How to crowdfund your degree
If you don’t have the cash needed to study for your dream degree, why not try crowdfunding? It might sound pretty daunting, but plenty of students have done it before. Here’s how…
If you’re struggling to cover the cost of university, crowdfunding probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind.
It’s certainly not the easiest way to make money, and it won’t suit everyone. But, if you’re good at marketing yourself online, and you’ve got a great story to tell, crowdfunding for your studies could be ideal.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about crowdfunding your degree.
What is crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is basically relying on the generosity of others (family, friends, academics, and strangers alike) to donate towards a cause – in this case, the costs of your degree.
You set up an online crowdfunding page (these are the best sites to use) and promote it to the public, the press, and the internet at large. This is all done in the hope that generous people will contribute to your financial goal.
Use your fundraising page to tell the world your story and explain why you’re asking for donations. You’ll also have to set a financial target that matches the cost of your degree, and be honest!
Don’t set your target at £20,000 if you’re applying for a master’s course that costs £10,000 unless you make clear why you need the extra cash. Otherwise, anyone can just Google your course and see how much it costs.
Pros and cons of crowdfunding your degree
Pros of starting a crowdfunding campaign
- Publicity – You could potentially receive great coverage for your crowdfunding campaign. Getting your name out there is incredibly important to increase your chances of reaching your target.
- Debt-free money – If your crowdfunding is successful, you have the chance to leave uni free of debt.
- A rewarding experience – Working hard on your campaign and seeing your efforts (hopefully!) pay off will likely encourage you to work harder at uni knowing that people have put so much belief in you.
- Impressive CV content – Successful crowdfunding efforts show you’re committed and great at marketing.
Cons of crowdfunding
- Public criticism – You might get some stick from the general public after sharing your campaign on social media and in the press, particularly from those who have funded themselves (but you’ll find plenty of supporters too!).
- Donations could be refunded – If you don’t meet your target, your money might be sent back to donors (depending on which site you use). You also need to think of a backup plan if you don’t generate enough money.
- Potential pressure – You might feel expectations to perform well in your degree if your fees were covered by others.
7 top tips for crowdfunding success
Here’s how to maximize your chances of reaching your crowdfund target:
- Don’t make it all about you – Focus on how your research will benefit others as well as yourself.
- Start a blog – Writing a blog (or creating a YouTube channel) is a great way to tell your story in more detail. It will give potential donors a better picture of who you are and why you’re asking for their help. You can also use this to keep track of your target and remember to link to it from your fundraising page.
- Use your connections – Get in touch with anyone you know who might be able to help to fund your crowdfund campaign, and ask them to share the word as well. The more people who hear about your goal, the better your chances of success.
- Be controversial – Controversy is always a good way of getting attention online. But if you’re worried about ruffling feathers, at least try to approach your campaign creatively and stand out from the crowd.
- Promote your campaign – To reach your target, you’ll need to spend time reaching out on social media and other platforms. This includes contacting journalists online as well as individual potential donors.
- Be realistic with your crowdfunding target – If you set your target too high, you may risk losing it.
- Keep your donors updated – They’ll want to see how you get on with your studies and how you’ve put their money to good use!
The best crowdfunding websites for students
Planning to set up a crowdfunding campaign? These are the most commonly used sites for students crowdfunding their degrees:
Loads of students opt for GoFundMe as their crowdfunding platform. It’s more focused on individuals and their personal stories than projects.
This site would be a good choice if you have an interesting story to tell, such as about overcoming a particular struggle to get to university.
Just be aware that there is a transaction fee that will reduce your donations slightly. Check GoFundMe’s website to find out about their current fees.
Crowdfunder is a more creative and community-focused platform. So, it’s good for those interested in socially-conscious studies, environmental arts, and similar subjects.
They place an emphasis on fundraising campaigns for charities and personal causes. Make sure you focus your crowdfunding page on how you can help others, not just yourself.
Like GoFundMe, Crowdfunder charges fees. Have a look at their website to find out how much these currently are.