How to Use Crowdfunding Sites Wisely to Help Hurricane Victims

You’ve see them in your Facebook feed or your email inbox: opportunities to join with others to give money directly to help with unexpected expenses, fund a creative project, or support an entrepreneur in a third world country—all through a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse.

This kind of giving is known as crowdfunding. Put simply, crowdfunding websites are online fundraising platforms that provide a mechanism for giving to individuals rather than to charity. Some sites you may have heard of include GoFundMeKickstarter, and Kiva.

Crowdfunding accounts have multiplied in response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Most of them are set up by family or friends of individuals seeking cash to meet immediate needs. The turn-around is fast and avoids the overhead costs that can come through giving to a non-profit.

As with giving to traditional non-profits, we have to consider the pros and cons of giving to a crowdfunding cause. Here are some things to think about before you give: