We’ve all seen those posts on facebook, linking us to GoFundMe accounts for an array of different reasons. One popped up on my feed yesterday asking for contributions to a horse’s vet bills, and I started thinking more about crowdfunding.
In general I do not contribute to crowdfunding type of things except for in very specific circumstances. To be honest, I find the vast majority of it to be tacky and tasteless. I can’t imagine ever asking someone to pay my horse’s or dog’s vet bill – IMO vet bills are part of being a pet owner and it’s my responsibility to take care of that. I would be mortified to ever put my hand out and ask other people for that money. If I didn’t have it I’d put it on a credit card and pay it off as I could, or ask the vet about a payment plan. That’s my own circumstance to bail myself out of. Other things I’ve seen people asking for money to fund:
- buying back a former horse (maybe sell one of your other horses instead?)
- their horse show season (for real?)
- their kid’s birthday party (I have no words)
- their vacation (are you gonna pay for my vacation?)
- paying off a lien that someone took out on their horse because they didn’t pay board (speechless)
To me, none of those are things you should ever ask someone else to pay for. Get a second job, sell some stuff, have a bake sale, sell an organ… I dunno… just be responsible for your own life. What gets me most is that the people who seem to always be asking for handouts are the same ones who seem to have plenty of money to eat out all the time, buy booze, buy new clothes, get their hair and nails done, spend their weekends watching Netflix, go on vacation, etc etc. When did we become a society that would rather panhandle on the internet than actually work for something we want?
Some of you probably remember Taylor McFall, the girl who raised money last year to purchase the pony she had been leasing. I really loved this story, mostly because her mother would not allow her to just accept straight donations. She cleaned tack, she washed trucks, she made and sold horse treats. She earned the money she made, and she bought that pony herself. Big kudos to Taylor’s mother for teaching her daughter the value of a dollar and that with enough hard work you can get just about anything you want, without asking people for handouts.
That’s not to say that I’m a total scrooge about crowdfunding. I have contributed exactly twice – once to the CANTER Texas startup costs, to help them get the 501c licensing and stuff, and just a couple weeks ago to Jimmie Schramm’s Rolex fund. “Wait a minute”, you say… didn’t I just write earlier that I don’t feel like people should be asking for show money? Yeah you’re right, maybe I’m a little bit of a hypocrite here, but let me explain why they’re different to me. #1 It’s Rolex. #2 Jimmie is a young pro that owns her own horse. She doesn’t have a rich owner that foots the all the bills. #3 They’re really just getting their training operation off the ground. #4 I get a coozie and a bumper sticker that say “I Believe in Bells” in return for my contribution. Hells yeah! #5 If for some reason they end up not going to Rolex, the money will supposedly be donated to a therapeutic riding center. #6 At the end of the day, I’m a Schramm fan. So, whether you agree with my logic or not, I think that’s a lot different than just some random person that wants to go to horse shows.
I will include a caveat and say that I think Kickstarter type of things are a lot different. Generally those are businesses or inventions trying to get off the ground and you almost always get things in return for your contribution. I’ve contributed to a few of those with zero hesitation. Much different in my eyes than paying someone’s vet bill for them.
What’s your view on crowdfunding? What are legitimate reasons to ask for contributions from other people? What causes have you donated toward? I realize that I might feel more strongly about it than most and seem pretty judgmental, but I’m genuinely curious to see what other people think when they see these things.