5 Simple Ways How Skolafund Makes Education Crowdfunding Better For Sponsors AND Students
– but we could never do it without you.
Crowdfunding in some form has been around forever in Malaysia (look out for an article on just how long very soon), but online crowdfunding platforms are still relatively new.
It sounds incredible even to us but in September 2017, Skolafund will turn 3 years old. We might have come a long way from how our co-founder first had the idea while he was scrolling through Facebook, but the truth is that we are still a very young team.
The same is true for education crowdfunding in Malaysia. Since we started out, we’ve witnessed more and more people understanding, believing and fulfilling their potential through education crowdfunding. We believe that this trend will continue.
But there’s one important obstacle that needs to be overcome. We mentioned it at the very start of our journey, and we still believe it. Last week, this article in Vulcan Post reconfirmed our belief.
The Case of 9 Bright Malaysians Who Tried To Crowdfund Their Overseas Education
The article we’re talking about was published on Vulcan Post (4th August 2017) with the headline To Give Or Not To Give: The Polarising Case Of M’sians Crowdfunding Their Education. The story behind it is this crowdfunding campaign that got criticised heavily by Malaysians, with comments like these:
In the article, more background information is given about this crowdfunding campaign. But in short, a group of 9 Malaysian students were attempting to cover some costs of their overseas studies to top 10 universities in the world, after recent updates to the JPA bursary program meant that students would only be funded if they studied locally.
There’s No Shortage of Kindness In Malaysia. But What Crowdfunding Education Needs Is Trust
We know a little bit about crowdfunding education in Malaysia, and one thing that’s definitely true is that there is no shortage of kind souls out there. We have sponsors of all shapes and sizes. Some donate huge sums once. Some donate smaller sums but to many campaigns.
We love all of you equally. *hugs*
But as the Vulcan Post article rightly points out, there still remains a problem in the education crowdfunding scene in Malaysia – and that’s the issue of trust. In fact, our CEO Tengku Ahmad Syamil talked about it in an interview with Vulcan Post way back in 2015.
Here are 5 ways Skolafund has tried to increase trust for both sponsors and campaigners in education crowdfunding.
1. You can be certain every story on Skolafund is backed by truth and facts.
When a student creates a crowdfunding campaign on Skolafund.com, they are asked to upload documents as proof for their claims including:
- University Admission Letter
- Matric Card
- Payslips for all family members in household
- Death Certificate (in cases of deaths in family)
- Bankruptcy Letter (in cases of parents experiencing bankruptcy)
They are also asked for two references for Skolafund to verify, to the best of our ability, that they are truly in need of assistance. One of these references will be a staff or faculty member from their current place of study.
In this way, the privacy of our students and their families is maintained while our sponsors can rest assured that we have done the necessary checks on their background! This is why students can expect 1-2 weeks before their campaign goes live on Skolafund.com.
2. All expenses are tracked to the very last RM0.01.
There is a very simple reason why trust is so important in education crowdfunding.
It’s because it involves MONEY.
As sponsors, you want to make sure that your hard-earned money is truly going to the people you want it to go to, for the reasons that they say they will use it for.
And for campaigning students, you need the donated money to be transferred on time because there are tuition payments to be made and books to be bought.
We get it. This is where the Skolafund transparency sheet comes in – so everyone knows what is happening to the money that has been placed in our trust!
As you can see from the screenshot, when a campaign is unsuccessful, donations from sponsors are either returned or transferred to other campaigns, but only if the sponsors agree to do so. Funds raised for tuition fees are also transferred directly to the university to minimise doubt about where the money goes.
Skolafund is also very upfront about how much of your contribution goes towards keeping Skolafund up and running. You can read our explanation why, for every RM10 donation, RM0.80 will be used for transaction and other costs right here.
3. We make sure every student knows what they’re in for with crowdfunding – by quizzing them!
Let’s bust a myth right now: crowdfunding isn’t a free ticket to reaching your dreams. A successful crowdfunding campaign takes hard work, effort and a bit of good luck.
We care greatly for every student who starts a campaign and would like them to know what they’re in for. As the example from Vulcan Post shows, crowdfunding can be a stressful experience where many personal and emotional details are exposed to the public.
But for many, it can also be a fulfilling journey where you will receive a huge amount of love and support from family, friends and strangers.
Skolafund has made efforts in educating our outstanding students about crowdfunding before they even start a campaign. This includes a compulsory video tutorial and quiz – which they will have to get 100% for before their campaign gets approved! Here’s the first video in the tutorial series:
Through these short video tutorials, we hope to see every student who starts a Skolafund campaign have a positive and happy crowdfunding experience.
4. You’ll never walk alone (because Skolafund is always by your side).
Once the 30 days for your campaign begins, it can feel like a long way towards the goal that you’ve set for yourself. It gets more stressful if time is running out and you aren’t at the 100% mark yet or if something unexpected has just happened in your life, like an accident or tragedy.
Campaigners on Skolafund can rest assured that we’re just one call, tweet, email or Facebook Message away! The moment a campaign is launched, the student will also receive daily emails direct to his or her inbox with useful tips and hacks on how to promote their crowdfunding campaign effectively.
Whatever happens during the campaign, we will try our best to assist our students – the priority is always their education and dreams.
5. For both sponsors and students, the journey doesn’t end there – it’s a long-term relationship.
The RM10 that you contribute to a campaign on Skolafund might seem small to some, but not to us.
To us, and for the student you are sponsoring, it’s a huge deal.
It’s an investment in a brighter future for that student – and for our society when he/she graduates and contributes back.
It shows that you believe in that individual and support him or her in their dreams to make the world a better place.
Because we believe goodness is always repaid by goodness – with interest. The ever-increasing number of scholars sponsored by the community on Skolafund has gave birth to a generation of students inspired to give back.
They have shared their tips and experience to future crowdfunding students through #skolafunded. They send regular updates to their sponsors to keep them in the loop of how their donations has made a huge impact on their lives. And on every campaign, our students tell donors how they would repay the trust that they have given them:
By making life better.
Are you convinced to lend some support to our deserving students? Feel free to browse through campaigns that are currently running and decide for yourself if you’d like your RM10 to make a difference in their lives.
How do you think we can help build greater trust between students and the community in the Malaysian education crowdfunding scene? Leave a comment below or drop us an email at [email protected]. Don’t forget to share this article so we can spread this movement throughout the entire country and beyond!
Other articles that might interest you: