When Crowdfunding Resembles Opportunism or The Greed in Your Ask is Getting Obvious

When Crowdfunding Resembles Opportunism or The Greed in Your Ask is Getting Obvious

By Don Hall

I most recently joined the World of Crowdfunding with my new Patreon Campaign. I’m torn as, in general, I’ve seen far too many of these efforts resemble either a corrupt civil servant trying to raise money for bail or legal fees, someone desperately using it as a replacement for medical insurance or Ian Belknap using GoFundMe to help pay for an office space so he doesn’t have to deal with his kids at home while churning out pedantic screeds on Faceborg. 

Go ahead and Google “crowdfunding abuse” and the list is long and ugly.

When Angela Vela asked me to perform a piece about Greed for her monthly show The Seven Deadly Sins, crowdfunding abuse was my target.


Dear Roger –

I know I haven’t been in touch for a while and I apologize right off the bat for not reaching out to you when you got your new job three years ago or when you got married two years ago or when you and your wife had that baby last year. Obviously, you were in my thoughts but I never took the time to connect after college. My bad, bro.

Remember the time when we both got so drunk that we ended up streaking in the Dillons parking lot? LMAO! I barely do. Thanks for bailing us both out, right?

Anyways, I’m writing to you now because I’m kind of in a bind. I wrote some bad checks about two months ago—I totally thought I had them covered but the places cashed the checks before the date I put on them—I thought you couldn’t do that but apparently you can—and the bank is totally fucking me over. Thank god I’m living with my mom, right?

Seriously, is there any chance I could borrow, like, $450 for a while until I get this all straightened out? I’m good for it, bro.

If it is, here’s my Paypal account or you can just send it directly through Chase Pay.


Yo, Rog!!

Long time, no see, right? How’s the wife and kid? I hope great!

The reason I’m writing is to first, apologize for not getting you that $400 back yet. I know it’s been a couple years but things have been moving really fast around here and I’m thinking you’ll thank me once you see how I spent the money I owe you. If you think of it as an investment into something amazing, I’m sure of it.

I moved out of my mom’s house into her garage (I pay rent so it’s not like charity or anything) and decided that I was going to go into a brand new field. Yes, my degree in Contemporary Greek Philosophy is valuable to me but is not what a sustainable career is made of, right?  So I looked out into the world in search of my calling, right? And it hit me right in the jaw—social media. I spend a huge amount of my time writing funny things on Facebook and Twitter, why not parlay that into a full-time career? So...

I’m in Chicago now, and I’m going to take classes at the famed Second City Training Center. You know, the place that spawned the careers of Bill Murray, Stephen Colbert, that guy from the “Sledgehammer” TV show and the voice of Homer Simpson? I figure that a degree from such an esteemed comedic institution is bound to bolster my street cred with companies looking for clever and sarcastic social media responses so I’m currently enrolled.

Here’s the thing: the $400 I owe you went to pay for some of my first eight weeks but once I get my degree and a job writing the Funny Ha-Ha, I’ll pay you back with interest. OR...

Below is a link to my new Kickstarter Campaign to raise the money to pay for all 15 levels of Second City training. I only need to raise $22,000 for this and after all those levels, I’m pretty much guaranteed a spot on SNL which would be even better than writing for Facebook. LOL! Winky emoji.

Any amount is acceptable and you know I’m good for it. A donation of $500 will get you an autographed photo and front row seats at a live taping of SNL!


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Dear Roger –

After Second City level 7 and my continued work at Boston Market, I wanted to die every single day of my life and it took me several years to realize it was because of the environment I was in. So, I picked the next best place: San Francisco, which is close to my dad, since we’ve never gotten to have much of a relationship and I like the weather up here. I found a job (I was hired the same day as my interview, in fact) and I put a bunch of debt on a shiny new credit card to afford the move.

I got the job thinking I was all set to write those funny quips on the company’s social media (I mean, I did have seven levels at the world famous Second City, right?) but I was told I’d have to work in support for an entire year before I would be able to move to a different department. A whole year answering calls and talking to customers just for the hope that someday I’d be able to make memes and Twitter jokes. But that’s neither here nor there. Let’s get back to the situation at hand, shall we?

So here I am, 27-years-old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week. Every single one of my coworkers is struggling. They’re taking side jobs, they’re living at home. One of them started a GoFundMe because she couldn’t pay her rent. She ended up leaving the company and moving east, somewhere the minimum wage could double as a living wage. Another wrote on those neat whiteboards we’ve got on every floor begging for help because he was bound to be homeless in two weeks. Fortunately, someone helped him out. At least, I think they did. I actually haven’t seen him in the past few months. Do you think he’s okay? Another guy who got hired, and ultimately let go, was undoubtedly homeless. He brought a big bag with him and stocked up on all those snacks they make sure are on every floor. 

I haven’t bought groceries since I started this job. Not because I’m lazy, but because I got this ten pound bag of rice before I moved here and my meals at home (including the one I’m having as I write this) consist, by and large, of that. Because I can’t afford to buy groceries.

Will you pay my phone bill for me? I just got a text from T-Mobile telling me my bill is due. 

Look, I’ll make you a deal. You don’t have to pay my phone bill. I’ll just disconnect my phone. And I’ll disconnect my home internet, too, even though it’s the only way I can do work for my freelance gig that I haven’t been able to do since I moved here because I’m constantly too stressed to focus on anything but going to sleep as soon as I’m not at work. 

If you could help me out, my PayPal is paypal.me/jimmyzee, my Venmo is jimmyzee (no hyphen). Square Cash is cash.me/$JimZee.

Thanks, bro.


You've been so generous in the past and I'm trying to raise money to get a plane ticket and funds for the final auditions for the 2016 season of American Idol.

I went to Disney World a few years ago and did the American Idol experience attraction at MGM. I auditioned and got on the show. They do 5 shows per day where an audience picks the winner of 3 performers. At the end of the day, they have a big show where the 5 winners compete for a Dream Ticket. 

The Dream Ticket is a pass to get to the front of the American Idol Audition Line. I performed and won the small show during the day, then won the final show at the end of the day, getting me the Dream Ticket. They don't expire and you can use them at any auditions. I thought I had lost it, but in a stroke of luck (and possibly fate), I just found it in my files at home.

This could be my last chance to do it and I can't live my life wondering,"What if?" I have this amazing opportunity and hoprfully, with your help, I can live my dream and live life to the very fullest!

Thank you for the chance!!

Hey Everyone!

As many of you know, I am a HUGE fan of ULTRA Music Festival in MIAMI. This will be my 14th year attending and marks my 2nd year moderating the Facebook group. I admittedly have put in TOO MANY hours running the group, making sure it is free from spam and trolls. It has been a lot of fun but it has also stolen a ton of my time. I am hoping that some of the friendships I've made will inspire people to be generous and help me make this trip possible.

Normally March is an abundant month for me but this year I am financially "running on fumes." I have spent the last 2.5 months recovering from a broken ankle, which has kept me from working. In this time I have used up all my reserve cash and now with my trip to Florida right around the corner my credit card bills are looming. I will use this money to pay for the flight, ticket, lodging and food for during the trip. It would be the best birthday present if I got a great response.

I will be eternally grateful to everyone who helps out and would LOVE to meet up with you and take some photos at the festival. Thank you so much for your support. <3

–Jimmy Zee

Roger –

I know why you haven’t returned any of my recent texts or direct messages. You don’t believe that I’m actually sick and I guess I don’t blame you. I can assure you, the cancer is real and I don’t have anyone else to turn to. I need $4,500 to help fund a trip to St. John where there is a shaman there who they say can pray the cancer out of me. Outside shot but I’m also told that when your prognosis is this bad, you gotta bucket list that shit, right?

I know I have no right to even ask but, in case you find it in your heart to help an old (31 years is now OLD!) college buddy out, my GoFundMe profile is linked below.


Turning Into Margaret Dumont

Turning Into Margaret Dumont

Notes from the Post-it Wall — Week of November 12, 2017

Notes from the Post-it Wall — Week of November 12, 2017