If you've ever used Kickstarter, you probably did it to make something happen; you needed some $ to launch an album, or you needed help getting your t-shirt business launched. But, the ironic thing is that that is the only thing Kickstarter will let you do. If you really need help with something to improve your life, like some money to pay for a surgery, a laptop for college, or paying for damages to your home after an accident, you're out of luck on the platform.
However, crowdfunding for personal causes is a growing phenomenon, and for good reason. Lots of people need help.
Take, for example, popular Canadian comedian Mike MacDonald. Mentioned recently in the New York Times, as part of a bigger look at the lives of artists and their finances. MacDonald faces a wait for a liver transplant, and is unable to work. His explicit need is not to launch a cute campaign to make comedy T-Shirts; he needs to raise serious money for the cost of living and medical expenses while going through difficult times. Luckily for Mike, GoFundMe (one of our sponsors) gave him the platform to get the donations and help he needed. MacDonald was able to raise over $36,000 from his fans through GoFundMe.
The Times article also pointed out: Artists often don’t have back-up plans, and when they reach old age, they can no longer live off the fruit of their creativity.
Something tells me artists are not the only ones with this predicament, especially when it comes to medical fundraising. You will find many different people from different walks of life starting crowdfunding sites.
Yet another thing to consider when you’re thinking of fundraising ideas. When fundraising for something highly necessary and personal (like a medically designed pair of shoes), you can not afford to run a crowdfunding campaign that is all or nothing (which is the only way Kickstarter does business). You might also not be able to wait to collect your donations (another limitation of the site). However, GoFundMe, in contrast, allows you to collect your donations in real-time.
With all these differences, your choice of platform for raising money online should be well thought out. However, one thing is clear, if you need to crowdfund for a life event, Kickstarter isn’t going to help you. But, as you can see from the Times story on Mr. Mike Macdonald, crowdfunding on GoFundMe is the way to go.
What do you need money for, and where do you think your project would fit? Let us know in the comments.