So You Wanna Raise Money, Huh?

A snap shot of my own campaign
A snap shot of my own campaign

 

Over the past month or so, I’ve received many questions about my campaign to get back into school, which I’ve written extensively about here and here. Also within the last month, I’ve seen plenty of other people create their own campaigns. Some people have did it the right way, and others… not so much, LOL.

But have no fear, I’ve got some tips for you.

First of all, I want you all to understand what exactly crowdfunding is. Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, usually via the internet. There are plenty of sites to pick for your crowdfunding needs, but the one I used was Go Fund Me. The good thing about Go Fund Me is that it’s super simple to use, you can connect it to your Facebook or Twitter account, and you have options of printing out flyers and adding offline donations (donations that are given to you in cash or by check). The only thing I didn’t like about Go Fund Me was that they take 7.9% of whatever you earn, so I advise people to adjust their goals accordingly.

Whether you choose to use Go Fund Me or another crowdfunding platform, here are 4 tips before you even start:

1. Make sure your story is clear and concise:

No one wants to read a long, fancy word filled book about why you’re trying to raise money. At the same time, no one wants to read something that comes off as brief and evasive. Be honest, but don’t give away too much unnecessary information. For example, if you’re trying to raise money to get your college degree, then leave out the part about your cat going blind in one eye… no one cares, unless your campaign is about raising money for the cat’s surgery. If you aren’t that good with words, I suggest enlisting the help of someone who is. Add pictures to your story if necessary, but above all else make sure your story is clear and easy to read. No one wants to click on a link and feel confused after reading it.

2. Tap into your network(s)

Without people, crowdfunding wouldn’t be where it is today. Everyone thinks that the key to crowdfunding is getting someone’s money, but I beg to differ. Sure, that’s a huge part of it, but it’s also important to reach out to the ones you know so that they in turn can reach out to people they know. For my own campaign, I sent out emails, told all my friends and family, and even printed out flyers to post around campus. Everyone won’t be able to donate money, but as long as you have good rapport with the ones you’re asking to donate, they will hopefully spread the word to someone who can.

3. Research the right platform to use

Everyone I’ve seen create a Go Fund Me simply did it just because they saw someone else do it. That’s fine, but make sure the platform you choose to crowd fund on is even the right one for you. For example, if you are looking to raise money for a film, then you may want to try Indiegogo or Kickstarter. If you’re looking to raise funds to create an after school program, then you may want to learn how to write a grant instead, or hire one. Always do your research and weigh the pros and cons of each site. Different sites have different fees and you want to make sure you’re not getting cheated out your money with limited options.

4. Be relentless in your promotion

As I said before, crowd funding is not for the faint hearted. Therefore, consistency is KEY. Use every medium you can to get your campaign noticed, even if you aren’t heavy on social media like that. I posted about my campaign on everything from my Facebook to my LinkedIn and I don’t regret one bit of it. People helped me promote every single day of my campaign, whether it was online or offline. A common mistake I’ve seen people make when it comes to crowd funding is that they think if they post about it once or twice that it’s supposed to catch on like wildfire and people are supposed to empty out their pockets.

How about NO!

Ask yourself how bad do you want to meet this goal and let that be the motivation to continuously promote. If people don’t know about it, they won’t be willing to help you, simply because you aren’t willing to help yourself.

Bonus Tip: Be Patient

Listen. Just because my own campaign took only 24 days to meet its goal doesn’t mean that the same will happen for you. You have to be patient when it comes to raising money and STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE. I’m about to get spiritual and tell you that what God has in store for you, is strictly for you. Too often, I’ve seen people give up on or delete their campaigns because they aren’t raising money quick enough or they feel discouraged that their campaign hasn’t gone viral. Just keep the faith that your goal will be met and put that extra work in to make sure you accomplish what you’ve set out for. Remember, faith without work is dead.

Have any more questions about crowdfunding? Leave them in the comments below!

Advertisements

To Sisterhood and Friendship: My Growth As A Woman

pic

I’m pretty sure that most of us have seen the above picture before and if you’re anything like me, I’m sure it made you smile as well.

There is nothing better than having a group of like-minded individuals around you that bring out the best in you. I’ll admit that I haven’t always thought like this, but I’ve grown.

And through my growth, I’ve learned a myriad of timeless lessons including:

Everyone ain’t yo friend
Even as an adult, my mother’s words prove to be true. Some people aren’t your friends. Some people are associates, some people are in your life to teach you things, and some people mean you absolutely no good. Something that separates the real from the fake for me is that I look at your character. Then I look at how you treat your other friends, specifically what you say about them when they aren’t around. I also look at how you treat someone you are no longer friends with. Is their business suddenly all over social media once the friendship ends? Lastly, I look at whether or not you are secure in yourself, or are you insecure and negative? If you don’t pass those few tests, then you don’t get the opportunity to get called my friend.

Just because you know someone, doesn’t mean you can grow with them
Some people are truly in your life only for a season, meant to teach you things. Sometimes, we think we will be friends with people forever, not realizing that you can’t grow with everybody. However, I don’t look at not being able to grow with someone as a bad thing, I look at it as a life thing. There are a few friends of mine that I once had that I don’t speak too often simply because our lives are not on the same page anymore. No longer being on the same page with someone doesn’t mean that you dislike them, it just means that you weren’t meant to grow with them.

Maybe it’s YOU
Everyone loves to talk about how people aren’t trustworthy and are bad friends, but no one ever likes to put the mirror on themselves. If you have this mentality that women can’t be trusted and you are constantly cutting your friends off left and right, then maybe it’s you. I’m a firm believer in that you get back what you put out in the world, so while you’re busy pointing the finger at other people for being the reason why your friendships end, just remember that there are three pointing back at you.

Everyone isn’t out to get you
For a long time, I struggled with figuring out who my real friends were, and pushed a lot of people away. Then I realized that it isn’t healthy to isolate yourself, and if I didn’t try to have healthy relationships with other women, I wouldn’t be able to properly grow as a woman. One of the greatest things I’ve learned is that everyone isn’t out to get me, and that I could afford to be trustworthy with people again. I feel that once you open your heart, the possibility for positive friendships is endless.

REAL friends communicate
Sometimes, there will be drama. There will be disagreements and there will be arguments. But something that is very important to me in all types of relationships is communication. There will be no arguing over Twitter, I will not talk to other people about my issues with you, and I require the same behavior from those I call my friend. If we can’t communicate about major or minor things, then we have no business being friends.

As I grow further into womanhood, one thing will never change: I need other women and other women need me. We have to push each other to succeed, hold each other accountable for our actions, lift one another up when we are down, be a sister to one another when we have no one and most importantly, help each other grow into better women.

 

Vent to the comments:
1) How has being friends with other men or women grown you as a person?
2) What is something you’ve learned from your circle?
3) How do you keep your friendship(s) strong?
4) How do you and your friends handle conflict?
5) Have you ever had to cut off a toxic friend?

Thank YOU: What My Struggle Has Taught Me

Me, being oh-so-happy.
Me, being oh-so-happy.

I can indeed be described as an emotional being, but sometimes I experience a slight hardship when it comes to expressing those emotions, hence why I am eternally grateful that I was blessed with the gift of writing.

Today is a glorious day. But before I get into the story of why today is so special, I must share the story of my struggle that led to my victory.

The Lost

The moment I realized that I wouldn’t be a college student for this upcoming semester didn’t seem real to me. In fact, I treated the reality as if it were a dream, or reoccurring nightmare that would soon go away.

But of course it didn’t.

And you wanna know why it didn’t?

Because in REAL life, avoiding things does not make it go away, nor does it make any situation better.

And before I knew it, I was in a situation that at the moment, seemed impossible to escape out of.

  • Not registered for school
  • Important on campus job(s) had to be given up since I wasn’t a student
  • And more bills than I could handle.

For weeks, I fought like hell to get enough money to register for school, and even had a temporary holiday job, but with my own bills to worry about, paying for school just couldn’t be a top priority.

Not to mention, I’m extremely stubborn and I HATED asking anyone for help. It is a vice that I am none too proud of, but one I desperately want to evolve from.

I struggled during this time in my life. I had many tear-filled days, sleepless nights, and I even had feelings of inadequacy.

Not being a student opened up new insecurities for me, simply because I was so used to being in school. Though the lack of my enrollment wasn’t because of academic reasons, I still felt stupid about my financial situation.

I temporarily lost myself, something that many of us may do when life gets too tough.

My spark was out.

But God ALWAYS has a plan.

The Campaign

February 2, 2015 is when it all started. It was the last day in my office, that included dramatic tears and a “woe-is-me” attitude. I was STRESSED on this day, and still stubborn, and outdone with life. I just wanted to leave campus, climb in my bed, and further isolate myself from the world.

As I was cleaning out my office, a person who I adopted as my big sister suggested something that was incredibly absurd to me at the moment. She suggested that I create a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money to get back into school for the next semester while I looked for a new job or 2 so I wouldn’t end up homeless.

Tell me why I was NOT for it, and came up with every excuse as to why I shouldn’t do it?

Big Sister ignored my excuses, and went onto the website, inserted my email, created a password, made the first donation and then said, “HERE. Now promote this.”

Though I STILL didn’t want to, I filled in the details about my campaign and forced myself to click the share button so it could go on my Facebook page. Then I emailed some people the link, and the rest took off from there. Besides myself, I had many other people spread the word using various forms of social media that included Twitter, LinkedIn, Snap Chat, Instagram, and of course Facebook, whom Go Fund Me is partnered with.

My goal to raise was $2,000 and in 24 days WE raised $2,115.00 from 81 different people.

I’m still in awe to be honest. I couldn’t believe that people were so generous, especially to little ole me.

The People

During the time of this campaign, people both surprised and disappointed me.

I won’t call anyone out, but a lot of my disappointment came from the fact that people I EXPECTED to be there, seemed extremely ghost. I won’t go into detail about what they didn’t do, but after many pep talks from my best friend, I stopped focusing my energy on those people. I continued to go hard, and put all my energy into the ones who were helping.

And there were MANY.

People really surprised me. I once had this mentality that people were “not shit” and that was because I witnessed people do terrible things to others as well as me and I just didn’t have that much faith in humanity.

But as I said… people really surprised me.

It’s not only  because they donated, but because they took the time to read my story, they promoted my campaign, they offered encouraging words, they prayed for me, and they simply believed in me enough to want to see me win. Even those who were unable to financially contribute helped me in the best way they could, and touched the hearts of people who had no idea who I was and led them to donate.

And remember when I said I was jobless at the beginning of my campaign too? Well, a wonderful person heard about my misfortune and she offered me a job doing something I LOVE, and I can honestly say that I am happy when I walk into work everyday.

I’m not sure what I did to have all these blessings and good fortune come my way, but whatever it is, I pray I keep it up so I can help others in the ways that people have helped me.

Thanks to YOU…

So as I said in the beginning of my post, today is a glorious day because…. I’M OFFICIALLY REGISTERED!

My university offers mid-semester courses that will start towards the latter half of this month and will continue to the end of the semester in mid May. I thought that I was going to have to sit out the entire semester and/or give up my full time job, but as I said.. God ALWAYS has a plan!

But none of this would be possible without you lovely people.

Lessons Learned

My struggle has taught me various things:

  1. Success is a journey not a destination.

There will be bumps in the road. There will be times that you want to give up. You may even temporarily give up. We all have our setbacks, but the joy is that we are always able to bounce back.

2. Keep the FAITH

It’s cliche, I know. And I was soooooo tired of hearing it. But one day, I realized how necessary it is to have faith when you are going through your trials and tribulations. Others may not see it but as long as YOU do, things will turn around for the better for you.

3. There is NOTHING wrong with asking people for help. NOT ONE THING.

I was under this false impression that adulthood means that you do everything by yourself and you’re not supposed to ask anyone for anything. If you did, that means you’re weak.

HOW WRONG WAS I??????

Closed mouths don’t get fed, and I believe that God has placed some really good natured individuals on this earth. Once I started asking, there were so many people that I knew and did not know who were willing to help me. Many people (like me) hate asking for help because they have dealt with individuals who have “helped” them for their own selfish reasons and have thrown their deeds back in their face. Or, they have dealt with people who make a mockery out of their struggle, thus making you feel bad for even asking, and now you may feel weak.

However, I learned that you are NOT weak for asking for help. Don’t let negative experiences with people scar you for life. There are STILL good people out here.

4. Everyone isn’t meant to take your journey with you

When you are going through hard times, some people are not meant to keep you lifted during that period. Once I realized that, I stopped being upset at the ones who I “expected” to be there for me. I knew it wasn’t because they didn’t want to, but because that was not an assignment that God have given them. Everyone in your life isn’t meant to be out on the battlefield with you when you’re going through a war. Use the energy to become appreciative of the ones who are already there, and embrace the new people that come in when you least expect it.

5. Embrace your struggle. It makes the victory so much sweeter

Of course no one wants to go through hard times, but if life was such a smooth sail, ask yourself how appreciative would you be?

We tend to take for granted the little things struggle can teach us. Struggle develops independence, it can develop faith, it can develop so much strength and survival skills we didn’t even know we had. Struggle develops your character. It’s interesting to see what type of people we become when everything we ever had is taken away from us. Do we evolve into greater people? Or do we stay complacent and still stuck on ourselves?

Moral of the story

I’ll never stop saying thank you. I’ll never stop appreciating the kindness of you all, and I will continue to pray that all the good fortune and various blessings come into your life on behalf of helping me. I will continue to pay your kindness forward, by helping as many people as I can, in whatever way. So on behalf of myself, I want to give a public thank you to you ALL. I will remember this time in my life as long as I live, and will never forget the kindness, encouragement, and positive vibes you all have sent my way.

I’m not sure if everyone who reads this believes in God or considers themselves religious, but I hope he blesses you anyway.

XOXOXOXO,

– Kia.

Vent to the comments.

1) What has your struggle taught YOU?