I have two teenagers. So the conversations around our house – and our vacation plans – mostly revolve around college: Who wants to go where? What school should we tour next? How are your grades? How are we going to pay for this? That last one scares the #$%$ out of me. So much so that I am willing to stoop to begging from friends and family. Every time anyone asks me what the kids want for a gift these days, I don’t ask the kids. I just answer, “Help paying for college!”

And that means people keep handing me checks – inevitably made out to one of my kids – for their college fund.  (I told everyone how to contribute directly but it’s complicated.)

My kids don’t have checking accounts. They have savings accounts. They have PayPal accounts. But checks are an enigma to them. They stare at this quaint and unsolvable payment method, hug the giver, (charmed by the ancient customs and sweet nature of people over thirty) and hand the checks to me to figure out. Of course, I can’t do anything with a check not made out to me. So I hand it back to my mother or sister and make a backroom deal where I end up depositing the money into the kids 529 College fund.

So I was thrilled when I got a pitch from Instagrad offering a solution to this conundrum: A simple web site that automates this entire process.

All I had to do was enter some account information for the kids’ college funds, grab a link from the site, and post it to Facebook, email, or wherever else I go to do my shameless begging. And now my people can donate to a cause they really care about with none of the hassle.

The site takes a small fee. But my friends and family didn’t seem to care. It let them use a payment method they like: A credit card number. That was enough.