WHEN 18-year-old Kiana Neisig added up her expenses for college, she found herself short of funds, even after receiving grants and student loans. So in June, a friend set up a profile for her on a crowdfunding website to help her seek donations of roughly $2,000.
Ms. Neisig soon received 14 donations totaling $1,350, including a $500 gift from an anonymous donor. She has now started classes at George Fox University, a small college in Newberg, Ore., where yearly tuition and fees are more than $31,000. She plans to use the money to help cover living expenses next semester. The website made it easier to seek help, she said. “Personally, it would be difficult for me to approach even friends and close family and ask for money,” she said, adding that she was “honored” by the support she received.
The site she used, GoFundMe, is one of many crowdfunding sites that use the power of social media to raise money for a variety of purposes. But while sites like Kickstarter are geared toward funding creative projects and entrepreneurs, GoFundMe and other sites, like Crowdrise, let individuals pursue personal fund-raising. You create a profile, including a photo and an explanation of what you’re seeking the money for, and then spread the word on networks like Facebook and Twitter. <Read more.>