Crowd-sourcing is the new hot thing these days. From companies like Kickstarter, where anyone can help fund the projects most dear to them; to AirBnB, which allows its members to rent room/houses and run their own BnB; and new additions like Sidecar, which hopes to offer a better system of ride-sharing; there are a lot of new ways for people to interact with their community in mutually beneficial ways. It is the 21st century and people are more connected then they have ever been in the past, as such there are exciting new ways to interact with your friends/family/online acquaintances/everything in between. Today I am going to talk about one such way – crowd sourced fund raising, and highlight a couple web services that enable you to do just that.
Think of crowd sourced fund raising as a combination between a gift registry and an online donation box. It enables people to set up web pages for their particular cause/want/need or whatever and easily take donations from people. Some of the advantages of these sites are that they enable you to take payments from credit cards or Paypal, allow easy distribution of your donation page through your existing social network, and perhaps best of all, they take away most of the awkwardness that often comes from asking others for money ;)
Here are three of the services out there right now:
This is another popular crowd funding site. It offers the advantage of taking a variety of different currencies and using Paypal for all its transactions. They offer functionality for fun things such as rewards for donating above certain amounts (totally optional), various social media integration, and allow all types of fundraisers. They charge 4% of the total amount, plus PayPal fees of about 3% +$0.30 per transaction; which is right in the same range as the other services I have listed here. In addition, they return all the money raised for your fundraiser.
This site is more of a traditional fund raising site. It is one of the more popular fund raising sites and they state you can be up and accepting donations within 10 minutes. The process is simple: you create your page with a goal and description then send out the link to your friends and family. You can withdraw money from your fundraiser early, but they stipulate that you must leave at least $500 in your account until the fundraiser is closed. The service charges 7% (unclear if the donor, or receiver pays it) and you can access your funds wither through PayPal or personal check.
This site is leaning more towards the gift registry side, but all donations are in the form of cash (made with credit card). You create a custom page for yourself and you have the option of creating a registry with items with individual prices to better clarify what the money is going to be used for. People can then select one or more items and then “pay” for them with their gift or just give any amount they feel comfortable with. You can add more event specific information to your page like, and the site offers areas where you can take comments, a la a guestbook. The service costs 7.5% (4% for the service and 3.5% for credit card processing) of the total gift amount, and you can either set it to collect the amount from the giver or deduct it from the amount given. You can use the money anyway you please and they offer the convenience of ACH transfer directly to a bank account or paper checks when it comes to withdrawing your money.
Crowd funding can be a great tool for raising funds for your cause, be it for your infertility treatment, or any other medical treatment. It allows you to leverage your social networks to help you raise the money you need for your cause. Unfortunately, infertility is often a very sensitive subject and many do not want others to know of their troubles. Would you want your friends and family to know about your medical troubles? Let us know in the comments.