Crowdfunding is becoming crowd favorite among ways to raise money

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Odds are, you’ve been asked to contribute to a new product or cause via Go Fund Me, Kickstarter, or another crowdfunding website. It’s the new way people give in this modern tech age we live in.

Crowdfunding, itself, is nothing new. Who hasn’t been to a car wash fundraiser, or bought a bar of chocolate to raise money for a group? Now, thanks to crowdfunding sites, and of course, social media, you can raise a lot more money, faster – and it only requires a few clicks of a button for donors.

When you walk into the Ronald McDonald House at Valley Children’s Hospital, you’ll bump into one of three kitchens. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are made in those kitchens, by volunteers. They feed the dozens of families who are stranded from home, while their children receive care at the hospital.

“However, when there’s not a volunteer group cooking for us, that’s when we lean on the Dollars for Dinner Campaign,” said Ronald McDonald House spokeswoman Alene Mestjian.

Mestjian said two to three nights a week, the organization needs to turn to a pot of money to buy food for the families. They decided to turn to crowdfunding to get that cash.

She said, “We had a goal of $5,000, and I’m so proud to say that with the help of our community, we raised over $11,000.”

Mestjian believes crowdfunding websites like Go Fund Me have changed the way people fundraise.

“What I like about crowdfunding is that it let’s people get involved at a level that’s comfortable for them, whether it be one dollar, whether it be one thousand dollars, crowdfunding allows people to get involved,” Mestjian stated. 

People in the Fresno community got involved in Arthur Moye’s business Full Circle Brewing. Moye’s brewery in Downtown Fresno is up and running, he said, because people invested in the company through crowdfunding. Two years ago, Moye said he needed money to re-brand and buy new equipment.

Moye commented, “We went through two; Breakaway Funding and Wefunder.”

Those crowdfunding websites allowed people in the community to donate to Moye’s brewery, and get a cut of the company at the same time. The brewery owner said investors who give money can get perks like having a say of what direction the brewery goes, to shirts and fun gifts.

“With those investors, they allowed us to get access to capital in excess of $800,000,” Moye said.

We spoke with Go Fund Me CEO Rob Solomon via Skype. The Redwood City tech giant credits the success of his website to social media.

He said, “In the old days, it was kind of a one-to-one thing, where one person would come to a car wash and give you ten dollars. Now, that one person can actually recruit ten other people or 20 other people.”

Solomon said Go Fund Me accounts have been started after tragedies and during events of an emergency. It’s free to start a Go Fund Me campaign.

But, critics of crowdsourcing complain about the cut that can be taken from a crowdfunding website. We asked Solomon about fees at Go Fund Me, and he said, the person who makes the donation will get charged a standard credit card processing fee.

“We’ve had more than 50 million donors, more than five billion dollars have been donated to the platform, and it’s become part of the social fabric,” said Solomon.

If money is needed, you can count on a crowdfunding website like Go Fund Me to pop up on your social media page. Sharing a good cause, through a click of a button – Mestjian said there’s nothing more simple.

“Without crowdfunding, I don’t think we could serve the families as best as we possibly could,” ended Mestjian.

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