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December 31, 2015 / Brittany Hendrick

More on fundraisers

People have forgotten the definition of fundraising — specifically online fundraising– and how it’s designed to work.

Fundraising is for people and institutions in NEED. For people who DON’T HAVE MUCH or are WITHOUT. For people who DON’T HAVE OPTIONS. For a REAL CAUSE.

Or fundraising is a vehicle to DO SOMETHING NICE for SOMEONE ELSE, wherein the organizer is not a beneficiary.

Confused?

Let me help you with that.

A fundraiser is not supposed to supplement your already cushy lifestyle, at the expense of others. Your well-employed, middle-class ass isn’t automatically entitled to more just because you think you “deserve” it or because you “can.”

Launching a campaign under the auspices of charity is not meant to front-load your personal pecuniary expenses: major-city vacations, football season tickets, divorce attorney fees, and other frivolous wants. A fundraiser isn’t to serve as a private fiscal advance.

If the thing you want is elective — even if it is the focus of the “charity” — and you can’t afford it on your own, guess what? You can’t have it.

Maybe you can’t go on vacation this year, or you’ll have to take a staycation. Maybe you have to watch football games from your home this season or go to a sports bar. Maybe you have to remain legally married for a while, or work things out with your spouse. Maybe you should have made different choices. Maybe you should have thought things through better. Maybe you should be a responsible adult.

Get a bank loan. Use a credit card. Or, here’s an idea: how about fucking SAVING your money? What a novel concept! But don’t fleece “the ignorant public” to line your pockets because you’re too selfish to make a sacrifice, or too lazy to figure out another way to obtain the money.

You can’t afford an elective expense… soooo… instead, you steal other people’s money to bankroll it? Isn’t that what it boils down to?

My sister, sister-in-law and I know people who have heinously abused online fundraising. These people — who are far from struggling financially — beg for money, then turn around and publicly talk about making big-ticket purchases within the same day.

Ummm, what?

Yep.

Where is the benefactors’ money really going? Donations go toward which thing, exactly? Are we paying for your lifestyle or your charity case?

Logic: If the grantees don’t have the means to pay for a discretionary thing (presumably costly) and thereby need charity, doesn’t that kind of mean they can’t spare the money for other expensive purchases outside the context of the charity?

GoFundMe? Go fuck yourself.

YouCaring? You caring only about yourself.

Kickstarter? Slick fraudster.

Crowdrise? Foul guise.

Doesn’t anyone think critically anymore?

If you blindly give money to con artists and don’t mind being bilked because you fail to recognize the big picture, well, that’s your business. But keep in mind there are honest, truly needy, more deserving people, who aren’t able to rustle up funds so easily.

Case in point (You know I always have one. That’s why we’re here):

My mother is Director of Sales at Hilton Garden Inn in Gainesville, Ga. For those who don’t know, Gainesville is situated a little more than an hour north of Atlanta. Chicken farming/processing is Gainesville’s main industry. The area is comprised of Hispanics mostly. There is heavy Ku Klux Klan presence also.

Get the idea?

The majority of employees at Hilton Garden Inn are hourly and live paycheck-to-paycheck. Think about what an hourly wage in little Gainesville might amount to.

A lady who works the front desk, Malia, is one of those hourly employees. My mom (who happens to be the oldest person on the property, so she’s motherly toward everyone) thinks the world of Malia; she’s sweet, she’s great with the guests, and she’s a hard worker.

But Malia has a problem: her teeth. According to my mom, they’re really bad.

Obviously, Malia’s teeth aren’t completely holding her back at her job — she’s at the front desk — she’s neither hidden away in the kitchen nor in housekeeping. But she’s the night auditor and would like to have the confidence to work daytime, to interact with more people. She has the skills and potential.

So Malia had an orthodontist consultation some time ago and got an estimate. It will cost $3,000 to fix her teeth. Financing or not, that’s a lot of money… for anyone! And Malia is not in a position to save money, as I explained. Naturally, the only possible way for her to get new teeth is through charitable donations. So she started a GoFundMe campaign for herself.

THIS is what online fundraising is for.

But Malia has another problem: What little momentum her fundraiser had has stalled at $805, and has been stagnant for a while now — AND she lowered her goal, from $3,000 to $2,000. Unacceptable! She shouldn’t have had to do that because, regardless, the total cost is the same: $3,000. It makes my mom, sister and me feel very upset — I can’t imagine how it makes Malia feel. Discouraged, disappointed, hopeless… for starters. She puts on a good face, but…

Malia wants to improve her appearance in order to improve her self-esteem. She wants to have a nice smile to match her personality. Now, that’s something all humans are entitled to… at least, I think so.

I’m lucky: I have nice teeth. Never even had a cavity. And I was fortunate enough to have braces (thanks, Grandma! [we were poor, too, but advantageous enough to get help from family and friends.]). I bet you’re lucky and fortunate, too, dentally and beyond. How would you feel if your teeth were so messed up you couldn’t smile? And also, live with the daily fear of being stared at, made fun of, not wanting to put yourself out there, or feel like you’re unable to advance socially or professionally.

So it really burns me up when I see bloodless money-grubbers embezzle funds from anyplace and anyone they can; shamelessly promote themselves, disguise one altruistic-yet-delayed cause for a personal, immediate gain — and somehow attain their desired backing, without a hitch.

How come Malia’s fundraiser can’t gain traction, but a scammer’s can? How come Malia’s fundraiser can’t earn $3,000 for something worthwhile and important while a privileged grifter reaps $3,000 for something stupid and unnecessary?

Malia can’t help where she lives. It’s not within her control that she doesn’t have cosmopolitan friends with salaried jobs, who can indiscriminately pitch in $20 here, $50 there. It’s not her fault that her peer network doesn’t reach beyond rural north Georgia counties. Malia is not to blame for the fact that her parents presumably couldn’t afford good dental care or orthodontia when she was a child. Maybe Malia inherited bad genes. Maybe she fell off a bike and knocked out her teeth. Maybe she grew up drinking well water.

It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. The bottom line is that we have a woman who has waited so long for new teeth, who wants (and needs) them NOW, and is having trouble reaching her goal.

Knowing this makes me want to weep, and punch people in the face.

Hope you gluttonous pirates enjoy your goddamn fancy hotel stays, preferred stadium seating, and eventual fourth marriage… and the fact that you have all your teeth.

Malia’s New Smile

4/4/16 edit: Here’s another person in desperate need. You think your life is shitty. You think you need money for your dumb, petty, insignificant, diminutive cause. This poor girl has had it rough: up, down, right, left, backward, forward, to, fro, zig and zag. You have no idea.

Raymond and Angela Mills currently disabled and in need

Last word to the swindlers: you can go fuck yourselves while rolling down a lengthy, gently sloping yet severely rocky mountainside.

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