GoFundMe is a great website. It is a crowdfunding fundraising site. GoFundMe was started in 2010 and over $290 Million dollars has been raised to date. GoFundMe is filled with financial requests from people who want help with tuition bills, to third party requests to help cover the expenses of a medical crisis or to bury a loved one. Some of the stories will make you cry and other requests will make you want to reach through the computer screen and strangle the person wanting $50k to have a lavish wedding in Hawaii. Looking past the obvious “idiots of the web,” there are an amazing amount of genuine requests from regular people in dire need.
How I found about GO Fund Me?
I think most people encounter the site for the first time because they saw it on their facebook page as a request for financial need from one of their social network friends. This is the most common way for people to get out the message. Some people find it uncomfortable asking for financial assistance and this takes some of the sting out of it. It also allows people that don’t want to or don’t have that flexibility in their budget to not participate and still save “face.”
How it works?
It’s a simple process. People sign up for a free account. They build a page with an easy to navigate dashboard that tells the story of what the financial request is all about. Once the page is built, they link it to their social media sites like Facebook or Google+. They can then Tweet the sites link and in general promote it with any tool at their disposal. That’s it. Now the money comes in and it will be available as it rolls in. Go waiting for a goal amount to be reached. When you withdraw the money it can be directly transferred to a bank account or a check request can be submitted. There is a 5-7 day processing period for either withdrawal.
What does it cost?
For the people donating, it costs nothing. For the hosts of the event, Go Fund Me does take 5% of each donation to run the overhead cost of maintaining servers and hiring employees. They also retain 3% when making a withdrawal, so 8% will come off the top. I do recommend if someone wants to make a large donation. Different arrangements should be made to avoid that 8% fee. The site is really about collecting the smaller amounts from many people. You will be surprised at how quick some $20 bills add up.
How long are the campaigns?
You set the duration of a campaign. You will continue to have a “live” page till you turn it off. Most people have a financial goal in mind and easily readable stats on how well, the campaign is doing in comparison to the goal. Most people never take down the page in testament to the generous donors. The actual goal will never come into play in a real world scenario. No matter the goal, every penny collected will go to the recipient of the campaign.
Does it have to be a public campaign?
It doesn’t have to be a public campaign and you don’t have to promote it on any social media site. You can build the page and hand out the link independently to whom you like. Keep in mind, Go Fund Me success happens when lots of people know about it. People you know and strangers can all be potential donors. So it is in your campaign’s interest to get the word out and keep the site public. There is nothing wrong to ask for a hand up when you need one legitimately.
Type of campaigns
There are many categories on the site and you have a wide range of what is socially acceptable and even what isn’t that is on the site. Some examples of some categories are:
- Accidents and Emergencies
- Babies, kids, and families
- Business and Entrepreneurs
- Celebrations and special events
- Community and Neighbors
- Medical, Illness and healing
- Funerals, Memorials and Tributes
Beware of the Net
Everyone should beware of course of con men. This isn’t Disney and there are a lot of predators with no morals in the world. So, do your due diligence before you donate. See, if there are links maybe showing an article on what the campaign is about. If the campaign is requesting money because a woman had a birth of 12 kids and she needs the assistance then I am sure there is some news about her. Don’t be gullible. Remember to check authenticity. There is nothing wrong with being guarded but don’t let that prevent you from being generous either.
Feels good giving someone a hand up
We need to remember our humanity. We need to be thankful for what we have and also remember some people have a real tough road in life. They may at times need the community to help them overcome a burden. Not everyone is financially solvent to handle every emergency that life throws at them. It is said, it takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community to support it’s needy. Give what you can and the smallest contribution is a more than welcomed and appreciated and as you hit the donate button, say a quick prayer that you or a love one won’t be building a Go Fund Me page in the future because of some unexpected life catastrophe.
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