Does the use of fundraising websites for “personal gain” dilute the purpose of the site, does it make people think twice before giving to other causes?

Have had a few people contact me about the person who has set up a page on a popular fundraising site, asking how this type of fundraising is allowed. Their main concern was that it dilutes the purpose of the site and is making them question whether to support real causes.

On a personal level, I have mixed views; part of me says “good on her”, another part says “is this the right way to go about it, and should what is seen as a method to raise funds for “charitable purposes” be used for what could be personal gain. The jury is still out.

If I put on my charity hat, I don’t see how it is appropriate, and that’s the view of the people who have raised this issue with me. These are people who give to charities and people who work in the charity/philanthropic sector.

Fundraising sites are generally seen as being to support people in need of medical, social or as a means for charities themselves to collect funds; they’re not normally (unless I’ve missed it) used for personal purposes.

People have said that using these types of sites for other purposes dilutes what they’re there for, that perhaps allowing sites to be used for other purposes could tarnish the “brand”, perception people have for them.

So what has raised this discussion; those in NZ, and perhaps further afield will no doubt be aware of the article on “Ask for a million dollars, see what happens” – about the woman who has set up a fundraising page to perhaps help her purchase a house for her and her family.

Read the article and then comment what you feel about this:

Ask for a million dollars, see what happens

A recent conversation had sparked the idea – that if one million people gave one dollar each she would be a millionaire.

“With that in mind I have decided to see if it’s possible.”

She started the page on the first day of October and has given herself a deadline of six months.

Both herself and her partner are in full-time work, but she said they struggle with the rise of living costs like many New Zealanders.

“We would love to own a house for our children but the idea of even having enough for a deposit just seems impossible,” she said.

“Obviously I don’t need a million to do this but hey, why not aim big?”

Read the full article here

What do you feel about this; please share in the comments below.


The discussion about crowd funding for “causes” still goes on (and is likely to for some time) … this editorial piece centres around a couple wanting help for IVF treatment; which personally I have no problem with.

Have a read and see what you think.

Editorial: Givealittle asks a lot of our common sense

OPINION: If parents are to seek philanthropic funding to have a baby, their generous benefactors should get naming rights for the little baby.

Who could not be supportive of Jessica Holdaway and Rebecca Gribble’s dream? The urge for loving parents to bring a new baby into the world is a special and innate one.

But a public charitable appeal on crowdfunding site Givealittle to pay for the privilege – now, that is a new level of support entirely.

Leon Jayet-Cole died of serious head injuries this year, and the public donated $4600 towards his funeral costs.

“We personally aren’t rich people,” Holdaway says. . “It’s really the only way we could think of to be able to afford something like IVF.”

Story: Couples turn to fundraising for IVF to avoid debt

Public appeals on websites like New Zealand’s Givealittle and US-based GoFundMe are carving out new ethical and social questions – not to mention issues of integrity and accountability.

This year, $4600 was raised to pay for the funeral of autistic 5-year-old Leon Jayet-Cole. But Givealittle refunded the cash, after it emerged ACC had already picked up the tab for the funeral, Leon’s stepfather was charged with the boy’s murder, and his mother accused of failing to seek medical treatment for his injuries. The criminal charges are denied, and the cases progress through the courts..

Then there was Samuel Forrest, who sought $60,000 to bring his Downs syndrome baby Leo to New Zealand and to raise him as a solo dad, after the boy’s Armenian mother deserted him. When Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher tweeted the cause, nearly 18,000 donors around the world contributed $660,000 on GoFundMe.

Keep reading here

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