Some ideas are just made for crowdfunding. These are the brilliant concepts that thousands of people fall in love with, giving a whole group of people the opportunity to come together and turn a wonderful pipe dream into reality.
Sadly, an awful lot of ideas don’t fall into this category.
So, we thought we’d take a look at the top 4 things we’ve seen being crowdfunded that really shouldn’t be.
1. Wedding (or honeymoon or engagement party)
Here’s the problem with crowdfunding a wedding: it’s all about you.
When crowdfunding is done properly, it’s an opportunity for you to share your idea with the people who support you through unique and exciting rewards. By asking people to crowdfund your wedding, you are essentially asking your friends and family to give you money for the privilege of being able to witness your marriage. We hate to break it to you, but that’s not crowdfunding – that’s just asking for donations.
Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking people to donate to the cost of your wedding. The people who love you may well be happy to contribute to give you the perfect day you’ve always dreamed of. But please, please don’t pretend that it’s crowdfunding. Alternatively, you could do what most people do: plan ahead, put a little aside each month and save.
2. Personal debts (student loans, mortgages, bills, etc.)
Whenever you consider starting a crowdfunding campaign, you’ve got to ask yourself what contributors gain from supporting your campaign. If the answer is nothing more than the satisfaction of helping you, then all you’re really asking for is donations.
Crowdfunding for student tuition (to avoid loans) has become increasingly popular in recent years and has even attracted a significant amount of mainstream coverage. We get why people are attracted to it, university is seriously expensive, but the problem remains that it’s very difficult to offer rewards that people will want in return for contributing to your finances. If you’re considering crowdfunding to alleviate your debt, remember Herbert Clay’s wisdom: crowdfunding simply to ‘get more money’ without a creative project to fund is a non-starter.
DISCLAIMER: what we’re talking about here is crowdfunding for a holiday that you really want to go on but you just can’t afford. If you’re travelling to receive medical treatment, reunite a war-torn family, etc. then please go ahead – we might even help you.
Why save up your own money when you can travel at someone else’s expense, right?
GoFundMe’s travel category is filled with individuals looking for donators to ‘sponsor’ their holidays. There is Erica, a young lady who asked people for a $150 donation towards her vacation fund, and a couple whose campaign was titled simply: “Help send us on awesome trips”.
But there’s a reason hardly any of these campaigns reach their target: there’s no real reason for a crowd of people to contribute. If neither you nor your idea deserve to be funded, there’s very little chance you will be successful.
There are people in the world that need to travel across the world (e.g. to receive medical treatment), so let’s leave the travel crowdfunding space for them. It isn’t for people looking for a free holiday.
4. Things that do not deserve money
This is a pretty broad category but we’re including any idea, no matter how creative, that does not deserve to see the light of day. ‘Who are we to decide?’ you may ask. Well, take a look below and see if you disagree with us.
Take the Fish on Wheels (Kickstarter), a campaign that sought to build an aquarium on wheels that enables fish to drive wherever they want to go. Unsurprisingly, the campaign only managed to gather a quarter of their €40,000 goal, and it’s hard to imagine how they even managed that. We commend the creativity, if only it could have been put towards something more useful…
When used properly, crowdfunding is amazing. It helps to fund projects that might otherwise never have existed and allows more people to share in the creative process. Sadly, it’s easily abused. The big question is: could frivolous and undeserving projects undermine the entire crowdfunding industry?