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Crowdfunding and Hurricane Harvey: What You Should Know

You don’t have to be local to know that Hurricane Harvey has devastated a good part of Houston. While many wait for government assistance, some will be pleased to learn about crowdfunding efforts to help those in need. Crowdfunding is a private means of raising money and is often more hassle free than waiting for traditional revenue sources.

Obviously, we here at Manfred Sternberg and Associates have been hit close to home as far as Hurricane Harvey. We are first-hand witnesses to the dire circumstances Mother Nature has created. Since part of our practice includes experience in crowdfunding, we’d like to share some valuable information.

Current Crowdfunding Efforts for Harvey

All things considered, the definition of crowdfunding seems self-evident. The dictionary describes it as “the practice of obtaining needed funding (as for a new business) by soliciting contributions from a large number of people especially from the online community.”

More than likely, you may have already participated in a crowdfunding arrangement. It could be that you were taken in by a story on social media that requested contributions to a GoFundMe account. As far as Harvey relief, the Direct Impact Fund is in partnership with GoFundMe. All donations are slotted to go to Harvey victims with verified campaigns on GoFundMe.

According to one news article, 850 separate GoFundMe campaigns were going as of late last week. The total collected at that point was $4.5 million and growing. Country singer Chris Young has a GoFundMe fundraiser set up that has already amassed more than $350,000.

Meanwhile, many others have joined in with crowdfunding efforts. Houston’s own J.J. Watt has already set the record for the largest charitable crowdfunding campaign. Watt set the goal for the Houston Relief Fund at $20 million. Currently, nearly 170,000 individuals have pledged more than $19 million. Remarkably, Watt started off the contributions with a personal donation of $100,000. Watt may have initially received hero status as an athlete. These days, he’s also proven that he has a big heart.

The number of crowdfunding sources doesn’t just stop at these two. Global Giving has also set up a Harvey Relief Fund. They are almost halfway to their goal of collecting $5 million. Their stated cause is emergency disaster relief, as well as long-term recovery support. With certainty, there are more crowdfunding campaigns out there.

Crowdfunding for Fundraising

No doubt that the concept of crowdfunding for fundraising is a great idea. Even those outside the Houston area realize the long term effects of Harvey. They want to provide assistance but aren’t sure how to find a reputable source. Seeking relief for a major disaster relies on the kindness and generosity of strangers.

Crowdfunding has some differences from traditional fundraisers, also known as peer-to-peer fundraisers. The latter is more on the lines of setting up a spaghetti dinner and donating the proceeds to a cause. Crowdfunding asks for donations for a particular cause such as help with Hurricane Harvey victims.

Notably, there are fees involved in all of the crowdfunding sites. In some cases, a percentage of the money is mandated by the platform. Additionally, fees are charged for processing credit cards.

Can We Help?

At Manfred Sternberg and Associates, we are here to assist you. If you have questions about crowdfunding or some other legal issue, we would like to help. Contact us to discuss your concerns.

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