Friday, December 20, 2013

The Kickstarter Revolution

I remember first seeing Kickstarter campaigns.  People trying to get projects off the ground would offer perks for friends and fans to help fund them.  If they met the goal they had set for themselves, Kickstarter took a portion of the money and then wrote them a check.  If they didn't meet their goal, they didn't get the money.  They were generally artistic types who did cute videos to help talk you into sharing your money to help fund their movie/video game/whatever.  And they generally offered gifts in return.  Maybe you get a cool t-shirt.  Maybe a photoshoot.  Maybe a speaking role in their movie if you paid enough.  I have definitely watched some creative videos requesting money and have contributed to a few worthy causes.

Then I started seeing other websites.  GoFundMe.  CrowdFunding.  Indiegogo.  And the list goes on...  A lot of them no longer required you to have a goal in mind.  You would list the amount of money you wanted, but they would write you a check no matter how much you raised. 

I also started noticing that people were no longer asking you to fund their artistic projects.  There were families with sick children in need of help covering medical expenses.  There were sick animals requiring surgery.  People needed help moving into new houses.  Photographers in need of new cameras.  And there were vacations.

Yes, I said vacations.  (A girl on Facebook "needed" a vacation to Las Vegas recently because, well...she deserved it.)  We all deserve it, right?  We work hard, living paycheck-to-paycheck, so we ALL deserve a little something extra, don't we?  But life doesn't always work out that way. 

Something has happened with this revolution of asking for money.  Some people really started asking for money for every single extra thing they needed.  It's a little scary if you ask me.  Gone are the days where you saved for something or asked family to borrow money or threw it on your own credit card if you needed it badly enough.  Now you just take yourself to GoFundMe, write up your story and ask everyone else to pay for it.  I'm not knocking anyone who has used one of these sites, but I am just curious when this type of creative financing went viral. 

Look, I'm not saying that we shouldn't help people in need but there are charities for that.  And you will never know if said stranger actually has a sick child or if that money helped said sick child anyway.  I just noticed the huge rise in requests for money on my Facebook feed lately and wondered where this phenomenon came from.  When did we stop being shy about asking strangers for money?  

What do you think about funding websites?  Which projects and causes do you like to support most?  Post a link to your favorite in the comments below!


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  2. Okay it's not just me noticing that, then! I feel like... a Grinch sometimes. People post in forums, too, asking for clothes for their kids or money for rent and I can't believe it. I am ashamed just reading it, probably because I am a very broke college student and parent. That's where problem solving and hard work come in. I'm sure for some people it is not that simple but so many people are out there asking for money that it is just not realistic.

    1. I feel like the Grinch all the time!! Before Kickstarter campaigns, it was people doing charity walks. I used to get two or three requests a week to sponsor someone doing this walk or that, or fundraising for a cause. Look, I am down to contribute to a good cause but I only have so much money! I'm starting to feel that way about my walk from work to BART every night. I pass at least 10 people begging for money. If I gave to every person asking, I'd have to get a second job just to fund all the give-aways!

      And it is heart-wrenching to read some of these stories, especially when sick children are involved. But I have a sister with a disabled son who doesn't ask for hand-outs. Social security even cut him off and she hasn't bothered to go after them even though he's very clearly disabled!