A few years ago, before everyone and their mother had a Kickstarter campaign, Laura Hall and I set up a campaign to fund a production of our musical, Room to Grow. At the time I think it’s safe to say that neither one of us was comfortable asking for money that we ourselves didn’t have. With a Kickstarter campaign you set a goal and if you don’t reach it, the money is never taken out of the donor’s account. We were not great promoters and never reached our goal.
As I understand it a GoFundMe campaign works differently. Even if you don’t get all the money you are hoping for, you still get whatever has been raised. Now a days Facebook is filled with GoFundMe campaigns, or at least my page is, and here’s the thing, it’s gotten completely out of hand. There used to be campaigns to help pay for medical bills, God forbid a funeral, or even someone’s film. Lately I have seen campaigns asking for money to pay perfectly healthy people’s bills and/or rent.
I know times are tough. There are tons of things I’d like to ask people to pay for, be it the marketing for my books, my daughter’s housing at college, or my own rent, but really? The idea, at least I thought, was that you get something back when you fund something. We offered all kinds of incentives when we were doing our Kickstarter campaign. Not to mention there would be a produced play you could see and enjoy had we met our goal.
Now it feels lazy and exploitative. Why would I ask you to not only cover your bills, but mine too? What has happened to our sense of responsibility for our own welfare? A lot of people need help from time to time, but there is something about this that just doesn’t sit right with me. What about you? Is this crazy, or an acceptable solution to anyone in debt, or wanting something they don’r have?