I don't like standard crowdfunding sites for much that reason. Patreon is targeted at artists, writers, musicians etc. The idea is not to ask for donations, it is to ask for patronage, something for something. Additionally I would point out a couple of points worth considering:
48 is old to be breaking in the pop, or any music scene, though far from impossible. Ask Seasick Steve. Not a huge international star but he has a viable career from it. He isn't alone. That aside, people can make livings from good music... as long as they have a realistic expectation, surely that is the key? Making sure people have a realistic expectation. Take me, I am 50, I plan to release an album. I am under no illusions that fame awaits, indeed I would not welcome you for it. My goal is to make good music and to make enough money from the album, gigs and other income related to my music so that my music pays for itself and enables the next album to be recorded in a better studio, for me to play better venues. That said, were my dream to be on a national stage, releasing music... why not? If my music is good enough and I am innovative enough in my marketing I see no reason why I wouldn't attract an audience big enough for me to make a modest living from it. True, there are uncertainties, but aiming to make enough to live on depends on a lot of hard work, being prepared to fail, a lot, and making contacts that believe in you... amongst other things.
Is it likely I could become a top line star? No. Very, very unlikely... even if I was not 50.
Yet again I can't rip someone down for wanting to aim that high. I would try and make sure they had the tools to maximise their chances on one hand and the sure fire knowledge that they have a better chance of winning the lottery. Much less chance without said knowledge.
it doesn't make me the purveyor of dreams, but I like to think that I am honest from an informed perspective. I don't sugar coat things, but neither am I a defeatist.
One other aspect of the teenager abuse of crowdfunding asking for donations... going beyond the something for something perspective.... artists working on decent ethics ask for money upfront, a type of presales. Pay me a reduced up front cost and I will send you a signed CD and a bunch of other stuff, do a Skype gig, even a living room gig, a ton of other stuff... it is work, just like any other.
Songstuff accepts donations, but believe me, it isn't money for nothing. Far, far from it. We don't use crowdfunding as such. Will people judge Songstuff because of it? Some yes. But we were taken for granted by many for a long time despite being free, despite never pushing for a donation until very recently.
You are of course right Jenn, some people do abuse the system, some do want something for nothing, some do take the money and run, but I hope people can tell the difference, people can judge what is worthy.
I remember years ago someone selling a used polythene bag on eBay. It sold. It was pathetic. Many were convinced the end of the world was nigh, or at least the end of eBay was foretold. Yet eBay is alive and well and being used by many buyers and sellers.
So in one way you are right, people will stop funding lazy people, but if you work hard, are seen to work hard and more than earn your donations through graft and delivering value, then just like Songstuff, people will want to support you.