A little over a year ago, I stumbled across some interesting articles about students seeking college money from complete strangers, otherwise known as crowdfunding. I did a little research and published a short post about this phenomenon, but wasn’t completely sold on the idea. In fact, I even suggested that students focus their efforts elsewhere. Now, fifteen months later, I think I may have been a bit too hasty in my critique. Although I was right on the money about ScholarshipProz.com not living up to its promises (to date the site has brought in a meager $726), many students have found success on other websites. GoFundMe.com (highlighted in my original post) continues to help people raise amazing amounts of money in short periods of time, as does Microgiving.com (also featured). Here are some other fundraising sites that may be worth a look, too.
If you’re not heading off to college in the next year (or already there), you might want to look into Gradefund.com. It takes a common practice, rewarding students for good grades, and steps it up a notch. Instead getting paid by your parents, you now have the opportunity to recruit other family and friends, as well as business sponsors. Simply submit your transcript at the end of each semester, Gradefund.com will collect the payment, and you can log into your account to have it directly transferred to your PayPal account. FYI – the site is able to function free of charge thanks to angel funding, which is another form of, you guessed it, crowdfunding!
I really like Fundraise.com; the website is easy to navigate and you can do multiple things with it. You can even run multiple fundraisers at the same time. Best of all, there’s no cost to you for using it. The only fee associated with the site is a 4.5% fee and credit card processing costs that are charged to each donation processed through your page. If you dislike the idea of posting your picture and begging for money, this site will actually help you with creating fundraising events to help fund your college education. They have apps that cover everything from check-in to ticketing to collecting on-site donations. You are only limited by your creativity.
If you want to keep more of your money, you might want to check out YouCaring.com. The service does not charge you to use the site and does not collect any fees from donors. They also differ from several other services by transferring donations directly to you when they are received, not at the end of your campaign or when you have reached your goal. To date, they have helped over 39,000 people raise over $31 million.
Unlike other crowdfunding services that simply give you the platform to ask others for money, Angeldorm is also putting up their own funding to help students. Once you create a profile, you will be automatically eligible for an Angeldorm Scholarship, which is awarded based on your ability to achieve your academic goals, overcome adversity, and your willingness to give back to others through volunteer service. Another difference is that the funds you receive through donations will be sent directly to your college or university, even if you don’t reach your goal amount. Whatever donations you receive, you keep. If you haven't enrolled in college, the funds can be deposited into a 529 plan, instead.
Although these services give you plenty of tools to create dynamic donation pages and share your story across several social media platforms, posting your picture and few short words probably won't be enough to generate a significant amount of money. If you really want a shot at securing enough funding to help finance your college expenses, consider following these steps for creating a successful campaign.
Set a Clear Goal
Create a Theme
Showcase Your Talents
Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that you will raise a single dollar using any of these resources, but you definitely won't earn any money sitting around whining about your problems. It won’t hurt to give it a shot, and in the meantime, keep plugging away at your scholarship applications. With a little luck and a lot of determination, you’re bound to raise some money along the way.
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