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It’s Still Begging And It’s A Problem

I have a friend who, many years ago, moved across the country. We were out of touch for a while but now remain in sort of contact through Facebook. We’ll message each other, the rare phone call here and there, etc.,  messages of support, “remember when” calls/messages. That type of thing. I saw that she had set up a funding plan for a used truck. Good for her but I didn’t click on anything. Late last night I got a personal message asking if I could help. I was taken aback. I didn’t like someone pressuring me to send money for a truck. This morning, I went back, clicked on the”story” and read more about it. I felt that her story had merit, so I donated a small amount. Am I wrong to still resent the pressure tactic? After all, it prompted me to check her story further and it seemed a worthy enough cause. I also have no problem with people making an appeal via Facebook at large. 0215-15

It’s begging regardless of how it is packaged.   It’s one thing when friends take the initiative to combine their resources to financially assist another friend in trouble. It’s entirely another thing when someone goes begging from friend to friend to acquire material assets or money they should be working for themselves.  The question that comes to mind is, have I been befriended for the worth of my character and friendship or the worth of my bank account ?   It’s hard to ascertain which is which when a begging hand is extended in your direction.  If you did not donate, would that end the relationship or seriously restrain it?   (In many cases, yes, it will.)

Just prepare yourself because I very much doubt this will be the last time your friend hits you up for money.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • GeenaG March 31, 2015, 8:59 am

    All you have taught your friend is that is she pushes you a specific amount you will give her money. I can promise you she will ask again for money in the future because something else will “just come up” that she wants money for. If its someone you just casually keep in contact with when she asks again I would block her with not further communication. That’s what happens when someone chooses to become a bigger, they lose friends and people don’t want to be around them.

  • Wild Irish Rose March 31, 2015, 9:24 am

    I have a serious issue with these “fundraising” websites. They are nothing more than an electronic tin cup. I understand that one’s situation can change in a heartbeat, and I really don’t have trouble with people asking for help if they are in a real pinch, but if I’m expected to live within my means, why isn’t everyone else? I just can’t see myself being able to face people who donated to any personal “cause” I might proffer–a new car, an expensive trip, etc. It’s one thing to solicit donations for a charity; it’s quite another when the person requesting donations is the charity. This person isn’t your friend, OP.

    • mark March 31, 2015, 1:48 pm

      They are also highly inefficient, so much of the contribution goes to overhead.

  • Anonymous March 31, 2015, 9:45 am

    I’ve seen this as well. I didn’t donate. In this case it was for school. I was actually rather put out given that she was asking for donations a month after coming back from a cruise. It hit a nerve with me as I had put myself through school twice. If you can afford a vacation, you can afford your own schooling.

  • Amara March 31, 2015, 10:02 am

    Yes, it’s a sad fact that in probably most if not all cases where someone asks for money and you respond positively that you will in the future be considered a friend based on that open purse alone. The admin is right; prepare yourself for more to come.

  • mark March 31, 2015, 10:33 am

    I like helping people, I really do. I sometimes wonder though, am I helping them, or are they using me? One time requests that are seldom repeated and sometimes reciprocated don’t bother me. On the other hand, the hand out for cash makes my mooch radar usually go off, especially the more distant the relationship is.

    As for giving cash to organizations, I vastly prefer to do it anonymously. I joined and donated to a political cause I believed in years ago and have been out for years, and the calls STILL come in.

  • DGS March 31, 2015, 10:53 am

    I had a similar situation, where an old high school acquaintance sent me a private message asking me for money. She had legitimate financial issues (no college degree, menial job, disabled husband, three small children, lives in a rickety mobile home – yes, I realize that it sounds like a sad country song but it was a truthful account of her life), but I felt like the only reason she had engaged me socially was so that she could ask for a handout. She needed money to replace a broken furnace, and after some discussion with my DH, we sent her some money (mostly, out of enormous sympathy for a poor couple with small, shivering children struggling in the cold), and of course, a few months later, I got another message, asking for money to cover the cost of her replacing the battery on her truck. This time, we did not send her any money (we were very polite about it, btw), and lo and behold, she de-friended me on social media and all contact with her had seized. Clearly, the only reason she had reached out to me in the first place was to solicit. I have no problem contributing to those who are less fortunate, but I would rather such solicitations were not done under the guise of socialization.

    • Justine March 31, 2015, 11:52 am

      Same situation with one relative. Thee ONLY time we hear from said relative is when one of the kids is having a fund raiser or a birthday. Other than that, nada. We can call and email to chat, and nothing.

      • Enna April 2, 2015, 11:45 am

        @ DGS I think you escaped lightly. It is bad when people do things like this. You shouldn’t use people like that. One thing if the person said “if I provided ABC service could you help me with DEF problem?”

    • Mabel April 8, 2015, 11:54 pm

      I have a relative like this. I don’t hear from her on Facebook for a while, and then she starts liking posts, etc. Soon, she’ll make posts asking for rides, saying “We are praying for a miracle so we can get X” or something. She doesn’t adult–at all– and expects everyone to do things for her.

      I gave her my old car a couple of years ago when her husband and she were down and out–it wasn’t the greatest car but it ran. My folks found me a better one—they were helping me after a layoff– and we agreed it would be a good way to recycle the car and help them out at the same time. So we did a gift transfer and someone gave them the money to register it.

      A couple of months later, I got a letter from the police department saying the car had been impounded. Seems they never registered it, they drove it unregistered and got caught, and boom! No more car. They contacted me because I was the last registrant. I told them, and later the salvage yard (they never did manage to get it out), that it wasn’t my problem anymore and to do what you want with it.

      I will never try to help her again. She has not changed, and she will not, because she does not have to.

  • kingsrings March 31, 2015, 10:54 am

    I have also been asked for money by friends sometimes in the same manner as the OP was, or by the friend posting a status asking for money. There’s a big difference between a need and a want, and I’ve seen both. For example, some have asked for money to attend a film festival where their film was playing at (I’m in the film industry) or something similar to that. That is a want and I have a huge problem with such requests. I almost unfriended someone for making too many of those. It was especially aggravating since she refuses to work a regular job for personal reasons. But in other cases, I’ve had friends who truly had a need because of emergency circumstances beyond their control and ability, and I was happy to contribute and also share their situation with others simply by posting their funding platform site on my profile. But that is the only way I would ask others. I’ve had friends personally private message me for help, sharing their funding platform page, and that made me uncomfortable to be asked point-blank on the spot. I felt like I was being cornered. My decision on what and who to donate to are very personal and private, and I don’t appreciate being put on the spot like that, even if they’re desperate.
    Also, seeing what friends go through when facing these emergencies really drives the point home to prepare for the unexpected. Get your health insurance, rental/homeowners insurance, supplemental insurance, savings, etc., in check, because you never know. Some of these emergencies could have been prevented if my friends had just prepared ahead.

    • Amanda H. March 31, 2015, 12:40 pm

      This exactly. A major part of the problem is the whole Want vs. Need issue. Far too many people build up these fundraisers because they want something, not because they need it, and other times the needs could have been prevented (but not always, and I fully sympathize with the people who are truly in need unexpectedly, especially when they’re not pushing their fundraiser in everyone’s faces).

      And yes, it is a personal wake-up call to make sure we can try to prevent this happening to ourselves as well. I have a relative whose house was broken into recently, and another who recently had a fire at their house, and both instances have really hammered home the need for my husband and I to make sure we’re up on our renter’s insurance (and to make sure that once we move and have a house of our own instead of an apartment, that we get sufficient coverage in homeowner’s insurance), in case something like this happens to us in turn.

    • MamaToreen March 31, 2015, 2:17 pm

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. We recently had some pipes freeze in our house. We borrowed some money from my husband’s uncle, who knows he will be repaid once the settlement comes in. This was understood from the first. My mother handed me money last weekend, unsolicited, to help us get through. I plan to pay her back, even though nothing was said. (She gave it to me in an envelope at my son’s birthday party, so I didn’t even look in it or discuss it with her, since I didn’;t wantr to draw attention to it

    • Ulla April 1, 2015, 3:27 am

      Just to say for the preventing emergencies by preparing. I agree that often that would be the case. However, sometimes, for outsider, it might seem so. You know, like “if you’ve had savings, you wouldn’t be in this mess” and so on. But quite many cases I’ve seen tend to be ah… bad luck after another. As in, okay, they have savings. And first goes the fridge and you have to take from the savings for that, good thing there was savings. Nobody mentiones that, because, it’s not emergency. But then, comes the unemployment and heater goes after that. And the savings were already seriously dented because the previous things. So now they are in trouble, and sure, many people will think that they should have had savings. It’s just there were too many “emergencies” and even reasonable savings weren’t enough. But the friends will only see the one that broke the camel’s back.

      • EchoGirl April 1, 2015, 12:07 pm

        Yeah, that happened to someone I know. First the garage she was running her home business out of burned down, then her son broke his arm in an accident and because they didn’t have good insurance it ended up costing them a lot in medical bills, and then on her way to a big sales event, her trailer caught fire and potentially thousands of dollars worth of merchandise burned up on a highway in the middle of nowhere. And she was already not doing amazingly well because this was shortly after she divorced her abusive husband, who had been the main breadwinner, and he was giving her trouble about paying alimony. Bad luck really can strike all at once.

        • NostalgicGal April 2, 2015, 11:04 am

          Sometimes bad luck massively gangs up. Savings went poof or never can happen because the things never quit happening. A good friend takes care of her stuff, her house, her car… in one year she had the water heater die (6 years old), her roof literally disintegrated and one whole side had to have the roof overhang and soffets rebuilt, an earthquake shifted stuff just enough that her water main to house snapped and it was just under her deductible (so she paid $20k to have it dug and replaced ‘to code’) someone sided her car and it took forever and a year for the insurance, three rootcanals, her HVAC went out and all the ducting in a crawlspace had to be redone too, then a bathroom remodel was shystered and she had to have all that redone again (shower drain going to crawlspace, bend in pipe for the sink drainage, etc) and it was just past warranty/small claims; etc. I can name not dissimilar streaks of stuff for myself. Life happens when you make plans!

    • Devin April 1, 2015, 10:07 am

      I recently sent money via one of those sites because a close friend posted a plea for a former classmate of ours. He was severely injured (read: paralyzed) in a sports accident and is a single parent of 3 children. I’ve also donated to a former classmate whose apartment burned down (potentially arson from another tenant, so rental insurance will not be distributed until the investigation is closed). In these cases you may have insurance, family support, or savings, but even with that it is nice to know others are looking out for you.
      I also have many friend who participate in charitable events like running for St. Judes, or the all night walk for Suicide prevention. I enjoy seeing their fundraising progress on Facebook, and don’t mind their posts asking for help. If I have the expendable income, even a few dollars, and want to support their cause; I don’t see the harm in donating and I don’t ever expect to see a dime in return.

  • lakey March 31, 2015, 11:09 am

    I agree with Administrator. I’ve dealt with situations where a co-worker, friend, or relative went through a difficulty that caused financial problems. This has included a nephew who was burned out of his apartment in the middle of a Michigan winter and lost everything except the clothes on his back. It has also included people who weren’t able to work for a period of time because of a medical issue or injury. People who know them helped them out through their own good will. It is common around here for friends to host some sort of fundraising event to help out someone. Even putting the situation on Facebook will induce some people to help you out. The victims themselves asking for money is questionable. Pressuring people who haven’t responded is even worse.

  • CW March 31, 2015, 11:24 am

    Sites like gofundme drive me nuts. It’s one thing to have a friend set one up to help out for an emergency (house fire, car accident, something major they want to help with) but it’s completely another when people ask for money for themselves. I’m sorry, but your “need” for buying a car is not my problem. I had a Facebook acquaintance post a gofundme to help with their pending adoption fees and I thought it was ridiculous. If I asked people to give me money because I was having my daughter they’d think I was selfish and greedy and rude!

    In this case, OP, your friend won and you lost. You didn’t have to donate a dime after she contacted you, but you did.

    • vjcole March 31, 2015, 2:17 pm

      Considering how many times on this and other sites I’ve seen people have baby showers with a “money tree”, and/or a request in the invitation for cash instead of gifts, you may be bucking the trend by NOT asking for cash just because you’re pregnant!

    • Girlie March 31, 2015, 2:27 pm

      I had an old college friend start a GoFundMe asking for over $10k to go back to school. She had failed out, traveled, and had returned with no money and couldn’t get financial assistance because of her low previous GPA. Her parents, who had graciously offered to pay for her college in the beginning, refused to pay again since she failed out, so apparently it was everyone else’s responsibility to give her money to go back to school.. oh! AND feed her dog. I was always tempted to tell her to just go to community college to get her GPA up and then transfer to the main college when she was able to get financial assistance. I mean, she was lucky enough to not potentially have student loans in the beginning! I don’t feel sorry for her.

  • just4kicks March 31, 2015, 11:54 am

    My comment doesn’t pertain to the ” go fund me” site’s, which I personally think are tacky and rude.
    Last Memorial Day, a female bartender at the bar my husband hangs out at invited everyone from the bar (by word of mouth) to come to her house for a picnic.
    We already had plans and didn’t attend, and I didn’t really want to go even if we didn’t have a prior commitment.
    Turns out, it was a “wallpaper” picnic, which meant for a burger/hot dog and a beer or two, people were supposed to pitch in at their farmhouse to scrape off paint/wallpaper and put up new paper or paint the walls!
    This gal bitched non stop for the next few weeks at the bar that “not ONE person” showed up to help, and her and her husband “had to do the WHOLE HOUSE by THEMSELVES!!!”
    Several folks, my husband included, got sick of her complaining and told her that we all have our OWN houses to attend to, and we don’t expect them to come over and help!
    Her reply, “but….we made it into a fun picnic!!!”
    Oh boy! Hours of free labor for a hot dog and a beer! Wheeeeeeee!!!
    Yeah….I don’t think so.

    • Rod March 31, 2015, 4:03 pm

      It’s funny, because doing this transparently has been a good “community builder” for me. I helped friends move, build floors, build decks, install windows, shovel gravel, etc. with no deceitful “party”, but under the premise that everyone working would be fed. It works well, and in exchange we got help moving into our house and painting it in exchange of pizza.

      I often offer to fix someone’s bike in exchange for beer or baked goods, but no one has had the gall of simply showing up with a broken bike and a tin of cookies without asking first!

      • JWH April 1, 2015, 8:55 am

        Well, yeah, this is more like a contract — an exchange of favors — and everybody knows the costs and what’s expected up front. “Come help me pack, and by the way, we’re gonna empty out my liquor cabinet before we move!!!”

        • MamaToreen April 2, 2015, 7:09 am

          That ermonds me of a party my parents once threw. They had attended many events and wom 5 or so baskets of cheer. They threw a party to get rid of all the liquor.

          Riiight. All their friends brought bottles as host gifts, so they ended up woth more than they started with!

      • just4kicks April 1, 2015, 12:43 pm

        @Rod: I absolutely agree, community projects are very soul fulfilling.
        My two oldest son’s have to put in a certain amount of “community service” hours in order to pass each school year.
        As teenagers sometimes are, they weren’t happy about it at first.
        Then, (they have both played baseball since they were five years old) they found out they could volunteer with “The Miracle League”, which is an organization which allows mentally and physically challenged kids to play baseball.
        They had several games, and each kid was paired with a buddy, who helped them bat or catch, or in my oldest son, wheeled his buddy around the bases in his wheelchair!!!
        My boys got such satisfaction and enjoyment out of these kids, who were thrilled to be able to play baseball, that they continued with the league long after their hourly requirements were met.
        They both said they learned SO much from these great kids and had a fabulous time with them.

      • Bellyjean April 1, 2015, 12:57 pm

        Transparently – that’s the key. And if she had said right from the start that’s what it was about, it may have caused more folks to commit to it.

    • NostalgicGal April 2, 2015, 11:18 am

      Some ‘friends’ were going to move. We showed up. She had nothing packed. I am a powerpacker so I packed stuff; sent people on box forays (she had no boxes) and my DH back for my stash of moving boxes from OUR last move. We busted our keysters, one single friend, two couples, and the moving couple… and about all she did was complain and sit about. I wasn’t packing her stuff right. I packed her dirty dishes (I had told her while I packed X room to go wash them, she had close to a weeks worth, I came out and they were still sitting there so they went in the box). Our appliance dolly, we got everything in the trailer, and there had been no lunch… we made 5 pm time for them to be out of there; and at new house she ordered pizza. Okay. 7 adults and one medium pizza cut in 8. That was our thanks. She of course had grabbed the first piece.

      We all took our piece of pizza, ate, LEFT. They could unload themselves. They couldn’t understand why (she couldn’t, he finally bought the clue) nobody wanted to help them with anything any more. And why we all went home when they had a whole trailer to unload yet.

      • Angel April 3, 2015, 12:03 pm

        This type of thing irks me to no end. If you are a gainfully employed adult, you can afford to hire movers. You can collect boxes and pack them yourselves! You don’t put out your friends. The last time my husband and I moved was close to 10 years ago. We had a 3-month-old baby and a very old dog. We managed to pack everything ourselves, hire movers to get the boxes to the new house, and do it all without inconveniencing our families. I think we may have left the baby and dog at my MIL’s house for a couple of hours while we signed the papers–stayed one night over there because all our stuff was on the truck still. If we didn’t have the dog we would have checked into a hotel. But for one night it wasn’t too bad. But I know people like the ones in your situation–get free moving (and packing!) help and you’re lucky if they even say thank you! Crazy!

    • Lou April 2, 2015, 3:41 pm

      Ooof, we had a similar thing when a couple we’re casually friends with bought their first house. First it was ‘can you come over and help strip wallpaper, and we’ll provide food and drink?’ (none provided). Couple of weeks later, they drafted my husband and several other friends to help dig a trench from the house to the road for water pipes (not sure if anything was provided as I didn’t pitch in with that one, but it took up most of his weekend). Not long after that, we were called on to help paint the house. Ok, we didn’t have any other plans, and I quite like painting, so off we went. I think soft drinks were handed round at one point, and there was the promise of a big pizza party when the house was finished.
      When they eventually threw the ‘party’, it consisted of 2 large frozen pizzas (slightly burnt) between 10 people, a bowl of crisps, some dip, and an invitation to bring your own drinks. At that point, and probably too late in the day, I decided we were done. No more, I was tired of doing favours for able bodied people with sufficient funds to buy their own house, when my only thanks was a request for more help.
      A week before Christmas, several of us got a group Facebook message – they’d bought their daughters a wooden playhouse for Christmas, could all the boys pop round Christmas Eve afternoon and help build it? I didn’t even ask my husband if he wanted to, I replied immediately that we already had plans and he wasn’t available. And was treated to several rounds of ‘but surely he could come just for an hour?’ (NO), ‘couldn’t you do your stuff the day before?’ (NO), ‘but what are we going to do noooowww?’ (don’t know, don’t care). It did feel good to finally put my foot down!x

      • just4kicks April 3, 2015, 12:54 am

        Both of your stories reminded me of a Cosby show episode where Sondra had committed her husband to help friends move on a Sunday.
        Elvin, the husband, was angry because there was a big football game on that day.
        He said he couldn’t miss the game because it was the “Clash of the Titans!”
        Sondra replies, “Didn’t the ‘Titans’ clash LAST week?!?”
        She also reminds him that this couple was nice enough to help them when they had moved.
        Elvin says, “Yes….but. we were considerate enough not to move during football season!!!”

        • NostalgicGal April 3, 2015, 9:14 pm

          DH and I sorted out early that you can not automatically volunteer the other for something. If I say I will help you move, I and only I will show up, with pickup and trailer. Where’s DH? He’s got other plans. And yes I pitch in. Same for him, he makes plans and if it was digging a foundation with big boy power tools and his buds, I can stay home and take a nap if I want.

          The height of wheedlewhine happened many years back when a college friend had her first kid, and expected limitless and at drop of hat babysitting from her circle of friends. That got worn out in her first WEEK. The boy was about 2 weeks old and she had something she really wanted to do and we’d all learned a) 2 hours might mean from before lunch to tomorrow sometime. b) no she didn’t pay for sitting c) kid was going into croup all the time. d) I am not a baby person, I can deal just fine when I can ask the small a simple question and get a yes or no answer and they’re potty trained. And it was well known, I’m not a baby person. I can hold your kid for five, but that’s it. Well she had called everybody and finally called me; and just wheedled and whined about She Needs A Sitter and Just Doesn’t Know WHERE She’s Going To Find ONE! (My response was supposed to be, with lots of enthusiasm “Oh, I’ll be HAPPY to Sit for you TONIGHT!”) Instead flatly I replied about I didn’t know either. She tried about three more times laying it on (trust me this was exaggerated, and I wish I had a recording) and every time I just didn’t know where she would find one. She finally hung up when it was obvious I was too dense or something to say the magic words she wanted to hear.

          • just4kicks April 8, 2015, 3:26 am

            @NostalgicGal: Good for you!
            We have had friends like this over the years.
            One pulled the same stunt with us, “we are going to a wedding out of town this weekend, and we just don’t know WHO is gonna watch our kids? Sigh. I mean, it would be GREAT if one of our friends would watch them….sigh….”
            My reply was, “yes….that has happened to us before, too!!!”
            Her excited comeback??? “Oooooh, so a FRIEND offered to take them for the WHOLE WEEKEND! How wonderful!”
            Me: “No…we don’t pawn our kids off at the last minute….we sent a present and our regrets, and stayed HOME!”
            She ended the phone call rather abruptly after that….can’t imagine why! 😉

  • Daphne March 31, 2015, 12:39 pm

    If buying the truck was a true need for transportation in order for her to work I might make a small, under $20.00, donation. But I would not consider her my friend, or even my equal, after that. I would consider it the fee for getting rid of a pest, sort of like when you tip those annoying, wandering musicians that hang around resort towns and bother the tourists.

  • Also Anonymous March 31, 2015, 12:45 pm

    Wait, “set up a funding plan to buy a used truck?” As in, crowdfunding? I’ve never heard of such a thing before. I thought crowdfunding was for things like starting a new business, or marketing a new product, or raising money for a specific child with a serious illness, or something like that. I didn’t know that people set up crowdfunding accounts for big-ticket items they couldn’t afford, so all I can think is, who does that? It’s rude to try to get strangers on the Internet to finance your life decisions, and it’s even ruder to pressure your friends to donate, because Jeanne is right–people will feel as if they have to donate if they want the friendship to continue. So, setting up the account in the first place was rude, and pressuring the OP to donate was even worse.

  • Shyla March 31, 2015, 1:11 pm

    I’m getting tired of almost every news story ending with a link for a Go Fund Me account. We are infertile. Fund us. We have a broken down car. Fund us. Etc. I have a chronic disease that has a Facebook group. Recently they had to set up rules because people would join just to post funding requests. Yes there are expenses with the disease. My problem with so many requests is we don’t know who truly needs help and who is greedy.

  • NostalgicGal March 31, 2015, 1:44 pm

    First hound would have been the automatic no. Aka they wouldn’t have gotten anything from me after that.

    I hate those fund my life because I can’t or won’t.

    I know about true emergencies happening but, I still handle my own issues… and Yes I HAVE helped others in need and taken help graciously at times… but. Hound me and forget it…

  • JKC March 31, 2015, 1:51 pm

    I’ve seen a lot of these types of campaigns go by on my FB feed in the last few years. When it’s a true emergency situation (e.g. coworker’s house burned down one night and they barely made it out alive, friend’s beloved pet needed emergency surgery), then I try to contribute if I can. However, I don’t respond well to pushy requests for money, and I would probably decline to chip in for something like this.

  • Kim March 31, 2015, 1:56 pm

    I submitted a story somewhat similar to this about a year ago I guess. Someone I knew vaguely from 25 years ago friended me (I had been seeing her profile for a long time under “people you might know” but I barely knew her so I didn’t bother friending her.) One day she friended me. I shrugged and accepted. I could always unfriend later I figured.

    Not a half hour later she sent a message out to everybody telling of her father’s death and her father had set up a trust for 2 granddaughters and it’s at this bank and these are the names of the kids… Yeah, NOW the timing of her friending me makes sense. Nope I did not give.

  • KJR March 31, 2015, 3:41 pm

    My son is going on a school trip to Europe that is going to cost quite a bit. We are helping with it, but the majority of the money is coming from him working for it. We were given “fundraising” letters to send out that are essentially asking individuals and businesses to “sponsor” his trip, and offering nothing in return. We will not be sending them out. Reading readers’ responses to the LW’s experience validates this decision for me!

    • Karen April 1, 2015, 7:49 am

      Heh – years ago, I was walking up to a Wal-Mart when some kids asked me for money so that their sibling could go to Europe. I said, “I want to go to Europe – who’s paying my way?” and walked into the store.

  • Jays March 31, 2015, 3:43 pm

    I agree with just about everything you said, but … this line made me wince. “money they should be working for themselves”

    It’s not always that simple. No matter how much you plan ahead, sometimes things happen. I’m unemployed right now for the first time since I was 16. (Through no fault of my own.) We did have savings, and we’re doing OK, but as I’m searching for work, I’m constantly aware that we’re one disaster away from … well, disaster.

    Language like that feeds into the (rather self-satisfied) illusion that all you have to be willing to do is work. I’m willing. But I’m not, at the moment, working. (Except on my resume and professional development.)

    • CW April 1, 2015, 7:10 am

      The difference here is you WANT to work and are trying to do so again. There are a lot of people who post these crowd-fundings that use them as income. Every time you turn around it’s another “emergency” and they have no money again. (Yet a week later they post about their fabulous vacation.)

    • Daphne April 1, 2015, 8:47 am

      And hopefully, since you reference age 16, you are young enough to learn the lesson that sudden unemployment is why responsible people have emergency funds and credit cards. They don’t expect or assume that others will fund their personal “disasters”.

      • Daphne April 1, 2015, 12:13 pm

        …credit cards (or lines of credit) with zero balances, that is! 🙂

      • Goldie April 2, 2015, 10:32 am

        There are many reasons why people can run out of their emergency funds; however in this case, Jays clearly stated that his or her family does have savings.

    • Goldie April 2, 2015, 10:31 am

      I agree with you Jays. I’ve donated to two of these gofundme’s lately. I didn’t give much, but I felt compelled to give something. In one case, a girl in her 20s, alone, moved across country to where the job market was better for her, but with very little in savings. She’d found an apartment, signed some kind of lease with the landlord over the internet. When she got there, landlord canceled on her and she had to go stay on her friends’ couch while looking for a new place. I don’t remember whether or not there was a deposit involved, but the end result of it was that she had no money and no place to live. Another cause I gave to was a classmate of my son’s (they’re 18-19) whose mom had gotten seriously ill and was about to lose the house where she and her four children lived. My son’s classmate had a job, but it wasn’t enough to pay for the house. These things happen.

  • Rubies March 31, 2015, 4:47 pm

    I get SO tired of all this fundraising and gofundme stuff. People should just stop begging.

  • Cat March 31, 2015, 6:34 pm

    You have every right to spend your money as you wish. You may be wondering if you have been had. Is her story true and she truly needs help or does she just want other people to buy her a truck?
    Some years ago a man carrying a gas can came up to me in a parking lot and told me he needed gas for his car. It would not cost me anything. He just wanted to take gas from my car into his can. Since gas is not free, I told him no. I had heard about the ploy before.
    I have given money to friends in need. Unless I know the person and the problem, I say no.

    • NostalgicGal April 1, 2015, 9:59 am

      I live in a small ‘crossroads’ town. You would not believe the number of older held-together-with-duct-tape-and-tarp-strap vehicles, often old pickups with an in the back camper and a small trailer behind it; pull into the grocery store parking lot (first major parking lot on the main strip) and start looking for food handouts and gas vouchers! One particular one, they had three kids under 10 (one just a few weeks old), two good sized dogs, and thought that I could magically produce gasoline out of thin air (I thought they were lost, we get a lot of those too, so I had talked to them) and with 5 mpg needed pretty much a full tank to get to the next town, period. No I wasn’t going to take them three blocks and fill their tank out of my pocket. (at the time $70-75). I directed them to social services at the courthouse and they had 20 min to get there before things closed, instead of whining at me, and I left to curses in my wake. I wasn’t a good Christian it seems by walking off on them and not buying them gas and groceries. I heard later that Social called a church charity group and they sprung for gas and a bag of groceries to get them farther down the road. Sigh.

  • Adelaide March 31, 2015, 6:44 pm

    What about links to sites for mission (or other charity) trips? I’m sort of torn on this one. My younger, high-school aged cousins posted a link on their respective facebooks about it but didn’t solicit individuals. On the one hand it’s still begging (in this case to cover the cost of plane tickets that would run a couple of thousand dollars each) but on the other they’re actually going to a third-world country to do work. So I’m not sure.

    • admin April 1, 2015, 6:52 am

      We get solicitation letters for mission trips quite regularly and when it is teenagers making the request, I don’t donate. My reasoning is, you live at home with your parents who are housing, clothing and feeding you at no expense to you so work part time to earn that money you need. I’m very happy to find work for them and I pay generously but simply handing them money unearned sends a message I am not comfortable promoting. A couple we know well has recently left for a six month mission to a South American orphanage and I hired the husband to do all kinds of projects around the house to earn additional support money. Their daughter made and sold lovely earrings to fund her trip.

      • Annie April 1, 2015, 11:40 am

        I like your approach. My cousin, who’s in high school, was trying to fund a school trip to Europe. My aunt offered to hire her to do housework, and she refused. She also refused to do yard work with my mom. They would have both paid her very generously. Later, she complained, “No one will help me go to Europe!”

    • Library Diva April 1, 2015, 9:02 am

      There was a post about that a year or so ago. A lot of people pointed out that there are genuine mission trips, where you’re out in the hot sun digging wells and stuff and are exhausted at the end, and then there are “mission trips” that are glorified sightseeing adventures with just enough hardship that they can complain about it at home (“NO wifi…I mean NONE) and activities like teaching orphans religious songs that are fun and feel good but don’t have a significant impact on the lives of people they’re supposed to be helping.

      Aside from that, yes, I think people who wish to do this stuff should earn the money themselves or get support from within their church community, rather than solicit every person they run across. Relatives are sort of a gray area. I’d say, give if you want to, and don’t if you don’t.

  • MPW1971 March 31, 2015, 6:58 pm

    Even before “crowdfunding” I was getting FB requests for money from friends of mine, on behalf of other friends. I think that in most cases there was a legitimate need, but a few of them really trouble me. One particular case was a professional musician – a drummer – who had his drums stolen from his van after a performance. The “crowdfunding” was to replace the drums so he would have a way to earn a living.
    Now I’m not blaming the guy for having his drum’s stolen – not implying that he should have done more to ensure that they were locked down tight. And this wasn’t just a guy playing in a band for fun – this was his job. But because it was his job and his means of earning a living, I would have made sure that each and every item I had, right down to the last brush and drumstick, was properly inventoried and fully insured.
    The “crowdfunding ” was necessary because the drums were not insured. Not that they were under-insured. But not insured at all. To me that’s a really poor and callous approach to one’s livelihood, and that taking the chance that someone will come to the rescue, is one that is too high for me.
    I didn’t donate, and I mentioned publicly that he should have had his drums insured, because they were the tools of his trade. I was rapidly unfriended, and I don’t regret it.
    Helping those who refuse to help themselves is pretty much a guarantee to repeat the same situation, over and over again.

    • kingsrings April 1, 2015, 4:48 pm

      Something similar happened with a friend of mine. His bedroom was destroyed in a fire and he lost all of his possessions. He had no renter’s insurance. Some friends of his put together a gofundme page for him for the loss. I did contribute what I could because I figured that this was his first time in this situation and hopefully it would be a lesson learned. Myself and a couple others did advise him to get renter’s insurance so that he would be prepared if there was another disaster. I don’t know if he ever did, but if God forbid he is ever in that situation again and it turns out he didn’t have insurance, I wouldn’t help him again

  • Angel March 31, 2015, 7:29 pm

    I hate things like this. Yes it’s still begging. And if you are not close enough to ask me in person–we are not close enough, period for me to just be giving you money. And I would prefer to pick my own charities to donate to, thank you very much.

  • Crazy Cat Sarah March 31, 2015, 9:40 pm

    Those gofundme campaigns are everywhere nowadays and I have to say I don’t like them one bit. I have paid every cent of my dog’s $7,000 in vet bills, plus every cent for the care of the cats we rescue. I don’t want your money. If I didn’t think I could afford it, I wouldn’t rescue the animals.

    That said, if someone gives me a pet barn voucher or cat toys for my birthday I won’t say no. Those come in handy.

    My brother on the other hand only calls when he needs something. In December he called me to ask for $200 for a plastic bumper protector for his “drift car”. He can’t afford either of his cars! I said no, and when he got upset, I told him exactly why – because I only had $70 left until pay day and I’d just spent $2500 at the vet because my dog got meningitis. And then I added that I consider my dog to be more important than whether his stupid car gets a scratch on his bumper.

    He told our dad that I’m a terrible person. Dad laughed in his face and refused to give him any more money. Now my brother doesn’t speak to either of us.

    Don’t feed the gimme pigs!!

    • just4kicks April 1, 2015, 1:57 pm

      This past winter, there was a young man we would see with a sign right outside the plaza where we do our food shopping.
      The first time we saw him, I had no cash on me and had paid for our groceries with my debit card.
      While we waited at the red light, my kids and I dug thru my purse and the car and managed to scrape together about $1.50, which we gave him as we passed.
      He actually teared up and said thank you and God Bless you as though we handed him a fifty.
      At the next light, my kids and I looked at each other and said how sad it was that he was homeless on these cold winter days.
      I then pulled into a Subway and we got him a warm sandwich, chips, cookies and a drink, and turned around and gave it to him.
      He again said how nice we were and he hadn’t had anything to eat in a few days, and thanked us again.
      We wished him luck and went home.
      At dinner that night, the kids told their dad and older brothers that they did “a good deed” today, and told him about the homeless man.
      My husband and sons looked at each other and asked, “Was that the young guy in the green coat sitting outside the grocery store?”
      We said yes, and oh, did you give him some money too?!?
      My husband said, while also waiting at the light, saw him and got a ten dollar bill out of his wallet to give him as they went past……until one of my son’s said, “Hey!!! The homeless dude just pulled out (the latest and VERY expensive) cell phone and was talking to someone !!!”
      My husband put the money back in his wallet and continued past.
      My younger kids were a little bummed out, thinking we got “duped”, by the guy with the brand new latest cell phone, but I told them that we helped him with our hearts, and even if he was a scam artist, that is just some change for our “good karma bank”, and we still did a good deed.

      • EchoGirl April 4, 2015, 10:17 pm

        There are all kinds of programs that will give people phones for free so they can find jobs (or phone companies just give them a free phone with a contract). Yes, maybe you were duped, but maybe not. I see an awful lot of this idea that people in “true” need would not have a single thing that is remotely nice and any person who does have a single something nice and asks for money is either a leech or a scam artist.

        • NostalgicGal April 5, 2015, 10:20 pm

          Big burg I lived in finally cracked down on the panhandlers when they caught one at an interchange near where I lived. He walked to his corner every day, with worn cardboard sign and beat up insulated cup to plead. He had a home fully paid off, a year old Cadillac, and was making about $8k a month under radar. Some undercover detective followed him home one night…

        • NostalgicGal April 5, 2015, 10:25 pm

          Also, here, older phones are sent for refurbish and given to low income, elderly, and abuse victims so they have a phone. These are NOT the latest, but still serviceable phones; with donated minutes or contract time. My old phone went to this program and was redone and given to an abuse shelter. I was given a little credit for the donation. So a homeless having a halfways decent cellphone does happen. Top of the line, would make me think twice also about that person.

          • just4kicks April 8, 2015, 3:29 am

            You both make very good points, and I wouldn’t know the latest greatest cell phone if I fell over it, but my teenage boys (and they could be wrong) we hoping to get this phone for the holidays and swear it was the one where people camped out for days to buy one.

  • JO April 1, 2015, 5:43 am

    I refuse to donate via gofundme or similar pages. So much of the money doesn’t even go to the people who need it, and from what I’ve seen a lot of them are set up by people who are somewhat removed from the situation and I can’t even be sure it’s legitamite. My Facebook friends are always sharing them, but I just ignore. However I have never had anyone directly ask me to give to their page! I imagine I would feel rather put out as well.

  • Amy April 1, 2015, 6:12 am

    Yes, there are times when GoFundMe.com is used for personal wants/vanity projects but there are others that are truly deserving. I have personally contributed to this one http://www.gofundme.com/this-is-michelle

    If the Mods feel it is inappropriate to give you the link and have removed it, it is a link for 500,000 pounds for an experimental cancer treatment for a 8 year old girl named Michelle.

    There are also quite a few after school programs that are looking for donations. When I had trouble getting instruments for a music program I was running, I was encouraged to set up a donation page there.

    It’s all about how the money is used. It can be used for good or for vanity/luxuries. Sometimes it really does help people like the little girl Michelle. People have given almost 75,000 British pounds to start her treatment at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.

  • Heather April 1, 2015, 7:44 am

    I am the OP. I really appreciate everyone’s comments and I think Admin is bang on. I do think there are some times when people can request help via FB. And many of them have been mentioned here. I know that my friend has health issues that keep her housebound much of the time. She earns a living. She works. I’ve seen on subsequent posts that she got the truck and sent a general request for additional funds for repairs, insurance, etc. But no, she didn’t come to me again personally for more money. If someone needs help (not a vanity project), while it seems weird, I can understand them using FB to appeal in general, and those who decide to help, do. And those who don’t, don’t. What gave me pause was the personal request. She knew I had to have seen her original post. As someone who knows her, if I had decided not to give, that was my “informed” choice. No embarrassment on either of our parts. But it was her personal and specific reach out to me that I found troubling. It put me on the spot. There was no “polite ignorance”, if you all know what I mean. Admin, if I may be so bold, I feel I know what you’d say. Why should I continue to feel put on the spot by her boldness? That is up to me. And you would be entirely right. I could simply have replied, “I’m sorry, but no.”.

  • JWH April 1, 2015, 8:23 am

    The crowdfunding thing bugs me, too, and I don’t give money for such things. I am, however, open to HIRING somebody. If Johnny from next door comes begging for money so he can buy a new XBox, I’m not going to give him anything. If Johnny from next door offers to rake my yard or shovel my driveway so he can get money to buy a new XBox, then I’m willing to dicker with Johnny over price. I’ll even draw up a services contract. Similarly, if you run a catering business and you’re trying to get a new truck, I’m open to hiring you for a catering event and perhaps paying you up front rather than on delivery.

  • Library Diva April 1, 2015, 9:09 am

    I hate the social media begging. I’ve told this story before: I had a friend from graduate school who set up one of these accounts because she wished to go to an out-of-state work conference. While it was probably going to be a good conference, these sorts of opportunities are about as rare as rocks in our field. Her employer would not cover this particular one because of budgetary reasons. She earned a decent income at her job, and while the crowdfunder was active, she posted about going to see concerts out of state, booking vacations, going out to dinner, remodeling part of her home, etc. She regularly — with no self-awareness — thanked those who donated and gave regular updates: “Only $75 to go! Who’s going to be the next one to help me get there!”

    To me, the real kicker was that she was not asking for very much money — I think about $400. Had she cooked at home a couple of nights and skipped the concert, she could have covered this herself. She just blatantly, obviously chose to have others pay for it. I think she was just cheesed that her company wouldn’t send her and thought to herself, “Well…who will send me, if they don’t?”

  • SherlockSara April 1, 2015, 6:59 pm

    I am curious now….

    I work at a title 1 school in a poor migrant community, and spend hundreds of dollars each year in supplies. I have made several funding projects for items I cannot afford on my own, but are purely for my students use in the classroom. Is it rude to post to my own personal facebooks page (no private messages) or to send to a long list of contacts through email (not individually)? I always thought of it as fine since it is never directed at one person so no one should feel obligated and its not a personal want/desire, its for my kiddos. Any thoughts?

    • another Laura April 2, 2015, 7:07 am

      I think this is acceptable. You aren’t asking for yourself, but for your students. Of course the wording of the request could also make or break it.
      Can your school offer receipts to donors so that they can deduct it from their taxes? Another fun thing would be to have your students create thank you notes for the donors and you could send them along with pictures of the children using the item(s). This will also teach the children the importance of thank you notes.
      Not knowing the age of your students, just wondering is there anyway you could do a “matching” fund where the children do some service projects for pay/contribution, and others match what they make? This could help them learn that they have abilities and skills to contribute to society and that they don’t need to depend on hand-outs.

      • SherlockSara April 4, 2015, 10:46 am

        Yes, I send photos of the students using the items as well as the students making and sending thank you letters. I also write an impact letter describing how the items have helped and how the students have benefited. I teach 1st grade, I love the idea of having them do a matching service project!!


    • NostalgicGal April 2, 2015, 11:30 am

      I think you’re fine on this.

      A lot of school districts are strapped enough that the school supply list often includes things like printer/copy paper and boxes of kleenix, for all students to use, or for creating the handouts for class stuff. Teachers are usually near the bottom of the pay scale, and they have the extra burden of trying to provide or get enough to be able to teach their students. There is nothing wrong with you trying to do your job and getting the supplies to do it. It’s sad that our school systems tend to be always hurting for things….

      I like some of another Laura’s comments too.

      • just4kicks April 10, 2015, 3:24 am

        @NostalgicGal: my two middle schoolers got a THREE page letter in the mail right before school started this year.
        Thank the good Lord for the Dollar store!!!
        We bought everything the kids needed personally, and only a handful of the “classroom” items.
        My husband glanced over the list and exclaimed, “Holy Crap!!! Do you need to bring your own toilet paper too?!?”

  • Michelle C Young April 2, 2015, 6:20 am

    My general rule is, if someone is asking for help for ANOTHER person (such as “My friend’s house burned down, and I’m taking up a collection to help her”), then I’ll donate. However, if someone is asking for themselves, I will not.

    On the other hand, I frequently give to beggars on the street, who are clearly asking for themselves, because they are destitute, and apparently don’t have anyone to ask on their behalf.

    I have made some exceptions, based on the individual involved, usually because they have already proved that they like me for me, and not just for what I can do for them.

  • Enna April 2, 2015, 11:51 am

    It’s important to be careful with this kind of thing. I have helped a firend but she is a real firend who has been there for me when I’ve had problems. She will let me stay at her’s and it’s no problem how long I want to stay when she invites me done. She pays me back everytime. We are there for each other etc.

    I fell out with someone else because she was very selfish. I’ve mentioned her before on this website in some posts about gimmie pigs. She was the personifiication of a gimmie pig – expecting me to spend my hard earnt money on nights out for her wine and taxis. There is a big difference between the two people.

    If the OP was happy to donate a small amount to a cause she/he felt was worthy then that’s fine. However if this turns out to be a regular event than that’s another kettle of fish. I don’t mind going to the odd charity event that I’m invited to on Facebook – normally via a firend. But if it’s something I don’t want to do I simply put “not attending” on that event page.

  • MissyJ April 7, 2015, 8:23 pm

    A similar situation happened to me yesterday. A young woman who normally can’t be bothered for anything tagged me and a number of others on Facebook, asking us to donate towards her going to dental school. She is married with two kids and no worse off than anyone else. I find it unnerving that she did this, but she asked people she barely knew to cosign a loan on a brand new car and flipped out when said people refused to do so. So she does have some nerve, I have to say!

  • Cheryl April 14, 2015, 3:10 pm

    It is begging and it is rude, however, she nudged you and you caved. I hate that social media has given people, not really worthy of help to put up something to which they can ask people for money. This person regardless, shouldn’t ask people for money nor should they contact you, someone they barely interact with for money. I have a “friend”, I say it like this because we were friends but I moved 1,000 miles away, I was close but due to circumstances, we grew apart, her kids are in sports and collect money every year for fund raising, like ad placement and etc. she posts this on Facebook, primarily for her mother who also lives a good distances away. However, when it comes down to the wire and either one of her kids hasn’t made their goal or wants the big prize, she starts to hit people up. Previously I was close to her kids and I am the god mother to her son, but I see them once every two years, and when I do see them, it is for two hours and I don’t talk to her but on rare occasions, as for the kids I send birthday and Christmas gifts but there isn’t a thank you involved, written or verbally. Most of the time I ignore these pleas because there are times where I can’t afford the 75 dollars she is requesting, which causes tension. At this point after I informed her that begging for money is tacky and just rude, her retort was that since I didn’t have kids and both my husband and I work I should be able to afford what she is asking for, to which I inform her that since she doesn’t communicate or even ask what is going on with me to determine what I can or can’t afford. At this point, stuff like this has made me block her newsfeeds and we are barely friends.

  • Roodabega April 15, 2015, 11:49 am

    My biggest issue with the GoFundMe pages is that there is no accountability for how the money is spent or whether it ever even makes it to the designated cause. Over and over again I’ve seen stories about fundraising efforts on behalf of a truly deserving person where the money never gets to the person(s) intended.

    People with no actual connection starting a gofundme for someone who was sick or otherwise needy and the recipient not only didn’t know about the effort but never saw a dime of the money. It’s all too loose for me. The only one I’ve ever done was by a cousin for her brother who had cancer so I know that money was used correctly. Even with relatives it’s not a guaranteed thing though.