Go Fund Me, Please: Crowdsourcing for Bail as an Insufficient Surety

 In Notes

A “modern day bake sale with . . . fewer brownies.” This was an analogy used to describe the newfound use of crowdsourcing websites like GoFundMe.com (“Go Fund Me”) to obtain money for bail. While a bake sale or its equivalent may be an acceptable way to raise money for bail, the implications of crowdsourcing websites being used for this same purpose are troubling and the possibilities for abuse vast. Crowdsourcing, which has been defined as “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community,” has become an increasingly popular way to obtain money. There are many different websites that host crowdsourcing, such as Go Fund Me, LendingClub.com (“Lending Club”), Indiegogo.com (“Indiegogo”), Upstart.com, Kickstarter.com, and the list goes on. Some of these can be described as “personal fundraising” websites, while others are “peer-to-peer lending” websites. The uses of these websites range from donating to those affected by a natural disaster to helping finance the purchase of a home; however, use of these websites may not be appropriate in every situation. In the context of bail, crowdsourcing websites could easily be used to undermine and circumvent the rules prescribed for posting bail.

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