My strange addiction
RILEY CHERVINSKI ARTS COLUMNIST
I have an addiction. It’s controlling my life and taking my money. It’s difficult to admit, but here it is: I can’t stop donating to crowdfunding campaigns on GoFundMe and Indiegogo.
Do I want to help save the world’s oceans by donating money to build a marina rubbish bin? Sure do. Do I want to be one of the first people to own a record player that doubles as a mini fridge? Absolutely, here’s 50 bucks. Would I care to support little Bobby’s emergency heart surgery? Yes, but first, let me dry my tears with my last twenty-dollar bill.
If you haven’t heard about the black holes that are crowdfunding campaigns, I’m talking about the digital platform for small businesses and otherwise unknown individuals to get contributors to back their product or donate to their cause.
Two recent campaigns from Winnipeg just made the news — The Clipper, a new herb grinder that raised 278 per cent of funds needed to start production, and Hazim Ismail, an international student studying at the University of Winnipeg student who was disowned for being gay and had to frantically raise funds for tuition.
All the best Christmas gifts I gave this year were the result of crowdfunding campaigns, including a subscription to a new magazine called Wilderness, which surpassed its raised $25,000 goal on Kickstarter last month by
I think the appeal — or addiction in my case — of crowdfunding campaigns is that they allow you to feel like a part of something, like you’re contributing to something more than just the salary of a big-shot CEO at a department store. Of course, as my overprotective father likes to remind me, nothing is completely without hidden costs or risks. Besides the obvious safety concerns in making payments online, crowdfunding sites lack proper policing of fraudulent campaigns. The photo of “Little Bob-by” who desperately needs a heart transplant could easily be a Google image posted by a guy in his basement looking to make a quick 10 grand. I like to have faith that my money is going where it’s promised, but it’s hard to tell behind a laptop screen.
The websites also place fees on the campaigns. Sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter are businesses themselves,so naturally they need to make money somehow. An average deduction fee per donation for these sites is any-where between three and five per cent, on top of a processing fee and transaction charge.
You just have to do your research on both the sites and the legitimacy of the campaigns themselves to stay safe. And afterwards, feel free to stop by my place and check out the record player/mini fridge. It’s awesome.
Riley Chervinski is a journalism student, soccer player and reader of cringe-worthy chick-lit.
You can usually find her scrolling through Tumblr, scoping out recipe blogs
or laughing at her own jokes @rileychervinski.