Crowdfunding: Is it a Win-Win?

Doctor Joseph Mercola is a well-knownosteopathic physician who is notorious for his alternative viewpoints on health and wellness and his promotions against mainstream medicine.  On his website, he markets non-traditional supplements, alternative medical devices and promotes the research and development of causes he feels are worthy.

As a recipient of his daily emails, I have come to notice that each one of them give a grave announcement.  GMO is going to kill the human race.  Flu shots are a government hoax.  Of course I am compelled to click the link and read on.  Information on the topic is concise and convincing so I read on.  The problem is detailed and then, the solution.  Most every problem is followed by a solution from his treasury of supplements or devices but that’s not all.  He generally ends each report with a link you can follow to support the further research of the topic or, where you can contribute directly to the cure.

Crowdfunding is big in the alternative medicine realm as well as for those whose passion is to “save the earth”.  It is a noble feat but a huge one indeed.  Although I may have made Mercola sound like a nut job, I actually “get” most of his findings and agree with many of them.  Some do make their way to my heart string.  No, I don’t want my children and grandchildren to ear Roundup Ready crops and would love to intervene before that is the only option available.  Right there on my screen is a link I can click on to support the cause.  I can join the fight against GMO.

I have to wonder, just how much of my monies would go to actually support the cause.  Of course, that answer would vary with each “cause” and would depend on the group, where the group is sponsored and so on.

If a cause has pulled on your heartstring and you are ready to support it, do yourself a favor and do a little homework first.  There are many crowdfunding campaigns that are completely legit and where all or most of your contribution will go directly to the cause.  And then, there are rip-offs.

Check out the specific sponsor or sponsors that are hosting the crowdfunding as well as the site that it is running on.  If a website has an upstanding reputation for crowdfunding, chances are that those who are allowed on the site are legitimate.  But, that is not a given so check into both thoroughly.  Please note that even though the company and what is promised may be on the up-and-up, if the business owner has been convicted of fraud in the past 10 years, he or she is not legally allowed to host a crowdfunded project so therefore it is an illegal venture.

Be sure to read the fine print.  Some events are “all or nothing” meaning if the goal is not reached, those who have contributed get nothing.  In some of those, those who have contributed owe nothing as well, but, in other events they are still bound to pay but get nothing in return.  The recourse of action for crowdfunding gone wrong is next to zilch so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Crowd funding is the wave of the future.  It is a way that the masses can bind together and get things done like medical research, banding against an action that is taking place (such as GMO) and other causes that you may personally feel strongly about.  There is a promised payoff and that’s why it has become so popular.  Maybe you will own a share in the product or company or perhaps you will part in the production or protest of a specific thing.  Be sure, though, that the cause or product you are supporting is worthy of your hard earned cash and that it is really a win-win for all.