Of all the things both good and bad that have come with the internet, perhaps one of the best advances has been the increased potential of others to give. The internet has undoubtedly made it easier for complete strangers to support one another.
We see this in several different aspects. Social media has made it extremely easy for us to ‘like’ something else and show our support that way. But its sites like Kickstarter that have really taken things to the next level.
At its most simple level, Kickstarter (and other sites like it) are places where you can post information about a project you need funded and ask strangers to help pay for it. It sounds a little far-fetched, but dreams have been coming true online for quite some time now.
Who is Asking?
Most recently a homeless man has asked for $15,000 to fund his debut music CD. He had previously gone viral on youtube for his cover of a Radiohead song. In 4 days his fund has raised almost $3,000.
Earlier this year a kid named Caine from Los Angeles built a cardboard arcade and strangers have donated over $200,000 towards his eventual college education.
Last month a female bus attendant named Karen was harassed by several of the kids she was meant to protect, and complete strangers have now donated over $250,000 to help her in any way they can.
An independent film maker/youtube semi-celebrity Olan Rogers asked for financial help on indiegogo in order to film his latest internet only short film series. His donations eventually reached over $18,000 (including $10 from my own wallet).
These examples don’t really prove that it is easy to get money from strangers online. They prove that if your cause is good enough, there are people out there more than willing to show their support.
The key is getting your story to go viral. Each one of the examples noted above have an extremely compelling story which makes them relatable on a mass scale.
The more people that learn about your story, the more likely you are to find people who are willing to offer their support. What surprises me is the massive scale of support that can be found online from complete strangers.
To me this gives hope more than anything. It shows that in a time when we are increasingly pushed by technology towards introversion, we are still willing to lend a helping hand to those who might need it…even if that person is a complete and total stranger.