Something happened to me this afternoon that really annoyed me. One of my former Facebook friends sent me a private message asking for money towards their gofundme page to get them on an acting course in Florida.
Apparently the New York Film Academy have ‘offered’ him a one week intensive film acting course held in the Disney World Studios in Florida. Although, upon further investigation, it appears that has he has decided he wants to go rather than having received an offer. The tuition fee is $1,100 with an upfront deposit of $500 and an extra cost of $990 for accommodation. What I was shocked about was that so far he has raised £630 of the £3,000 he needs. He also states that he has been a professional actor for the better part of two decades – so why isn’t he funding it himself. If, after all this time, he has not managed to put this aside then maybe he should think about another career?
Now, correct me if I am wrong here, but isn’t this just a form of begging? Actually, worse, it’s middle-class begging! If I invest in something, I would at least expect something in return. For example, a few years ago Peter Cox, lead singer of Go West, decided to crowd-fund to make a solo album. Depending on how much you paid, you got something in return. The lowest level was a copy of the album. Ross kindly spent £50 for each of us which not only gave us a copy of the album each but also tickets to an exclusive gig at Highbarn which was thoroughly enjoyable and cheaper than many concert tickets out there!
This Facebook message is not the first time I have come across this form of want. I came across a couple of guys wanting to make a form of fan film based on Predator. They were asking for money in order to fund the film and, from what I saw, all they could offer was a copy of the trailer! If you want to make a fan fiction film – and you are the fan – then you need to fund it yourself. It is a hobby, not a job!
What about the people who are asking for the funding? Are they earning any money? Why are they relying on other people’s hard earned cash instead of trying to earn the money for themselves?
When we decided to embark on fertilty treatment and egg donation, I knew that I didn’t want to rely on anyone else. The costs were mine to bear whatever happened. So, I worked really hard and earned every penny to pay for this expense.
I was interested to see if crowdfunding was actually regulated. It is, by the Financial Conduct Authority – but only in part. They do not regulate donation-based crowdfunding where people give money to enterprises or organisations whose activities they want to support or pre-payment or rewards-based crowdfunding where people give money in return for a reward, service or product – such as concert tickets, an innovative product, or a computer game.
I guess it really is down to personal choice at the end of the day as to whether or not individuals donate. I just think that it is very, very sad that the culture of today is people thinking they don’t have to work for anything in an ‘I want it now’ way. People have started to expect something for nothing….which is a whole other can of worms I could open!
UPDATE 9th April 2016: As an addendum, I would like to wholeheartedly agree with what Louise has said below. If it a charitable cause or hardship or if people are struggling with illness or disease or similar I think that the crowdfunding pages are a great way to help people. Similarly, if you are gaining a product or experience then again I think it can be a valuable resource but to ask for funding when it is a just something you want to do, well that is your business and you should work to pay for it yourself. I would love a massive, amazing lens for my camera (worth nearly £2,000) but I am not going to expect people to crowdfund that!