ROCKHAMPTON residents have donated more than $117,500 to 120 local Go Fund Me campaigns since the site started operating seven years ago.
Go Fund Me takes 6.75% from each donation, meaning the organisation has collected at least $7900 from Rockhampton campaigns since 2010.
ARM Newsdesk research reveals that Rockhampton-based appeals for cash cover everything from dreadlock removal to "new boobs”, cancer, the arts and domestic violence.
The region's most successful campaign is The Bellert Family in which 170 people gave $14,590 to help a couple with a seriously ill infant.
The goal for this fundraiser was $5000.
Other successful campaigns included Hannah's Brain Cancer Battle that raised $12,900 for a little girl battling cancer. The goal is $15,500.
A Little Bit of a Hand for Shane raised $9,600 for a former police officer undergoing cancer treatments; Pippa's Chance raised $7200 of a $50,000 goal for a little girl with serious health problems and disabilities; and Ferguson Family Fundraiser collected $7000 for a couple whose daughter was diagnosed with diabetes and whose mother needs treatment for cancer.
Only two of the region's Go Fund Me pages have raised more than $10,000, 25 pages raised up to $10,000 and 32 raised $5 to $1000.
About 61 Rockhampton Go Fund Me pages have no donations.
Consumer group Choice says potential donors should do a bit of research before shelling out their cash when they see a plea for help, just in case it was a scam.
"As a consumer, if you're planning on putting your money into a project you do need to do your homework,” Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said.
"The onus is very much on you because there are very few legal or other requirements on the person actually asking for the money.”
Mr Godfrey also suggested donors and site creators make sure they were across the fees charged by crowdfunding sites.
Danielle Logue is one of Australia's leading experts on crowdfunding.
Dr Logue said Go Fund Me-type fundraising campaigns were popular because they allowed generous Rockhampton residents to "connect” with causes on a personal level as opposed to being "mugged” by street collectors.
"The whole model of giving is shifting,” said the University of Technology Sydney management discipline group senior lecturer.
"Ease is one of the reasons why they're successful.
"People are becoming more familiar with, and trusting of, donating online.
"Campaigns are set up to provide you with that individual connection and to provide ongoing feedback of how the cause is going.
"What we call chugging - that is the mugging for charity form of fundraising strategy - turns a lot of people off, unlike these campaigns.”
Turning a charitable idea into a fundraising success
SHANE Golder has had a run of bad luck lately but his relatives are doing their best to get him back on his feet.
The former country cop was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia just weeks before Christmas.
The Tasmanian father-of-two is unable to work and his wife Mel has had to take a break from her job to be by his side as he undergoes daily treatment in hospital.
Mel is also looking after their children.
Mr Golder has relatives living in Rockhampton and Gladstone and on the Fraser Coast.
Rockhampton's Jayne Golder is thousands of kilometres away from the family but she is determined to make their lives easier.
Setting up the A Little Bit of a Hand for Shane Go Fund Me page was the first step in helping her brother-in-law.
Mrs Golder has raised $9600 of a planned $13,000 for her Tassie relative who will need a bone marrow transplant that can only be done in Melbourne.
"He's the best brother-in-law you could ever ask for,” the 46-year-old Department of Housing business support officer said.
"He's genuinely a truly lovely man.
"We are all devastated because my parents died of cancer and my husband's sister died of cancer as well.”
Ms Golder said a friend suggested that she start a Go Fund Me page for her relative.
"We initially asked for $5000 and we got that amount so we asked for more because they have to pay for petrol to get to the hospital, they have to pay for parking, they don't have much leave,” she said.
"They can't access Centrelink payments and his wife has to keep things running at home until they can get access to some of his super.
"I asked them if I could set it up but at first they were reluctant because they don't like asking for help.”
Ms Golder said getting the story and photo right was vital to the fundraiser's success.
"I asked them what they would like me to say because it's a very personal thing and it's their story that people are going to be reading,” she said.
"We wrote it together and the photos are a nice touch.
"It's important to keep updating the page because I don't want people thinking we won't be telling them where he is at with his treatment or if he's allowed out of hospital for a few days.”
For more information visit www.gofundme.com/a-little-bit-of-a-hand-for-shane
What the tax office says about money-making campaigns
ROCKHAMPTON residents raising money through Go Fund Me have no need to worry about tax implications unless they provide a product or service in return for donations.
Certified Practising Accountants Australia tax policy head Paul Drum explained money donated to personal causes, such as helping a family member in crisis, would be seen as a gift by the Australian Tax Office.
Mr Drum said this meant the money did not need to be declared when completing tax returns.
He said there was a downside though as contributors could not declare their donation in their tax returns unless the organisation receiving the cash was a deductible gift recipient.
Mr Drum said entrepreneurs seeking donations in return for a share in a proposed business or an actual product did face tax implications.
"If for example you said 'I've invented a new motorcycle helmet and if you give us money to get this to market we guarantee you'll be one of the first people in the world to get this new helmet', then you're selling a helmet in a way. So there are income tax implications because this is business oriented.”
The Federal Government was forced back to the drawing board when 12 months ago when its Corporations Amendment (Crowd-Sourced Funding) Bill failed to make it through Parliament, with Labor claiming it failed to address stakeholder concerns.
Cashing in on a crowd - who's who in the online charity world
THERE are a number of internet-based crowdfunding sites operating in Australia.
Go Fund Me is the site most individuals turn to raise money for causes that impact them directly - such as helping a sick mate or collecting money to send a child to a sporting event.
The site describes itself as "the world's largest social fundraising platform” and claims to have collected more than $3 billion from more than 25 million donors.
Chuffed.org and Start Some Good target people and organisations wanting to raise money for community-based social enterprises such as housing for the homeless.
Pozible.com, Kickstarter.com and IndieGoGo.com are popular with budding entrepreneurs who want the community to fund projects such as music albums or business start-ups.
These three sites also provide a platform for individuals to raise money for personal projects such as helping mates or family through tough times.
All of the crowdfunding sites charge fees.
Go Fund Me, for example, takes a total of 6.75% from the donation pool before it is released to the page creator.
Pozible collects 3-5%, depending on the amount raised. It also charges 2.4-3.4% plus 30c for each credit card or PayPal transaction; and it has a bitcoin charge as well.
Kickstarter keeps 5% of all funds raised plus it collects 3% and 20 cents for each credit card transaction.
StartSomeGood.com takes 8% from donations and IndieGoGo collects 7-12%, including credit card charges.
Unlike the other crowdfunding sites, Chuffed.org campaigners do not pay any fees, instead donors pay 2-2.9% plus a 30c payment processing fee when they contribute to a cause.
- ARM NEWSDESK
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