26 March 2015

How NOT to raise money for your career break

There are loads of great ways you can get the money together for your career break. A list of ways to get free money is here, although most people simply save up.

Some career breakers are now turning to crowdfunding to get money for their experience. But sadly, most are going about it wrong. Here are some mistakes we've seen lately that you can avoid.

Give people absolutely no reason to help you

We've seen people ask for money for their career breaks without offering anything back - not even a reason to feel good about oneself (as you might if you were funding, say, a kid's cancer treatment). Kickstarter is based on people getting something from their donation, but other crowdfunding sites don't have this as a requirement.

People (and organisations) need a clear, concrete benefit to them parting with their cash. Which brings us onto...

Be vague about the benefits

Some career breakers will offer you "the chance to help" without being clear about what exactly that means. Who is being helped, how are they being helped, and how exactly is the money spent?

We also get requests from people who promise to "promote" us if we support them. But they don't tell us exactly what that promotion might involve, or how many people it might reach.

Have nothing to offer

So you've offered a reason for people to give, and been clear about the benefits - but you haven't got anything to offer in return. No-one will be interested in being featured on your blog if it's only got 3 readers, 2 of whom are your parents. Or will even like your fundraising Facebook page unless you post interesting and/or useful things. Which brings us neatly onto...

Don't put any work in yourself

Sticking up a crowdfunding page isn't enough. You need to show that you'll work at building a following (through social media, your blog, or whatever else) so that anyone who wants to help you can benefit from the community that you've built around yourself. There's nothing worse than getting begging messages from people who clearly can't be arsed doing anything for themselves.

Be unprofessional

Similar to the above point - put the work in to make it look like you've thought things through and you're going to deliver on your promises. Even a decent profile picture is a must!

Be impersonal

About once a week, we get a tweet from a crowdfunder who just lists people she wants to get involved in her project. There's just a list of Twitter handles and a link - no request, no 'please', no interest in who we are or what we do. Her campaign currently stands at zero dollars.

If someone approached us after having actually looked at our site, that would be a start!

Not changing the record

That same person has been tweeting and posting the same thing for months and getting nowhere. If what you're doing isn't working, change it! Also, if you have got people to follow you or like your page, they'll get bored of the same old same old.

Be overly hopeful

Getting money out of people is notoriously difficult, as you probably already know. Don't bank on other people funding your travels - as you probably won't get the amount you hope for. Instead, get the money together from a variety of different sources - including working for it and saving up as we said at the beginning.


Have you got any useful tips on crowdfunding or other ways of fundraising for your travels? Tweet us or tell us on our Facebook page - and we'll share it with over 7,000 followers - we might even put it in our newsletter with a readership of 3,500 if it's good enough!