GoFundMe.com has made a name for itself as a wildly successful platform for people to raise awareness virally and collect money for their personal causes, with $5 billion coming from 50 million donors since launching in 2010. More recently, it has been building out a wider presence working with charities.
It is making the latter more official today, with the launch of GoFundMe.org. And alongside this, it’s debuting a new way to donate to larger fundraising efforts by way of GoFundMe.org Causes, which lets people make donations that might go to one of many charities working to support a variety of general causes, initially covering six “evergreen” areas like animal rescue, K-12 classrooms and mental health.
GoFundMe says that the tax-deductible donations that people make on GoFundMe.org can be for individuals or certified charities also vetted by its Trust & Safety team. Those made towards wider causes will be disbursed to hundreds of verified fundraisers and charities related to the cause.
“Together with GoFundMe, we are expanding the benefits of social fundraising and continuing to support some of the most impactful needs within our community with tax-deductible donations,” said Yoshi Inoue, CEO of GoFundMe.org. Inoue had previously been legal counsel at GoFundMe, and previous to that had worked at The Life You Can Save, another organization that helps recommend charities for those who want to give but are not sure of what steps to take next.
GoFundMe.org is not exactly new: it is the new name for the Direct Impact Fund, which has been working with GoFundMe since 2017 — and before that, it also worked with CrowdRise, which GoFundMe acquired that year — to help pool funding for mass events like natural or man-made disasters, where it helped distribute what got raised to charities helping to address individuals’ needs. It’s an independent, registered 501(c)(3) public charity.
(CrowdRise today provides an enterprise solution for nonprofits.)
YouCaring, another acquisition GoFundMe has made in its consolidation push in the causes and charitable giving space, had also been a leading platform for larger charitable efforts. At one point, it had the distinction of running the largest fundraising campaign of any kind, on any platform, with JJ Watt’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund ($37 million raised). Having one platform for GoFundMe to collect for wider causes like this, which in itself is a charity, is a smart move.
The renaming and launch of the Causes element underscores two areas of development for GoFundMe.
First, it’s creating a more formal way for those who want to donate money to charity, but unaware of the best way to go about doing this, to have a more obvious channel for doing this, distinct from the personal causes that are on GoFundMe.
Second, it’s underscoring GoFundMe’s own hope that people do not associate it just with personal fundraising (sometimes with very questionable ends) but also with a wider spirit of giving, and giving back. That is something it has been working on for a while, for example when it partnered with former First Lady Michelle Obama on the Global Girls Alliance.
This is, therefore, more to the spirit of how people sometimes come to platforms like GoFundMe, even if it’s not always what they find there (as the majority of campaigns will be for individuals). That is something that Facebook had capitalised on with its own launch of fundraising options for nonprofits on its platform several years ago.
“We’re dedicated to bringing more people together to support causes they care about,” says Raquel Rozas, GoFundMe chief marketing officer. “By working with our nonprofit arm, GoFundMe.org, we’re providing people the opportunity to give to one topic they’re passionate about rather than having to pick just one fundraiser to support.”