donations, with social media and word-of-mouth spreading the news of exciting projects.

How does funding work?

Superior Ideas functions based on a fairly new concept: crowdfunding. This process lets us fund projects by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people using the Internet and social media. The name comes from a recent federal law—Capital Raising Online While Deterring Fraud and Unethical Non-Disclosure Act of 2012—or the "CROWDFUND Act." The act was drafted to authorize raising capital online for business start-ups. Through Superior Ideas, you can make donations to causes and ventures you believe in, furthering the work of innovative university scientists and researchers.

Where is Superior Ideas located?

Superior Ideas is based in Houghton, Mich., and is affiliated with Michigan Technological University.

Why donate through Superior Ideas?

People donate to initiatives that are most important to them. Through their donations, donors are giving someone else the chance to make a change, a discovery, or a breakthrough in their research.

Who can post projects on Superior Ideas?

Researchers from any higher-education institution may submit their university-run research projects for posting on Superior Ideas. Both Superior Ideas and the researcher's home university will then approve the project before posting it on the site.

Who can donate to projects?

Superior Ideas is open to anyone over 18 years of age, from any region of the world, who wants to support university researchers and their projects.

Is Superior Ideas a nonprofit organization?

Yes, it is. Superior Ideas, acting on Michigan Tech's behalf, is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

How much does Superior Ideas cost?

It is free to join and donate to Superior Ideas.

For researchers who post their projects on Superior Ideas, a 7.5-percent administrative fee will be charged against the total amount of raised funds.

What if my question isn't answered here?

Please feel free to contact us with additional questions or comments.


Donations and Payments

Is my donation tax deductible?

Yes, it is. Donations to Superior Ideas are fully deductible on your federal tax return if you itemize (subject to limitations based on percentage of taxable income).

Who processes payments?

Superior Ideas uses an automatic payment process set up by Michigan Tech.

What type of payment is accepted?

All major credit cards and checks are accepted. Checks may be mailed to:

Superior Ideas
c/o Michigan Tech Fund
Lakeshore Center, 200A
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931-1295

When mailing a check, please include the project name on the check's memo line, and make the check payable to the Michigan Tech Fund.

What is Superior Ideas's Employer Identification Number for corporate matching?

Donations made through Superior Ideas are processed by the Michigan Tech Fund. The Michigan Tech Fund's EIN is 381554664, which can be used for corporate matching programs.

What will show up on my credit card or bank statement?

Michigan Tech Fund.

When will my card be charged?

Your credit card will be charged within 24 hours of making your donation.

Does my small donation matter?

Yes! Large or small, every donation matters. Superior Ideas is deigned to maximize the impact of many smaller donations. Five or ten dollars multiplied makes a big impact.

How will I know my gift will be used for the stated purpose?

Before being posted on Superior Ideas, every project is approved by the Superior Ideas team. It is important to Superior Ideas that each and every donation be used for the purpose communicated by the donor. The designation of cash- and security-based donation is confirmed on the official tax receipt issued to the donor.

Where will my receipt be sent?

Your receipt will be sent to the email address you provide during the donation process.

Where will rewards be sent?

Rewards will be sent to the address you provide during the donation process.

How long will it take for me to receive my reward?

Please allow up to two weeks after the project end date for your rewards to arrive.

Who do I contact if I have a question about my contribution?

If you have additional questions, please contact us.



How do you select projects?

The Superior Ideas staff selects projects that suit our mission: supporting research, innovation, and creative work that promotes sustainable economic and social development.

Who owns the rights to the project?

The researcher/project owner retains 100 percent ownership of his or her work.

Have these projects already been funded through grants?

Most projects on Superior Ideas are not eligible for traditional grant funding through organizations like the National Science Foundation or National Institutes of Health.

Projects on Superior Ideas may be pilot studies or exploratory efforts that, if successful, may be expanded into a grant-funded project. Superior Ideas also aims to find additional funding for projects that are currently being conducted. We frequently pick projects because they:

  • are looking for additional funding to complete a segment of their project that is not covered by grant or contract; or
  • continue the initial studies after grants or contracts have expired.

Is there a limit on the funding goal?

We recommend limiting your funding goal to $10,000. If you set your goal too high, you will likely find difficulty in achieving your goal. For projects that seem to merit a high funding goal, Superior Ideas suggests splitting it into smaller sections—and running more than one project on Superior Ideas. Projects with smaller, more specific, and more easily achieved goals often see more success than projects with a larger scope. Please keep in mind that only one project may be listed per researcher at any given time.

Can I change my funding goal or rewards?

No. Once a project has been approved and appears on Superior Ideas, you may not change the project details.

Can I change my project description?

Yes. Small changes to the scope or goal of the project are permitted, given the spirit of the project remains intact. Superior Ideas will determine if a proposed change is eligible for submission. The researcher must notify donors who have already made a donation when this type of change is made.

Is there a limit on the number of projects I may have on the site?

Yes. Each researcher may only have one project listed on the site at any given time.

Is there a limit on the project time period?

Yes. Projects can be listed on our site for 15 to 90 days. We recommend choosing a project time in the middle. Too short can hamper your ability to raise funds, and too long can let project interest fizzle out.

Who do I contact if I am interested in featuring my project on Superior Ideas?

Please contact us for more information about partnering with Superior Ideas.

Gifts to projects listed on SUPERIORIDEAS.ORG are received and processed by Michigan Tech Fund. Michigan Tech Fund is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code acting on behalf of Michigan Technological University. It is the policy of Michigan Tech Fund that a portion of the gifts and/or income therefrom may be used to defray the costs of raising and administering the funds.