I would like to remind anyone who reads this about my disclaimer in ‘All About Me’
For those of you who haven’t read that one, haven’t read any or just need a refresher of the rules.. here’s a copy of my disclaimer posted there.
Let’s get this disclaimer out of the way: Warning: I’m a bit sarcastic and can be pretty controversial at times. You now read all and any of my writings knowing this and assume all responsibility for your feelings/emotions. I also might swear if I deem necessary.
So I obviously put this at the top of the blog as I know I’ll piss someone off with this blog. I write being prepared for this, just as I also speak knowing I’ll annoy someone and often offend. (I am better with age I will admit).
So..crowd funding. I have mixed feelings about the crowd funding trend we are in. Let’s talk positive first. You can hate me later.
Crowd funding has financially helped countless families and individuals who usually have had their lives altered negatively or completely shattered. Expenses for funerals have been covered, medical bills – uninsured treatments paid to save lives, dream trips or dream encounters for the terminally ill of all ages, a car bought for someone who walked a ridiculous distance to and from work every day for 12+ years, who also had a perfect work attendance regardless of weather (top that eh?). The generosity from around the world that is given to so many individuals, with each unique situation, is phenomenal. Crowd funding has the capability to make something typically financially unattainable, attainable, with the majority of donators being strangers who are compassionate about that particular circumstance. Let’s just agree that absolutely no wrong can come from helping your neighbour.
With all the good behind crowd funding, I somehow have an internal struggle with the abundance of money that is often raised for one event. For instance … A crowd fundraiser was set up to help a family who lost a child and to help cover funeral costs. The goal set for the fundraiser was $20,000. Twenty thousand dollars is a good size pool of funds to pull from for a funeral and hopefully enough left over to help the grieving parents take extra time off work to cope with their loss. Money can not replace whom we have lost and adding a financial burden to tragedies has never made sense to me. This is truly amazing that the community (far and wide) has pitched in to pay for the funeral costs. Words have failed me here, on how to express exactly how they must feel to have complete strangers mourn with them and care enough to want to help them through this time in their lives.
However. When the funding date closed for this particular event, it had reached over $170,000. This is where I personally get conflicted. What’s the point of this amount of money to one family/person? It’s excessive to the 100th degree. Not that anyone who donated above the $20,000 should be deemed silly, nor would I ever say don’t do it, but I’m just wondering if a respectable line should be drawn in these cases. Should we cap the donation amount? Or should we just let the money fly in?
Reasons I get conflicted are many. There are so many ways $150,000 could be used within our communities and local charities. (let’s just keep the $20,000 goal out of the equation). I don’t know what the family’s plans are for the money donated for the tragic loss of their very young child, nor should I, but ultimately $170,000++ went to one person/family. Perhaps the family will open an education trust fund or something along those lines. Perhaps they won’t. Do we have an opinion with what should be done with the money? Should we care? We shouldn’t have any expectations if we donate money to individuals, its entirely the receivers prerogative. In this case it’s most obvious the funds exceed the cost of a funeral.
Share the wealth.
I volunteer at a food bank. I see a lot of people go without and struggle to meet their daily needs. I know some local food banks in the surrounding areas are on reduced hours due to lack of food availability. Currently we are taking in an overflow from outside of our area due to food shortages. In this group is children, seniors, families and singles. Hunger doesn’t choose what side of the street it comes from. It’s in the average neighbourhood and on every corner. It can be your neighbour whose had to choose food or electricity or maybe they don’t get to eat every day so their children can. It’s real and it’s right here. It’s beside us and most often we are looking hunger right in the eye and don’t even know it.
I think hunger and homelessness is possibly a stale issue in our memories. It’s out of the spotlight. It’s been around for so long that perhaps we don’t even ‘see’ it anymore. Like a new neighbour. New people, new dynamics, we look and check it out often. A week later, your used to their vehicles in the driveway and their comings and goings. It’s yesterday’s news and your back to your regular routine. Did that make sense?
These tragedies have a bright spotlight and are usually unique in its description and we are easily drawn to them with an overwhelming response of compassion for our fellow community members. Fresh news always gets the first read. Have we forgotten the age old problem of hunger and homelessness? Maybe.
I’m thinking if we take the abilities we have shown with crowd funding, it really is truly remarkable, and disperse it more evenly, more could benefit from all this generosity. It doesn’t even have to be food banks, it can be any charity of choice. It can be $10 today and $10 or $20 next month. We have the ability to make a difference. We prove it every single time with the crowd funding responses. We are quick to respond to tragedies. We are quick to care and want to help. We are quick to donate. I’m not saying don’t crowd fund. I’m saying lets be smart about it. Let’s absolutely keep crowd funding, it keeps the sense of community in us all. For me, I choose to have a thought process and exercise my limits.
To-date I haven’t participated in a crowd funding event. I participate other ways within my community. I volunteer and donate at a local food bank and I volunteer at a ‘Free Will Dinner’ program once a week. I help out with fundraisers for these programs and donate financially often. I buy an extra ‘meal’ with each grocery shop and give to the food bank. Can be pasta and sauce or pancake mix and syrup. Simple things go a long way. Donations don’t always have to be financial. Time is priceless.
I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t wait for a tragic news story to help in your community. The need is always there. It’s up to you how often and to whom will benefit from your generosity. Spread the wealth, share your love.