I was never sure how I felt about digital fundraising platforms like Kickstarter, Crowdsourcing, GoFundMe, etc. It always looked a bit suspicious to me. I felt, “Why are people getting online asking strangers for money to fund their own personal endeavors?” For the people who want to give, I wonder if they wonder, is this invention real? What ROI can anyone expect? In this digital environment, how can we trust our funds are being used appropriately?
Scanning Twitter, I looked up GoFundMe. Ridiculousness. People asking for money to send their kid on a “trip of a lifetime;” someone wants money so their daughter can participate in a beauty pageant, etc. Needless to say, those campaigns received little to no money. On the other hand, I saw some really interesting ideas that I wouldn’t mind supporting. One ground breaking project is a Virtual tee. $81,760 was raised with 6 days to go to reach goal. A tee-shirt can be paired with a mobile device that allows one to see inside the human anatomy. It is a great way to get kids interested in science, possibly resulting in more medical careers. Currently, this tool is tailored for kids but is revolutionary and fascinating for anyone who desires to understand more about the human body and see what is going inside of it. I could get behind this and would be willing to give money but I need to do more research to see how I can track progress.
Crowdsourcing, and KickStarter can be a great solution for people fulfilling their dreams. But before launching a marketing campaign on social media, we need to first make sure our invention will benefit a community, or a society. Fortune has published an article on how to weed out scams from legitimate causes on Crowdfunding sites. It introduces policing sites like Kickscammed and GoFraudMe to help weed out thieves who have no intent to deliver on their ideas. Even with the protection available, some are still skeptical. Damen Bell-Holter, a professional basketball player from Alaska, “You know what people did before GoFundMe? They worked.”
In this digital environment, we have to be more vigilant than ever about how we lend cyber support, whether it’s to a family member, friend, political candidate, an idea, etc. Both predators and real investors are watching. Havoc can be wreaked on the best-intentioned cyber support and donations if the wrong benefactor is enabled. The Today Show warned about hack scams for spring break vacations where a woman saved for an entire year to take a dream vacation only to discover that she paid thousands of dollars to a fictitious site and with no way to recover funds. On the other hand, great ideas can be catapulted forward and take society to the next great level but we must first do plenty of research and cross-referencing with policing platforms.
We have got to do that homework so that we don’t get worked over.