Crowdfunding has gained incredible momentum in many countries including Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.  I’ve been involved in one crowdfunding initiative through www.kickstarter.com to fund a documentary.  My family now owns a copy of the documentary, which is a story that is important to us, and I’m proud to have been a contributor to its production.

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCAC) http://www.ncfacanada.org/ website indicates that there are 52 portals in Canada.  The site also provides the total amount that global crowdfunding has raised today as $2.7 billion.  Crowds make it possible that even a small donation amount can achieve incredible goals.   Crowdfunding sites are fascinating to visit.  Have a look at https://fundrazr.com/  or the more well-known site www.kickstarter.com .  The range of funding initiatives is remarkable.

Crowdfunding rules, including tax implications, vary by country.  The best rule of thumb at this rapidly growing stage in crowdfunding evolution is to check the rules frequently.  Skyrocketing interest as well as high profile uses for this funding approach (for example funding a video from alleged drug dealers) are raising some concerns and will likely result in more rule changes.

Crowdfunding & Eldercare

A recent crowdfunding initiative in the U.S. caught my interest – http://www.gofundme.com/GrandpaJohnJPotter .  The background on the www.gofundme.com   website indicates that a 90+ grandfather has lost title to his home through the misuse of a power of attorney (POA) by his daughter.  This has resulted in a request for the father to move out of his long-term family home.  Crowdfunding has enabled the granddaughter to raise money to re-purchase the home and keep the grandfather in it for as long as possible.  The generosity of people to assist and the successful outcome is a wonderful testament to the power of crowdsourcing.

What can be done to prevent future situations involving the elderly?

I know from talking with health care workers, lawyers and family members that the misuse and abuse of POAs arises more often than we may like to believe.  I’m convinced that we need to talk more openly about POAs.  This is the only way to better prepare people in choosing the right person(s) as well as the right POA restrictions to represent their wishes.  Through dialogue we will be able to reduce some of the shame and embarrassment that arises when families seem to be more interested in a relative’s assets than in their well-being.  Social media may open up more avenues for sharing ideas without revealing personal identities or details.  Even if older individuals are not tapping into social media, community groups such as seniors’ centres, faith groups, non-profit organizations and care workers will be able to share information from these sources.