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Crowdfunding Might Not Help in a Crisis. Here’s Why

Inadequate in a crisis situation

Even though it is a highly popular fundraising method, crowdfunding cannot develop into a social safety net. Giving money to individuals for projects via a variety of online channels is what crowdfunding entails. People turned to crowdfunding websites in historic numbers during the epidemic, branding it as a safety net for Americans, and some initiatives had a revolutionary impact. A GoFundMe campaign started by Brandon Stanton of the well-known Humans of New York project helped Kasson, a young child who was blinded in an attack, raise over $675,000 from 23,000 donors since late 2021, while Jim, a single father with a disabled son, was unable to raise any money because of insufficient exposure.

Source: Pexels

Jim had a medical emergency and needed $2,000 to keep his family in their house and prevent eviction. Uncomfortably, most campaigns fail to reach their goals, much like Jim, because GoFundMe and like websites can’t help most customers who have money troubles. Due to the ingrained impacts of social network differences, wealth inequality, and social media dynamics, technical remedies cannot alter these dynamics. Campaigns seldom raise $1,000 on average, and nine out of ten campaigns fall short of their funding targets. 33 percent of medical campaigns in 2020 received no funding.

Large Audiences Needed

Source: Pexels

Crowdfunding is most effective for users who have a large following on social media. Although Kasson’s narrative was compelling on its own terms, the campaign benefited from Stanton’s strong social media presence. A charitable crowdfunding campaign must get a donor’s attention on a social media site like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram before it can collect a gift. Due to our inability to prioritize among the vast amount of data available, platforms make our decisions for us using algorithms that take into account only a small subset of online content, such as popularity, the date the content was created, our location and social proximity, advertising contents, or shared interests. We are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of media information accessible in our economy of constrained attention. Few crowdfunding efforts, and just a limited, carefully selected portion of their content, reach large audiences, and those audiences only see successful initiatives. For those with high-income social networks, crowdfunding is effective. Homophily is the word used by social scientists to describe how people keep social links with others who are similar to them in terms of education, economy, and culture.

Unmet Needs of People in Need

Campaigns in the United States began in counties where the top 20% of earners received median incomes that were more than twice as high as those of the poorest 20%. Social networks can accentuate revenue disparities in crowdfunding campaigns, which are caused by lesser incomes and resources rather than by different levels of benevolence. According to research, Americans with the lowest incomes are particularly charitable, as 40% of campaign donors had household incomes under $60,000 and over a third were unemployed at the time of their donations. However, without extra income to draw from, donations are smaller and distributed among many people in need. GoFundMe acknowledges that their website is clogged with unmet fundamental necessities but does not provide any options.

Source: Pexels

CEO Tim Cadogan pleaded with Congress for further pandemic help in February 2021, claiming it was the responsibility of the US government to do so. Even Nevertheless, COVID support programmes were cut even though Americans were still having financial difficulties. Since there are few successes and disparities are reinforced rather than reduced, individuals will continue to seek online assistance until legislators enhance crucial support programmes like the Child Tax Credit.

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