Saturday, October 12, 2019

Does "GoFundMe" really work? Does it provide a good way to "take action" and help others?

The November 2019 issue of The Atlantic arrived in my business mailbox, and for me the most telling article (as to personal values) was on p. 84, by Rachel Monroe, “GoFundMe Nation” , or “When GoFundMe Gets Ugly”. The tagline is “The largest crowdfunding site in the world puts up a mirror to who we are and what matters most for us. The reflection isn’t always pretty.”

Yet the concept has sometimes come across as a moral justification for social media.  It gives you a way to “take action” to help specific other people rather than just talk and become known.
I personally rarely contribute to them (I do contribute to kickstarter film fundraisers).  I’m also reminded of Facebook’s practice of putting an “add a donate button” in your stream (even actual business page) when you make a political post.  That’s part of a modern theory (“Madison’s music”) that free speech is supposed to be paired with a willingness to take action for others when appropriate.

She gives an opening take of how a well-off Memphis businessman found “God” after an incident and took up a project of raising money for an impoverished black teen.  The tale seems to bridge the communication gap we have with people other, less fortunate, stations of life.

But, Rachel argues, this kind of faith seems like the exception and seems na├»ve.  Most GoFundMe’s fail, apparently.

Then, there are those which may be inappropriate (for abortions).
I’ve noticed the use of them (or of crowdsourcing) for organ transplantation needs.  This was an idea that would have been unthinkable when I was growing up because medicine was not advanced enough to provide them.  In earlier times, it was more about “taking care of your own”, a Trumpian value.
Update: Oct 13. 
Page 58 of Time Magazine's Oct 21 issue "America's Forever War" has a story by W.J. Hennigan and North Ogden on help for families who lose parents in war, and this story relates a GoFundMe that worked well.  See the next post Sunday on this problem. 

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