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The Pros and Cons of Digital Crowdfunding: Which Side Are You On?
By: Christine Geraci
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If you've ever fallen on hard times, you might know how difficult it can be to swallow your pride and ask friends or family for money.
Or, perhaps, you just went online and asked total strangers.
Of all the things our digital world makes easier, crowdfunding is right up there as one of the most rewarding — and controversial.
The latest example to hit the interwebs is actually pretty cool: Microsoft's "Chip In" project is a great way to give students the tools they need to succeed (and not to mention, good PR for the company). The program allows college students to crowdsource their Windows PC for their academic pursuits. Microsoft gets you started with 10 percent of what you need, and if you get the rest, they also throw in Office 365 University for free. 
This, of course, is just one example of the many ways people crowdsource for loot. Thanks to PayPal, anyone can set up an account to collect money for just about anything. There's also Kickstarter, which helps creatives get funding for their projects. Heck, donating to the American Red Cross is as simple as sending a text
Obviously, the ease of digital crowdfunding has its pros and cons. Let me focus on the pros first. 
Think about the Boston Marathon bombing, or the recent disastrous tornadoes in Oklahoma. Numerous nonprofits are digitally collecting funds for the victims of these horrors. The faster resources can get to these people, or anyone suffering at the hands of circumstances beyond their control, the better. 
Then, think a little harder about these disasters. For every legitimate organization collecting funds, there was likely a heartless scammer preying on the sympathies and digital naiveté of good people to line their pockets at the needys' expense. Can they be stopped? Sure. But thanks to the ease and speed with which digital crowdfunding rakes in the dough, it's likely they aren't stopped before at least some of the cash is cast to the wind.
So, do the pros outweigh the cons?
I think they do. As easy as it is to be conned, it's just as easy to do your research and contribute digitally to a legitimate organization working on behalf of a cause. 
What do you think? Do you use digital crowdfunding tools? If you do, which is your favorite?

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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