‘We are changing the way that people are giving’: GoFundMe CEO

GoFundMe logo.
GoFundMe logo. GoFundMe

According to Rob Solomon, CEO of GoFundMe, his company is changing the way that people are thinking about giving.

More than three billion dollars has been donated through the GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage since it was created in 2010.

Solomon believes the success of GoFundMe can be traced to two basic principles, “People want to give when people need help.”

And Solomon believes his platform democratizes the concept of organized giving. You used to have to be a non-profit to raise the type of money that is being raised on their platform. Now anyone can achieve that same level of successful fundraising.

However, GoFundMe was not an overnight success story.

“It took five years for the first billion dollars to be donated on the platform. Nine months after that we got to two billion and eight months after that we got to three billion.”

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How safe is it?

Solomon told Global News they have a number of measures in place to ensure campaigns are legitimate.

“One-tenth of one per cent of our campaigns have some kind of issue related to fraud or bad actors,” Solomon says, also pointing to the fact that GoFundMe has a guarantee that will protect anyone who does donate, up to one thousand dollars.

“People are smart, and they’ll donate to causes that really need the help.”

Solomon said there are ways to differentiate legitimate versus frivolous campaigns, including looking at who has donated to a particular cause.

“Whenever a campaign is started, the first people who give or the first people who see a campaign are those people who know something about the beneficiary, the person who’s going to receive the money.”

“So you’ll see causes that don’t really raise funds and those are the ones that may not be as worthy.”

How does GoFundMe affect traditional charities and not-for-profit groups?

“Many people will raise money on behalf of a (charity) and use our platform. We like to call it social fundraising versus crowd-funding.”

That approach allows more people to be exposed to a specific charity and often GoFundMe will see a viral aspect to those campaigns, as word can spread online without barriers.

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Solomon said platforms like his appeal to more than just millennials. He says these days few people respond to traditional solicitation methods like door-to-door fundraising or telemarketing.

Social fundraising campaigns through places like GoFundMe can also help a charities’ bottom line. According to Solomon, non-profit groups can spend anywhere from five to 30 per cent of their budget on fundraising.

GoFundMe today and tomorrow

Currently GoFundMe is used in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Canada is the second largest GoFundMe market in the world right now, behind the USA where it was created.

Globally Solomon said you’ll see hundreds of thousands of causes that get funded through GoFundMe each month, and over two million people donating to causes each month through GoFundMe.

GoFundMe plans to move into western Europe next with the company hoping to be set up in 25 to 30 countries by 2020.