There are some serious problems with crowdfunding.
In recent years, crowdfunding has become a popular way for innovators, inventors and people in need to raise a lot of money. Fast.
There’s no doubt that crowdfunding has its place. Many a great idea or project has gotten its feet off the ground by crowdfunding.
But for people who want to crowdfund, it’s not as easy as it looks. And in recent years, people have crowdfunded controversial people who have no business getting free money for their actions.
Pay no mind to the man who raised $55,000 to make a potato salad (yes, just one potato salad). Crowdfunding is not as easy or lucrative as it might seem.
First of all, unless you’re lucky enough to raise money for a simple side dish, you need a cause or invention people want to get behind.
Anyone who’s ever tried making something “go viral” knows that it’s very hard to gauge public perception before the fact. Your brilliant idea might not even turn heads.
In campaigns that aren’t donation-based, for a new product on Kickstarter for example, the campaign must promise rewards for each pledge that a backer gives. These usually correspond with how much money the pledge is.
For these types of crowdfunding campaigns, you owe taxes on any money that is not a donation, according to crowdcrux.com.
What that means is that, unless the pledger donated that money without seeking any sort of reward, you have to pay taxes on it.
The only exception to this rule is if that money goes back into generating the rewards for your backers. These can include early pre-order versions of the product, custom thank you pages or videos, or special packages.
It’s also hard to gain attention in a market that’s already saturated by good ideas. Even getting people to look at your Kickstarter page is getting harder and harder when the site itself is clogged with new ideas, projects, and inventions.
Then there’s the time element involved. A successful Kickstarter will have a full marketing campaign behind it.
According to crowdcrux.com, many people find that a successful crowdfunding campaign becomes a part- or full-time job.
But then there’s the other issue with crowdfunding: making controversial and contentious figures rich. Fast.
People have the right to spend their money where they want, but in recent times, that money has gone toward people who have violated the law in some sort.
By giving money in support of contentious figures, we essentially nullify the penal effects of imposed fines.
We all know the story of “Sweet Cakes by Melissa,” an Oregon bakery who was fined for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding.
The Kleins, the couple who own the bakery, were fined $135,000. They raised $109,000 on GoFundMe before the site took down their campaign. They were able to keep that money.
As of July 2015, the couple had raised over $352,000 on Continue to Give, a crowdfunding site that describes itself as a “faith-based” crowdfunding site.
People spend money into things that align with their beliefs. We’ve seen this with Chick-fil-A and their anti-gay / family values stance.
People will eat there, or not eat there, according to their beliefs.
But Chick-fil-A was only practicing their right to free speech. The Kleins were in violation of the law, according to the State. Whether or not your agree with the law, people are essentially rewarding illegality.
People have the right to practice whatever beliefs they want, sure. But let’s draw the line on illegal actions.
This happened with Kim Davis as well. The Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses for gay couples, and then eventually for everyone.
Regardless of our political or religious beliefs, why are we rewarding someone for literally not doing their job?
Crowdfunding is an amazing way of gaining some traction in today’s oversaturated fields. But it’s harder than expected to get a foot in the door and actually raise some money.
And let’s stop making controversial figures rich.
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