‘Fundraising websites like GoFundMe should not be used for silly things’

Jul 14, 2019
Jennifer feels fundraising platforms like GoFundMe should not be used to raise money for those who have broken the law. Source: Getty Images

Recently there has been a fair amount of discussion about crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe. My understanding is that the purpose of such websites, especially in the case of GoFundMe, is to raise funds in an effort to help an individual or group of people overcome hardship. However, I feel these online fundraising platforms have lost their way and it’s all getting out of hand.

While there is a genuined need for fundraising and helping those who are suffering extreme hardship, I do not believe that it should be used to pay peoples fines.

In cases where families have lost loved ones, homes and all their worldly possessions, then it is great that a crowdfunding website can be facilitated to help. Most people are only too pleased to donate to such a worthy cause, myself included.

But, and this is a very big but, to ask for donations to pay ones bills is not right in my opinion. A large number of people are struggling with day-to-dayday costs. A fine is an extra burden but a fine is a preventable thing. If people adhere to the law, a fine is unlikely to be forthcoming.

I recall a recent case where a man in Melbourne, Australia was fined for littering after he tried to donate a box of books outside a charity store that was closed. According to the local council, who fined the man after having tracked him down by using CCTV footage, there were clear signs outside the store to indicate a fine would be issued if items were illegally dumped. The man chose to ignore the warnings, perhaps he thought they did not apply to him, but they did. Those rules apply to everyone!

Read more: ‘I can’t sleep’: Elderly man slapped with $322 fine over Salvation Army donation

What gets me is that apparently a GoFundMe fundraising account has been set up so that other can help the man pay his fine. I don’t think that is right. According to news reports, the man has a business just down the road from the charity where he dropped the books — surely he could have just waited until opening hours?

It leads me to think that it won’t be long before anyone who receives a parking fine, a speeding fine or some other infringement will head straight to a crowdfunding page so that others can pay their illegal activity. Where will it end then?

I am aware of sportspeople using these fundraising platforms to raise money needed to travel overseas or attend a sports event. I don’t agree with this either. I don’t support crowdfunding for generally selfish things. I do support fundraising though and I would certainly support a cake stall or raffle to raise much-needed funds to achieve a personal goal. Just don’t expect manna from heaven, so to speak.

I grew up believing one has to pay their own way, and that might involve a bit of hard work. If there is a debt to pay, we are responsible for that debt and should not ask others, particularly strangers, for help. I was raised to respect the law and its consequences. It is not in my way of thinking to expect someone else to pay for my mistake or lack of judgement.

Of course there are legitimate reasons for people to use crowdfunding — people needing lifesaving medical treatment or to put their life back together after it was destroyed by flood or fire. I gladly donate to worthy causes, these are people with real problems. Just don’t ask me to help with the ridiculous!

Have you ever donated money to a crowdfunding cause? Do you think a sense of entitlement has replaced self-responsibility in our society?

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