How To Decide Whether To Donate to Crowdfunding Campaigns | The Frugalista

How to Handle Crowdfunding Campaign Requests

by frugalista on June 14, 2013

photodune 3284484 donate button xs 150x150 How to Handle Crowdfunding Campaign RequestsHey Frugs! Nowadays, it seems like every person has a project that he or she would like to get funded by YOU. With sites such as Kickstarter, Gofundme.com and Givefoward.com, it can be a little overwhelming when there always seems to be a new campaign on your Facebook or Twitter feed.
With these sites gaining popularity, you can’t donate to everyone equally. Well, maybe you can donate to them all if you are independently wealthy, but you shouldn’t want to fund a bad project or scam. I wrote down a few things you should consider before donating.

7 Things to Ask Yourself Before Donating to a Crowdfunding Campaign

1) Do the numbers add up? If the fundraising campaign asks for $20,000 to fund a new eBook, your spidey senses need to be alerted. EBooks are not that expensive to produce. Make sure to read what the money from the donation campaign is going toward. You may be helping unknowingly the person pay for a trip to Bali. If you’re OK with that risk, then by all means donate. If you’re a bit more detailed about where your money is spent, then you may want to pass on donating.

2) What do you get in return? The smartest crowdfunding campaigns include something for the people who donate. United Kingdom-based website Crowdcube allows for tax breaks. If you donate to a video project, will your name be in credits? If it’s a book, will you be acknowledged in the text? There’s nothing wrong with factoring what you get in return in your decision making.

3) Do you believe in this person? Is this person the one who always tightens his or her wallet during the holiday toy drive and now wants to come begging for a buck for his pet project? Is this person even nice to you? Have they ever had your back? Or, have you helped this person out enough, already? Is this a person who you want to see “win,” or is he or she someone you secretly can’t stand? Seriously. We all have those people in our lives. Now is the time to truly assess your feelings toward that person because once you donate the money, you likely won’t get it back.

4) Do you owe this person? I know this might sound a little murky but hear me out. I once gave money to support a person’s Kickstarter campaign because she helped me out of a jam once. Did she really need the $25? I’ll never really know. But I do know that when I needed her, she showed up for me. I never told her that that’s why I donated to her campaign. I don’t even think I ever saw the book. Honestly, I doubt I’d read it anyway. I just wanted to give her a tangible “Thank you.”

5) Do you want to help? Many victims of the Boston Marathon bombing have gofundme.com accounts. If you believe in “Boston Strong,” donating directly to their accounts is one way to help them win. Sometimes you give because you want to help. It’s just that simple.

6) Has the person invested his or her own money? Some people will ask you to fund an idea. Others will ask you for money to keep a project going. I prefer to donate to people who have already done the initial investing on their projects and need a little help. I bootstrapped my Frugalista brand. I had no investors. I like to see a person continue her dreams instead of using crowdfunding to start them. If you won’t invest in your project, why should I?

7)Do you have the money? I really should put this one first. While it’s great to be a bleeding heart, you have to be honest with your bank account. Do you have the money to donate to a cause with likely little personal return? If you do and it makes sense for you, go for it. I’ve certainly given to some of these micro-funding site projects.If it doesn’t make sense, don’t press that donate button! Spend time on getting a better job or freelancing so you fund your OWN project – your life.

What do you think about crowdfunding sites? Are they a great way to get help in a less than stellar economy? Do you think they are a sham? Do you think they are helpful or do the cites encourage cyber-begging? If you’ve donated to a campaign, how was the experience? Talk to me!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tatiana July 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Hey!

This is really interesting. I started a GoFundMe earlier this month in order to help me get to web development bootcamp and THAT didn’t work. Hah. Sometimes it seems really hit or miss – people who need immediate care for tragic things get funded quickly whereas personal projects seem to take forever unless you have a strong and supportive network.

For Kickstarter, the most successful ones are those with a strong network of supporters. So webcomics that decide to create an anthology always do well because they’ve had a fanbase for ages. People who have had previously successful kickstarters continue to be successful. But it also depends on the niche: I only pay attention to comic and literary kickstarters (anyone trying to fund a lit mag).

But there’s definitely a strategy to it and lots of kickstarters don’t get funded, people don’t promote enough, people want too much money and don’t have the network to really get it going. Some people also don’t know how to market what they’re trying to do, aren’t aggressive enough about it or only share within their network instead of branching out.

So… yeah.

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J August 16, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Your 7 points are excellent.

I respect kickstarter projects and believe some donors like the anonymity. They can help others quietly without the whole world knowing.

What bothers me is if people are willing to give $20 to kickstarter but balk at donating money to the PTA, pet shelter, and food pantries in their own area. Or if they don’t support their own houses of worship — churches, temples, whatever.

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