defined by the Web site
cyberbeggar.org, is a mode of fundraising that is carried out through
donations over the Internet. The cyber-beggar creates a Web site detailing
his or her financial plight in the hopes of attracting donations for his
or her cause.
off debt, the cyber way
Jenn Donahue | contributing writer
The frustrating situation of being in debt can be caused
by credit cards, car payments or college loans. Trying to pay off
can be even worse. A new method for generating funds has recently
been found in the form of cyber- begging.
Standing out from
The musical artist
known as Shela is the owner of SaveShela.com.
She is currently asking for donations on her Web site to help pay off debt
incurred from writing and recording her music. She says at first she was
"embarrassed by the thought of begging for money online," but
says that she does not consider herself a beggar.
plenty of open-source project Web sites that ask for donations to keep
their site running, and they provide services like help and advice,"
Her advice, she
says, would be for potential musicians who are looking for advice on
breaking into the music industry. The Web site also offers an outlet where
people can promote their music.
Shela, who lives in
Toronto, says it was a mixture of frustration and her experience working
with the Internet that led her to the idea of starting her personal
fundraising site. As a computer hardware instructor she was "aware of
how powerful a tool the Web could be." A tool she hopes will help her
music career off the ground.
Funds are donated to
Shela either through the mail or Paypal, an online payment service that
makes transactions through credit cards. "I have not listed myself as
a charity," she says, an action that would require certain
registration and guidelines."It is a simple gift. Anyone can give a
stranger a gift right?"
It has also been,
according to Shela, a success in another way.
the entire process. I'm looking at this project as a huge learning
experience, it's simple now, but it will evolve," she says.
An option for
Senior Kate MacElroy
says if she were badly in debt, she would consider creating a Web site to
generate some money.
"If I needed to
immediately pay off my student loans, I would start a Web site because if
people wanted to donate money to help me pay them off, then I wouldn't
think twice about taking it. Being in debt is a lifelong
frustration," she says.
Senior Tom Mariano
is not convinced. "I don't like taking money from people, even my
parents," he says. "I would like even less taking money from
people I don't know."
Planning for the
Shela says she has
dreams of making the site bigger and better, eventually adding a
"streaming radio station" that would play MP3s submitted by
donors and aspiring musicians. Most importantly, she says, she hopes to
pay off the debt, which is a huge roadblock on her road to a music career.
possibility of being free from debt sooner with the help of generous
people is enough to keep trying," she says. "At the very least,
I will have a Web site with a fair number of people coming back to hear my
work, and that is exciting in itself."