Fundraising in the Modern World The Problem with Crowdfunding

School spirit wear

When people work together, even the impossible may be achieved; this is the principle behind fundraising. Fundraising is a great opportunity for individuals and organizations to get creative and establish goals. While sometimes fundraising may be a necessity thanks to budget cuts, there is nothing quite as exciting as a successful fundraiser that allowed individuals to band together and achieve what may have once seemed so far from their grasp. With the popularity of the internet, crowdfunding has become a new form of fundraising that can achieve monumental success in a relatively short amount of time — this does raise the question of what place traditional fundraising has in our modern world however.


Websites such as GoFundMe and Kickstarter are becoming increasing popular as groups and individuals with ideas but lacking the capital are able to raise many small amounts of money from a large number of people to fund amazing products, services, and experiences. Since the internet is a connected place, many people are able to share such projects on social media sites; since we are always connected thanks to mobile devices, it makes sense than roughly 17% of crowdfunding donations are made on mobile devices. While crowdfunding may seem like a great way to start a business or fund a trip (and it really is) there may be some implications to crowdfunding that set it apart from traditional fundraising efforts.

Traditional Fundraising

As a child I regularly participated in fundraising for my school, boy scout group, and church. These experiences allowed me to get an appreciation for those who gave and also gave me the sense that I was making an impact. While it would be wrong to dismiss crowdfunding as a cheap or easy fundraising effort it is clear that there is something missed in crowdfunding, namely agency. Internet anonymity is the principle that online you are an enigma, your actions carry little real-world consequences, and we have less of a tendency to treat others online as though they are actual people according to social psychologists. Likewise, giving a few dollars — or refusing to do so — on the net has a lessened impact the parties involved; crowdfunding is unable to promote many of those experiences and values that I was exposed to through traditional fundraising in my youth. Fundraising is not just about accumulating money, it is about building character and teaching people to value their time and effort — this is the place traditional fundraising still holds in our modern world.

Engaging Students

School funding is always a difficult topic to discuss particularly because there are many communities with underfunded school programs — in this respect fundraising is a necessity for many schools. Around $1.4 billion worth of field trips, athletic team uniforms, computer labs, playground equipment, and other youth products, services, and programs are made possible through fundraising. Many schools participate regularly in spirit wear fundraisers where students sell school spirit tshirts to fund programs and services. These custom spirit wear fundraisers give students exposure to the business world; many fundraisers offer individual rewards for those who are able to sell a significant number of school spirit tshirts. In addition to raising funds, many school principles believe that it is important to build school spirit through custom school apparel, as higher levels of school spirit is tied to higher student achievement. By participating in school spirit tshirts and school spirit wear fundraising, students are able to build life-long values and strive for those goals which may at first appear out of view, but is realistically within their grasp.

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