Author Topic: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers  (Read 770 times)

Nick_Miller

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Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« on: January 08, 2019, 07:53:11 AM »
As I've made more friends in the Creative space, I've seen more and more Creatives rely on GoFundMe for medical issues.

Heart attacks, terrible burns, strokes, even pets' medical care have resulted in dozens of GoFundMe campaigns that I know of personally, and I'm still a newbie to the Creative space.

And when I see them I am really torn...

1) On one hand, I really like these people. Their minds work in wondrous ways, they draw and paint and write and create music that in ways small and large make the world a better place. They are following their dreams and pursuing their passions. And some of these medical scares are really crazy, out-of-left field types of things that catch us all by surprise. The Creative community is strong and folks generally help each other. And it sucks that anyone has to resort to crowdfunding to financially survive a health issue in the first place. I feel horribly for them.

2) On the other hand, is it responsible to voluntarily put yourself in such a vulnerable position, especially considering the tenuous state of health care in the US? These folks are either freelancers or contract workers for third parties; either way, they aren't eligible for employer health care plans.  So then they have to look at premiums on marketplace/individual polices, and we all know how much that varies from state to state. In many states, there simply is no Medicaid eligibility if the person isn't a child, pregnant, elderly, a caretaker, or disabled. Add to that, many Creatives are just making $20,000 or $30,000 a year, or less, so frequently something has to give on the monthly budget. Would it be more responsible to go find a day job with benefits, and just do the Creative thing part-time while you build a nest egg? (exactly what I am doing right now)

I have given to some and not given to others. It mostly depends on how our budget is looking at the time, although I obviously look at how close I am to the person and their specific situation.

I admit the campaign that bothered me the most was a GoFundMe for $7500 for a musician's dog who had severe medical issues. It was 100% legit, but I just feel you should be able to pay for your own animal's care, even in an emergency situation, or else not own an animal.

Any thoughts?


cats

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2019, 09:08:18 AM »

I admit the campaign that bothered me the most was a GoFundMe for $7500 for a musician's dog who had severe medical issues. It was 100% legit, but I just feel you should be able to pay for your own animal's care, even in an emergency situation, or else not own an animal.


These ones really bother me, probably irrationally.  One person I knew vaguely from grad school started a GoFundMe for his dog (note that he was no longer in grad school, he was employed and likely making six figures), saying the bills were causing a serious financial strain on his household.  Less than a year later, he was jetting off on an international vacation with his wife.  Ummm....

In general, I'm somewhat reluctant to donate to these kinds of things.  I used to have a side hustle that was somewhat "creative" and one issue that came up a lot was pricing of our creative goods, and what you needed to be trying to cover in your pricing.  It was something of a sore point with me (and I think some others) that some people were willing to price their work at an absurdly low level--these folks usually seemed to have a partner with a "real" job and benefits, so had zero need/desire to make anything approaching a fair or living wage from their work, and were taking the view that more sales is always better (rather than considering that at the right price, one could make fewer sales but also more income total).  This then devalues the whole field.  I guess I feel like donating money for something like a health emergency similarly relieves pressure on the creatives to price their work correctly (or to be realistic about their ability to "make it" as a creative).

On the other hand, there is no denying that health care in this country sucks and that you don't have to be trying to make it as an artist/creative to get pretty severely hobbled financially by medical issues.  I don't think GoFundMe campaigns are really going to do anything to fix this larger social problem, and I don't want our government being able to say "oh, no need to improve health care, people are figuring out how to self-fund privately through GoFundMe!".  In the long-term, a more sensible strategy is probably to donate your money to groups or politicians who are committed to working for a better health care system in the US.  Of course this is not particularly helpful to your friend with a broken leg right now.

Kris

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2019, 09:28:50 AM »
I have a lot of sympathy for people who feel the need to start GoFundMes for health expenses. If ever i give to something, it's generally that. Though I admit that yes, when I look at someone's life and think their situation has been pretty exacerbated by a series of bad decisions, I'm much less likely to donate.

It makes me absolutely livid when teenagers post GoFundMes to fund their mission trip or high school class trip. Sorry, no.

iris lily

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2019, 09:46:39 AM »
The In Real Life fudraisers are the dinners. But hey you actually GET something for it, someone is working and providing product.

 Some months ago we went to the VFW hall for a spaghetti dinner and I figured it was put on by the VFW guys. But nope, it was a fundraiser to send a teenager to California for a beauty contest. That is not something I would normally support but we were already there so I gave $20 for a $10 ticket. The girlís mom was a good cook. The girl was wearing high platform shoes and was all tarted up in gobs of make up, so I guess she had lots of self-confidence.

This fundraiser dinner thing seems to be a common practice in this small town.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2019, 12:12:34 PM »
Would it be more responsible to go find a day job with benefits, and just do the Creative thing part-time while you build a nest egg? (exactly what I am doing right now)

I'm the same way. I made it through grad school with almost zero debt, but by the time I finished I realized that I badly wanted to try to make a go of it as a woodworker. My pragmatic side won out, and I went to work in a field related to my degrees (first as a public servant, currently in industry). I can't complain about the results - I've had a good career, I support my family with money to spare, and I've had relatively few financial concerns compared to the population at large.

I still jealously eye those who were bold enough to dive into their creative passions before marriage, homes, and children became a moderating force. I'm certainly sympathetic to people who exist on a financial knife's edge in pursuit of their dreams, and I've helped a few people out who were struck by tragedy, medical or otherwise. The world would be far less interesting if there weren't talented people who refused to settle for a distant future in which to create new things.

However, the whole spending-thousands-of-dollars-on-ailing-pets thing? I don't get that at all. Perhaps I'm callous from being raised on a farm, but I never grew up thinking that animals should be entitled to the same level of medical care as humans. Death was just a part of the deal when you have dozens of animals around, and we never got so attached to one that we'd be willing to compromise our family's finances or beg the generosity of our friends and acquaintances.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2019, 12:52:41 PM »
No idea why you target creatives/freelancers as more likely to be doing this? I see a bazillion blue/white/pink collar workers that set up GFM for everything. Fast food manager, engineer, teacher, nurse, office worker... just in the last year in my circle.

It has nothing to do with a person's job/career, and everything to do with a person's ability to budget and manage money and plan for unexpected expenses.

Most of my friends are creatives, and in my group (I am a real live artist myself), we're the ones that tend to be the smartest about money since it can be spotty when you freelance and you need crazy good planning/budget skills to ensure you're able to pay the bills and all that fun stuff. It's the ones that live paycheck to paycheck that get screwed when there's the least little hiccup because they literally spend every single penny that comes into their hands, and don't understand saving/planning for future stuff so they freak out and start begging campaigns the instant they have a medical bill that isn't covered or a car breakdown or some other obvious-but-not-every-month expense... in my experience anyway.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 01:34:24 PM »
Quote
I'm the same way. I made it through grad school with almost zero debt, but by the time I finished I realized that I badly wanted to try to make a go of it as a woodworker. My pragmatic side won out, and I went to work in a field related to my degrees (first as a public servant, currently in industry). I can't complain about the results - I've had a good career, I support my family with money to spare, and I've had relatively few financial concerns compared to the population at large.

It's a really good point.  I was thinking, if someone really plays their cards right and they are FI by, say, 40, then that person's creative/passion career will still be longer than the career that took them to FI.  So maybe it's not an either/or type thing.  Maybe it's a delayed gratification type thing.  Actually, you just reminded me, that Cormac McCarthy, a really awesome writer did some of his best work late in like.  He wrote All The Pretty Horses at 68... He published "The Road" when he was 73!!!! 

There is hope yet for all the Sell-outs, LOL...

That's basically my plan. I want to explode when I hear people talk about how they "wouldn't know what to do if they weren't working" because I'm constantly just bursting at the seams with creative energy that has to be mostly suppressed while I raise young children and deal with the monotony of working life. But I'm trying to set myself up to have a great workshop and a base of clients so that I can pull the plug in my early 40s and transition somewhat seamlessly into my next "career". I have just enough time for my hobbies to keep myself sane in the meantime.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2019, 02:12:50 PM »
Quote
I'm the same way. I made it through grad school with almost zero debt, but by the time I finished I realized that I badly wanted to try to make a go of it as a woodworker. My pragmatic side won out, and I went to work in a field related to my degrees (first as a public servant, currently in industry). I can't complain about the results - I've had a good career, I support my family with money to spare, and I've had relatively few financial concerns compared to the population at large.

It's a really good point.  I was thinking, if someone really plays their cards right and they are FI by, say, 40, then that person's creative/passion career will still be longer than the career that took them to FI.  So maybe it's not an either/or type thing.  Maybe it's a delayed gratification type thing.  Actually, you just reminded me, that Cormac McCarthy, a really awesome writer did some of his best work late in like.  He wrote All The Pretty Horses at 68... He published "The Road" when he was 73!!!! 

There is hope yet for all the Sell-outs, LOL...

That's basically my plan. I want to explode when I hear people talk about how they "wouldn't know what to do if they weren't working" because I'm constantly just bursting at the seams with creative energy that has to be mostly suppressed while I raise young children and deal with the monotony of working life. But I'm trying to set myself up to have a great workshop and a base of clients so that I can pull the plug in my early 40s and transition somewhat seamlessly into my next "career". I have just enough time for my hobbies to keep myself sane in the meantime.

@Mississippi Mudstache - I think we are kindred spirits!! I really hope you can pull the plug in your early 40s! I'll be in my late 40s, at the earliest, and possibly 50, but I figure there are still a good number of decent years after that. I hear you on the "bursting with creative energy" part. I could work on my creative projects at least 60 hours per week, given the time to do so. I am currently juggling three, and I'd add another one or two to the mix if I did it full-time.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2019, 02:16:04 PM »
No idea why you target creatives/freelancers as more likely to be doing this? I see a bazillion blue/white/pink collar workers that set up GFM for everything. Fast food manager, engineer, teacher, nurse, office worker... just in the last year in my circle.

It has nothing to do with a person's job/career, and everything to do with a person's ability to budget and manage money and plan for unexpected expenses.

Most of my friends are creatives, and in my group (I am a real live artist myself), we're the ones that tend to be the smartest about money since it can be spotty when you freelance and you need crazy good planning/budget skills to ensure you're able to pay the bills and all that fun stuff. It's the ones that live paycheck to paycheck that get screwed when there's the least little hiccup because they literally spend every single penny that comes into their hands, and don't understand saving/planning for future stuff so they freak out and start begging campaigns the instant they have a medical bill that isn't covered or a car breakdown or some other obvious-but-not-every-month expense... in my experience anyway.

I hope you understand I'm not bashing creatives. I've just seen a LOT of it in that circle recently. My other circle is comprised of attorneys, and they do not tend to crowdfund for medical bills (although I'm sure it's happened).

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2019, 03:40:31 PM »
Like alot of things in life when I come across people and there needs to do a GoFundMe I look at the whole picture as to how and why they need the money. Not only do I weigh the need but as well as the cause because even though they have the need the question becomes what about next time. I do think that its in all business and more related to the persons habits but agree with the OP the risk of not having Health Insurance is a bit irresponsible and perhaps no matter what you do that should be a priority one. Granted not everyone can afford the cost but can you afford not to have HC either?

stoaX

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2019, 05:01:25 PM »
No idea why you target creatives/freelancers as more likely to be doing this? I see a bazillion blue/white/pink collar workers that set up GFM for everything. Fast food manager, engineer, teacher, nurse, office worker... just in the last year in my circle.

It has nothing to do with a person's job/career, and everything to do with a person's ability to budget and manage money and plan for unexpected expenses.

Most of my friends are creatives, and in my group (I am a real live artist myself), we're the ones that tend to be the smartest about money since it can be spotty when you freelance and you need crazy good planning/budget skills to ensure you're able to pay the bills and all that fun stuff. It's the ones that live paycheck to paycheck that get screwed when there's the least little hiccup because they literally spend every single penny that comes into their hands, and don't understand saving/planning for future stuff so they freak out and start begging campaigns the instant they have a medical bill that isn't covered or a car breakdown or some other obvious-but-not-every-month expense... in my experience anyway.

I hope you understand I'm not bashing creatives. I've just seen a LOT of it in that circle recently. My other circle is comprised of attorneys, and they do not tend to crowdfund for medical bills (although I'm sure it's happened).

Regarding the crowdfunding for medical bills...is this because they had ACA coverage but need money for the deductibles and coinsurance?  Or because they never signed up for the subsidized, guaranteed issue health insurance?  Or because the treatments they pursued were not covered?   I've never really looked at go fund me pages - please pardon my ignorance.

OtherJen

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2019, 05:19:39 PM »

On the other hand, there is no denying that health care in this country sucks and that you don't have to be trying to make it as an artist/creative to get pretty severely hobbled financially by medical issues.  I don't think GoFundMe campaigns are really going to do anything to fix this larger social problem, and I don't want our government being able to say "oh, no need to improve health care, people are figuring out how to self-fund privately through GoFundMe!"

Well, the private for-profit systems in my state have already figured it out.

This woman needs a new heart, but hospital said sheíll have to fundraise $10,000 first

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2019, 07:04:46 AM »
Quote
I'm the same way. I made it through grad school with almost zero debt, but by the time I finished I realized that I badly wanted to try to make a go of it as a woodworker. My pragmatic side won out, and I went to work in a field related to my degrees (first as a public servant, currently in industry). I can't complain about the results - I've had a good career, I support my family with money to spare, and I've had relatively few financial concerns compared to the population at large.

It's a really good point.  I was thinking, if someone really plays their cards right and they are FI by, say, 40, then that person's creative/passion career will still be longer than the career that took them to FI.  So maybe it's not an either/or type thing.  Maybe it's a delayed gratification type thing.  Actually, you just reminded me, that Cormac McCarthy, a really awesome writer did some of his best work late in like.  He wrote All The Pretty Horses at 68... He published "The Road" when he was 73!!!! 

There is hope yet for all the Sell-outs, LOL...

That's basically my plan. I want to explode when I hear people talk about how they "wouldn't know what to do if they weren't working" because I'm constantly just bursting at the seams with creative energy that has to be mostly suppressed while I raise young children and deal with the monotony of working life. But I'm trying to set myself up to have a great workshop and a base of clients so that I can pull the plug in my early 40s and transition somewhat seamlessly into my next "career". I have just enough time for my hobbies to keep myself sane in the meantime.

@Mississippi Mudstache - I think we are kindred spirits!! I really hope you can pull the plug in your early 40s! I'll be in my late 40s, at the earliest, and possibly 50, but I figure there are still a good number of decent years after that. I hear you on the "bursting with creative energy" part. I could work on my creative projects at least 60 hours per week, given the time to do so. I am currently juggling three, and I'd add another one or two to the mix if I did it full-time.

Thanks! Good luck to you as well. I am the same way. I can get so engrossed in my hobby work that time just passes without me even noticing. I loathe to work more than 40 hours/week at my regular job, but when given free reign in my workshop, I sometimes forget to eat lunch, and more than once I've been surprised to see the sun rising in the early morning after untintentionally pulling an all-nighter. Early 40s is kind of a stretch goal for me. My spreadsheets say 45, if everything goes "according to plan". But that's assuming that I don't actually need any income from hobby work. If things are rocky in the stock market for the next decade, it might take longer. If I'm able to build up enough business before I'm 100% FI that I feel confident that my family won't starve, I might go sooner. We'll see. I'm definitely still a long ways off.

Dicey

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2019, 12:16:49 AM »
I'm not going to say if you should give ot not, that's up to you. If you choose to, be aware that GoFundMe takes a cut of every donation.* For maximum impact, send the money straight to the asker and cut out the middleman.

My sister did one, at my suggestion, for a friend of hers whose health insurance company deemed the only treatment available "experimental". They were about to sell the home they built themselves so she could continue treatment. After my sister posted their story (with permission), I forwarded it to a few friends. One of them, a total millionaire next door type, called and asked for her address. Said he wanted to help out,  but not pay any fees*. God bless him, he sent a check for $500.00. I am happy to report that though they didn't get a super huge amount in all, it was enough to get them over the hump. They and their children are still living in their modest family home. She's still undergoing treatment, but at least she is stable now.

*I just looked it up and found this: "GoFundMe is a for-profit company. It takes 5 percent of donations raised on its platform. There is also a 2.9 percent payment-processing fee collected on each donation, along with 30 cents for every donation." Fuck!

Nick_Miller

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2019, 07:22:07 AM »
I'm not going to say if you should give ot not, that's up to you. If you choose to, be aware that GoFundMe takes a cut of every donation.* For maximum impact, send the money straight to the asker and cut out the middleman.

My sister did one, at my suggestion, for a friend of hers whose health insurance company deemed the only treatment available "experimental". They were about to sell the home they built themselves so she could continue treatment. After my sister posted their story (with permission), I forwarded it to a few friends. One of them, a total millionaire next door type, called and asked for her address. Said he wanted to help out,  but not pay any fees*. God bless him, he sent a check for $500.00. I am happy to report that though they didn't get a super huge amount in all, it was enough to get them over the hump. They and their children are still living in their modest family home. She's still undergoing treatment, but at least she is stable now.

*I just looked it up and found this: "GoFundMe is a for-profit company. It takes 5 percent of donations raised on its platform. There is also a 2.9 percent payment-processing fee collected on each donation, along with 30 cents for every donation." Fuck!

It's like a combination Paypal/Patreon type of set up.

I understand the platform has to collect fees to be a viable business model and I guess the people who have successful campaigns feel like the platform lent them a least a minimal veil of legitimacy (although scams have worked before) and possibly spread the word much more efficiently than they could have alone.

There are also some people who just scan the platform looking for folks to donate too.


Paul der Krake

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2019, 10:37:20 PM »
Like alot of things in life when I come across people and there needs to do a GoFundMe I look at the whole picture as to how and why they need the money. Not only do I weigh the need but as well as the cause because even though they have the need the question becomes what about next time. I do think that its in all business and more related to the persons habits but agree with the OP the risk of not having Health Insurance is a bit irresponsible and perhaps no matter what you do that should be a priority one. Granted not everyone can afford the cost but can you afford not to have HC either?
The amount of sympathy I have for "but we couldn't afford insurance in the first place" has gone way down since the ACA. It seems that for every family in a truly shitty situation like being stuck in the Medicaid gap or the family glitch, there are five that decided to roll the dice because they wanted the money for something else.

use2betrix

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2019, 02:53:47 PM »
There are some very sad and justifiable reasons for people to create godundmeís. In my opinion, I feel like it should be a very very last resort for dire situations after exhausting all other options.

That being said, there are some absolutely absurd gofundmeís out there. People are terrible with their finances, take stupid risks and lose, want money for stuff they donít need. Itís seems like a growing example of our culture of people who donít take personal accountability.

CindyBS

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Re: Opinions re: GoFundMe for Creatives and other freelancers
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2019, 03:37:22 PM »
I have had substantial costs due to my son's illness over the past few years (approaching 6 figures) and am totally opposed to GFM for the following reasons:

1) the one listed above - if you are a grown able bodied adult who is past just starting out, you should have a more stable job with benefits and pursue creative hobbies part time.  Obviously, there are circumstances that arise and there are people who are low wage workers, but for the most part, many people choose not to have insurance or choose to not have an emergency fund. 

2) GFM takes a cut of the $.  If you want to send money to someone, which often is the best thing for someone in a crisis - not toys for kids they may not need, not gc to restaurants they don't go to - money for medical bills, parking at a hospital, groceries, etc.  Just give the person money or send it to them through paypal or even better - cash or a wire transfer. 

3) You often don't know the back story.  Very frequently you are really subsidizing spending on other things, with no way to verify.  I have a neighbor that has a disabled son and has completely out of control spending but has raised tens of thousands of $$ on GFM.

4) If it is for a pet, then you can't afford to have a pet. If it for a trip, you can't afford the trip, etc., etc. 

5) When it is a child (and I have a sick child) you end up taking the child's condition and turning it into a marketable product, typically complete with a unique #mykidsissuffering, that is usually passed around to dozens or hundreds of strangers.  Where is that kids right to privacy? 

6) Many charities will support a person.  For example, my neighbor used GFM $$ to take her family on vacation - a vacation that she would have qualified for through Make a Wish.  Many charities have $$ requirements or need a Dr. notes, or a social worker referral, or some sort of gatekeeper to make sure this is legit.

7) People steal copies of our sick kids photos (my son has cancer - he is doing very well) - but especially our cancer kids with their bald heads and set up fake accounts.  I have heard so many stories of people who steal a photo, make up a story, pass it around and get money.  Or Grandma sets up GFM for the sick kid and then never gives the money to mom or dad. 

In general, it is best to just send the person money directly and only to people you actually know or have been referred by someone you actually know.