Chipping in without anyone seeing how much you chipped in
January 11, 2022 1:10 PM   Subscribe

I want to collect money from a group of friends to buy a gift for another member of the group. But the group of friends varies wildly on how much they can chip in, and we don't want any of the rest of us to feel bad about having chipped in either a lot more or a lot less than anyone else. Plus, we don't know what the final amount is going to be, as it depends on what everyone contributes. What platform or service best allows me to set this up?
posted by smoq to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I hate to say it, but a box with a hole in it seems pretty good. The ultimate in anonymity! Can you pass an envelope around the friend group? Is there a certain extremely loved member of the group who would be able to do any digital transfers without any judgement whatsoever, they can then cash those out for those who aren't local?

I'm sure there's higher tech answers you're looking for, but sometimes low-tech just works!
posted by aggyface at 1:24 PM on January 11, 2022 [3 favorites]

I was going to say the same thing as aggyface, but I was afraid I'd seem a Luddite! Seconding that cash and checks are still a thing.
posted by pangolin party at 1:27 PM on January 11, 2022

Be the one in charge of collecting and nobody will know how much you actually put in
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 1:32 PM on January 11, 2022 [3 favorites]

If one of you can be trusted not to tell anyone else, just have everyone PayPal/venmo that person. I have done this before and I've said "Send me what you think is fair, the gift is from everyone regardless of who contributed what."

The problem is, almost EVERYONE then asked me what they should contribute, so think of an amount in case you get asked.
posted by bondcliff at 1:34 PM on January 11, 2022 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: The friends are in remote locations, so passing around an envelope isn’t going to work. I suppose I could just ask everyone to PayPal me but I was hoping there was a more organized way of using technology to do it that I wasn’t familiar with.
posted by smoq at 1:44 PM on January 11, 2022

Do you have a sense of what kind of "organised" you're looking for that Paypal doesn't support? That's the norm for gift donation pots in my circles, usually with an agreement that the leftovers go on gift certificates or relevant charity donation.

PayPal supports anonymous donations, although it hides the name rather than hiding the amount.
posted by quacks like a duck at 1:52 PM on January 11, 2022

Response by poster: I suppose I was thinking of a sort of miniature, low-stakes GoFundMe, where people could contribute anonymously to a specified purpose. But instead of “I need to raise $2000 for my medical procedure” it’s more like “Chip in $25-150 for a gift for our Dungeon Master”. Either site could work, but neither would work perfectly, and I was hoping there was a site or method that was perfect that I just wasn’t familiar with.
posted by smoq at 2:01 PM on January 11, 2022

Best answer: CheddarUp is a service I've used in the past, it was easy & smooth.
posted by bleep at 2:05 PM on January 11, 2022

Ko-Fi might work for you?

You can set up a page for fundraising, they don't charge any fees, and the page will just say, "USER bought a Coffee for PAGE NAME."

The people donating would have to make their username anonymous enough for them and the admin would see how much the donations are.
posted by meemzi at 2:53 PM on January 11, 2022

Best answer: Don't over complicate it, just use PayPal Me or Venmo. I've done this before and I just send one email to everyone at the end saying "these are the amounts donated, the total is $X" Sharing the amounts (but not who donated) allows people to verify that at least the amount *they* donated is right and adds transparency in a system that is based on trust.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:54 PM on January 11, 2022 [6 favorites]

I'm on the PayPal/Venmo bandwagon, but Zelle would also work...if your bank takes it and if the donator's bank uses it. Maybe the solution is to offer every possibility, telling everyone, "Here are all the ways you can pay me" so everyone can choose the one they feel most comfortable with.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:06 PM on January 11, 2022

Nthing that unless you're doing this for more than like a dozen people, any service you find is likely to be more complicated to set up and use for a one-time thing than just telling people to send you the money directly and going from there. These services are generally tuned for recurring payments or handling payments from anyone and not just a small group.

If you're casting a wider net or think you might do this more often than once, I'd second the suggestion of Ko-Fi, as it's pretty easy to set up as I understand it. You'll be limited collecting in $3 increments on the free plan, but that seems unlikely to be that big of an issue, and anonymous donations are absolutely supported.
posted by Aleyn at 4:13 PM on January 11, 2022

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