F.A.S.T. raises $37,000 on Australian crowdfunding site

The Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (F.A.S.T.) opposition party has collectively raised over WST$37,000 online via an Australian-based crowdfunding platform MyCause.

By 12 January a total of AUD$19,277 (WST$37,102.18) was donated to fundraising accounts associated with six separate F.A.S.T. connected fundraising ventures, for candidates and campaigns. 

A spokeswoman for MyCause, when contacted by the Samoa Observer, confirmed the existence of the accounts that are linked to the Samoan political party.

“We have multiple Samoan campaigns right now,” the spokeswoman for My Cause said. Donations are made by credit card, the staff member explained and anyone can create a fundraising campaign through the platform.

“They simply click start fundraising on our home page,” added the spokeswoman. “Anyone can create a campaign but we do not send funds to overseas accounts, only to Australian banks.”

She said MyCause does not take a percentage of the funds “but the beneficiary pays the bank fees.”

One of the accounts, established by the F.A.S.T. Political Party Supporters Group Australia in September 2020, has collected AU$8,100 (WST$15,372).

Fundraising was initiated online due to severe COVID-19 restrictions on large public gatherings in Australia, the MyCause supporters group explains. 

The F.A.S.T candidate for the Faleata 2 constituency, Faumuina Wayne Fong – whose account MyCause fundraising campaign is listed under the name Leatinuu Wayne Sooialo – has raised AU$8,067 ($15,310) on the platform since November last year. The candidate declined to comment on his online fundraising campaign.

There are four other fundraising campaigns for F.A.S.T candidates: Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster (Aana Alofi 4), Faalogo Chan K. Tong (Sagaga 2), Toomata Norah Siaki (Anoamaa 2) and Meafou Fata (Sagaga 2).

Candidates are not only asking for monetary assistance, some are also sharing the plans they have for their constituents if they win April’s general election. They also ask voters for their prayers.

Toeolesulusulu, who is running for the Aana Alofi 4 constituency, chose the “non-traditional e-platform” due to border closures and the ongoing state of emergency, he said in a statement uploaded on to the MyCause platform. His online fundraising campaign was launched in November 2020 and has collected AU$1,450 (WST1,983).

The MyCause account for Faalogo, the candidate for the Sagaga 2 seat in Parliament, was opened in November 2020 and has raised AU$460 (WST873). While the fundraising campaign for Toomata, which opened in December 2020, raised AU$100 (WST$189).

The decision by the Samoan candidates to use the MyCause online fundraising platform comes on the back of another candidate, To'omata Norah Siaki, opting for another crowdfunding platform GoFundMe.

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