For those who are yet unfamiliar, crowdsourced funding is a growing trend that has revolutionized the way in which would-be entrepreneurs fund and kickstart new ideas and businesses. Of course, as with everything else, there is a large margin for conning and dishonesty when dealing with these sites. So before you donate…or start your own campaign, consider the following:

The Gift…

This should be fairly obvious. Rather than plunging deep into debt or pestering family and friends, people are now able to launch an online campaign and reach out to billions of people who may help donate to their cause. Furthermore, many of the causes go viral and end up accruing much more funds than originally intended. Which is certainly not a bad problem to have. On the flip side, though…

The Curse…

This may be equally obvious depending on your level of trust for humanity…but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point these things out. First of all, it suddenly seems like everyone has a business or idea they’re trying to get off of the ground. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, one has to wonder how many of these are legitimate and how many are not. What’s more, even if someone has a legitimate business idea or issue, there is no way to guarantee that the money goes towards said investment. Therefore, donating is an act of faith as much as it is an act of charity. Also, the website takes a small percentage of the proceeds, so some of your money won’t go where it’s intended from the very beginning. Last, there are reportedly some who have turned this into a full-time job by consistently proposing new start-ups and other initiatives, only to cash out and create another campaign when it’s over.

The Bottom Dollar…

Overall, crowdsourced funding is a necessary medium in this age. However, the system is abused by many and may result in fewer opportunities for those who are actually well-intentioned. Think of it this way, if you donate your hard-earned money to a few bad eggs, and never see any ideas come to fruition, you’ll be far less likely to jump out on that limb if someone approaches you with a similar notion in the future. Also, you may discourage others from donating as well, based on your own experiences. Give, only if you believe in the cause and trust that your money will be put to good use. Campaign, only if you truly intend to use the money for the cause that you initially stated. Crowdsourced funding: use it, don’t abuse it!

Venus L

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