Funding the MFA: A New Approach

25 year-old Denis wants to attend the MFA program at Hollins in the fall, but can’t afford to go. Sound familiar? Denis’s solution, though, is new. He decided to do some internet fundraising. He writes on his blog:

Instead of asking people to loan me money for school, I’m now asking them to simply give me money. To that extent, I’ve created a fundraising page on fundable, and if you can spare $10, please pledge towards my goal. Since I can’t get a loan and there is no way my parents can pay my tuition, I’ll have to rely on the kindness of strangers.

You can check out his fundraising site directly here. At time of writing, Denis only had $10 in contributions. Is this because his campaign is brand new (launched 7/13/09) or because there’s a recession on, or because this idea simply isn’t going to work?

There’s also this article, over at Publisher’s Weekly, about writer and blogger Dianna Zandt, who, after signing a deal for her first book that provided no advance, decided to “crowdfund” the money she needed to write over the summer. It helps that her topic is “…writing about the power of social media to shift perceptions and cultural values.” She’s been pretty successful so far, it seems – you can read her thoughts and feedback on the process (plus tips for others who are considering going the the same route) here.

What do you think? Are Denis and Deanna smart to try this approach? Is their initiative laudable? Do their requests for funds seem justified to you? And is this a sign of things to come?

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3 responses to “Funding the MFA: A New Approach

  1. The world doesn’t need any more MFAs with a sense of entitlement.

  2. Speaking strictly for myself, I hope it’s not a sign of things to come. Becoming a beggar as well as a pimp is just one too many non-writing hats for me to wear.

  3. nancyrawlinson

    Victoria – you’re already a pimp? How so?

    I agree with you both that this is a depressing trend. But it can’t continue. These two jumped in and might ride the hype and get money. But the sixth or seventh time you see some broke writer (or potential writer) trying to raise cash? I don’t think there will be a stampede to help them out.

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