Font Size » Large | SmallBy Andrea Johnson I am surprised by how many people are willing to donate to online crowd funding platforms like GoFundMe for people they know nothing about. A few months ago my husband and I saw a Facebook request to donate to an account for two young children who were currently being cared for by a relative in Iowa who was being “forced” to return them to their original home. Allegedly the children had previously lived in an abusive situation in another state, and there appeared to be differences of opinion as to which state had jurisdiction over the children. The account was set up so that other family members could “fight” to keep the children from having to return to their former situation. The post even caught the attention of a local television news station, so it appeared to be legitimate (even though the station failed to verify the story’s facts). The intentions of those involved were probably good, but my husband and I questioned the use and accountability of the funds raised. By the time the plea had gotten off the ground, we happened to know that the relative was already on the road returning the children to their original home (she did not want or intend to keep the children). The family members who were raising the funds had not taken any concrete measures to make other plans for the children or to stop their return. No legal counsel had been retained. I had questions which neither the Facebook plea nor the news story answered: Who would actually receive the money and how would they spend it? What accountability structure was in place to make sure the money actually benefited the children? To my knowledge several months later the couple raising the money has yet to retain any legal help for the children, who are back in their original home situation. We are left to simply assume the money raised is still sitting in an account somewhere, available for the kids’ future needs. I don’t fall easily for scams, but this situation made me even more guarded about donating money to so-called victims, especially online where it’s hard to verify facts. If the accusations about their abuse were valid these kids needed actual help, not pity and a donation. Simply throwing money at a “problem” may make the giver feel better, but often does very little to solve the problem. On the other hand, there are legitimate avenues for helping people such as Open Bible’s Mission Venture Plan, which operates under strict accountability guidelines. Open Bible uses MVP funds to place systems and people in strategic locations around the world to shelter, disciple, and educate people, to share with them the life-changing power of the Gospel. The stories in this issue will give you a glimpse of MVP’s impact. If we really want to help people, we will make every effort to see the Gospel shared around the world. Don’t fall for another scam.