When I first decided to follow my roommates advice and open a GoFundme account for donations, I was a bit skeptical. I’d seen people use sites like it before for a myriad of different reasons… Fundraising for that dream honeymoon, getting through college, replacing a car that had been totalled by a drunk driver, and then of course all the many medical reasons, like hospital bills, surgery/procedure payment etc.
At first I wasn’t sure if I was worthy of a fundraising page. Sure, I was sick. I’d been out of work for a year, my joints were deteriorating, they recognised my face at the ER, and I knew the insides of the hospital more than some of its oldest employees. But I’ve always had a really hard time asking for help, especially asking for money. I’ve always thought it was one of those things that shouldn’t be asked for, only accepted if offered. But times change. And people change. I had to go out of my comfort zone. And to be honest, I’d already had practice asking from the week before. And this way I don’t deal with rejection face to face. If people don’t want to help, then they don’t have to.
When I give money for charity, I like to know where it’s going. I don’t like giving a dollar at the supermarket checkout, or donations at doors of shops. Sure, they say it’s going to help put food in kids mouths, or help research for cancer, but how do you know what funds actually make it there? Is my $1 paying for more ads? More plastic donation buckets? The pockets of the heads of the fundraiser?
That’s why my philanthropy is selective. I like to keep bottles of water or granola bars in my mom’s car for the homeless veterans that stand at intersections. I’ll donate money to friends for whatever they may be fundraising money for. Or drop off cans and dried food at the food drives they do at libraries, supermarkets, and schools. I like to see my money actually helping. So I can understand why others get skeptical as well when donating. That’s why on my description page of my gofundme account I was very clear what I was fundraising for. Rent, medical bills, necessities. I want people to know how they are helping me.
But fundraising is still really hard. My gofundme page records stats of how many people visit each day, and the number is surprising. A LOT of people visit! I’ve had it up for 18 days now and have received 17 donations totalling in about $3200, which is about 13% of my goal. Pretty great start I think. But then I get disheartened when I see that 300 people have visited my donation page.
I get paranoid that my cause isn’t an important one, or that people don’t believe I need the help. And I understand that not everyone has money to spare. It’s hard times. Not many of us have the luxury to give away money. When I donate, which is honestly probably only twice a month or so, I just think about it like I’m giving up one trip to Starbucks. When I was working I used to go to Starbucks pretty often and get a grande drink and a cheese danish. It’s a splurge that I don’t often get these days because of my financial hardships. But on average back then I’d say I used to spend about $8 on one trip. When I was more financially secure I used to donate up to 10 times a month, which in my mind was two trips a week to Starbucks. So instead of getting a Starbucks, I’d spend money on someone who needs it more than I needed a blended coffee. And now, while it’s not 10 times a month, every other week I forgo the thought of that icy beverage, and donate to someone in need instead.
I hope that others in the future can do the same for me. And if not, well that’s ok too. Not everyone likes to help out. It’s not a bad thing. Just personal preference I guess. I was told two weeks ago that to receive help from others you have to earn it. Interesting thought process. A bit close minded for my taste but we are all entitled to our own opinions. Freedom of speech and all that jazz.
But to the wonderful people that have donated so far, or intend to in the future…. well, thank you. I appreciate you giving up your Starbucks.