Crowdfunding for non-emergencies: the etiquette of asking for money online

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CBC News British Columbia | Aug 26, 2016

Crowdfunding ettiqute

It is fairly common these days for people who fall on hard times to launch a fundraising campaign on one of the popular crowdfunding websites.

Sites like Gofundme.com are full of people raising money because of medical crises or house fires.

But more people are turning to crowdfunding to provide relief for things you might not consider emergencies — like travelling abroad, tuition, and art projects.

And sometimes, like in Ismael Traore's case, it works.

The McMaster international student is in Vernon conducting research. Unfortunately, his study visa expired this year. In order to get a new one, he had to pay his tuition up front, but because of his expired student visa, he was unable to foot the bill.

See:  Daryl Hatton speak at the 2nd Annual VanFUNDING Fintech Crowdfunding Conference in Vancouver Oct 18

"I went on my Facebook and told my friends that I'm feeling hopeless right now."

His friends encouraged him to start a crowdfunding page, promising to contribute. Traore was initially reluctant.

"It is very awkward because on this side of the world, the culture is anti-free handout, and ... I don't want to come across as a beggar."

Nevertheless, Traore started his page, and was surprised to see funds accumulated within a matter of hours. He has now raised over $6,000.

"I really felt supported."

Crowdfunding usage spreading

But Daryl Hatton, the CEO of FundRazr, a Canadian crowdfunding website, and a director with the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada cautions there is a fatigue growing in the marketplace around the concept of crowdfunding.

Daryl Hatton, a director with the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada, says the key to a successful campaign is a large network of friends and family willing to donate. (FundRazr)

"In the beginning, this was about critical funding emergencies — they had a car accident, or their house burned down, or they were diagnosed with a cancer or critical illness."

In this way, Hatton says, crowdfunding was building on the old concept of "pass the hat" where communities would rally around those in need.

Today, (crowdfunding) usage has spread further.  "It's branched out into many more things in life that are common challenges that we all face in our lives about funding our school, or funding travel."

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 1300+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at www.ncfacanada.org.

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