What do you offer that other crowdfunding platforms don’t?
For donors, we verify student enrollment before any funds are distributed (in most cases before fundraising begins), which means you have an extra layer of assuredness that your funds are going to an actual student. With other crowdfunding platforms, this type of information is only verified if a fraud complaint is filed. We’d prefer to be proactive.
We also make it easier for you to give. Our recurring payment feature allows you to support the student of your choice with a monthly donation rather than only being able to make a one-time gift. Students also have the option of setting up their campaign so that the funds go directly to their school (those campaigns will have both a notation that the funds are going to the school AND will show CauseEDU as the account creator).
For students, we offer a LOT of resources – starting with blog posts and webinars that will help you understand how to better raise money for school, how to manage your money while you’re in school, and special topics such as how to protect your online reputation while interviewing for internships and jobs. We also provide templates that will help you better connect and communicate with your donors.
What about high school students? Or prospective college students?
High school students can crowdfund on our site too! If you are raising funds for a high school that charges tuition or fees (for instance an independent/private school or a study abroad program), enrollment verification is a pretty simple process.
If you are a prospective college student, the process is a little different since you’re not enrolled yet. You can start crowdfunding on the site, and we can either: 1) send the funds directly to the school once your acceptance is confirmed (so you can use it for enrollment deposits, etc); or 2) wait until we receive enrollment confirmation and send the funds to you directly. It’s your call.
Please note, you must be at least 13 years old to use this site. If you are under the age of 18, parental consent is required.
What are your fees?
CauseEDU charges a 5% fee for all donations to the site, which comes from the funds the students raise. This is a standard amount across crowdfunding platforms, but with us you get enrollment verification as well as tools and tips tailored specifically for students. Additionally (and also standard), the payment processing company (Stripe) charges 2.9% + 30 cents for all credit card transactions.
Is this crowdfunding platform ONLY for students?
Technically no. School staff and faculty as well as alumni associations can also raise money on our platform (for programs, events, etc). However, our resources (webinars, blog posts, newsletters, etc.) are specifically designed with students as our primary demographic.
Is my credit card information safe?
Yes! We use Stripe to process payments, which means no credit card information comes through us or is stored on our site. Stripe is a secure payment processing service used by Lyft, Kickstarter, and other major companies.
Can you guarantee the students on your site are enrolled in school?
We can guarantee each post-secondary student has either submitted an official enrollment verification certificate from the National Student Clearinghouse or they have registered on our site with a .edu email address.
For students applying to college or graduate schools that they are not yet enrolled in (i.e. high school students applying to college), we allow them to fundraise on our site before providing enrollment verification since they won’t have it yet. However, we hold their funds until they either provide proof of enrollment (in which case we’ll send the funds to them) or an acceptance letter (in which case we’ll send the funds directly to their school). If you have doubts about a particular student, please reach out to us.
I see the benefits for donors, but verifying my enrollment seems like extra work. Why should I use this platform instead of somewhere else?
If you’re only planning to raise money from family and friends, there’s probably not a huge benefit from verifying your enrollment. This site was developed after our Founder/CEO and COO spent several years fundraising for students who needed additional help (outside of their immediate circle). The first question that always came up for us was “how do I know this student is really in school?” We always verified before raising funds, which made the donors feel more secure, and as a result, they gave more money than they otherwise would have. So if you’re hoping your campaign will go viral (or at least outside your immediate circle), this site will give you more credibility. Plus, the process is really quick and painless. If you register with your .edu email address, you’re all set.
But if you need a few more reasons to use our site, they are:
- Recurring donations – you can give donors the option of sending donations monthly. We have found that this option increases total giving;
- The option of having the funds sent directly to the school – we have found that donors typically give more when they can determine where the money goes;
- Budgeting tips to help you while you’re in school;
- Advice on how to best present your campaign (and online presence) to attract donors;
- Reminders at important times of the school year (end of semester, summer, etc.) to update your donors on your progress;
- Templates you can use to connect with your donors (Another point of feedback from donors is that students tend to disappear until they need more money, which causes donors to not repeat their giving. We’ll help you stay connected!)
Basically, our platform is designed specifically for students, and our founders have a significant amount of experience in higher ed, so we 1) know what donors need to give more money; and 2) know the pain points for students who are in school and need money. We’re here to help.
When do I receive the donations?
All donations are processed through Stripe, our payment processor. With your Stripe account, you determine how often you want the funds released to you (i.e. every day, every week, or every month).
How do I verify my enrollment?
There are two ways to verify enrollment: you can either register for our site using your .edu email address, or you can send us your official enrollment verification certificate from the National Student Clearinghouse.
What if I don’t meet my fundraising goal?
There are no penalties if you don’t meet your goal. Unlike some other sites, we don’t take an “all or nothing” approach to campaigns.
Are there time limits on campaigns?
Only if you choose to put an end date on your campaign (which we recommend). “Phantom campaigns” don’t typically raise that much money. Phantom campaigns are the ones that say “I need $5,000 for Spring 2017!” and they’re still up in Spring 2018 and haven’t met their goal. Chances are prospective donors won’t give. We recommend not just having an end date, but also updating the campaign once it ends, so that donors can know how you’re doing.