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Don't Expect Friends to Crowdfund Your Vacation

posted Oct 24, 2014, 1:26 PM by J Shaw   [ updated Oct 24, 2014, 1:26 PM ]
Online crowdfunding tools have made possible many amazing opportunities that were previously long shots. For scrappy entrepreneurs, generous donors can provide financing that no bank or venture capitalist would likely offer.

For those not launching a product, crowdfunding also offer hope in the bleakest of circumstances: Campaigns have raised money for the unemployed, the gravely ill and evenfunerals.

But the practice of setting up a campaign to raise money has gone too far. And it's time we called it out.

The Wall Street Journal interviewed several people who have turned to crowdfunding sites — including Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe and Tilt — to ask family, friends, acquaintances and strangers to contribute to activities that can only be described as leisure.

Whether it's a holiday in Tuscany, a honeymoon in Bora Bora or a graduation trip around the world, these requests are anything but necessary.

“Everybody thought it was a little unconventional,” one man, a 23-year-old software engineer who asked friends and family for $9,000 toward his honeymoon, told the WSJ.
Here's a hint:

If the polite in-person response of everyone around you is that you are "unconventional," you may actually be very rude.Another woman who was interviewed asked friends and acquaintances to fund a trip to Italy. The woman said some people she thought she was "close" to never mentioned the trip or her request.

She might not have realized it, but they were being polite.

Etiquette experts have long advised against flat out asking for money on wedding invitations, even though they are occasions for which people expect to spend money on gifts. But the proliferation of online donation tools has made asking so commonplace that the "Travel & Adventure" category on GoFundMe includes thousands of campaigns.

As Gawker's Hamilton Nolan noted, "You are under no obligation to give your hard-earned money to someone just because they are your 'friend.'"

It's bad enough seeing someone's Instagram photos from some far-off locale, never mind being asked to fund the trip.

As for those doing the asking, there appears to be a sliding scale of chutzpah.

Funding a vacation for a friend or family member who has been through some hard times shows good intentions, while asking 800 Facebook friends to contribute to a birthday weekend in Vegas ... doesn't.

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