Online donations: Is your money going where you intended?

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by Ruella Rouf / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 15 at 11:29 PM

(KMOV.com) – Crowdfunding sites have given rise to several new projects and businesses around the world, including many in St. Louis.

Recently, a potato salad pitch on Kickstarter raised nearly $50,000. St. Louis based business Strange Donuts exceeded their $10,000 goal.

“It’s a tremendous help. It’s also a way to get our name out there and get some support,” said Casey from Strange Donuts.

There is even a St. Louis man who is raising funds for a coleslaw campaign.

“I mean I have no idea how he’s going to get people to give him money. Maybe people think he’ll do it because he’s amusing,” said IT journalist David Strom.

But according to Strom, crowdfunding sites call for some healthy skepticism. There are no guarantees that the money donated is going toward the project. Even the best planned projects can fall apart. Strom advises to treat your contribution as a donation.

Amy Johnson shared the story of her cancer diagnosis on Go-Fund-Me in order to fund an alternative therapy not covered by her insurance. Within hours, she was funded.

“My friend called me the next day and said ‘You can go,’” said Johnson. “I was just so thankful that I could go and have that option.” That option saved her life.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has tried to compile rules on regulating crowdfunding, but those rules have not materialized because they apply mostly to investors as opposed to those making simple donations. 

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