Something that I’ve been seeing an increasing amount of online these days is fundraising. That in itself is not a bad thing. I think it’s amazing when people put on shows and put up sites to help raise money for those in need, charities and the like. I think my only issue is when I see people posting help me afford this: —–. And the item that is in the blank is something that only benefits them. And I do not mean in a medical way. I have seen instances and I personally have put up costumes with the goal of paying for a sudden car expense or bill. But I have never asked for money from people to help me afford something. I’m just not sure how I feel about the personal profit portion of that. And it turns out that I’m not alone. I posted this question to Facebook a while back and got a myriad of responses. I would like to share those with you below and perhaps get your own brain percolating on this new part of being a professional dancer. Is it OK to fundraise for your bellydance?
I know that with the advent of Patreon and Kickstarter we are a lot more likely to put things online to raise funds. Sometimes it is for a service. I know of photographers who use Patreon and allow exclusive access to photo sets or to tutorials for a fee. But in that instance I do not see it as fundraising. If you just straight up say, give me money because I want to buy a costume, I guess if someone wants to give it to you, that’s fine but it makes me cringe a little bit. I’m not alone in my feeling that it is a little tacky when I surveyed dancers online. Most were Ok with it being done if there was an exchange involved like getting a cool gift for your donation- maybe not the exact monetary match but at least something in return. I was also informed by commenters on my post that this is the norm is some communities- to fundraise to get money for personal dance growth and trips. Which again, if those attending the show know about it and are in fact, getting a show out of it then why does it matter where the money goes after?
Apparently this is also occurring not just in the bellydance community: “As you know I’m not in the belly dance community, but as someone in marketing and fundraising, there has been an incredible uptick in crowdfunding for nearly any reason in the last one to two years. From a costume to a trip to surgery, individual appeals have multiplied exponentially. I think for a younger cohort, it’s seen as completely acceptable to ask on those platforms.” The more comments I have gotten the more I saw that it wasn’t just in one community. And perhaps the above quote is correct, it might be a generational thing. It has become more socially acceptable.
Perhaps I am just old school in thinking, why not work for it? Add another income stream, more classes to your roster, take on another job. I know that that may not be realistic for a lot of people but it’s the way I was raised. You do not ask anyone, you get it done yourself, even if by sheer will! And as we are a luxury item, the image of luxury is something that I think is good to continue to put out there. But maybe I am on the opposite side of things now, society’s values and rules are changing to a different perspective. In school we did fundraisers for trips and for dance tickets but for some reason for me this is not the same.
This is definitely an opinion piece if there ever was one, so if you agree, disagree, feel free to post in the comment section below. I want my posts to foster active discussion and I enjoy hearing all kinds of viewpoints. So let me know what you think about bellydance and fundraising.