Before going through the 2010 Nashville flood, I would always search for ways to help out financially after a disaster. Like everyone else, I donated to Red Cross after both 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. It made me feel good to feel like I was doing something to help.
After the summer of 2010, my view of charities changed forever. I saw that most of the money the public gave during relief concerts and such was never delivered to flood victims. Instead it was used to build an amphitheater and redo the waterfront area of downtown.
I also saw what the Red Cross does with all of its donation money. Pretty much this and only this:
The whole thing made me jaded but I still wanted to help. So for a while, when a Facebook friend posted about a friend/family member in need, I'd donate directly. That way I'd know the money would get to the person...right?
I'd send a gift card and never hear a word. Not that I'd expect someone going through a disaster to take five seconds to send a thank you email, but it just bothered me that the gift card could have easily gotten lost. I stopped donating altogether for a while because of it. Then this came along:
With GoFundMe, you can see that someone got the funds. They can even send a thank you email. If they're polite, they'll send a personal thank you, but they don't have to. The anxiety over whether it got lost in the mail is gone. Click and donate. The only problem is, some people have begun abusing the system.
People are crowdfunding weddings...
...and damaged relationships. (Huh?)
The result? We're all being given a reason to gossip about our friends and relatives. It also provides great entertainment as you browse the different crazy campaigns on there.
There are instances where many of these campaigns make sense, of course. If a bride and groom ask wedding attendees to donate to a honeymoon fund instead of buying gifts, it makes sense. If a person has a powerful story that goes with asking for help with things like vacations, prom dresses, and weddings, people can get behind that. But just asking friends and family for money because you want something?
Still, I celebrate GoFundMe. It gives me an option of helping people that doesn't require going through a charity. That is always a good thing!
(Also...seriously, guys. No matter what you're going through, if someone sends you $100 of his/her hard-earned money, take a few seconds to send a personal thank you. SERIOUSLY!)
Have you ever donated to a GoFundMe campaign?