“Spam handling” the new pan handling?

Today's guest post is by Peppercommer Dandy Stevenson.

The following event announcement landed on my Facebook page yesterday:

A friend’s adult son is apparently going after his third advanced degree in music composition, and I, along with 1,112 of his other closest friends, have been invited to help pay his way. I hardly know where to start with this one, but that as an educated adult he has no compunction to begging is as good a place as any. I mean, this is not to help his favorite charity.

Wait a minute. Maybe he IS his own favorite charity. Is he such an artist that a mainstream job is too dangerous? If he was a waiter, some aggrieved customer might stab his magic fingers with a fork.

Besides, if he has a data base of 1,000+ friends, and if each person gives just five dollars then he’s got a tax-free five thou easy as pie. Much easier than breaking a sweat or waking up at 7am, right?  As he says on his fundraising page, “The life of a composer can be overwhelming at times.” (One can only imagine.)

And by donating I am “helping to shape the path of an artist.” 

His virtual tin cup is part of GoFundMe (“The easy way to raise money online.”) And he is just one of thousands who have set up sites to pay for such things as a honeymoon (“We’re thinking of sailing in the Caribbean!”) a dirt bike (”…cuz, honestly, that's about all I want.) or bankroll a Miss Teen USA hopeful (“Singing lessons are expensive!”).

Of course there are the heart-tugging pleas from cancer patients and those who lost homes to natural disasters. Maybe. This mainstream solicitation portal dilutes everything to the point that you wonder just how many doe-eyed children are really sick. Or it could be just sick parents trying to make an easy buck.

Ever since the United Way scandal (Millennials: look it up) charities have suffered mightily. And today, while things are better, thanks to such watchdog organizations as Charity Navigator, non-profits still have an uphill battle for the public’s dwindling discretionary dollars. And vehicles such as GoFundMe aren’t helping.

8 thoughts on ““Spam handling” the new pan handling?

  1. Sam, I don’t totally disagree with you, but these folks are soliciting from people who may not even be invited to the wedding! And most of these folks are just e-freeloaders.

  2. I agree with many things said here…but I will say this. I’d much rather pop in a hundred bucks to go toward a friend’s honeymoon then buy them a present they don’t really need…:) So that part of it I don’t find offensive, if it’s to replace a purchase I would already be making because of societal traditions to their blessed union in the first place.

  3. Amen, Julie, Amen. And there is no oversight for this. Methinks this will only get worse. Personal ads make take on a whole new meaning when Facebook sells space to individuals so they can promote their ME charity.

  4. I think there is a big difference between funding a project on Kickstarter as opposed to funding a young couple who feel entitled to go to Hawaii on their honeymoon. I agree with Dandy. These people need to stop taking advantage of social media to solicit funds from their database of “friends.” It’s a high-tech version of the panhandler on the subway.

  5. Matt, I knew you would appreciate this post. And you are right about his approach. (But I have an inherent problem with individuals mass solicitation via the internet.

  6. Thanks, Greg. I agree there is a great sense of entitlement with 20 and 30 somethings, but this site is also riddled with adults looking for a free ride. The internet has made it too easy for anyone to solicit. And no one seems to think there is anything wrong with asking friends for money for anything at all. Have they no shame?

  7. Dandy, your post made me LOL. In all seriousness, this guy has his messaging all wrong. Would I fund continuing education for someone who already seems pretty damn successful? No. No way. And most people would not. But would I fund a specific project by a composer/artist? I just might. This guy has got it all wrong. I’ve funded various friends’ artistic projects via Kickstarter. This guy picked the wrong message and the wrong medium.

  8. Great post Dandy. Nothing surprises me anymore in today’s society though. There’s no shortcut to success. Today’s society expects everything to be handed to them like driving around in dad’s Cadillac, getting the folks to pay for gas or dinner to take the girlfriend out. They should sit down and have a good deep conversation to find out what it was like when their parents grew up. They didn’t have the luxuries that we have today, nor the electronics. Heck, even having a car back then was a luxury. Now, 2-3 cars in the family is expected. What, you expect me to walk to school? What, get a job? I remember the days as a kid of having a newspaper route or pulling weeds for 50 cents an hour. Now, the attitude is “let someone else pay for it.”