You’ve heard the stories and seen the headlines: Thanks to the magic of the internet and the kindness of strangers, it is possible to raise thousands of dollars through crowdfunding. By sharing your story on a crowdfunding website, you may be able to pay off your student loans – and maybe even have a few.
The reality, however, is that most crowdfunders won’t have a successful campaign. According to an Art of the Kickstart preview, only 18.78% of campaigns were fully funded in 2016.
That doesn’t mean it’s hopeless. With the right approach and the right platform, you can increase the chances of getting help paying off your student loans. Here are four crowdfunding sites to consider for your campaign, along with tips to maximize your chances of success.
GoFundMe is the largest personal crowdfunding site. There are no deadlines or goal requirements with GoFundMe, and you keep any donations you receive. Without a penalty for missing your goal, the funds you receive can be used to pay off your student loan.
The platform claims to be # 1 in fundraising for tuition fees. In fact, according to USA Today, GoFundMe users have received $ 60 million for college-related expenses since the platform’s launch. A search of tuition-related efforts reveals several small dollar campaigns that have achieved or are approaching their goals.
Costs: For personal campaigns, the platform doesn’t take a discount, but it does charge 2.9% for a processing fee, as well as a fee of $ 0.30 per transaction.
YouCaring said it has raised more than $ 500 million on behalf of crowdfunders since its inception. It is possible to have daily access to your funds, so you can allocate money to your student loans as you go. The duration of fundraisers is limited to 120 days, but you can organize as many as you want.
YouCaring was acquired by GoFundMe a few months ago and is now part of that family. However, as of this writing, you can still host a fundraiser through YouCaring separately from GoFundMe.
Costs: The only fees are a payment processor cost of 2.9% plus $ 0.30 per transaction.
While it is possible to run a campaign if you are in the United States, this platform has a large number of non-U.S. Fundraisers for tuition and student loans. The dollar amounts are also relatively small. If you have a Stripe account, you can choose to use it to receive donations instead of PayPal.
On top of that, you can offer bonuses to your donors, like offering to cook dinner for those who donate (and are willing to come to your house) at a certain level. Another bonus might be to offer to send a success journal chronicling your academic endeavors so they can see that you are using the money wisely.
Costs: GoGetFunding charges 4% plus a 2.9% processing fee, which makes it slightly cheaper than GoFundMe. You’ll also pay $ 0.25 or $ 0.30 per transaction, depending on which processor you’re using.
What it looks like, LoanGifting is designed to pay off student loan debt. However, recipients don’t just take the money and (potentially) party with it. LoanGifting connects to your student loan account and the payments go directly to reducing your student loan debt. LoanGifting says that a gift of $ 100 to a beneficiary translates into a benefit of $ 300 over a 13-year loan term.
Costs: There is a 3 percent fee charged by LoanGifting, plus a 2.9 percent payment processing fee. There is also a fee of $ 0.30 per transaction.
Increase your chances of success in student loan crowdfunding
According to the Pew Research Center, only 22% of American adults have contributed to a crowdfunding campaign. If you want to get the most out of your campaign and collect as many donations as possible, it helps to take the right approach.
Public health consultant and blogger Lisa Ferland has successfully raised funds on more than one platform, and she has some tips for newbies looking to finance their student loans.
- Turn to family and friends: Start with your network. Ask them to share on social media, even if they don’t donate.
- Provide positive rotation: Find a positive and creative name for your campaign. It should go beyond “Find Me Through College, please”.
- Offer cool rewards: Rewards don’t have to be expensive. Consider sending an electronic journal to show supporters that you are responsible. You can also offer a reward based on your specialty, such as artwork from art students or free tax preparation from accounting students.
- Make it shareable: When it’s interesting, fun, and creative, more people will want to share your campaign. The more eyeballs you have, the better your chances of success.
Once you’ve chosen your fundraising platform, it’s time to set up your campaign and get started. Put in the effort and reach out to your network, and you might be surprised at your level of success.