Other people’s money: benefiting from the kindness of strangers

Even when you take advantage of federal student loan programs and choose the repayment options that suit your budget needs, just having student loan debt can seem overwhelming. But, a growing number of your fellow borrowers are pursuing relief from that feeling through crowdfunding.

 

Because it never hurts to ask.

Crowdfunding uses online sites to gather small donations from “crowds” of people who support your cause. In this case, they are helping you pay for your education.

 

GoFundMe is among the more popular crowdfunding sites. It reports that education campaigns are its second most popular after those for medical expenses. The site reportedly saw 130,000 education campaigns initiated in the first eight months of 2015 that have already generated $20 million in donations.

 

Where does this money come from? Some of it may come from friends and family. Inviting people to visit your fundraising site is much less awkward than asking for money face to face. As for the money that is raised from total strangers, there are a lot of people who believe in the power of education…and perhaps they see chipping in for yours as a way of paying their own good fortune forward.

 

In addition to GoFundMe, here are some other sites worth checking out:

 

DreamFund

Generosity by Indiegogo

PYT Funds

PigIt

Plumfund

YouCaring

Zerobound

 

Campaign tips.  

Since how you ask for help often influences how much help you receive, here are five tips to help you improve your results:

 

  1. Investigate before you list. Make sure any platform you select aligns with your goals and is easy for donors to navigate. Most charge a fee (typically five percent) and may also assess a processing fee for each charged transaction. Try to minimize fees to maximize your donations.

 

  1. Tell a good story. View your campaign as an opportunity to share your aspirations—the difference you hope your education will make for you, your family and even society. Discussing why education is so important that you’ve gone into debt for it doesn’t just help potential donors understand why you deserve their support. It can also help you gain—or regain—the sense of passion that drove you to pursue your education in the first place.

 

  1. Don’t ask for it all. It’s unrealistic to think crowdfunding will help you cover all of your school expenses. You may find greater success periodically asking for smaller amounts that result in something more tangible. For instance, if you are still in school, try tying your initial campaign to a specific expense like summer school or the airfare that will allow you to study abroad. If you are already out of school, explain how having money for a few extra payments will allow you to send your child for dance lessons or perhaps let you buy a car so you can get to a better job.

 

  1. Communicate. When you do set up a campaign, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it with your friends and family and encourage them to spread the word, whether they are able to contribute or not. Then, keep communicating so those who’ve invested in you know their funds are hard at work, helping you reach your goals.

 

  1. Say thank you. It just makes everyone feel that much better about what you’ve accomplished together.

 

Whether crowdfunding puts a substantial dent in your outstanding debt or not, it reminds you that you aren’t in this alone. Even total strangers believe in what you are doing and support you. You should also know that we do, too. Our Certified Consumer Credit Counselors are here for you to ensure you are treated fairly and are in the right loan repayment programs for your circumstance. Click here to access their help now.

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