How to Crowdfund Your Maternity Leave
When it comes to parenting, the issue of maternity leave is a serious one. The United States is the only developed country that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave. Currently, the country provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Although many parents have figured out ways to manage this time, to coincide with the baby’s birth, it’s still a cause of frustration because, in most instances, the parent on leave won’t be able to receive income or paid benefits.
Believe it or not many families and mothers have turned towards crowdfunding campaigns in order to help cover the financial burden of maternity leave. What is crowdfunding? How does it work? How can you take part and create a successful campaign for you and your baby? This article will take a look at how mothers are using crowdfunding to pay for maternity leave.
What is Crowdfunding?
You may be familiar with crowdfunding as a buzzword, but not sure what is it or how it works.
Fundable defines crowdfunding as “a method of raising capital through the collective effort of friends, family, customers, and individual investors. This approach taps into the collective efforts of a large pool of individuals—primarily online via social media and crowdfunding platforms—and leverages their networks for greater reach and exposure.”
You may find yourself asking how people have been able to raise thousands of dollars to have their projected funded online.
Aggie Kobrin, is a crowdfunding expert. She explained, the process of acquiring your funds through crowdfunding, saying
“Crowdfunding is a way to raise money when you’ve got an idea, project, a film, story or a product… I realized there is this real need for money out there. People were really struggling with, how do I put things together, how do I get my idea funded? How do I get my book published? How do I get my video done?… If it’s done and it’s done well, it’s phenomenal what you can do and the amount you can raise.”
After planning, you choose an online platform and share your project to family, friends, acquaintances and more using social media.
Why Mothers Are Crowdfunding Mat Leave
The United States offers employees 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act. Many women and families find the medical leave, a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t help cover the necessary medical cost associated with having a new child.
In the video above, Liz Plosser, an editor of SELF magazine spoke on the reasons why new parents and especially moms may consider crowdfunding to help with finances saying
“We’re one of three countries in the entire world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave for new moms who’ve just had babies. This is an issue that affects 88% of American women, 88% of us don’t have access to maternity leave.” Speaking of crowdfunding for pregnant women, she said “I think it could catch on. I think that any time a mom finds a creative solution to provide for herself and her new baby, that’s a win!”
The creative solution is catching on! Earlier this year, Self magazine published an article that reported over 1,300 listings for maternity leave funding on the crowdfunding site, GoFundMe.
Examples of How Mothers Are Crowdfunding Mat Leave
Jennifer Baker looked to crowdfunding because she rightfully wanted to take time off after her daughter was born. As the sole source of income for her family, she had a dilemma. She launched her crowdfunding campaign and was fortunate to raise over $3,000. The majority of her donations came from associates and previous clients. Future crowdfunding moms may want to start with community members or people they know when looking for money.
There are other parents and mothers who don’t even qualify for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) because they’re self-employed or work for small companies that prevent them from qualifying for benefits. Charles Webb and Rona Luo saw other mothers having success with crowdfunding. They created their [campaign in lieu of a baby shower] and mentioned specifically what they would purchase. It was Luo who thought that money raised through crowdfunding would be a better investment than a baby shower.
Another couple created a campaign and relied on their faith and the concept that it takes a village to raise a child. Katie Feliz and her husband Elsi successfully raised $2,400 after reaching out to the internet community with a sincere letter posted on GoFundme.
We’ve taken a look at several maternity related crowdfunding campaigns. One couple turned towards their community, another towards friends and another simply relying on the compassion of others. Are there any other ingredients to be successful with a crowdfunding campaign?
How to Create a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign
Anastasia Emmanuel is a lead at the popular crowdfunding site, GoFundMe. She provided the following tips for campaign success:
“The first one would be, prepare. Do a lot of research. We have created a crazy amount of resources that should basically tell you how to run your campaign… You definitely should have a video, you’ll raise 115% more than if you don’t. Keep it short. You have to be on the video. It needs to feel very open and transparent…”
In addition, she provided four reasons why people traditionally contribute towards crowdfunding campaigns:
- People: share with people who know you, friends, family, etc
- Passion: I love film, you love film, you’re a filmmaker, I’m going to fund you.
- Participation: people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves
- Perk: something you give in exchange for the contributors
Although crowdfunding has proven that it’s a reliable method for raising funds, parents still need to prepare and plan accordingly. Not all crowdsourcing campaigns workout and like many other trends on the internet, people quickly move on. Find what works best for you. Do you have many friends? Family members? Do you belong to any religious groups or organizations?
No matter what, stay positive. There are more people who want to see you succeed and believe it or not, participate in contributing towards the birth of a new baby. Be creative, and network with others who would be interested in helping you.
Having a baby or just had one? Get more helpful tips and advice in the Babies & Pregnancy category of our The Sitter Blog
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