Ever heard of GoFundMe? It’s probably the most well-known means of raising funds today, via Crowdfunding. They’re everywhere!
Crowdfunding is a means of enlisting, organizing, and gathering donations – to help a family replace a burned down house, say, or to help Fido get a new leg, maybe enable Suzy Sidewinder to publish her first book, or even help poor Cloe Bodacious pay her Uber bill – what?
In my case, it was to help a friend and her husband avoid homelessness. I was able to raise a small amount to help them relocate and re-establish themselves until her social security came through (and didn’t we all breathe a sigh of relief when it did!).
Here’s how it works:
According to GoFundMe, “In 2008 Brad Damphousse wanted to save up for a vacation. Frustrated that savings accounts were so difficult to open online, he decided that a web-based ‘social’ savings account – one that allowed others to make deposits – would be more fun. That idea sparked the journey that would eventually result in one of the world’s most successful crowdfunding platforms.”
Here it is 2015 and GoFundMe has raised a purported 1.1 Billion dollars for people in need. It’s a great opportunity! But what has happened to selling cookies and candy bars, working overtime, and having fellow employees hand over their earned sick time?
And are the great gobs of cash that are raised appropriate? Has it changed our idea of being self-sufficient by becoming our first option for fundraising?
There are at least three “GoFundMe” type advertisements in my Facebook feed almost every day, and they are not always generated by my friends list. GoFundMe is even sending me email to advertise how much this charity or that person has raised through their service. Do they want me to go again?
It’s also not always appropriate. According to Caroline Moss of the Business Insider, one woman who drank too much and ran up an obnoxious Uber cab fare decided to crowdfund to help herself pay her rent. Kinda not the way it was intended, lady. I really think that there can be too much of a good thing. My friend desperately needed the help and there was none forthcoming. A friend’s daughter with cerebral palsy needed a bathing system in order to live independently. and they could not fund it on their own. These are clear cut cases of need.
Is that the case with everyone who uses GoFundMe? I just have to wonder. I’m finding personally that this market is pretty saturated. I already get that feeling that “I gave at the office,” like everybody has their hand out. It’s an idea whose time had come, certainly, but perhaps there are harder, more personal, and more rewarding ways to raise money that could be tried, or at least considered, before crowdfunding.
Now where did I leave my cab fare?