By Joel Hughes
An MBA is a great way to learn new skills, further your career goals and grow your professional network. However, money can definitely be a barrier. Not everyone has savings or wealthy parents, or wants to spend years repaying loans.
To enroll in the university of their dreams without financial stress, students are now looking to alternatives like crowdfunding, in which they can appeal to the public for assistance. Here’s four steps to running a successful MBA crowdfunding campaign:
The well-known saying “you get out what you put in” is a good mantra for running your MBA crowdfunding campaign. Don’t expect contributors to come flooding in as soon as you set up your campaign page with a picture of yourself and a basic description of your aspirations. Give yourself time to set up your campaign page and raise your funds. That way you’ll be able to tweak your campaign until you get it right.
Make sure that your fundraising goal is realistic; don’t expect to raise enough to cover your whole year of tuition. Instead, aim to raise a portion of the cost to reduce your loan, to cover books, etcetera.
Thousands of people around the world have used crowdfunding to fund their education. Contact the campaigners who have successfully crowdfunded their postgraduate studies to ask them about their challenges and any advice they have.
2. Get Ready To Launch
A social media presence is important to spread the word about your campaign. Once the public knows and trusts you, they will be more likely to contribute and support you.
Aim to raise a specific amount before actually launching your campaign publicly. We recommend to launch when you have hit 30% of your total goal. This initial amount will come from core supporters like friends and family. Strangers will see that you already have a strong support and will be more likely to contribute.
Try to offer rewards to your supporters in order to encourage them to contribute to your goal regardless of their budget. Rewards could include an individually designed and signed thank you card; a thank you video; or even payment back after the completion of your degree.
3. Pitch Perfect
Your campaign page should reflect you in every way. The first question a potential backer will ask as soon as they come across your campaign is why they should contribute to your campaign, so you should address this early on. You need to have a genuinely compelling story about why an MBA is important to you and why you’re raising money for it. Don’t underestimate the importance of details and ensure that you use correct grammar and spelling to convey your message. Avoid sounding sad or desperate, and instead aim for a more positive and passionate tone.
Visuals are a great way to engage with potential contributors, so consider including an engaging pitch video, clear infographics and professional images. We recommend that your video be three minutes long at most so your viewers don’t get bored. End the video with a strong call to action to get the viewer excited to be a part of your campaign.
4. Keep the momentum going
Once your campaign is up and running, keep your momentum going by keeping supporters updated on the progress of your campaign with facts and figures. Even after you raise your funds, keep your supporters updated as you go through your MBA. They are invested in your success and will like being in the loop.
If you’re looking for a way to raise funds for your MBA, crowdfunding can be a great alternative to loans if you have strong dedication and a realistic goal in mind. If you plan out your campaign, are honest with your backers, and put together a brilliant pitch, you stand a good chance of raising funds to support your MBA studies.
Joel Hughes is UK Design, Technology and Hardware Manager at international crowdfunding website Indiegogo.