Friday 31 March 2023

Let's not stigmatise personal fundraising like GoFundMe

Let’s unstigmatise GoFundMe

There is an undercurrent of concern and stigma accompanying the use of GoFundMe to attract funding for whatever cause or issue you might have. It is probably that concern and fear of stigma that meant I did not resort to this model of making people aware of a situation I need some help with.

I can appreciate that GoFundMe seems like a mendicant shaking a begging bowl on the sidewalk (properly a pavement in English), but that is to misconstrue the value of social networking and seeking the friendship, the support, and the generosity of other people towards something you have limited resources to finance.

Utilising my social media network

It need not be that way, as I have benefitted immensely from the use of my social media networks to first inform and then gain support. My blog has been prominent in that regard where a doctoral student in Canada sponsored my blog for a year, soon after I ran out of funds when I had cancer.

Then, I had a World Bank executive contact me on reading a pertinent blog I wrote in 2012; after a conversation, they wired $5,000 to me, no strings attached, just something to support my endeavours. Obviously, I have not monetised my blog, that is not the purpose of my blog. Rather, I write stories; stories about me, what I see, how I am affected, or just to proffer an opinion.

On LinkedIn, I have had jobs offered without having to interview, again, it is not that all these things happen always, but to ignore a social media following on the many platforms that you engage when things are going well but go quiet in adverse conditions is to forget the amazing usefulness of networking for all sorts of life situations.

GoFundMe is open for all causes

One look at the GoFundMe Fundraiser start page, there are many categories of fundraising, all to varying degrees of criticality and importance, but we should be careful that we do not determine to rate one need more than another as if it is a competition to suckle on the milk of human kindness better than the other person.

Yes, Funeral and Medical needs could speak to life and death issues, but people can also fundraise for others or themselves, for causes or interests in as varied areas as Emergency, Charity, Financial Emergency, Animals, Environment, Business, Community, Competition, Creative, Event, Faith, Family, Sports, Travel, Volunteer, or Wishes.

Crowdfunding is not criminal

GoFundMe is simply another crowdfunding platform, primarily a donation-based crowdfunding with charitable to a wide range of funding requirements for which there is neither financial nor material return to the donor apart from the satisfaction of helping someone else in some need of help or support.

I published a GoFundMe page to address a simple issue, I need to take some time to study and gain some new vendor certifications to give me better job opportunities for which I have extensive background experience, but have recently been quite lacking in confidence. I seek to do this in a comfortable supportive environment, and that is preferably Cape Town. I need to reboot things, I believe that is a purposeful and well-considered activity that would yield results.

We should embrace fundraising

In closing, no one should be ashamed when they have determined what they want to and have to do, to resort to raising funds for their projects. Whilst on the GoFundMe platform, many might think fundraising is just for desperate life-threatening situations, the fact is every endeavour involves a form of fundraising from personal projects and concerns, through startups seeking capital from venture capital firms to big businesses raising finance from banks, on the stock markets, or through the trade of equity.

GoFundMe simply brings the facility to raise funding for personal and community causes. To stigmatise it is to fail to understand the democratisation of fundraising brought to the lowest common denominator. I am persuaded that my GoFundMe drive is going to be extremely beneficial to changing my circumstances, no one need be concerned or ashamed by the use of it. Thank you.


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