There are needs, and there are wants.
Life is hard and sometimes help is needed. But starting a GoFundMe campaign for every little thing kind of reduces the value of the help.
More and more GoFundMe requests pop up on my Facebook. Online begging is common these days. Back in the days, I considered GoFundMe a site for worthy donation recipients. People with staggering medical expenses. Parents paying for their childrens’ funerals. Wounded soldiers, homeowners who lost it all due to fires or natural disasters. The truly needy who need our compassion and monetary donations.
But now I see others. And so many.
The inspiring musician who wants to record a song and “needs” $8,000. A high school student who wants money for a summer camp near the ocean. Some ask for money for college visits, computers, dance costumes, a relocate to another city, and camera equipment for their upcoming trip. Then there is the couple who asks strangers to finance their wedding (don’t count on getting an invitation). The list goes on and on.
In my opinion, GoFundMe is being done to death and needs to be reserved for true need.
Wanting and needing something isn’t the same. What happened to working for something you want? Yes, you might even have to get that extra part time job.
I learned this at a very young age. As a teen, whenever I wanted something extra, my mom said “Sure you can have it, but you have to go out and earn it.” In other words, she told me to “fund myself”.
When my son was in middle school, his Quiz Bowl team won the state championship, qualifying them for the nationals. The event took place in Florida, which also included a two day visit to Disney World. I knew this event meant a lot to my son so I didn’t want him to miss out. The months leading up to this event, I worked every possible side gig (in addition to my full time job) I could get my hands on. I cleaned houses, passed out samples at various stores, and provided child care at a local church. This extra income allowed me to pay for his transportation, hotel, food, tickets, etc. Turning to GoFundMe didn’t even enter my mind.
When my oldest daughter decided to pursue law school in Chicago and my younger daughter landed a new job in New York, they made sure enough money was earned and saved to pursue their dreams. Their earnings allowed them to pay for a rental car, hotel, deposit on their new apartments, groceries, etc. Again, neither of my girls turned to GoFundMe. They paid for their own expenses.
The person asking for free money is telling the world that they put no value on the thing they want; they are unwilling to pay for it themselves by making sacrifices – whether that means sacrificing something else they are spending their money on, sacrificing their time by working more, or sacrificing future spending by paying interest on a loan.
I’m not against charity or welfare. I have nothing against giving to people in need. Real need, that is.
But I think the internet is teaching an entire generation that they can get what they want by asking strangers for it, rather than working for it. Bag groceries, wash dishes, babysit, clean houses. I’ve done it all. If you’re able-bodied, working for your “wants” will make it much more rewarding than begging other hard-working people to pay for it.
And what exactly is begging strangers for money when you don’t “need” something?
One word: selfish.