Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{July 13, 2008}   Help Make My Dream Come True

Just the other day I came home to find a package in the mail. And in that package was:

  1. a dragon
  2. an invitation to become a fairy godmother
  3. a letter saying that I’m really a witch and inviting me to attend Hogwarts
  4. all of the above

Believe it or not – and I’m not making this up – it was (b). And I even have the tiara to prove it!

The invitation came from DreamBank – a new Vancouver company that helps people fund their dreams. The 411 on them is basically this:

  • most people get gifts they don’t really want
  • most of those unwanted gifts are wrapped in wasteful wrapping paper and shipped (burning up fossil fuels and polluting the air) to the people who don’t want them and end up dumping them in a landfill
  • so, instead of getting crap you don’t want, you set up a “Dream” on DreamBank‘s website to fund something you really do want – and tell your friends & family to support your dream in lieu of a gift
  • to sweeten the pot, any interest accrued on the money that’s sitting there in your dream fund goes to a charity of your choosing (from among their partner charities).

My fairy godmother invite included, along with that wicked cool tiara, a coupon for me to donate $20 to any dream on DreamBank. Hence, I get to help grant someone’s wish!

Upon checking out DB, I knew immediately what my dream I wanted to post – the dream of paying off my student loans! However, in setting up my dream on the site, I discovered that the maximum you can ask for is $20,000 – so my dream is officially listed as “To Pay Off 1/3 of My Student Loans.”1

One other thing I did notice is their fee structure – since DreamBank is a for-profit company and all the interest on money being held in your dream fund goes to charity, how do they make their dough2? Well, two ways – there’s a $2.25 fee taken from every donation made to your dream, and then they get 2.5% of the total when you cash out. At first I thought “this seems like a lot” and “hey, why don’t people just give me money and cut out the middle man?”3 But, as I think about it, I can see how the site might facilitate people supporting your dream more than if you just asked them for cash. I imagine if you just told people to give you money to help you pay for that dream trip to BlogWorld/buy tickets to the Olympic gold medal hockey game/put a downpayment on your first home, they probably wouldn’t be overly receptive. But I could see people donating through a site like this, much they do when you are raising money for something like the breast cancer run or other charitable donations. And if people who want to donate to your dream in lieu of a gift feel that $2.25 per transaction is high, when they put it in these terms:

Think of it this way—a $2.25 fee is cheaper and less hassle than driving to the mall, purchasing and wrapping a gift. (Source)

… that puts it into perspective.

And one thing I do want to give them props for is that this info is found on their on their fees page, subtitled “The Large Print,” which is quite easy to find. I can imagine other people might hide this type of info in the “fine print,” but DreamBank really is completely transparent that this is a for-profit company that mixes business with charity. And I think the fact that the interest on all the donations made goes to some really good charities is what I like most about this site. Either way though – their transparency in letting you know the exact fees you are signing up for lets you chose if this is the best way to raise money for yourself.

And speaking of – are YOU interested in posting a dream? If so, you should do it now, because:

The first 5000 people to post their dream will be automatically entered into the “Win your Dream” contest. Each dreamer will have 5 chances at winning their dream amount up to a total of $1500. If the dream is less than $1500 the prize winner will still receive the full $1500. DreamBank will also donate $250 to the charity that is associated with each winner’s dream.

I’m kinda hoping that *I* win the $1500 myself, but hey 5 people get to win, so sign up if your so inclined3.

Oh ya, and while you are there, don’t forget to support my dream!

So who is Fairy Godmother Beth going to donate her $20 to? Well, I’m up in Sun Peaks right now and forgot my coupon with the instructions of how to donate my $20 back at home, so I have a few days to decide. If anyone wants to make suggestions of who I should donate to, I’m all ears!

1Yes, I owe $60,000. Over $60,000, actually, and that’s after making payments for over a year already. At the current rate (i.e., $850 per month), it will take me another 8 years to pay these off. See why this is my dream?
2I also thought “I’m hungry!” but that’s really neither here nor there.
3I’m always kind of interested how people make money on the Internets, perhaps because I’m cheapa, so everything I use through the tubes is free!
      aGiven that I pay $850 a month in student loan payments, can you blame me for being cheap tho? Srsly?
3And post a comment here if you do. I’m interested to see who else I know has a dream that they want to fund!

et cetera