Well, I missed posting in October. Too busy reigniting a passion for my real estate property website idea that apparently has yet to make it to the pages of this blog. Soon I say, soon.
Remember when internet panhandling was all the rage back in the early 2000’s? It was the SaveKaryn website that seemed to start it all. As soon as the media picked up on her site/story and wrote about it, there were copycats galore popping up everywhere. I visited a handful of them back then, but can’t remember any of the others now. I doubt they still exist anyway.
I remember being in disbelief that someone would have the gall to publicly beg for money for being financially irresponsible. Just as some people like to attach themselves to tragedy, others do the same for popularity, so people gave and gave and bailed Karyn out of her financial mess. Good for her for hitting on something that hadn’t yet been exploited yet. Still shady though.
I never wanted to be in the virtual begging realm, but I do remember thinking there’s better things to donate to, such as real hardships and not some careless spendthrift. I remember being inspired by this idea and thought it would be fun to have a gift giving website or amateur TV show where people could nominate others, tell their story and why they deserved a helping hand, and each week one person or family would be selected and surprised with a chunk of change (financed by sponsors of course).
Of course, this whole internet begging thing has evolved into two species like future humans in H.G Wells novella The Time Machine. It’s now called fundraising or crowdfunding, but the action is the same. You set up a page asking for donations for something or someone you deem needy, and the two species of neediness are defined by what each potential contributor considers worthy.
For me personally, the opportunistic ones that appear selfish in nature or resultant from poor life decisions are no better than internet begging. No thanks. But the ones I’d consider are unforeseen tragedies, paying for medical treatments, or doing nice in some way for a true giver. Everyone’s different, so your mileage may vary. That’s by no means an exhaustive list of what I’d give to, but rather a short list of the kinds of requests I find worthy of kindness.
Not that all personal donation requests are bad, but I’d be a lot more stringent in my decision making process to figure out if I thought the person really deserved a little extra coin for their endeavor. The good thing about GoFundMe and similar sites is that to some degree they legitimized asking for money in a non-sleazy way.
While Karyn may have benefited from something new, I don’t think her story would have resonated much sympathy from the masses today the way it did more than a decade ago. If her story ended up on GoFundMe in 2015, I suspect all it would generate is attention on the most ridiculous GoFundMe requests lists.
So, how could we take this idea and turn it into something? For some reason it seems disingenuous to talk about making money while saying you’re trying to help people. I really don’t know how you could do it better than GoFundMe, but maybe this idea should be something you start with your heart and nothing more.
How about this. Buy a domain, throw up a quick WordPress site, then give yourself a moniker about being an anonymous benefactor. Then pick a deserving campaign and donate. You can stay anonymous and still plug your website in the comment field.
If you notice you’re getting some website traffic/attention from your giving, give people the option to contribute anonymously through your site. Perhaps for every dollar the individual donates gives them one vote towards the pre-selected group of campaigns that are chosen for that week or month. This might be really fun.
Now, if any affluent individuals with a penchant for philanthropy would like to support a struggling blogger and wannabe entrepreneur in need of psychological treatments to help him focus on one (or a few) select ideas, please donate to my GoFundMe page.