Remember when fundraising was as simple as buying a 'Caramello Koala' to support your niece's netball club or giving your cousin a few dollars as sponsorship for the 'Fun Run' his school was hosting the following week? Online crowdfunding has really changed the face of fundraising because people everywhere can appeal to complete strangers from across states and countries to help them pay for just about anything.
The irony is however, that crowdfunding began with the aim of supporting real issues and for the large part it still does. While there are many good causes for fundraising like medical treatments, humanitarian aid and wildlife conservation, there are also plenty of campaigns that involve people asking for money to pursue personal endeavours.
Most recently, Claire Morgan from Sydney launched a campaign on crowdfunding website GoFundMe to raise money for her Green Card, so she can stay in America and pursue her passion for fitness and lifestyle.
After giving up a job in marketing with a six-figure salary, her boyfriend and a central-Sydney apartment to "find herself", Morgan now lives in LA. She admits during her 14-minute promotional Youtube video that she is still spending like she is earning 100k. She now needs money to pay for her $4,000 Green Card to stay in the U.S.
"I am really determined to stay but I can't do it by myself because I need a little help. One thing I have learnt is that we all need a little help sometimes and life's a lot sweeter when you've got great people around you who are supporting you and loving you no matter what," Morgan said in the video.
While she has managed to gain $2,000 in donations, she also tweets U.S. President Donald Trump everyday to try and secure the second half of the funding.
Whether you admire her determination or are appalled by it, the reality is that Claire certainly isn't the only person who is using crowdfunding websites to get a little extra cash to fund their ambitions or business aspirations.
One pretty crazy crowdfunding campaign aimed to raise money for 'Paul, The Sexist Smartphone Charger On the Planet.' Essentially, this was a smartphone charger that had a charging port located in the spot where the genitals would sit on a normal human. The butt-hole had a power point plug protruding out of it. Regardless of how ridiculous or unnecessary this idea was, it still managed to raise nearly $3,000 before it was shut down by Kickstarter.
One of the biggest markets for online funding finds itself in the wedding industry, where couples deem it acceptable to ask friends, family and perfect strangers to help them fund anything from their engagement, to actual wedding or honeymoon. In fact, there is even a specifically designated website called 'Crowded Wedding' to help couples privately fund their dream day and all the events that occur around it by asking their friends, family and guests for a little financial reinforcement.
It was proven that crowdfunding isn't just reserved for loved-up affairs when one woman launched a campaign to fund her divorce, after declaring she was married to a "compulsive liar." The campaign, entitled 'Lauryn wants a divorce' has gained $755 worth of support, which is a few hundred dollars more than her original $420 goal.
The Skarp Laser Razor was one of the most famous Kickstarter campaigns of 2015. The razor was a new product that used a laser beam to shave men's beards. The campaign funding goal was approximately $200,000 and incredibly, over $5.5 million was pledged. The catch however, was that the product didn't actually exist as the people behind the new invention had never made a successful working prototype. The fund was, of course, suspended by Kickstarter.
There is also plenty of love (and cash) for pets and animals on crowdfunding sites and the campaign for 'Fish On Wheels' certainly was not an exception. The idea behind the campaign was creating a cart that was entirely controlled by the motions of a gold fish swimming around in its water. The goal for the fund was nearly $80,000. Regardless of the fact that the campaign didn't attract close to the organiser's financial target, they still managed to raise around $9,500 towards this bizarre idea.
It can be difficult deciding where to donate your money, and with all the choice crowdfunding websites offer, this decision can be even harder. It seems some causes are worthy and others incredibly uninspiring, but ultimately, that worthiness sits in the eyes and hip-pockets of the donor.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST AUSTRALIA