A former writer for the Raleigh News and Observer, who has been unemployed for the past three years and was on the verge of being homeless, reached out to the internet for $900 to pay his rent – but raised $6,300 and donations are still flooding in.
Craig Lindsey was laid off from the Raleigh News and Observer newspaper in North Carolina in 2011, and although he won some freelance writing awards, has struggled to pay his way and questioned why he even pursued the competitive work of journalism.
2013 was tough for Lindsey: he took freelance work where he could, economized and cut corners and took help from friends.
Lindsey’s unemployment benefit ran out last January and when he had just one week to come up with two months of back rent, he decided to launch an Indiegogo campaign on New Year’s Eve to get the $900 his landlord’s enforcers were demanding.
“When you’re caught in a desperate situation like I was, the only way you can do it is be honest and realize where you are. I was about ready to give up and then I realized there’s Indiegogo,” Lindsey told ABC 11 Raleigh TWVD news.
Lindsey holds a sign in his plea, which reads: “Will be a snarky, cranky, unpredictable smart-ass for food!?!”
He then sets out the specific reasons for making the appeal underneath.
“As I go into my fourth year of joblessness, with little or no prospects on the horizon, I don’t have family here, so I don’t even have that to fall back on,” he wrote. “My friends try and help me out when they can, but they have their own troubles. I only ask if you can help me out in this endeavor, and I will be eternally grateful.”
US media commentator Jim Romenesko came across his campaign and tweeted it out to his 87,000 followers.
Within just three hours of making his plea, Lindsey had hit his $900 target and after just 24 hours realized he’d made $3,500.
“I’m very grateful for that. I have enough now for the rent I owe and for the next couple of months,” he said.
Lindsey even asked people to stop making donations but as per Indiegogo’s regulations the campaign will remain open until the end of Friday.
He also shared some of the lessons he’d learned on his Tumblr blog through having to make his appeal, and it being successful.
“I’ve learned that people aren’t awful,” he wrote. “Secondly, while no one wants to be seen as a pitiful charity case, sometimes you need help. And, if you can get past your ego and your pride and just ask, people are more than willing to come to your aid.”
Lindsey also said that the experience had moved him to be more giving and charitable himself.
He hopes now to concentrate on his job search and hopefully find something full-time.
“Hopefully, I can get something steady going and have some nice benefits and all. Just go out there and see what I can do as a writer,” he said.
A reporter laid off from the Raleigh News & Observer in 2011 is trying to raise at least $900 for rent. http://t.co/bVQSo5qAYV
— Romenesko (@romenesko) December 31, 2013