Rugby star Israel Folau wants AU$3 million, Australian gangland widow Roberta Williams is asking for $50,000, while a heavily tattooed Instagram-famous couple are just after enough to cover the cost of their holiday.

For these high-profile figures and thousands of other GoFundMe users, the idea of saving up your pennies is too old fashioned.

It seems the modern way to get yourself out of a sticky financial situation is simply to ask the public for help, no matter the request.

Rugby star Israel Folau has asked for $3 million to fund his court battle with Rugby Australia just a month after his lucrative contract was torn up. Photo / GoFundMe.
Rugby star Israel Folau has asked for $3 million to fund his court battle with Rugby Australia just a month after his lucrative contract was torn up. Photo / GoFundMe.

Leading Australian psychologist Grant Brecht cites two main reasons people turn to GoFundMe when they are in need of a dollar.


One reason is obviously that they don't have to spend their own money, Dr Brecht told Daily Mail Australia.

"They can spend their own money on things they want to do and some of them have fairly demanding lifestyles, so to fund something like that can detract from this.

Folau told Sydney radio shock jock Alan Jones that he needed the money so that he could
Folau told Sydney radio shock jock Alan Jones that he needed the money so that he could "stand up for the word of God". Photo / GoFundMe.

"The other reason is to muster up social support.

"In the old days you'd have a petition and a lot of people think, 'if this goes to court, then the judge or magistrate is going to see that I have a lot of community support behind me'.

"I'm sure Israel Folau thinks he's up against a big governing body in Rugby Australia and their supporters like Qantas, but it's more than just the money ... it's more about saying 'look at all the support that's out there for me'."

Dr Brecht said the public was also increasingly generous over recent years, despite younger generations being labelled "selfish".

Whether the cause is a terminally ill child or a desperate multi-millionaire sports star, those seeking help on crowdfunding websites often find plenty of people willing to support them.

"Quite a few people just like to help others out, they see an opportunity and it makes them feel good, and they think: 'I'm a nice person because I'm doing this',"' Dr Brecht said.


"For others there's this whole idea of karma, that if I do something good something good will come back to me.

"Australia is a huge giving nation and despite the younger generations being seen as selfish, it seems that is increasing rather than decreasing and overall that is positive for society."

The are some of the big names who have turned to crowdfunding in their time of need.

Israel Folau: sacked Wallabies star - AU$3 million

Sacked Wallabies star Folau launched the online funding campaign on Thursday and wants supporters to chip in AU$3m to fund his legal fight with Rugby Australia.

Folau, 30, had his lucrative contract torn up by the sport's governing body in May in response to comments he made about homosexual people being destined for hell.

A devout Christian, Folau told Sydney radio shock jock Alan Jones - one of his fiercest supporters in recent months - his aim is to "stand up for the word of God".

However, his bid for public money divided opinions, with many claiming that as one of the country's top paid sportsmen he should be able to afford it himself.

But he's not the only high-profile GoFundMe page to cause a stir in recent weeks.

Catalin Onc & Elena Engelhardt, Instagram 'stars' - $16,000

The German lovers came under fire earlier this week after asking for AU$16,000 so they could fund their cycling holiday to Africa.

"It has now come to the point again where we must ask for money in order to continue doing what we do," Catalin wrote on their GoFundMe post.

But their request did not go down well with fans who slammed it as "ridiculous", with the pair eventually being forced to take down their Instagram this week.

So far the pair have received just under AU$1200 - well short of their target.

Roberta Williams, gangland widow and TV star -$50k

Last week Melbourne gangland widow Roberta Williams asked for $50,000 in donations to fund a new reality TV show about her and her children.

In an effort to attract money, Roberta has offered donors a personal phone call to any donation of $500 or more.

Dan Single, Australian fashion designer - $250k

Another figure to come under fire for asking for GoFundMe was fashion designer and one-time BRW Young Rich Lister, Dan Single.

Single and his former partner, model Bambi Northwood-Blyth, were renowned in Sydney's party scene for their lavish lifestyle.

But after the Ksubi founder fell 35 metres out of his Paris hotel window and shattered every bone from his waist down in 2017, Single tried to crowdfund $250,000 for his medical costs.

Single deleted his crowdfunding effort just days later, having raised less than $500 and being the target of many scathing posts.

"How come you can fund partying, drinking and overseas trips but not your own recovery?" one anonymous donor wrote.

"I'll give you $5 with the sole intent of telling you what an idiot everyone thinks you are."

Koby Abberton, Bra Boy and big wave surfer - $20k

Former Bra Boy surfer Koby Abberton also turned to crowdfunding following an overseas mishap last year, when his Bali beachside rental home partially burnt down.

Despite admitting to being at fault for the fire, Abberton asked the public for $20,000 to help rebuild the home.

He was criticised for not digging into his own pocket to fix the home, but the Bra Boy defended his actions.

"You don't burn someone's villa down and run to the airport but judging by some of your comments that's what you would rather me do," Abberton wrote.

Margarita Tomovska, aka 'Mercedes Mum' - $100k

Having first made headlines for allegedly leading police on a 10km high-speed car chase, Margarita Tomovska - better known as "Mercedes Mum" - asked the public for support last month.

The 27-year-old - who allegedly reached speeds of up to 200km/h in her $260,000 luxury car during the police chase - turned to GoFundMe claiming she could not find work and was "actually not a bad person".

Tomovska took particular aim at NSW Police anti-bikie Strike Force Raptor, claiming they had "something against her".

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I pull up in ‘Raris and shit 🎶💸

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"I created this GoFundMe to raise some support against the bulls**t they have done to me and everyone else ... it's about time we fight back!" she wrote.

But after almost three weeks Tomovska is nowhere near her $100,000 goal, with only $1200 being given to her cause - $1000 of which came from one person.