Some who lost their homes or businesses in Superstorm Sandy have turned to crowd-funding websites to elicit a faster response than they might get from the government or traditional charities.
While Congress considers a $60 billion disaster aid package for the storm victims, hundreds of them have gotten quicker results by creating personalized fundraising campaigns on sites including GoFundMe, IndieGoGo and HelpersUnite.
These individual fundraising efforts have totaled a few million dollars, enough to show the funding model can work. GoFundMe leads the way with $1.3 million raised by about 320 individual campaigns from more than 14,000 donors.
Some charity watchdogs warn, though, that such sites could be ripe for abuse by people taking advantage of a tragedy.