IPSWICH residents have donated more than $225,000 to 181 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 $15,000 from Ipswich campaigns since 2010.
ARM Newsdesk research reveals that Ipswich-based appeals for cash cover everything from prosthetic limbs and car modifications to cancer patient support, sick kids and injured pets.
The region's most successful campaign is Alan Campbell's Car Modifications in which 216 people gave $30,235 to help Mr Campbell's family buy a car that could accommodate his wheelchair.
The goal for this fundraiser was $40,000.
Other successful campaigns included Get Dani A Service Dog, which has contributed $25,765 to the $35,000 needed to pay for a service dog for a local woman who has debilitating health problems; Cassie's Tragic Loss of Glen raised $24,801 to help a young mum-to-be whose husband died suddenly; Amputee Needs Help raised $24,522 to support a man who lost his leg through diabetes; and Medical, Accommodation, Pain Relief collected more than $14,000 for a four-year-old boy who has a crippling medical condition.
Only six of the region's Go Fund Me pages have raised more than $10,000, 29 pages raised up to $10,000 and 58 raised $5 to $1000.
About 90 Ipswich 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 Ipswich 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
WHEN young Ipswich woman Dani Stevens realised a service dog would help her cope with ongoing seizures and post-traumatic stress disorder, her friends decided Go Fund Me was the perfect way to raise money.
Hoping to collect $35,000 to cover the animal's purchase and training, the unofficial committee's hard work is paying dividends with almost $26,000 raised in about five months via their Go Fund Me page and through other fund-raising activities.
Co-organiser Maree Weedon said it was vital that the page tugged on heartstrings and that it was easily accessible to potential donors across Australia and overseas.
"Reaching a bigger audience and support base has helped raise more money," she said.
"I did a tiny bit of research at the start.
"I looked at the campaigns that had raised the most amount of money and what were those people's stories."
Ms Weedon said crafting an emotive story and using a strong picture were vital to the Go Fund Me page's success.
"People need a buy-in, so they need to relate or feel something for the person or their situation so I wrote the story and used a particular picture to tell the story," she said.
To donate to Get Dani a Service Dog visit www.gofundme.com/2dsp7gak?ssid=861024486&pos=1
What the tax office says about money-making campaigns
IPSWICH 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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