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Online Begging To Fund The Able-Bodied Teenager’s Hobbies

An acquaintance of mine, “Jane”, has a daughter, “Susie”, in high school. Susie is into gymnastics, a really expensive sport where I live. For the past few years, I’ve noticed that Jane (with her husband”s blessing, I believe) has been setting up GoFundMe accounts and making social media posts asking for money to pay for her daughter’s uniforms, equipment, etc. I was raised to work for what I want, and if my parents didn’t have money for an activity, we didn’t do that activity. I was chatting with friends and I said that since Susie has a car, she could get a part time job to pay her own expenses, and that I don’t donate to those tyoe of requests. That opened up a whole discussion. Some of my friends don’t see anything wrong with what Jane is doing, and some of us are floored by it and won’t donate. Are we just out of touch for thinking Susie should pay her own way or drop the activity, or is begging now the newest way of life? 0409-18

You are not out of touch.   You understand that life (and people) do not owe you happiness and if you want something, you work for it.   Breaking a sweat creating a Go Fund Me account does not qualify as “work”.

People who are handed things have no appreciation for the value of what they have been given.   If you want something bad enough, you work for it and that builds character, a deep appreciation for everything you own, and a mature understanding that no one owes you.


{ 85 comments… add one }
  • Raintree August 7, 2018, 3:02 am

    That’s crazy. I think GoFundMe is better used for situations where someone has suffered an unfortunate event that causes financial hardship. , such as an accident that causes one to be unable to work, a house fire, that sort of thing.

    • Wild Irish Rose August 7, 2018, 8:49 am

      My sentiments exactly.

    • Bea August 7, 2018, 11:08 am


      Crowdsourcing is for tragic events. If displaced from your home, care for kids if parents are injured or lost in an accident, medical expenses, funerals etc. Even then it’s to be done with caution but I come from communities are happy to help a friend or acquaintance pay a big horrifying bill. But if it’s an activity or vacation, how rude, don’t we all wish we could just -ask- and receive any luxury we want at the moment. Sigh.

    • MzLiz August 7, 2018, 6:12 pm

      Hmmmm…I don’t think many people over a certain age realize how tough the job market is right now for kids under 18. I didn’t realize myself until the last few years since some of my friends’ kids (age range 14-17) wanted to work in order to get ahead of their college tuition & told me their horror stories of fruitless & frustrating job-searches. Breaking it down –

      1: The McJob – Once the bastion of part-time work for high-schoolers, more & more of these positions are being filled by college grads who can’t get work in their fields, people who need a 2nd income & retired folks – seriously, there’s a CRAZY amount of retired people working in fast-food right now. Those jobs are scarcer than you might think.

      2: Babysitting – So many parents seem to only trust family members or someone with a Masters degree in childcare these days. Babysitting gigs for teenagers are thin on the ground now, unless you know a family with children REALLY well & they’re willing to give you a chance.

      3: Food Service & Retail – A friend of mine is a manager at a well-known chain restaurant & I inquired if another friend’s very responsible 15-year-old could interview for a hostess position. A hostess LITERALLY carries menus, seats people, makes up tables for parties, does light cleaning duties & stocks the bathrooms. That’s it. It’s not a job that requires experience. I was told she couldn’t be considered because she wasn’t over 18, even with written parental permission, citing insurance reasons. I was amazed to discover a LOT of corporate businesses have adopted that policy. And too many private food & retail businesses are run by very sketchy people who you really wouldn’t want to leave your young teen alone with. I’m no fear-monger but I could tell you some stories that would turn your hair white. From experience, unfortunately.

      4: House Chores – Not everybody lives in a suburban paradise where it’s safe to go door-to-door, offering to do a ‘Bob a Job’, like mow lawns or shovel snow. Paper routes are mostly a thing of the ‘Leave It To Beaver’ past too.

      5: Monetizing a YouTube channel/Insta can be a great way to bring in the cash if a kid is good with make-up or woodworking or some other skill. As long as you don’t mind them getting the odd pervy comment/request from online creeps, of course! And if you believe YouTube (or any other platform) actually cares about your kid’s online well-being, I’ve got a bridge I can sell ya.

      6: People are calling the police on 10-year-olds selling lemonade, complaining they don’t have permits. We might live in a society where entitled people are asking for handouts but apparently we also live in a society were children’s lemonade stands are being raided by the cops. I know who’s getting more eye-rolls from me…

      Susie may have a car but no job opportunities to drive to. I’d have to find out if that was the case before I judged her. What’s an enterprising, industrious, talented kid that’s not well-off to do? Give up, I guess.

      • OP August 8, 2018, 2:32 am

        Honestly it kinda sucks that there are some sports eg gymnastics, golf, ice skating etc where your participation is based on ability to spend money rather than talent. I don’t really understand why people get so upset because the go fund me is set up for something happy rather than sad (personally, I believe medical expenses should be covered by the state. I find it more upsetting that people go bankrupt for life saving medical procedures and veterans having to set up campaigns to fund artificial limbs than parents wanting to help fund their children’s passions).

        The really good thing about go fund me, is that if you don’t want to go fund someone YOU DONT HAVE TO. Don’t like it? Ignore it.

        Plus gymnastics is a sport that requires a lot of practice and dedicated time. If she’s really talented the girl might not have the spare time for a job on top of school.

        I know girls in my year who were at school by 5am for swimming practice. There’s no way they could have added an after school job.

        • Oops August 8, 2018, 11:28 pm

          Oh dang. I’m not the OP. Just forgot to change the display name since I last commented

        • Bada August 9, 2018, 9:03 am

          I’m confused. Your user name says you’re the OP, but your post takes the opposite position of the original blog post. Is your name a holdover from a different post where you *were* the OP?

        • MzLiz August 10, 2018, 1:57 am

          @Bellyjean – I really appreciate your response. @Michelle – I know the job market is a bit of a nightmare for everyone but as this was a post about a teenager, I wanted to share what I’ve learned from people in that age bracket. That work is hard to come by for so many is part of the trickle-down effect that leaves a lot of Under 18s at the bottom, fighting for scraps. And it’s not like kids can temp or something; their options are limited as they need jobs that are after school hours/on the weekend, but so do a lot of grads cos they have to be available for interviews. Don’t get me started on those who’re doing it cos they need the 2nd income or can’t afford to enjoy their retirement. It sucks. @Julie – I think it’s awesome that you’d like to hire a male sitter; that stigma needs to die. Any chance you could use your local newsletter to advertise for one? I’m female but I had guy babysitters (my folks were very equal-opportunity, and loved to go out. Lol) & I usually preferred them. The guys didn’t spend a whole bunch of time chatting on the phone or whatever & were always up for playing outside/video games/Sci-fi movies!

      • BellyJean August 8, 2018, 7:38 am

        @MzLiz – thank you for this perspective. I honestly hadn’t even thought of that before, even though I know the job market is absolutely cruel right now. I’ve only thought of the view of the recent high school/post-secondary grad.
        It’s more than commendable that high schoolers are trying to get ahead of the game and save up prior to post-secondary schooling. It’s also terrifying that retirees are having to continue to work to maintain a relatively modest quality of living.
        I would ask, “What the heck is going on?”… but I think we all know by now. 🙁

      • Michelle August 8, 2018, 8:05 am

        MzLiz- the job market is tough for people over 18 as well. Since most applications are computerized and the only way to apply is online I think that makes it tougher for candidates, but easier on companies. A job posting that may have gotten 50 applicants years ago could get over 100 now because people can sit in the comfort of their homes and apply for a job the next town over versus getting dressed and driving over to apply. Again, great for employers because they get a larger pool of applicants.

      • Aprobe August 8, 2018, 8:25 am

        That’s a good point. Job markets have really changed. However I think this is where the community comes in to play. No, I don’t want to do the gofundme, but I would hire a friends kid to mow my yard for ten dollars. They get money, a skill and I don’t have to do it… Total win.
        My church used to have “hire a youth” day for kids going on missions trips. We would send a youth out to do gardening, cleaning, etc for whoever was willing to pay a few dollars (sometimes older folks had no clue how inflation had changed and you would paint a room for 3 dollars) my pastor made it clear that these older folks needed our help the most and we should still try to help them. It usually worked out in the end.

        • Julie August 8, 2018, 12:38 pm

          That is a great point. I’m glad that my area has a local newsletter with a section for youngsters who are looking for odd jobs, from babysitting to dog walking. We really wanted to hire a teen to do yard work and we called our neighbor whose son was interested. Now he does a lot of weeding and such for us.

          Babysitting is tricky because parents don’t always trust teens with babies or un-potty-trained toddlers. With older kids, many of them need to be dropped off or picked up and driven to sports or something. Parents want an older, more experienced driver, as opposed to the 16 year old who just got his license. But, if a teen had some experience in childcare, night sitters make quite a lot in one night. It may be to a teen’s advantage to network around the neighborhood and get to know families with kids. And I know that there is a stigma around male sitters, but as a mother of a very rambunctious boy, I would LOVE to have a responsible teenage boy who can run around and get muddy with my son.

      • Asharah August 8, 2018, 9:20 pm

        You missed one, newspaper routes, which used to be done by teenagers, are now handled by grownups in cars.

      • EchoGirl August 9, 2018, 2:58 am

        As someone who has been a teen within the past decade, a few more:

        1. Kids and teens are expected to do a *lot* these days. To be competitive for many colleges (let alone scholarships), it’s no longer enough to have a good GPA and lots of advanced classes, now you practically have to do multiple extra-curricular activities as well. For someone who’s serious about a competitive sport, adding an additional extracurricular/volunteer work/whatever is difficult enough if you don’t have a job. (Separately, don’t get me started on the potential classism of this as it relates to students who *have* to work to support themselves or their families.)

        2. Not everywhere is safe, not just in terms of establishments themselves but in terms of neighborhoods. When I was a teen (not all that long ago), my parents wouldn’t let me be in 3/4 of the city by myself after dark, and not without reason. Driving cuts out some of the risk you might get from taking public transit, but if, for example, she has to park a block away, that’s a potential risk depending on location. In some places just walking across a parking lot is a risk.

        3. Related to your third point, it’s not just insurance but labor laws as well. Said laws exist for a reason and on balance I believe they’re a good thing, but if employers have people applying for the same jobs who don’t have those restrictions, they’ll probably favor those applicants.

        4. What teens get paid on average has not kept up with the rising costs of many of these programs, and this is even more true of “unofficial” jobs (like babysitting or mowing someone’s lawn). Even if Susie could find a job, there’s no guarantee it would be enough.

        5. Not really relevant to Susie but as far as the topic at hand, it’s that much harder if you have any kind of disability. I personally am literally incapable of working fast food or food service in general, I simply can’t keep up mentally with that kind of pace. That pretty well rules out one of the biggest potential job categories for the under-18 crowd.

        6. Also not directly related to Susie, but if you don’t drive/don’t own a car, it’s that much harder to get a job. You’re going to be restricted by where you can get the bus and what kind of travel distance is realistic, not to mention whether or not it’s safe to wait for the bus in a given area (see point 2). The weaker the public transit system in a given city, the more of an issue this becomes.

      • Kitty September 9, 2018, 4:21 pm

        Gotta say thank you for pointing out how difficult the job market is. And it’s not just America, or even teenagers! I’m in my 20s and, despite having a job I finished training for, cannot find a job in that field. Or any field.

        A lot of places demand experience from their applicants, which is a vicious cycle because nobody comes with experience, and nobody gets hired without experience. So no experience is gained, meaning one cannot get a job because they want experience.

        Though I wonder why the kid needs multiple uniforms, unless she’s going through multiple growth spurts.

  • Anon August 7, 2018, 5:46 am

    I sympathize with the OP here. I feel I am constantly seeing pleas for money for various causes and personal reasons as well, and it’s gotten especially bad now that Facebook has gotten into facilitating (and even pushing) this habit – “for his birthday, Joe is requesting his friends donate to such and such charity! Click here to donate now!”

    • Tracy P August 7, 2018, 6:47 am

      I feel a little less annoyed by people asking for donations for a charity since it isn’t begging for themselves.

      But someone that asks for money for an activity (and one they’ve been doing awhile), those really drive me crazy. You knew signing up that it would cost money. Pretty sure the coach was able to give you a nice list of costs, etc. It wasn’t a surprise cost. Either you budget for it or you don’t do it. Growing up, my brothers and I got to do 1 after school activity each and were only allowed to go on 1 of the overnight trips offered because my folks couldn’t afford more than that. And we made our choices and dealt with it.

    • ladyv21454 August 7, 2018, 9:37 am

      I don’t really mind the birthday charity appeals – the people I know who have done this never push people into donating. Plus, I know my money is going to help people who really need it. But setting up a GoFundMe account to pay for an extracurricular activity is tacky, tacky, tacky. If you watch the Olympics at all, you hear stories all the time of how parents and kids both sacrificed so that a child could realize their dream. If they can do it, Jane and Susie can too!

      • Mabel August 7, 2018, 9:43 pm

        Yes, and there are sometimes grants and scholarships that help young athletes if they’re sufficiently talented and funds for training are low.

    • barb August 7, 2018, 9:48 am

      I got one of those, and while I would like to support the charity, I don’t want FB begging and bothering my friends. I would rather just donate myself.

    • AS August 7, 2018, 2:15 pm

      Oh, those Birthday things are awful! Facebook had tormented me for several weeks leading up to my Birthday, which, by the way is, hidden on Facebook, to set up a fund raiser. I definitely felt like a cheapskate to not set one up, but I don’t want to solicit fund for the several friends I have, for a cause I believe in.
      Though I don’t hold it against my friends who post, because at least they are not raising for themselves, but for a cause. It is like back in the day when we used to do fund raisers for a cause. Susie in the original post was totally raising money only for herself – and she wasn’t even selling things like brownies or cookies, like a lot of people do.

      • Leigh August 7, 2018, 3:06 pm

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way about the FB charity set up function. I don’t begrudge people who do it, but I don’t feel comfortable asking people to donate to a charity I selected because it’s my birthday. I encourage everyone to donate to the charity(ies) of their choice when they are able and feel led to do so, not because “my birthday” (which is nothing really special to begin with–I didn’t have much to do with the original one anyway).

      • Lacey August 8, 2018, 3:35 pm

        Yeah, these are so tacky. Even though it’s for charity, it’s assuming that people were going to get you a gift for your birthday – even Facebook friends who are really just acquaintances.

  • sillyme August 7, 2018, 6:35 am

    I myself wouldn’t have my child do this, but for me that was beside the point. If the discussion with friends was with mutual friends, then that’s a form of gossip I think also violates some etiquette. Okay, she did something you don’t agree with, and traditional etiquette frowns upon. BUT, she isn’t doing anything aimed at snubbing, slighting or hurting anyone. The *mother’s* social media posts are rude, and a bit intrusive, but the daughter may be swept up in the mother’s lack of social graces. but hey, in this day and age, that’s pretty low on the Cyber Richter Scale. Is it sending the child a bad message? Probably. Is it anyone’s business? Probably not. Is it worth alot of energy? Unless they asked you for money directly, probably not.

    • Livvy17 August 7, 2018, 2:47 pm

      I’d have to disagree with you – when the parent set out the tin can, they made the state of their finances and how they spend them an open topic of discussion for everyone who knows them. If they wanted privacy, they should have kept their business private.

      • staceyizme August 7, 2018, 4:26 pm

        I see both sides of this. It IS appalling to see something like this and especially from those in your circle that you never would have thought would go this route. I always feel a little bit of chagrin when I see posts like these because they are often followed up with personal appeals via social media messaging. In any case, it still isn’t a matter for open discussion unless you’re being solicited directly and you’re addressing your annoyance directly to them. (In the abstract? Sure! You can break it down to any extent that you like and no one is being harmed because no one is being personally called out. In a specific sense, however, it seems kinder to forego “discussing” the habits of friends and acquaintances. Most of us commit a faux pas on occasion. While this one is especially graceless and greedy, we’d all also benefit from not having the general circle that we run in feel too free with their comments.

    • Anonymous August 7, 2018, 5:29 pm

      Actually, one thing that nobody else has pointed out is, the original post gives no indication that Susie even knows that this is going on. Given the hectic schedule of a competitive gymnast, most of her days probably go along the lines of, wake up, breakfast, school, gymnastics, home, dinner, shower, homework and bed, or even, “up, gymnastics (eating breakfast on the way), school, more gymnastics, home, shower/dinner/homework, bed.” Weekends are probably busy too, with either more gymnastics practices, meets, or some combination thereof. So, maybe all Susie knows is, she goes to school, she goes to gymnastics, and her parents pay for her gymnastics, but she doesn’t know HOW they’re paying for it. Maybe her parents are ashamed that they can’t meet all the expenses themselves, so they never told Susie that they started an online donation drive, or maybe they didn’t tell Susie because they figure that she’d be embarrassed, but they do it quietly because they know she loves gymnastics, and they’d do anything to make it happen for her. I’m not saying that what they’re doing is right, but Susie hasn’t necessarily done anything wrong here.

  • EyesToTheSkies August 7, 2018, 6:45 am

    I agree that people are using GoFundMe as a source for GimmePig-itis, with the consideration that if Susie is training intensely for the likes of the Olympics, that would both take up every waking moment, and cost extraordinary amounts of money a part time job couldn’t cover.

    I’m not saying that it’s appropriate or acceptable to beg for money, but it might not be quite as cut and dry as it seems. I like to hope most people aren’t intentionally being greedy little piglets.

  • Lkb August 7, 2018, 7:02 am

    The only way I could see this sort of begging as acceptable ( aside from someone’s home burning, a catastrophic illness etc.), is if it we’re a class requirement. For example, back in the day our school band had a “tag day” in which we stood outside stores in uniform begging for cash. Our student newspaper and yearbook also had to solicit for ads and our debate team sold bagels. I hated every. single. minute. of every one of these activities, but if we didn’t participate, it affected our grade. These groups did and do need money and I suppose we should be proud that we worked for the funding ourselves but…
    One of the benefits of homeschooling is our household can ignore these.

    • Michelle August 7, 2018, 8:00 am

      I don’t think the school should make that part of the class requirement.

      • LizaJaneLiza August 7, 2018, 6:51 pm

        Around here, (school) Newspaper and Yearbook staff are parts of 11th and 12th grade Journalism class. Selling ads is the business end of financing a publication, so yes, it’s part of the grade.

        • Michelle August 8, 2018, 8:09 am

          I was referring to the part where they have to stand outside store and ask for money. In Lkb’s own words “stood outside stores in uniform begging for cash”. Calling businesses asking if they want to advertise in the yearbook is different to me. They ASK if you want to advertise but don’t “beg” for cash.

          • LizaJane August 8, 2018, 7:37 pm

            Gotcha. I thought you meant all of it. Learning to sell (or learning you don’t want to make a career of it) is a valuable lesson. Learning to beg isn’t.

      • MPW1971 August 9, 2018, 12:48 pm

        After seeing the disappointment of me going door-to-door through the neighborhood, selling the same crap that my schoolmates were selling for fundraising (same school), my parents wrote a note asking that I be deliberately excused from this. I attended a public school in Canada and in-class time was used for the fundraiser. The teacher wouldn’t let it go and had me do “alternative service” – by calling the supplier for the sale and checking on them.
        The thing we sold? Cheese. As in blocks of cheese. Probably a higher price than the grocery store. It was a disaster. The company filed for bankruptcy during the “supply” phase. Half the orders didn’t show up. Teachers ended up buying cheese from grocery stores with their own money.
        Over the years we sold powdered soup, spices, cheese, bath soap, garbage bags, and other things I’ve already forgotten. The only thing that ever sold was chocolates.
        I was 21 when the high school down the street had a car-wash fund raiser. I took my car, then my dad’s car, then my neighbour’s car. On the third trip, a bikini-clad senior from the swim team gave me her number. 26 years later I still support every school car wash, not because I’m a dirty old man, but because it shows initiative and ambition.

    • Melissa August 7, 2018, 8:15 am

      I don’t mind too much when organized groups hold fundraisers; selling ad space and bagels might be annoying but at least you’re offering something in return for someone’s contribution. What I absolutely can’t stand is the groups who ask for money, flat out, not selling anything or offering a service or even a raffle prize. But as you point out, the kids aren’t really responsible for this, it’s the adults in charge. Fundraising can be a great way to show kids how to work to earn funds, but asking for a handout is a great way to show kids that you don’t have to work for what you need or want, just beg and sit back and wait. (I also agree that a catastrophic need is a totally different thing)

      • Girlie August 7, 2018, 3:18 pm

        I’m in agreement with this, completely.
        Unfortunately, it has become the new “norm” in my area for extracurricular sporting groups to hold fundraisers by standing out at busy intersections and impeding traffic in order to beg for money. They don’t sell anything, they don’t offer any sort of service, and, as far as I can tell, they put their kids at risk of getting hit by vehicles. I have no idea why the police aren’t enforcing the local laws prohibiting this sort of behavior.
        As for my personal take – my husband and I work hard to be able to provide for our child to do the sorts of things we want her to do. What we can’t afford, she doesn’t participate in. We have to pick and choose her activities based on our financial capabilities, and unfortunately, this means she sometimes misses out on things I’d love for her to do. But that’s life – and you can bet your bottom dollar that if I can’t afford to send MY kid off to do extracurricular activities, I won’t be paying for YOUR kid to do them.

      • AM August 7, 2018, 10:53 pm

        That makes sense in theory, but my memory of high school fundraisers is that no one really wanted the wrapping paper or popcorn or whatever stupid thing we were selling, and they certainly didn’t want a bunch of stupid kids washing their car, probably leaving it looking worse than it did before. It ended up being mostly the parents, family members, maybe a few friendly neighbors buying something to be nice, and our org getting pennies on the dollar. Much more efficient to just donate.

    • AS August 7, 2018, 2:25 pm

      Asking for ads is not the same as begging, because you are offering space in your newspaper / yearbook, and they pay you for the space. So, it is a business transaction. I agree that not everyone enjoys doing that as sales and marketing is not for everyone (I have done stuff like that too, including one for a National Conference during my grad school, and I don’t enjoy them either), but it should be seen as a business transaction rather than begging.
      The same goes for selling things like cookies, brownies, or bagels like your debate team did. You are still offering something in exchange for money, and at least children learn that there is no free handouts.
      But just a GoFundMe page just to cater to your hobby without doing crosses the line into uncouthness.

    • lkb August 7, 2018, 7:53 pm

      Thanks for all the responses. I realize i didn’t express myself well. Yes, of course, ads are part of publications so selling them for newspaper and yearbook made sense. Though, I’m not sure I agree with selling a certain dollar figure of ads in order to make a grade — some people are not good at sales and/or they might just have bad luck as to which businesses they visited.

      However, tag day for band was rather dubious: In return for donations, contributors received a construction paper tag of a either a music note or a marching band person (that they were to display, essentially so we wouldn’t bug them again.) Participation was part of our grade, though I can’t remember if it was a certain number of hours we had to stand in front of the stores or if it was a certain dollar figure we had to raise.

      If a student is required to raise a certain amount of money in order to make an academic grade — a notion that makes me cringe — a GoFundMe might be the only way they can do it. That’s the only use for it that I can support.

      I am sick and tired of school fundraisers — wrapping paper, cookie dough, pizza kits, flat-out begging. In my personal experience, the proceeds from such efforts are rarely announced and when they are, they are not as profitable as they would seem.

      Again, sorry for the lack of clarity.

  • Lkb August 7, 2018, 7:04 am

    “were” not “we’re” of course. Stupid autocorrect.

  • MelEtiquette August 7, 2018, 7:07 am

    My personal take on GoFundMe is that they should be set up when a person or family has experienced an unexpected tragedy. Often in these situations, people want to help but don’t know how. GoFundMe provides a way for people to make donations to the family when they might have otherwise felt weird directly sending a check or cash.

    In the days before GoFundMe, would Jane have done in-person fundraising for Susie, e.g., a bake sale or car wash to raise money for new uniforms or a trip to a tournament? I think most people happily support these types of fundraisers because the team has to work together to EARN the donations. The GoFundMe account eliminates the need to earn the money, and is equivalent to Jane calling all her friends and asking them to write out a check – something I doubt she would have done before the days of the internet. For some reason, the internet makes people brave to asking other people for money in situations where they normally would feel shame or embarrassment in doing so. Maybe it’s the fact that the internet transaction is completely devoid of personal contact.

    Anyways, to the point, I would not donate to such a GoFundMe unless it was for a specific purpose, like Susie is off to compete in the Olympics. But for day-to-day gymnastics needs, like paying for classes, no; my children are involved in the same types of activities, and my job is what pays for these. I don’t expect other people to contribute to my choices.

  • Yuchin Robb August 7, 2018, 7:32 am

    I’m on the fence here. I will not give but don’t think begging is out of line either. I wish Susie was the one to set up her GoFundMe account instead of her mother. Begging is working too. My next door neighbor’s daughter stopped by to sell me something from the catalogue to help fund her school, private or public. Have to admit, when the child came to my door, I felt compelled to chip in. I think most people do too, door to door selling is more like working, I guess.
    Now, getting a part time job to fund her activities is so 20th century. Being a young and fit girl, Susie may look pretty good on camera, better way to get some extra money is to utilize her social media and Youtube to get clicks and income.

  • Liz August 7, 2018, 7:51 am

    Nope, sorry, as someone else pointed out, if you can’t afford to pay for whatever is needed to do something, you don’t do it, or you figure it out on your own. I swam competitively, and we held fundraisers, the most memorable was selling oranges and grapefruit. I still remember our front entry filled with boxes of fruit! I can’t stand GoFundMe pages for stuff like this.

    There are other ways to fund stuff like this, like the one I encountered. I buy and sell online, clothing etc. Just received an order yesterday, with a thank you note in it, and the seller added that every penny SHE earns from selling on this particular app, goes to her son’s travel baseball expenses. So she’s out there, buying and selling, to make it happen for him.

    • Queen of Putrescence August 7, 2018, 2:54 pm

      The best fundraiser I have seen so far was for international trips for high schoolers. They were selling water softener salt. The company sold the salt at cost to the club. The club then sold them for $6 for a 40 pound bag. Something useful and doesn’t go bad. If I went to a big box store, I could find it cheaper. But in my small town at the grocery store, the bags were more than $6.

      I had no problem buying bags of salt for the fundraiser and usually would buy 10 bags at a time.

  • Michelle August 7, 2018, 8:08 am

    The “travel sports” teams are just as bad! When those sports start up you can’t even go to the grocery store without being solicited for money going in and coming out. I understand you want to give your child the opportunity to participate in activities. The cost of those activities are well-known, and if you happen to not know, you will when you go to sign them up. If you can’t afford to pay for those activities without soliciting family and friends, then you need to either choose a less expensive activity *OR* you and/or your child could get part-time jobs to pay for them.

  • Mizz Etiquette August 7, 2018, 8:25 am

    I was reading thinking Susie was a 10 year old girl. Then I read she’s driving age.

    Nope. Susie can work for what she wants. Oh, she doesn’t have time to work between school and a hectic gymnastics schedule? Well, then looks like Mom and Dad have to pick up the tab.

    It’s not my job to pay for your kids EXTRAcurricular activity.

    So rude. I hope no one contributes toward this. It only feeds the gimme-pigs.

  • BeachMum August 7, 2018, 8:27 am

    My SIL signed up for a ‘free’ trip to Israel with a group. A few months before the trip, she learned that expenses for the trip were higher than expected, so she was required to contribute to the cost of the trip or cancel. She called many family members asking for contributions, and was hurt and surprised that none of us would give her money so she could go on a trip. I’m still amazed with the audacity of expecting others to pay for something she wanted.

    • staceyizme August 7, 2018, 4:32 pm

      Is your SIL the type to omit an important detail like that until circumstances force her to be more forthcoming? Or was it a bait and switch, in your view, on the part of the organization? I just don’t see how the trip could be free unless they had done some project for which this was a prize or done some group fundraising.

      • BeachMum August 8, 2018, 8:45 am

        The objective of the trip is to encourage the participants to become more involved with Judaism. For the organizers, that’s their reward — to bring more people into their level of observance. That said, I don’t know if it was a bait and switch from the organization or from her. She’s asked for money for stuff before (she wanted us all to contribute to an American Girl doll when her daughter quit sucking her thumb), so it’s hard to know for certain.

        She did manage to go on the trip and, as far as I know, no one ‘contributed.’

      • EchoGirl August 9, 2018, 1:38 am

        My guess is it’s something like Birthright, which is a fund specifically set up for Jewish kids to go to Israel. I never took the trip myself but it was always my understanding it would be free. SIL might not have been above reproach here, but I’d be more sympathetic if the cost was sprung on her at the last minute and it was “pay up or forfeit the trip”. Expenses being higher than anticipated is something the organization should be handling themselves, not something to foist off on participants at the last minute after plans have already been made.

  • bap August 7, 2018, 8:29 am

    For many years now (going into the 2nd generation) our family has participated in – as we refer to it – “our expensive hobby”. We have made lifelong friends and even stronger relationships thanks to this hobby and I regret nothing. However, we have never played this game to the level we would like because it is, in fact, extremely expensive. While is it quite common for some beginning this hobby to solicit for “sponsorships”, we have never because we know this hobby is not required to succeed in life and don’t feel right asking someone else to fund our fun.
    But on the top levels of this game, the participants are usually required to sell a certain number of ad pages. I have many times seen families who believe as we do and truthfully, have the means to support themselves just fine, embarrassed because their participant has to meet sales requirements for the competition. I feel differently about those requests because I understand why they are doing it (very much like the school fundraisers) and will help out as I can/desire to.

  • Outdoor Girl August 7, 2018, 8:42 am

    I’m happy to support kids in their activities, financially, if they do something for me! Clean my house, rake my leaves, tidy my garden, pick up the dogs’ leavings, etc. But to hand money over to GoFundMe? Never going to happen. I won’t donate using GoFundMe at all. If someone I know has a crisis, I’d rather help directly than have a percentage retained by GFM.

  • Nina Fairchild August 7, 2018, 8:47 am

    This is no different, in my opinion, than when the schools send the kids out fund raising to pay for this stuff? The dance teams/cheerleaders at our school always fundraise for new uniforms. The band always fundraises for their trips to other states for competitions. It’s just a different kind of fundraising. I still wholeheartedly disagree with fundraising like this, but it’s no different than what they do already.

    • Livvy17 August 7, 2018, 3:00 pm

      I think group fundraising (which usually involves some quid pro quo, car wash, raffle ticket with prize, etc.) is quite different than individually begging for cash directly, from your personal friends, for expenses for your own child’s particular benefit.
      As OP points out, the child has a car….can they not have a job? Or, if money is so tight, why not sell said car to fund the activity?
      I suppose I wouldn’t mind so much if it were to fund an extraordinarily gifted child, to allow them to participate at the Olympics, for example, but for ordinary extracurriculars, no. If it’s really that important, the kid / parents should find a way on their own.

      • at work August 9, 2018, 6:12 am

        Fundraising versus begging — that’s an important point. Then there’s the good old bill submission ploy: Junior needs cash in his life so if each of you lovely family members donates $50, he will be able to have it! Yes, we got a group email like that last month. It frosted me because part of the project was fundraising to get money to do the dang project. It wasn’t supposed to be mommy calculating the cost spread over the family and then sending out bills. Gah!

  • Wild Irish Rose August 7, 2018, 8:57 am

    I have a couple of Facebook friends who have set up GoFundMe pages for their daughters’ cheerleading uniforms. When I mentioned this to another friend, she said, “That’s what car washes are for!” Yup. And bake sales, etc. Why does everyone feel entitled to other people’s money for such things? I can see maybe hitting up grandparents for donations, but seriously. I’m in the camp of GoFundMe is basically there to help people in emergencies, not to pay for $500 worth of cheerleading uniforms.

  • staceyizme August 7, 2018, 8:58 am

    In general, I don’t approve of GoFundMe accounts. In this age of crowdfunding for startups, unanticipated medical expenses and even personal occasions like weddings or funerals, I suppose that the line has become irreversibly blurred. I now take the attitude that I’m free not to donate and others are free to solicit. It saves quite a bit of annoyance. At least in the case of crowdfunding, it’s somewhat less likely that you would be personally dunned for a contribution, so there’s that. If anyone among your friends has the temerity to dun you for funds that would allow them to engage in activities that are within their purview as parents to provide, you can be far more direct and expressing your views on the matter. I do have some sympathy for young athletes who are engaged in the serious pursuit of sport or music which includes ice skating, gymnastics, horsemanship, band and similar endeavors. There is sometimes not time to pursue the activity and also to pursue the extra work required to fund it. I suppose that that circumstance leaves us with parents who beg on behalf of their teens and friends who become frustrated when the begging is done for reasons that are not truly an emergency.

    • Kheldarson August 7, 2018, 10:20 am

      “I do have some sympathy for young athletes who are engaged in the serious pursuit of sport or music which includes ice skating, gymnastics, horsemanship, band and similar endeavors. There is sometimes not time to pursue the activity and also to pursue the extra work required to fund it.”

      Yeah, I can see this too. Like you’ve got a kid who’s basically performing at national or Olympic level and could really go far in terms of covering their college or being a sponsored athlete? Sure, I’m all for helping that (especially since those parents typically work multiple jobs to make sure their kid can focus on the talent.) But your kid is basically getting their exercise in? Maybe they should help out in paying.

    • mark132 August 7, 2018, 11:17 am

      I agree with you, it’s become the new normal(right or wrong), and getting worked up over it is just a waste of time. I don’t like it either. My wife and I mostly paid for stuff like this for our children. Most families (almost all?) have the money to pay for activities like this for their kids, IMO it’s more a priority thing.

      (The main funding raising they did was sell girl scout cookies. I actually didn’t like doing that either, but without GS cookies the local girl scout council can’t survive.)

      In someways it’s better than being asked to buy a $20 candle that you can get in walmart for less than $5 and then the person selling you the candle gets one dollar. (This actually happened, my wife and I paid her $10 instead to weed our flower beds for one hour).

  • LuJessMin August 7, 2018, 9:26 am

    A few years back, there were some kids outside a grocery store begging for donations so that the older sibling could go on a trip to Europe for school. I think I said something along the lines of “I want to go to Europe, too, but you don’t see me outside a store begging for money to go!”

  • VickyJoJo August 7, 2018, 9:44 am

    I’m not surprised. We live in a society now where no one wants to be accountable or work hard for what they get. The OP’s friend is fostering a sense of entitlement in her daughter. Heaven help her as she gets older.

    My daughter is involved in an expensive sport, horseback riding. Between shows, boarding/feeding the horse, equipment, lessons, it is a small fortune. Never have we asked anyone to pay a dime for it besides us. My daughter does not have a car since she chose horse stuff over it. She works hard as do I to pay for it.

    I don’t mind GoFundMe for unforeseen financial disasters. I just donated to a friend’s fund (and they made it very reluctantly). He had a stroke a few years ago and is in need of new wheelchair. Due to the newness of this type of chair (recently developed by MIT), it is not covered by insurance.

  • Andrea T. August 7, 2018, 9:50 am

    There is currently a link on my “local road conditions” FB page of someone looking for donations to pay the vet bills for their dog.

    • EchoGirl August 9, 2018, 8:35 pm

      Personally, I tend to be sympathetic to vet bill cases unless it’s routine care. A college friend recently posted a gofundme page because her beloved cat fell off a dresser and needs major surgery that she literally does not have the money for. This is not someone who sits around twiddling her thumbs expecting people to give her things, she’s done everything she can to scrape up the money for needed vet care in the past, but now she needs more than her monthly salary and fast. I’m running the numbers on my budget to see if I can spare a few dollars.

      However, if you’re suggesting the issue is time and place, I would tend to agree.

  • Beez August 7, 2018, 9:59 am

    I have a friend who has a young daughter in gymnastics which as the OP stated is a fairly expensive sport. She uses facebook to help fundraising efforts. I do applaud how she handles it though. Her daughter is to young to have a job so they make fudge, baked goods, sugar scrubs, lip balm, and holiday decorations and then sell those to friends and family to help pay for gymnastics. Now at the end of the day I have no idea how lucrative these efforts are, but I love that she is taking the time to teach her daughter that she has to work for what she wants.

    • staceyizme August 7, 2018, 4:39 pm

      Agreed! Sales is mostly about relationships based on the “why” of the product offer. With this duo putting in the work and creativity to trade product for cash, it is a “win-win”, in my view! People get to feel good about contributing through product purchase and nobody has the sense that they are being asked to literally give something for nothing.

  • Miss-E August 7, 2018, 10:29 am

    When I was a mess student we had the opportunity to go Guatemala and work in a rural hospital. Now, when I say “work” what I mean is “shadow doctors, see conditions and procedures rarely done in the states and help out as much as possible”. This was not Doctors Without Borders, we couldn’t work alone and always had to be paired with someone who worked there. It was no vacation but it certainly wasn’t a heroic act. Also we received credit for the hours worked.

    The trip was expensive and I mentioned to a classmate how sorry I was to not be able to go and was advised to do a GoFundMe. Most of my classmates did it and didn’t seem to see a problem because they were “helping”. I didn’t crowdfund and I didn’t go.

    It saddens me that crowdfunding is necessary these days, that medical care and funeral expenses are so outrageous that some people have no other options. I’ve donated to those but I refuse to donate to anything other than the most extreme circumstances.

  • Lerah99 August 7, 2018, 10:37 am

    I go back and forth on this issue a lot.

    On one hand, a coworker of mine started a GoFundMe asking for $5,000 so she could take her five year old daughter to Disney World for a week.

    I found that really outrageous. Why are her friends, family, and coworkers supposed to pay for her to take her daughter on vacation?

    Disney World is incredibly expensive. Lots of families simply can’t afford to go. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Your kids won’t be irrevocably damaged because they never got to stand in line for 3 hours in the Florida heat in order to hug a collage kid dressed up as Elsa from Frozen.

    On the other hand, my cousin’s daughter, I’ll call her “M”, is a sophmore in high school. She’s a drama nerd, loves theater tech, and desperately wants to be an actor.

    Her high school drama class is doing a trip to New York City that includes going back stage at a Broadway show, a week of acting and technical classes at various drama schools and stages. It’s an incredible opportunity. It’s also a little over $4,000.

    M has spent the past year mowing lawns, baby sitting, selling crafts, cleaning houses, etc… to raise money. She’s raised a little over $2,000. But the deadline for the deposit is coming up and quickly thereafter are the monthly payments for the trip. Her mom put out a call on Facebook asking for friends and family members help.

    I didn’t find that nearly as offensive as the co-worker’s Disney Go Fund Me.
    Maybe because M’s family so I’m biased.
    Maybe because she’s already been busting her booty and raised over half of what she needed on her own before asking for help.
    Also, M offered to exchange services for donations. Car washing, house cleaning, yard work, babysitting, etc… So she wasn’t just saying “Give me money so I can do this cool thing.”

    With really expensive sports, I feel especially conflicted.

    Because I know every parent wants to help their kids do the things they love.

    And I know that there can be underlying institutional racism and classism associated with certain sports that make the barriers for entry for poor kids and kids of color especially problematic. Read about the racism Venus and Serena Williams faced as they made their way to being tennis pros if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

    Add to that the number of sports based college scholarships… I had a friend in high school who learned golf simply because she read an article about the number of girl’s golf scholarships that go unclaimed every year. And it WORKED. She got a full ride to a small college in the Northeast for golf.

    So if a kid is an amazing gymnast, equestrian, polo player, hockey player, lacrosse player, ballet dancer, etc…. I can understand parents being desperate to provide their kid with the opportunity to keep playing. AND, as kids become better and more competitive the sports, tournaments, fees and costs exponentially increase.

    I dated a guy in college who was on a hockey scholarship. He’d grown up really poor and had only been able to play in middle school and high school because his local rink and coach had some financial aid for poor kids. Plus the team did fundraising to keep him and a couple other of the guys from poor families in 2nd hand equipment.

    He gained 20lbs of muscle our freshman year because having the all you can eat meal plan as part of his scholarship meant it was the first time in his life he didn’t go to bed hungry several times a week. His mom did everything she could to keep a roof over their heads and he did everything he could to play hockey, which did eventually lead to him going to college which seemed like an impossible dream when he was a kid.

    So, I don’t want to judge people too harshly for raising money for their kids to participate in sports.

    On the other hand, I have known some truly entitled people who expect the world to hand them and their kids everything.

    It’s not that they couldn’t afford their kid’s to participate in baseball.

    It’s just that they wouldn’t be willing to not buy the new iPhone, or not go out to eat several times a week, or not go on a big family cruise in the summer,etc…. in order to save up the money for their kid’s uniform/fees/etc…

    And I don’t feel like I should have to pay for their kids to participate in sports simply because they are too spoiled to sacrifice a few comforts or luxuries in order to pay their kid’s way.

    • MzLiz August 7, 2018, 1:48 pm

      You bring up some great points. Too many children & families are priced out of good sports/arts/science programs & you’re right that not all Kickstarters (et al) are created equally. I’d even go a bit further & say that a lot of very smart, talented kids who come from low-income/working class households also live in neighborhoods where there aren’t any lawns to mow or leaves to rake and going house-to-house offering to do chores is legitimately unsafe. Babysitting used to be a great way to make some cash as a teen but parents don’t seem willing to leave their kids with people who aren’t family anymore. The paper route job of yore has all but disappeared. The world has become more litigious as well; I was shocked when my friend’s 15-year-old was pounding the pavement looking for work that so many food & retail establishments wouldn’t hire someone under 18, even with written parental permission, citing insurance reasons. And the ones that would hire underage employees in her area were SUPER sketchy – I’d be nervous for a big strapping adult male working at some of these places, never-mind a child. Poor girl only wanted to get ahead & start making money for college! It seems much harder for young people to go out & earn than it was for me when I got my 1st summer job in an ice-cream shop almost 30 years ago…(Gulp!)

      So what option does an ambitious, underage kid have when they can’t depend on their families for financial support but their family makes *just* enough so that they don’t qualify for assistance or scholarships or programs & can’t earn enough to pay for their future themselves due to meager employment opportunities?

      In ‘M’s’ case, her coming up short on the money isn’t from lack of trying. I wouldn’t begrudge her a GoFundMe whatsoever & I’d give her some money in a heartbeat. The kid is doing everything she can to make this trip a reality & that kind of passion deserves recognition & support, IMO. She should also look into funds for kids in her position (if she qualifies), enter competitions in her area of interest with monetary prizes, look into after-school internships at her local cable station/theatre & maybe even contact/Tweet her favourite actor to see if they’d like to donate. Ya never know! Denzel Washington paid for Chadwick Boseman to attend a summer theatre program at Oxford – now he’s the star of ‘Black Panther’, so it does happen. I’d recommend ‘M’ take pictures of the experience & post them so that people know for sure that’s where their money went (scams have made everyone a skeptic, unfortunately) & send TY cards, postcards or emails to those who donated.

      In ‘Susie’s’ circumstance – Is she exceptional in her sport or is this just a hobby? Is her family struggling financially or are they trying to pass off a cost they could realistically afford? Has Susie really tried to help herself or does she expect people to hand over money while she makes no effort? Those details matter, OP. If you’re unsure, you should feel free to ask those questions since you’re being asked to donate. Speculating & assuming with mutual friends about Susie’s mother’s intentions won’t reveal the actual facts of the situation. Ask, then you’ll know. If you don’t wanna ask and/or don’t wanna donate, that’s fine but then you should really shut up about it. Begging isn’t a good look but neither is gossiping.

      Disney lady can go take a hike (or take out a loan). Those are the people who make crowd funding a total joke but you have to be discerning enough to be able to separate the worthy from the worthless. Lots hard-working, accomplished people just need a break, esp when they’re young. As a society, we NEED people whose reach exceeds their grasp because, with a little boost, they have so much to offer the world – Those are the people who come up with ideas like rockets that fly to the moon, the Internet, music that helps us through our day, art that beautifies our environment & chemical compositions that save lives. If a few bucks each from generous friends, acquaintances & strangers is going to set them on a productive path, I say ‘Go For It!’

    • AM August 7, 2018, 11:12 pm

      Thank you for bringing up the income inequality issue. My parents were financially comfortable and helped out a couple of my classmates who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do any of the activities I did. Those activities weren’t just about fun and exercise, either; I learned invaluable lessons in perseverance, sportsmanship, assertiveness, creativity, leadership, and responsibility that inform my work and relationships to this day. I had a part-time job, but those activities cost more than my job paid. If my parents or some other kind soul hadn’t been able to pay, I wouldn’t have learned additional lessons in self-reliance; I just wouldn’t have been able to have those experiences at all. I don’t want that for kids whose parents have less money than mine. I want them to be able to ask for help, and receive it if someone’s willing to give it.

    • BellyJean August 8, 2018, 7:45 am

      @Lerah99 – thank you for your perspective, I really appreciate it. Definitely eye opening.
      And @MzLiz – thank you again, too. (I replied to a comment of yours above)

  • Bea August 7, 2018, 11:03 am

    Do fundraisers!! No part time job needed, grab friends and go wash cars or sell candy bars. That’s how we cushioned the costs of extra circulars. Even a jog-a-thon is more reasonable than setting up a go fund me.

  • Val August 7, 2018, 1:59 pm

    I don’t personally think that it’s THAT outrageous. When I think of career athletes, like Olympic medalists, my assumption is that they have had help along the way. There is no way that your average middle class family, with more than just the one child, could afford all of the classes and personal coaches and tournament fees without bankrupting themselves or seriously neglecting their other children. Should Olympians only come from rich families? Would the USA gymnastics team have a shot at any medals if their members were flipping burgers 3-4 night a week instead of training? Should teenagers keep their activities to roaming malls, texting, watching Netflix and playing video games instead of keeping fit and becoming exceptional doing something they love just because someone might clutch their pearls at the audacity of being asked for a helping hand?

    Apparently Susie’s dreams are bigger than her parents’ wallet, and the “meh, not my problem” attitude is makes me sad.

    • Lerah99 August 7, 2018, 4:26 pm

      @Val, I wish I knew Susie and her situation better.

      Because you might be 100% right. Susie is an incredible athlete who deserves the support of her community to pursue college scholarships and participate at a high level of competition. And her family is already throwing everything they can behind her, but are coming up a little short. So they are asking their community for help.

      On the other hand, maybe Susie’s family COULD pay her way but they’re prioritizing other things. Like having the newest iPhones, going out to eat several times a week because no one feels like cooking, expensive satellite TV packages, etc…. And really they’d just rather someone else pay the money for Susie’s sport then possibly changing their standard of living. And maybe Susie likes that sport, but isn’t some incredible athlete. Maybe she’s just average and really likes hanging out with her friends who also do that sport.

      In which case, why should the community “come together” to make sure Susie can hang out with her friends and do this sport? Why should the rest of us forego some luxuries we’d like in order to donate money so Susie’s family doesn’t have to forego any?

      The truth of Susie’s situation is probably somewhere in between the two extremes of “Impoverished sensational athlete needs community support” and “spoiled family wants someone else to pay for their teenage daughter to go to gymnastics camp”.

      And where Susie actually falls on that spectrum would make a difference in how I feel about her GoFundMe.

    • EB112233 August 8, 2018, 4:15 am

      I totally agree with this. Being a gymnast at age 16 is not a hobby. This is probably her college scholarship plan. It’s unfortunate that gymnastics is such an expensive sport but I don’t know that should limit her ability to get a scholarship. I think that if they were more clear about the ask and how the money is going to be used it would be different. I’m sure people would see it a bit differently if it was clear that the required leotard cost $100 – can anyone share half but when it’s an open “help Susie do gymnastics” it’s different. I was a competitive gymnast for a number of my teenage years and we had to do team fundraising as well as the fees for the cost of gym. I think the gym would also be a bit understanding at this stage and should be working this out with the family (I know that happened at mine).

    • keloe August 8, 2018, 8:10 am

      One of parent’s friends has a son who is really good at chess. He plays in tournaments and wins.
      Chess is not a sport that would require fancy uniforms, expensive equipment, gym meberships, etc. Still, it turns out the costs mount up very quickly – competition fees, travel costs, camps, etc., etc. And our country is a lot smaller that USA.
      As far as I know, she’s covering her son’s costs herself for now.

  • kingsrings August 7, 2018, 2:20 pm

    I’ve been asked many times to donate to someone’s school tuition, activity lessons, and similar through go fund me. Perfectly decent people have put together these fundraisers. I absolutely agree with all who have already commented that this is just plain wrong. These social media fundraising platforms have made people lazy. Back before them, people worked for what they wanted. Nowadays they just ask others to give it to them. Go fund me, etc., should just be used for emergency needs, not wants.

  • Gumby August 7, 2018, 5:06 pm

    I am against the crowd-funding thing for sure.

    But I also do not think Susie should earn her own money for this. For one, as you pointed out, gymnastics is expensive. Lessons, uniforms, competition entrance fees – it can add up to thousands of dollars.

    Secondly, gymnastics training takes time. Oh so much time. When I was in junior high I was in the gym for a MINIMUM or 30 hours per week. (6 days x 5 hours/day) Add in school and homework and there just isn’t enough time in the day to earn enough to cover training costs even if you do give up a social life (which I pretty much did).

    If Susie is doing this in a less intensive manner just for fun, then sure. But if she’s reached competition stage, which almost anyone who does this in high school has, it’s probably not realistic for her to earn the money herself. My parents covered it through a mixture of working in the office at the gym while I was working out (since my mom was going to be there anyway) and scholarships (gym gave us a price cut basically since they knew we couldn’t afford the full thing).

  • Trish August 7, 2018, 5:38 pm

    Gofund me drives me bonkers. It is not my job to pay for your child’s soccer uniform, their cheerleading trip to England or their art classes. If you want something, work for it. People have no shame or pride anymore. I knew an acquaintance who lost her baby in the 8th month of pregnancy. She set up a gofund me account while in the hospital in labor. She posted it on every Facebook yard sale site. It said it was for funeral expenses, even though I knew the funeral home in town was covering the burial, free of charge (they offer this to anyone in our city that buries an infant). Three months later she posted photos of her family of 5 on a cruise. She thanked everyone for their donation (she had repeatedly begged until she raised $15,000) and it funded their vacation for a much needed mental break. I never gave her a dime but I wonder how anyone else that donated would have felt.

    • rindlrad August 8, 2018, 11:38 am

      Sometimes I weep for my species. Too many people are so quick to abuse others’ generosity. How many people gave to this woman thinking they were helping someone out in a time of crisis and then felt completely taken in when they saw those cruise photos? The problem is that next time, perhaps when someone really is in crisis, people will think, “I’m not falling for THAT again!” I give to well-established organizations with low overhead and people in my immediate family / close friends that I know I can trust to use the money wisely and as intended. Otherwise, I will donate time, food, clothing, toys, etc., but no money.

    • Kelly August 10, 2018, 4:12 pm

      I’m another one that thinks that Gofundmes are out of control. It’s sad how it’s become acceptable to panhandle online for some people.

      On one quasi-professional facebook group I’m on, one person who is somewhat of a frequent problem poster posted a link to their gofundme for their living expenses. The person is a transwoman who plays the victim whenever they’re called out for their bullying, aggressive behavior. Their online behavior including using slurs and insults towards people who disagree with them and already mentioned bullying is unacceptable for either cis or trans people. I would hate to be in the same workplace as them if their work/real life persona is close to their online one.

      This is a group for a profession where we aren’t well paid and they had the nerve to post a gofundme for doing the “emotional labor” of educating us on trans issues. It’s now in the group rules that no gofundme links can be posted because of the reaction it caused.

      We’re in a profession that is perhaps better informed and understanding of underrepresented groups, including trans people. At least where I work, we’ve made some progress on making it easier for trans individuals change their preferred names and genders officially. It’s going to be a while before our insurance will cover medical expenses associated with gender transitioned treatment due to political issues. If we get certain individuals unemployed by voters in November, it could be beginning of 2020 because of how public sector insurance works.

  • rindlrad August 7, 2018, 6:09 pm

    As an etiquette issue – no, IMO, you shouldn’t ask people to fund your life choices – be it a vacation, sports, uniforms, music lessons, home improvement, new baby, etc. It requires far too many assumptions regarding how much money other people have and how much of that money they should be willing to donate to your “cause.”

    As a life and how to live it issue – no, IMO, you shouldn’t ask other people to fund your life choices. One of the greatest gifts anyone ever gave me is the life lesson that you value what you have earned.

  • Catherine St. Clair August 7, 2018, 9:40 pm

    Years ago, I was leaving a grocery store when I heard a young girl’s voice yell, “Hey! You want to send me to New York?” I turned around to see a girl relaxing on a lounge chair set up by the AMT machine. She didn’t even bother to rise from her prone position. I refrained from replying, “Only if you promise not to come back” and simply said, “No.”

  • Anonymous August 8, 2018, 4:53 pm

    The other thing with kids’ sports and other activities is, there’s a definite “commitment creep” with regards to both time and money. Some of it, you expect, and it happens within the year/season at every level–for example, more practices/rehearsals/training sessions closer to the concert/recital/tournament/big meet of the year, but you know that going in. Other times, it happens gradually through the years, as the participants advance through the levels. Sometimes it’s just a few more hours of practice time added each year, but sometimes it’s an opportunity that presents itself out of nowhere, like, say, a coach in the recreational class recruits one student, or a small subset of students, for the competition team. Recreational classes cost $X, but the competition team is more like $XX, and now, suddenly, there’s a big decision to be made. I don’t think most people think, “I’m going to enroll my child in an activity I can’t afford, and ask the general public to pay for it!!!” Instead, I think a lot of these crowdfunding campaigns for extra-curricular activities come about when Junior has just made the rep team, or the activity organizer announces a big trip, and so on. This happens a lot more than you’d think. A few years ago, I used to play in a simple community steel band, that was free when I joined, and later started charging a small fee to cover insurance at the church where we rehearsed. Anyway, one day, the pastor at the church came to rehearsal and announced a “brilliant” idea to do an exchange with a steel band in Germany. We’d host the musicians from Germany in our homes, and then we’d go there. This was an all-ages steel band, so the kids in the band were thrilled about the idea, but the adults pointed out that most of us couldn’t afford this (and didn’t have time to participate in numerous fundraising activities so we could afford it), and not everyone had the room or the inclination to host complete strangers either. To make things worse, there were a few people in our band who didn’t attend rehearsals reliably, or who’d show up really late, and so, this seemed like more of a commitment than our band, as a group, was capable of. In the end, the German exchange trip died a natural death, and we went back to just rehearsing twice a week, and performing at community events, as we’d always done. While a trip to Germany would have been an amazing experience, I don’t think it was fair to spring that on a group of people who didn’t have the bandwidth to actually do it, especially in front of kids who didn’t understand that. So, my steel band story might have been an extreme example, but it’s definitely possible to sign up for a simple recreational activity, and end up with more than you bargained for.

  • MPW1971 August 9, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Few things frost my cookies more than the use of GoFundMe for anything but what you would otherwise consider as “charity”. Medical bills or expenses related to unexpected tragedy are the exception, but I hate how this “popularity contest” is dishonestly redirecting money to those who don’t *need* it. Yes, I may want to fulfill my life-long dream of travelling the world, but that’s not a *necessity*. Here are some examples…
    – teen girl looking for donations so she can “fulfill her dream” of being the youngest female to visit every country in the world (that’s a lot of money just to get into the Guinness book of world records)
    – Canadian teen from upper-middle-class parents begging for donations to attend a prestigious university in the US. He has multiple academic scholarship offers for school in Canada. His parents are contributing zero. (We aren’t luddites here in Canada – our universities are pretty good. They are all publicly funded and tuition is subsidized for Citizens and Residents.)
    – Canadian high-school robotics team wants to send 35 people (about 24 students and 11 adult advisers) to a competition in the US. They need $25,000. They have raised about $2000, mostly through sponsoring donations. Their own fund-raising efforts had raised less than $100, or about $4 per student. Their goal was a trip with zero cost to them. Never mind that the school was in one of the ten wealthiest neighborhoods in Canada.
    And don’t get me started on the funding of potato salad which raised tens of thousands of dollars.
    I like being aware of charitable causes which would benefit from small money. I liked the idea of micro-lending like kiva.org, but once kiva.org started lending out money to people within the US (a $6000 loan for a van in Los Angeles is not my idea of “micro-lending to help the poor in the developing world”), I was done with them too.
    I have backed dozens of crowdfunding projects where the object is to bring a product to market – a physical product which requires capital investment to manufacture. Winter coats. Computer gadgets. A very stylish smartwatch with mechanical hands. Great ideas. But for every one of these crowdfunding projects for a product, I see some would-be artist trying to get front money for their art/music/poetry/book/etc. If they were any good, they wouldn’t need crowdfunding, and if you aren’t willing to risk $200 of your own money to record your album, you know you’re not very good.

  • NicoleDSK August 11, 2018, 11:33 am

    I think it is tacky but don’t really care, like if my friend had an ugly hat or painted their walls a weird color. Not something to get worked up about

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