MAILBAG: Chesed Campaigns Are OUT OF CONTROL!

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Has there been a recent financial crisis that the media isn’t reporting? Why is it that every day there is another fundraiser being passed around WhatsApp, and every one of them with their own cheshbon why their campaign is unique, unprecedented, historic etc? A few years ago, the shidduch crisis was all the rage with too many single girls to match up with the single boys. Now there is a ChesedFund crisis – too many fundraisers to match up to all the dollars!

How were Yeshivos built before GoFundMe existed?

I appreciate the importance of giving Tzedaka, but is it Yashrus for every organization to send their members to nag their friends and family to guilt them into giving another $18 to some Mosad they probably never even heard of?

I have my own schools I want to support and my own organizations I enjoy helping out. But making every fundraiser a do-or-die countdown for double or triple donations makes it much more difficult to turn down, and therefore leaves less funds to go around.

Besides for not being Yashrus, the method is also unsustainable. If everyone turns their campaign into an emergency, the gimmick will stop working. The whole idea will be overdone and real emergencies will lose out. I feel bad for any Mosdos that loses out on some Gvir’s offer of doubling their donations just because they came late to the game and can’t raise the right amount.

Can we all just take it down a few notches and not turn every minor ordeal into an EMERGENCY campaign? For sake of my mind and my wallet. Thank you.

Name withheld upon request

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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27 COMMENTS

  1. this to be expected. a generation that eschews work is supportable by the previous generation. a second and a third generation and the system implodes. it is simple mathematics.

  2. How do you write something like this and have a clear conscious?! Is your point that people should stop giving Tzedaka? The ChesedFund is an incredible medium for raising badly needed funds. May Hashem grant you the ability to donate nicely to every campaign that comes your way!

  3. How much money have you donated to a chessed campaign over the last year?
    The campaigns are annoying but the needs of Klal Yisroel are tremendous & worth the annoyance.

  4. There’s a bigger crisis than this. Wherever you turn , there are people trying to sell you Sushi. Every weekly magazine has pictures of all different types and on billboards around town. I mean, if I’m hungry I’ll buy it , why do they need to make us feel like I’m missing if I don’t try this one or that one? It’s getting out of hand ….

  5. unfortunately, those mosdos that are having financial problems are probably not spending enough effort in fundraising and or are mismanaging the assets that they do have.

  6. Mosdos often get into financial troubles that are urgent and the tool is there, why not use it .
    with such strong beliefs one can surely ignore the virtual campaigns. I rather that than a person ringing my bell.
    Of course not everything is an emergency and if that is te issue I get the letter. turning non emergencies into emergencies is not yoshor, but asking people to share the links is not not Yoshor , for some that mossad will be a good cause and they will be happy to give.
    Why should one worry if the gimmick stops working ? Unless you are worried of a crying wolf situation.
    A lot of good it done for many by many online campaigns.
    Online campaigns are like virtual meshulachim , that’s how it has changed.

  7. I imagine if more people got a secular education in a field that has a future (computers , plumbing, or neurosurgery to mention a few), took out life insurance, and dare I say plan the number of children you can support, donors would increase.and need would decrease

  8. Cowdoc, you are 100% spot on. I’m often not a favorite around when I say that everything is an opportunity cost. When there is a one or two million dollar campaign for a family who lost their husband/father, that certainly takes away from other charities such as tomchei shabbos, mikvahs, etc. Because they are asking US for money (and not a small sum) It’s a fair question to inquire why life insurance was stupidly never considered. Its fair to inquire if it’s appropriate to take one million dollars away from other potential charities because you didn’t believe in life insurance, health insurance, dental insurance. I’ve seen campaigns for health related issues for something health insurance would normally cover, but they didn’t carry insurance coverage. Perhaps there is a reason why they didn’t have insurance, but isn’t it reasonable for transparency and Emes? I’d think so. I’ve seen campaigns asking for upwards of $200,000 for weddings because they don’t have the ability—- two hundred thousand dollar wedding. I know families who are just looking for challah and a piece of chicken for shabbos (via tomchei shabbos)—- but a six figure wedding—- wow.

  9. Truly ridiculous article YWN. Do better

    This person has no concept of how these campaigns work and also lumps together “cheesed” campaigns, usually those who have experienced personal tragedy or medical emergencies; together with mosdos trying to use fundraising tools to meet a budget. You don’t like it, don’t give, but don’t blast the concept with inaccurate facts and your personal misguided views that the money will run out….

  10. No wonder he withheld his name , hes a karger hint. Whats wrong with giving tzedaka? As long as people can give let them give. Do you prefer people knocking on your doors instead where it is much more uncomfortable? Here, you get an email, you can either click to donate or not give anything at all. How can someone be against the word chesed?

  11. The problem with these emergency campaigns is that you don’t know how legitimate they are or what caused the issue. A major local yeshiva had one of these campaigns two years ago. I was aware that the financial problems were caused by a year long internal feud ( that alienated long time donors ) between two factions of the founding Rav’s family . I felt that until the issues were resolved, donating was pointless

  12. I’m with you, the very thought of chessed makes me shudder, absolutely disgusting

    Anyone caught giving or asking for money should be coated in honey and left to the bees

  13. A psak of priorities in Tzedakah is in order at this time.
    1-Mikvas
    2- Marrying off Yesoimim- local then Eretz Yisroel.
    3-Local moisdois.
    4- Pidyon Shivuiyim.
    5- Etc.
    Then we can address the above issues.

  14. Yes and NO, YES there are many and they are all life or death, the more dramatic the better and Baruch Hashem when I go to donate I see they are getting money. But there is an element of exaggeration involved. When a Yeshiva Bachur distant relative calls me begging for his Mosad, I go into charidy.com only to discover that Baruch Hashem the Mosad has made 110% of its goals. This relative is so distant that I dont get invited to their smachot, but they have my number for donations for a cause that has already met its goal of many many millions. I turned my attention to another tzedaka but please Mosdot, dont become the boy that cried wolf. I hope these are our biggest problems and may Hashem help us to give to every Mosad that puts out its hands (and they use the money properly) Shabbat Shalom

  15. These mailbag articles are getting out of control. It seems as if people are looking for things to complain about just to get their name on YWN.

    Or should I say, get their name withheld upon request on YWN.

  16. It’s so beautiful and inspiring to see the chesed of klal yisroel using new methods to help more people be mikayim the great and holy mitzva of tzidaka! May it continue to increase and klal yisroel continue to reap the benefits and zchusim!

  17. Thank you author for bringing this new trend up for discussion. I have some other questions on this notion. Chessed fund, charidy, rayzIt and all the others collect donations via internet. The campaigns are run by the very same mosdos/organizations who are against Smartphones, internet and it’s like. If you don’t accept my kids into your school because I have a Smartphone or internet, HOW DO YOU JUSTIFY BEGGING AND ACCEPTING MY DONATION USING THIS VERY SAME SERVICES??? Is it that for money (and for your benefit) everything becomes ok and kosher???
    Even those not using charidy or another site.. but just a payment page.. is still using the internet….
    Also, how does one mosdos raise a campaign for $5 mil and two weeks later again for $1mil? Where does one draw a line?

  18. a few points ; ( i dont work for any funding platform, but i have followed many very closely)
    1. ” out of control” ?
    how many requests by someone YOU KNOW have you gotten in the last 6 months? my guess is about 10 ( ads , posters and a generic emails dont count.) klalyisroel is very big so even if charidy has 10 campaigns in a single day 9 of them you dont even know about .
    2. the platform has made it easy to expand the pool of donors to people that have a minor connection ( like a vendor’s daughters school) or a 2nd cousin from england
    3. it is also easy to ignore or not give if you cant at the moment. i had my son send out a text for his yeshiva campaign to a number of MY closer eople whom i felt he can ask some gave many didnt and thats fine
    4. you are correct about not making everything a emergency and thats why many of the campaigns are flexible and not all or nothing
    5 .WHATS AMAZING is that if you followed some of the big eretz yisroel campaigns ( reb chaim’s a few, belz, visnitz… you will be STUNNED to see how much was given by low inome e”y families bemesirus nefesh mamesh
    6. the percent that end up going to the cause is approx 92 % which is way more than most dinners or auctions
    mi keamcha yisroel am kodosh ! whenever i give even if its 18 i feel a part of something greater and you can write a short chizuk message
    you mentioned whats app ? question how many messages do you get a day and what percent were tzedaka requests?

  19. cowdoc on the other hand, many in the MO world are having issues, considering sending their kids to public school because they can’t afford their day school tuitions. Part of the reason may be for going into expensive college debt only to end up with degrees that don’t lead to high paying jobs

  20. Thechesedfunds that I see are about individual family crisis mensch and not mosdos. It is heartbreaking and sad to see so many tzoros afflicting klal yisroel. We really need Moshiach now. But there is another type of crisis happening as well. Ppl leaving EY to collect abroad and leaving their families behind. That is a result of the fathers/husbands not having a job. Is it because of them being undereducated, not being allowed to get a job because of not doing army duty, or because they don’t value the mitzva, and responsibility of providing for one’s family. Whatever the reason, that is a crisis unto itself. But has nothing to do with TheChesedFund

  21. You should feel proud to be part of a nation that looks after each other. Read sone of the stories on Chesed Fund website and thank Gd its not your face on there pleading for help for basics! Not for Sushi or Whiskey or personal trainer or Lauren shirts – just a few dokkarsbto survive. And yes your $18 is valuable, it can get 3 kids shabbos pants from the clothing Gemach or buy basic food items for a few days.
    When our parents or grandparents emerged from the war penniless, it was the generosity of the few that enabled them to get on their feet and establish a new generation. Lets pay that kindness forward and be thankful to be on the giving end.

  22. Ari-free, what you said is also a problem. I said people need a useful profession, and people can get necessary skills at local schools while living at home saving vast sums of money
    But you first have to convince people that the need for a useful secular education