This policy sets forth the Portland VA Research Foundation (PVARF) requirements for reviewing, approving, conducting, and reporting crowdfunding activities in order to address financial and legal implications and assure compliance with state and federal requirements. This policy applies to VA staff utilizing crowdfunding mechanisms to raise funds through the PVARF to support research studies approved by the R&D Committee.
- Crowdfunding Project: any category of crowdfunding activity initiated by a Portland VA staff to support research approved by the R&D committee.
- Crowdfunding: seeking to fund a project through the solicitation of donations (typically small dollar amounts) from large numbers of individuals carried out in an online environment.
- Crowdfunding Committee: a committee of four members including the following: the ACOS for Research, VAPORHCS , the Deputy ACOS for Research, VAPORHCS, the Executive Director, PVARF and the President, PVARF. The crowdfunding committee is responsible for approving campaign projects conducted through the PVARF.
- Resources refer to the use of the PVARF or VA logos, trademarks, brand, name, intellectual property, IT or computing resources (e.g. computers and Internet networks), research or laboratory resources, facilities, or email lists. This list is not exhaustive, and this definition is intended to be construed broadly to encompass any/all VA/PVARF resources used in any crowdfunding campaign/project.
- Third-party crowd-funding: Any crowdfunding vendor, service provider, website, or portal that is not owned, licensed, or operated by the PVARF.
- Use of crowdfunding to raise funds through the PVARF as described in this policy is subject to all Oregon laws and policies, and federal requirements. All funds raised by crowdfunding must be obligated according to PVARF policies and procedures.
- VA staff may only operate crowdfunding campaigns to receive charitable contributions to the PVARF. They are prohibited from making any promise of ownership interest to donors in the campaign. (See section below titled “Prohibited Promises to Donors”).
- VA/PVARF logos and trademarks may only be used in connection with crowdfunding campaigns that have received approval pursuant to this policy.
- Projects that use VA/PVARF resources, or affiliate themselves with VA/PVARF in any capacity, must receive prior institutional approval from the crowdfunding committee.
- All VA staff are required to disclose to the VA any discoveries or inventions made or developed in the conduct of research as part of their VA duties. Crowdfunding sites do not provide intellectual property protection; presenting your idea/proposal to the public could result in others using your research ideas before you can protect them with patents or other legal measures. If there is any possibility that your project might contain intellectual property, please contact the ACOS/R&D before submitting.
- The crowdfunding committee has selected and approved a third party crowdfunding vendor for your use. PIs wishing to use a different third party crowdfunding vendor must have their selection approved in advance by the crowdfunding committee.
- Any VA staff proposing a crowdfunding activity must submit to the crowdfunding committee a project plan that has been approved by the R&D committee as a new project. A VA PPQ must be attached. On the PPQ, in response to the request to list the source of funding, insert crowdfunding. Most grant funding sources, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the Public Health Service and the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation and the VA do not allow any scientific overlap between the project they fund and any other project funded by a separate source (e.g., via crowdfunding). You are responsible for ensuring that your crowdfunded project is outside the scope of your other funded research and complies with the terms of your grant or contract award.
- PVARF approval shall not be provided without a complete project plan and the Crowdfunding Committee may request additional information based on uniqueness of the campaign or project.
Prohibited Promises to Donors
VA staff may only operate crowdfunding campaigns to receive contributions given without the expectation of the donor receiving anything in return.
Final approval for a crowdfunding project must come from the crowdfunding committee and will be communicated in writing by the Executive