My unconventional crowd funding campaign: maternity leave!

Hello, Duluthians! I am running an unconventional sort of crowdfunding campaign and I need your help. I’m crowdfunding my maternity leave.

My due date is today, and when the baby comes, I will begin six weeks of unpaid maternity leave. I not only have to figure out how to pay the bills while I’m off, but also how to attend my best friend’s wedding in Colorado, which I am a bridesmaid in. Saving up for this hasn’t been an option, with our budget being inadequate as it is, so I am taking a leap and trying something creative.

My real desire was to raise money by selling things that I have put a lot of work into, like my handknits in my Etsy shop, Squirrel Seeds, but it was suggested to me that a centralized crowdfunding page might have more success. Still, since crowdfunding sites allow you to offer “rewards,” or “perks,” I have been able to offer some of my work in exchange for contributions.

Perks for my campaign include my short story “The Washery Mage,” my novel Dragons of Arethia Book One: Tesa’s Journey, my short story collection Fairy Stories (in settings inspired by Duluth locations), your name in the special thanks section of my second novel, naming a character, and, at the very top, the very special perk of luxuriously soft and warm handknit wool socks. The stories and novels are all ebooks. I am probably going to add a sock knitting class and “how to self-publish ebooks” type class as a perk later on, for local contributors.

More info about my campaign and my books is available on my blog, Sticks and Scribbles

Any help anyone is inclined to give is greatly appreciated, whether it be through contributions or sharing the link. Thanks for your time!



about 10 years ago

Can I crowd fund the retirement I lost in the great recession?

Emily Haavik

about 10 years ago

Hi Nikki! Laurie Stribling, my coworker at WDIO, is hoping to get a hold of you for a possible story. Could you email her if you get a moment/are interested? [email protected]


about 10 years ago

Interesting concept. And I applaud you for for your creativity, and for exposing yourself to the inevitable snark and criticism. 

So, like Joel, I wonder how far we can take crowdfunding? Is there a limit? Should there be?

I'm inclined to think that, no, they're shouldn't be. If I want a trip to London for my family, and you want to help pay for it, why the hell shouldn't you/we? 

I like it. I like it very much.


about 10 years ago

Aside from being done on the internet as opposed to on the street, how does crowd funding differ from panhandling?


about 10 years ago

How does crowd funding differ from panhandling?

I give money to panhandlers.  *rimshot*


about 10 years ago

Rij... The difference is that through crowdfunding, you usually get something in return. 

That and it is usually done to fund a startup of some kind. Given this startup is for a human life, I don't think it is analogous to panhandling.


about 10 years ago

The point of sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo is to raise funds to start something meaningful - like a product launch or an innovative idea - not charity because you haven't been able to budget yourself.


about 10 years ago

No short term disability?

Lucie Amundsen

about 10 years ago

It seems more reasonable than the Kickstarter for the potato salad.


about 10 years ago

Thanks for the feedback, and yes, I was ready to receive a fair amount of snark and criticism. Even Amanda Palmer, the first artist to raise over a million dollars on kickstarter (after setting a goal of $100,000), gets many of the same types of comments.

Each crowd funding site has its own stipulations about what kinds of projects can appear there. The beauty of crowd funding is that it's up to the funders to decide what's worth funding.

What I also like about crowd funding sites is the ability to offer incentives, or "perks" as Indiegogo calls them. Contributors get something in exchange for their contribution. So, maybe not panhandling, but more akin to spreading out a blanket of handmade items on the grass in Canal Park? :) I honestly thought about that, too. But if you like, you can purchase my handmade hemp jewelry at my Etsy shop, Squirrel Seeds.


about 10 years ago

Why not crowd fund your Etsy shop stuff to be able to go retail? Also, when my Mrs and I had our kids, we could not afford the full six weeks and she had to return to work in about half of that.


about 10 years ago

I personally find it sad that we can't/don't crowd-fund maternity leave through the state. So many other countries do it I don't understand why it isn't a priority for us.


about 10 years ago

I look forward to your crowdfund for diapers, when you get back from your expensive and completely unnecessary trip...


about 10 years ago

Croudfunding is an opportunity to ask those around you for assistance. It us up to the individual funder to decide if they want to contribute.

Reasons for wanting crowdfunding can vary greatly, as well as the response of the funders.

One person may believe a request is frivolous and stupid, whereas another may believe the request is essential and worthy of their support.
To each their own - if you do not support the need for crowdfunding her maternity leave, then do just that, not support it by simply not donating.

Please do not publicly criticize her and nitpick her finances! Lucie is right, if there's a market to fund potato salad, there's a market to fund a mom-to-be. If you do not want to be involved, then just don't.


about 10 years ago

In for a little. Haterz be damned.


about 10 years ago

There are two sides to this coin. One is that we don't give maternity leave in this country and that is a serious tragedy. When a new mother tries to take time off she is always looking over her shoulder and worried, she often is not paid, and there is often little support from management. So I agree that this could be a good thing.

The other side to this coin is that this woman posted her situation here on a local blog and is asking for money so she can go to a wedding. When the Duluth Deluge took my car, my basement and all its contents, and destroyed so much in my life the only good thing that came out of the mess was finding out I was having my first child. There was no paid maternity leave, no FEMA money to replace thousands lost (they connected us to banks to borrow money at high interest rates!!), and no insurance to pay for losses. Even a local car dealership tried to rip us off when buying a new car despite knowing that a baby was on the way and we lost everything in the flood. We didn't ask anyone for money because it was our lives and our struggle. People helped us with labor and caring, but to just ask for money would have imposed too much.

I am not against starting a kickstarter for this, but to advertise it here and on the news is inappropriate. Maybe I am old fashioned, but I believe this is kind of like panhandling.

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