Doom and gloom has an appeal because the downtrodden love the idea of everyone better off getting the short end of the deal. This is why religion sells the idea of an eternal punishment for "everyone except you."
Other notions are the "end of the world" predictions, which scam billions on fools who would rather have quick and easy revenge than work to improve their lot. By knowing of an impending disaster they believe that they can somehow escape the worst of it and watch their evil enemies suffer horrible fates.
Let's pretend that just one such event will happen, consider the number of children who would suffer this "horrible fate" for just a moment, then ask if you really want that to happen. Would you still tame your easy way out, or want to stick around to at least try to help the children who suffer?
Think about it, the world is ending anyway, so there is no hurry to move onto your reward since it is supposedly secure. Yes, you'll suffer from all that horrible stuff, but you'd be able to help thousands of people by doing that.
So would you take the leaders' easy ship or just go on with your life until you can help children who will inevitably suffer without you? If your leaders are so worried about saving people, why are they in such a hurry to leave?
Doctors have been known to risk their own lives in combat just to mend a broken bone. Parents have died in burning buildings to save their children.
Strangers have lost their lives pulling people from harm, freeing others from slavery, or protecting them from tyrants. Altruism is the term used for this, it is an effect of empathy, feeling their pain is worse than our own.
This is not an accident, but it is not divine. Altruism is the only reason our species survived, lacking in strength, natural weaponry, and advanced tools in our early stages.
It was the ability to work together, especially self sacrifice, that allowed us to survive until we developed advanced tools. Without altruism we would have failed, humanity would never have existed.
Cults, religions, that sell panic and quick escapes are simply showing us that selfishness is too popular, selfishness is an effect of a psychotic personality. These followers are lacking in empathy so severely that they are willing to pay money just to see others suffer from what they believe is a safe place.
But here's the flaw, if their leaders actually believed what they said they'd jot ask for so much money anyway. Ask how they'll spend all that money after the world is gone.
One thing to check, just for laughs, they choose dates that are just before major spending periods, like late September. Just after September is when all the major holidays arrive, at that point it would be silly to ask for money from anyone.
But from July to September people have almost nothing to spend money on, making them prime targets. Panic is easier to fuel if tomorrow is the last day of the world.