GoFundMe was launched seven years ago as a creative way to fundraise. Donation bins have become a thing of the past and crowdfunding has become the fastest way to raise money for important causes.
“Most people use GoFundMe to raise money for themselves, a friend, or a loved one during life’s important moments,” GoFundMe’s website states. “This includes things like medical expenses, education costs, volunteer programs, youth sports, funerals & memorials — even animals and pets.”
This platform is a great way for friends, family and strangers to donate to causes. Some of the most successful campaigns have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer patients, families displaced by disaster, teachers in need of supplies and students who need some help making their dreams of studying abroad come true.
“Studying abroad is required for my major, but without the help of my family and friends there was no way I would’ve been able to afford the trip,” said hospitality and tourism management junior Reese Woodrow. “I applied to dozens of scholarships, but GoFundMe was the perfect way to reach out my relatives and raise some of the money I needed to make my trip to Thailand happen.”
With the rise of social media, contacting almost anyone is just a click away, which makes crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe the easiest way to gain funding for a worthwhile cause. Unfortunately, the world is full of people who see it as a new way to ask for handouts.
Millenials have been under fire for years for being spoiled and entitled, and some San Diego State students aren’t doing their generation any favors by playing into that stereotype.
“As a poor college student, affording a pair of Heelys is something that I cannot do with just my funds alone,” a student’s GoFundMe campaign reads. “This has been a dream of mine for a long, long time, please help me make my dream a reality.”
Another student, whose campaign is titled “I Can’t Afford My Parking Citations,” is hoping to raise $200 to pay off five tickets she received parking illegally in Hillcrest. While yet another raised $432 for a new iPhone after losing her previous two while drunk.
“When I’m broke and in need of a little extra cash, I call my mom,” anthropology sophomore Paige Evitts said. “I don’t feel the need to fundraise $1,000 from strangers because I can’t budget my money. How people think it’s okay to ask for money because of their mistakes or for something as insignificant as a pair of shoes I will never understand.”
Other SDSU student campaigns include $5 for a Starbucks drink, $500 for Coachella tickets and $20 for “beer money” to name a few. While some are started by friends as jokes, many still receive the funding they are asking for.
When used correctly, GoFundMe is a great way to raise money for causes beyond someone’s control. These campaigns have the opportunity to show the compassion perfect strangers can have for others and the ability to raise even more than was asked for worthy causes. But these types of frivolous crowdfunding campaigns truly take away from the site’s intended purpose. Crowdfunding was created to have people come together to solve real problems, not indulge the whims of college students.
Emily Alvarenga is a fourth-year journalism student minoring in television, film and media. Find her on Twitter @emalvarenga10.