Crowdfunding For Causes Does More Than Raise Money

Raising money through crowdfunding for mass causes and popular leaders like Trump continues to show it can mobilize crowds as well as generate funds.
Crowdfunding For Causes Does More Than Raise Money -Crowdsourcing Week

Written by Clive Reffell

Feb 20, 2024

The crowdfunding platform GoFundMe recently announced it had broken the $30 billion barrier for the total amount of money people have raised on it. We are all quite aware of the multitude of individuals who have asked for donations to help pay medical bills, education fees, and even to afford more expensive honeymoons. It’s hardly likely to be used to help out billionaires, until now. Using crowdfunding to raise money for mass causes and popular leaders, including Donald Trump, continues to show that it can mobilize crowds and make political statements, as well as generate funds.

Bailing out a billionaire!

Crowdfunding for causes has previously amassed crowds of supporters and helped put a media spotlight on issues such as the Canadian truckers who resisted government imposition of compulsory Covid vaccinations, and the imprisonment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The GoFundMe project making news headlines right now is an attempt to raise $355 million to match the fine imposed on Donald Trump by New York-based authorities at the conclusion of his recent civil fraud case.

Who knows if there was some element of trying to publicly brand Trump as unfit for public office through such a massive penalty? After all, aren’t our elected leaders supposed to conform to expectations of moral and ethical behavior, with greater respect for truth and honesty than we imagine goes on in corporate boardrooms?

Image of Donald Trump in a Crowdsourcing Week blog about crowdfunding for causes and crowd leaders

Followers are crowdfunding for billionaire Donald Trump. Image source: GoFundMe

Crowdfunding for causes goes beyond simply raising the money. Beneath the act of unifying a crowd of Trump supporters to make financial donations is a simmering undercurrent of “who do these people think they are to impose this fine?” And the added message is that it’s not just Trump they are putting down, but many millions of everyday people.

“In standing with Trump, we’re upholding the cause of every business owner and entrepreneur who believes in the fight against a system that increasingly seeks to penalize dissent and curb our freedoms,” wrote Elena Cardone, who launched the campaign on GoFundMe.

“This fundraiser… is not merely about raising the ‘ruling’ amount. It’s about making a stand. It’s about showing that when one of us is targeted for championing the values that make America great, he does not stand alone. We stand with him, shoulder to shoulder, ready to support, defend, and fight back against a system that threatens to undermine the very foundations of our republic,” she added.

At the time of writing, the “Stand with Trump; Fund the $355M Unjust Judgment” appeal had raised over $692,000 from more than 13,100 backers. At this average donation amount of around $52 it will require in the region of 685,000 donors for the crowdfunding for Trump to reach its financial target. Perhaps success will be measured in other ways.

What does it take to achieve crowd leadership?

The divided opinions surrounding Trump’s efforts to regain the U.S. Presidency, and efforts to derail him, led us to the question of what does it take to be a leader: what are the best qualities of crowd leadership? And in this case, maybe the leadership of what is by now probably 335 million people.

Turning it around, what are the reasons why people follow? There are obviously people guided by self-interest, and those who like the idea of a strong-minded person in charge, a person who can achieve results. Perhaps some want to feel a halo of association by voting for a leader who can make things happen. Other people perhaps respond to being made to feel more welcome than by other candidates, particularly those who feel they have not been listened to before. They may feel they have now been given a voice, and they hear their sentiments coming back to them from the stage, or through news broadcasts, or in social media.

In his new book “The BRAVE Leader,” leadership coach David McQueen explains that while leaders guide and influence others, followers are not passive. Ideally, followers demonstrate trust and loyalty towards their leaders and their organizations. They remain committed and dedicated to achieving shared goals, and they expect their trust and loyalty to be reciprocated. Leadership and followership thus become enmeshed in symbiotic collaboration. A leader cannot be a leader without followers, and followers need a leader.

McQueen’s BRAVE acronym stands for Bold, Resilient, Agile, Visionary and Ethical. Was Trump unethical when he deceived lenders as to his actual value, even though he repaid the loans in full? Was the judge who ordered Trump to pay such massive penalties related to the civil fraud case being ethical, or was there an ulterior and possibly unethical motive behind issuing such a newsworthy penalty?

The BRAVE Leader is going to be a new addition to the Crowdsourcing Week Book Club. Find everything you need to know about what inspires the crowd economy, entrepreneurship, innovation, and now crowd leadership as well.

About Author

About Author

Clive Reffell

Clive has worked with Crowdsourcing Week on sourcing and creating content since May 2016. With knowledge and experience gained in a 30+ year marketing career based in London, UK, he operates as an independent crowdfunding advisor helping SMEs and startups to run successful crowdfunding projects, and with wider social media and content marketing issues.

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