Fundly Spotlight: Reaching Students Across the World with Online Fundraising

10 Sep

With public libraries, Kindles, iPads, mega bookstores, and periodicals all at our disposal, it seems that there never is a shortage of things for us to read. However, many people around the world lack this luxury that many so easily take for granted. That’s why Megan Weill, Peace Corps volunteer, started an online fundraising page using Fundly to help students in Kenya get the library resources that they desperately need to receive a proper education.

Megan is currently working at Shiduha Secondary School in Kakamega, Kenya which has approximately 200 students that come from her community and neighboring communities. Most of her students are very poor and a large number of them cannot even afford to pay their school fees. While this public school receives minimal funding from the Kenyan government to subsidize the small tuition costs, the sparse resources do not provide the money required to build a separate library building to house much needed English books for graduating students to pass their exit exams. With this in mind, Megan decided to set up an online fundraising website, rallying her friends and family in the U.S., to support her vision of building and furnishing a library with the supplies needed to give her students the best opportunity for a successful future.

Through Megan’s Fundly page, she was able to surpass her $10,000 goal (she raised $10,805!) with the help of 35 donors and 35 supporters: “We reached our fundraising goal and started building the library back in April and as of right now we only need to plaster the outside walls, install windows and doors, and paint the building”. She advises, “don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. I’ve found in my experience fundraising that if you are passionate about a cause, people will recognize that and help you out.”

Tips from Megan for other Fundly users:
  • Inspire others to give – “When I was setting up my fundraising page I tried to consider who my audience was and what information they would see as important to have before donating to a cause. I live all the way out in rural Kenya and almost all of the money I raised came from Americans, so I felt that I needed to explain exactly what I was doing in Kenya and why having a library is so important to my school community. When you’re asking people to donate to a cause, you need to explain all aspects of this cause and why you’re passionate about it. This helps them understand why it’s so important to you as well as helps them feel some kind of connection to the project”.
  • Make a donor list – “I started by sending emails out to friends and family, which is who my first donations came from. Then I started sending emails out to various connections I’d made over the years through university and jobs I’d previously held. And some of the people I emailed forwarded my emails to some of their friends and that’s how word began to spread. I also shared on my project on my Facebook two or three times, but I really think that it was my emails that got people interested in my project because they were more personal.”
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