The End of the Kickstarter Tidal Wave
A long time ago, my friend Andy was going to be evicted. He couldn’t make rent. His apartment was a wreck, and everything was crashing down on him. So we held a fundraiser. I was broke, but I carefully handcrafted two books of handwritten poetry and sewed them together and other friends bought them at auction for $50 a piece. Andy was saved. The support of our friends helped to bolster him, find ground to stand on, and get back on his feet. It was great. No one ever begrudged Andy a dime.
Crowdfunding sites were really unique not too long ago. First there was Kiva, and I happily chipped in $25 and have watched it be repayed and reloaned over the last couple of years.
Then I joined tumblr, and saw a couple people trying to pay for top or bottom surgery, and threw in a few bucks. Someone’s dog was sick. Someone needed a new laptop for college. A friend of mine needs a car, I don’t mind. An independent band I love is trying to record a new CD. Someone else is going to be evicted. Anything and everything. I try to throw in $5 as often as I can. Sometimes more if I know the person well.
But in the last week, I’ve gotten about 15 requests for Kickstarter funds from different people and I have to say.. I’m tapped out. Financially and emotionally. There are so many people who need money, and me? I’m a nurse. Not exactly raking it in, and I had to face the fact that the amount I’ve been donating to people is starting to seriously affect my life, especially because I don’t always get a full paycheck myself. Every time I miss work due to Meniere’s disease, it’s unpaid.
But still, I want to give. It used to be I could sign up to volunteer some time. Maybe donate clothing or things I didn’t need as much as someone else. Now, it’s just money. Everyone needs money. People need food, people need rent. The Kickstarter funds are starting to be everywhere, for everything.
I really, really wish I had more money to donate. I really don’t have any more. I’m in college. I have bills. I need food. I need all these things I’m donating for. I need to feel okay about not donating to every person who is seeking money for something or other. I don’t know how.
It occurred to me last night that if my husband knew how much I donate he’d be pretty frustrated with me, because he’s taken on a lot of expenses incurred by my doctor’s appointments, exams and college.
I am so very privileged to have what I do have. I’ll probably keep donating every now and then, but I needed to write this down. I feel so goddamned guilty every time I see a new funding request. They are never trivial things. I’ll never say “oh, you should get a job” because these people HAVE jobs. Or they can’t find a job. These are valid needs. I just can’t help everyone and I really, really wish I could.
I remember hearing somewhere that the majority of charity comes from the middle class, not from the wealthy. I feel like these crowdfunding ventures are the middle class, trying to save itself, trying to keep itself afloat. It’s like a bucket brigade, and we’re going to run out of water and people really soon.
So if I don’t donate to your fund, please understand, I just can’t right now. It doesn’t mean I’m not your friend. I’m still your friend with the same job I’ve had all along, unable to get by on my own as well. Hopefully, in more years than I’d like to think, I’ll have my NP license and a better income and I can donate more freely. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to go back to full time at my job, although with my Meniere’s it’s unlikely.
I feel so selfish, and whiny, for going on the internet to seek validation for not donating to every cause that comes by. But I’ve felt this way for a while and it’s not going to get any better. The requests aren’t going to stop coming. I just needed to write this down, get it out somewhere, and hope people understand.