When a friend told me about an upcoming move, she assured me she’d be setting up a GoFundMe account so that I could help pay her expenses. It stunned me not just that she would set up such an account, but that she would take it as a given that I would contribute, especially since she didn’t do a single thing to help me with my move.
For just a second (or perhaps two), I wondered if I were missing something here, perhaps an opportunity to get help paying for my garage. That bit of uncharacteristic greed passed quickly, and yet it made me wonder about a world that expects others to pick up the tab for things we choose to do. The friend chose to move. Though an increase in rent precipitated the move, she still chose to go. So why is that my problem?
Other people I know have set up accounts to help fund a book launch, wedding, and even a trip abroad, but again these things were a matter of choice: an expensive book launch rather than the do-it-yourself launch that most of us end up doing; an elaborate wedding rather than a more intimate affair; an overseas trip rather than something closer to home.
It’s not as if any of these things are life and death matters, where people need a helping hand. It’s not as if there weren’t cheaper options available.
In my case, a garage is not a life and death matter, though in the coming years, assuming I still have my car, it will feel like a lifesaver. It’s getting harder and harder to get the energy and desire to disrobe the car in order to drive. (Ever since I got my classic VW restored and painted, I’ve been taking special care of it, even to the point of using a car cover to protect it from the harsh sun and harsher winds.) A garage with an electronic garage door opener certainly would make things a lot easier, as well as give me a place to protect tools and equipment from thieving neighbors and passersby.
Even though my savings are limited, the garage is my responsibility. My choice. To expect others to pay for it seems not just greedy, but . . . crass.
How do people do that? Set up a public account as if they were a one-person charitable organization? (I know how it is done. I just don’t know how they make the mental leap to do it.)
I can see if someone really were in dire need, but even then, crowdfunding is not always the way to go unless some celebrity takes up your cause, you end up in the newspaper, or you have a lot of wealthy friends. (It’s no wonder that wealthy folk who set up crowdfunding accounts to help pay for catastrophic illnesses get way more than poorer folk who actually need the funds.)
But we’re not discussing calamity here. Just choice.
What’s the difference between crowdfunding and panhandling? None that I can see, except that in crowdfunding, the beggars are relatively well-to-do folks in that they at least have a computer, a good-looking presentation, and the skills to put it all together, and in panhandling, those with their hand stretched out, don’t.
But that’s just me. As I said, maybe I’m missing something here.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.