GofundYourself

I’d like to rant a bit about a new trend I’m seeing… well, everywhere. It has blown up with the help of a website I’ve referenced in the title of this entry. I will not name names, mostly because my readers have the common sense to figure it out for themselves and also because I don’t want to direct any more traffic to that site than necessary.

For those living under rocks, the new trend involves begging others for money to pay for a dream vacation, a house remodel, a move, bills, or anything you can think of. Shamelessly.

What happened to personal responsibility? Setting a goal and saving up for it, if one can’t afford it right away? Why should I, as your friend/total stranger be badgered into paying for your lifestyle choice in the name of “charity”? I think we need to take another look at the definition of “charity”.

From our friends at Merriam-Webster:

charity:

the act of giving money, food, or other kinds of help to people who are poor, sick, etc.; also : something (such as money or food) that is given to people who are poor, sick, etc.

: an organization that helps people who are poor, sick, etc.

: the organizations that help people in need

If one were to look at that website’s front page today, of the top 12 most popular, 5 are collecting to offset medical expenses for humans. Two others are collecting to offset veterinary expenses for dogs. One is to extend a wish made by the “Make a Wish” foundation for a child. Another is collecting to build a playground at a hospice hospital. One is a memorial to cover a child’s funeral expenses. One to send a cancer survivor on vacation to Hawaii. One is trying to fund an invention. All heart-wrenching causes, to be sure, but others are more than questionable. Sending a birthday boy to Universal in FL? Buy me a PS4 for my birthday? “I’m moving, pay for my flight?” “Send me to meet XYZ!”

How about, no.

For me, gift giving is fun. I like to take the time to shop, pick out something I think the recipient will enjoy, wrap it up all pretty, write a special message, and give it to him. I like to watch his face when he opens it. For this reason, I don’t like to give money and only rarely will I give gift cards. I prefer surprise, even when a gift is expected for something like a birthday or Christmas.

I don’t like to give to gimme-pigs.

This website is just one more example of the entitlement culture many millennials (my generation, I’m very sorry to say) have. The thought-process that leads to expecting a raise or promotion just for showing up to work every day. The culture that started with everyone getting a trophy and the elimination of competition. Instant gratification and the loss of personal responsibility.

There’s an old, old saying that goes something like this: “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” I agree. Need a few extra thousand dollars to pursue your dream? Get a second (or third) job. Sacrifice. Save. Throw all that change in a piggy bank – a literal one if it makes you feel better about it. (Yes, I have one, and it’s painted to look like Raphael from TMNT.)  Dreamer – fund thyself.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “GofundYourself

  1. I understand and enjoyed your “rant.” I love the philosophy behind tools like gofundme, but I would like to see more offerings on the part of the one asking to be funded for whatever project they are endeavoring to do. I think it’s great when artists want to record an album, and offer the album as a reward to those who donate. That kind of asking/giving, I think, creates a deeper bond between the artist and their listeners (and this of course would apply to many other fields than music). It also enables people to do things they might not otherwise be able to do, which is the whole point, right?

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    • Hi there, and thanks for the comment, but I think it still ignores the deeper aspect of personal responsibility.

      The musician is a great example of this – “help me earn $$$ so I can record/get to LA/make a video/whatever”. So to borrow from the classic “Bill and Ted” movies, Wyld Stallyns sets up a crowdfunding account and spams everyone from Rufus to the Royal Ugly Dudes to contribute so they can become these great musicians and establish world peace. In exchange, once they create their first album, they hand it out all willy-nilly as a “thank you” to their listeners. Everyone decides that the album wasn’t worth it and world peace is not established and there is no point in either Bill and Ted movie, which in itself is depressing, because those were really funny.

      That’s not how it works though, and it’s certainly not how it worked for the Stallyns (time-travel non-withstanding). While recording an album is a great goal and certainly a noble endeavor for any musician, even a demo costs money. So how else can it be done without begging others? What about playing at local bars or clubs in exchange for tips or commissions on drinks or meals sold? Pick a street corner and play for tips for an afternoon? Got a rock band? Offer to play for a high school dance. It’s not instant gratification by any means, but it will get your name out there. Get a good reputation for being responsible and you’ll be asked back. Get a second job and devote whatever you earn from that job to the music. (In this economy, yes, I know that’s a lot harder than it sounds.) Go out of your typical comfort zone or genre. Usually play metal? Give Christmas tunes a try and serenade diners at a restaurant during the holidays.

      It will work. I’ve seen it happen. A friend of mine did it and won the MTV “Basement Tapes” competition back in the 1990s, earning his band a national record deal. Before that, a gig at a NYC club earned the same band a one-night recording opportunity at The Hit Factory when a record producer heard them and liked their sound. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Today, there are opportunities like “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent” to name a few. It can be done without shaking down others for cash. It’s hard, but possible. No one ever said that what was worthwhile was easy.

      My point is this: If it is a cause that is worthwhile, be it charity, the arts, or something for the public good, people will fund it of their own free will. They won’t need to be asked. Politicians should take note of that, too. 🙂

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  2. Oh, I wholeheartedly agree. We live in a business-world that has manipulation (they call it marketing and PR) as the foundation for most everything in the commercial world. This is quite evident in other sectors as well, political, religious, social, etc. Most advertising is all geared towards convincing people they need something, usually preying upon emotions or fear or social pressures. And so, spamming, asking, begging, etc. I think is a product of the society and systems in which we live and use.

    I would like that to change. Which is why I work for free but allow my clients to give in return to me whatever value they find in my work (I am a web designer). I simply do what I love to do and look for anyways of being resourceful or creative in using my skills and knowledge to benefit people. If it does benefit them, they can give back to me.

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