(CBS) – “Crowdfunding” is a new way to ask for money. It’s all virtual, and some people are raising a lot of cash to pay for anything from medical care to vacations.

CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey has more on how the trend is working well for some local people and how it’s easier than just asking outright for a handout.

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Need to take a big trip? Or want to adopt a child and can’t afford it? Websites like Gofundme.com could help make your dreams come true.

DePaul graduate student Ria Hodgson has played viola since she was 5 years old. So, when she and fellow violist, Annissa Olsen, got the call to play in Luxembourg, they knew they had to make it happen.

They decided to create a “gofundme” profile to ask for $3,000 for their airfare overseas. It worked.

Paul Booth is an associate professor of media studies at DePaul University and says online donation pages take the awkwardness out of asking for money.

“There’s a mechanism in place. There’s a website. There’s a formal structure,” he says.

But can you be certain where the money is going? Not really, Booth says.

“I don’t think we’ve seen too many big moments where people feel like they’ve been lied to,” he says.

Childhood cancer left 27-year-old Heather Lebda unable to have children.

“I’m in ovarian failure, so I cannot produce eggs,” she says.

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But adoption came with a price tag of $38,000. Family members turned to gofundme to help the young couple raise the money.

This middle-class couple says there’s no way they could have done it on their own.

Donations have come from friends and family but also total strangers and old acquaintances.

“People we haven’t talked to in years were giving,” Lebda says. “All of a sudden, they’re sending me best wishes message with a fifty-dollar donation.”







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