Personal fundraising and crowdfunding with GoFundMe

Harnessing the power of social media is the key to personal fundraising and crowdfunding with GoFundMe. – GoFundMe is a fundraising platform that works on the behind-the-scenes details so you can focus on spreading the word to raise money for your cause. GoFundMe connects to Facebook and Twitter for easy sharing of updates with your followers.

Launched in 2010, GoFundMe has quickly become the top crowdfunding platform for personal causes and life events. The service is available in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK and in EU countries that use the Euro.

GoFundMe Crowdfunding

Image Credits: Becket Morgan

There are three different types of campaigns: Personal donation, charity fundraising and all-or-nothing crowdfunding. With personal donation campaigns you receive your money immediately, and there are no time limits or collection requirements. Your page will also continue to accept donations even after your goal is met. Charity fundraising campaigns will send dollars raised to your charity of choice via check on a monthly basis. The all-or-nothing crowdfunding option will be familiar to those who have used Kickstarter. With this option you can raise money toward a goal, but your supporters will only be charged if the goal is met.

To use the service, simply create your site, share it with friends, collect online donations and track your results. You automatically receive each donation in real time. Visitors donate on your secure page, with or without creating an account, using a debit or credit card. There are no limits to how much money you can raise using GoFundMe. Your campaigns will be visible to people you specifically share them with, but to be listed in the GoFundMe search directory you must connect your valid and authentic Facebook account, include a photo or video (not including clip art, graphics or logos) and your page must have raised at least $100 in online donations. Donors are encouraged to only contribute payments to GoFundMe users they personally know and trust. If a page contains the ‘Certified Charity’ graphic in the top right of the screen, the payments will be securely processed and delivered by FirstGiving to the designated charity.

Now the fine print 

GoFundMe automatically deducts a 5% fee from each donation you receive. Unlike some other sites, GoFundMe does not increase its fee if you fail to meet your goal. If you raise funds using Indiegogo and your campaign doesn’t reach its goal, the fee bumps from 4% up to 9%. In addition, WePay charges a fee of 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction – just like PayPal.  International customers will need to create a PayPal account to facilitate donations.

For charity donations, GoFundMe partners with FirstGiving, which deducts a 4.25% fee to process and deliver charity donation payments. Most donations on GoFundMe are considered personal gifts, which are not taxed as income in the US – but you should consult your tax professional for specific advice.

GoFundMe will release apps for Android and iOS very soon. These apps will allow users to easily create, share and update campaigns right from their device. All GoFundMe campaigns are currently optimized for viewing on mobile browsers.

Of the top three crowdfunding platforms – Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe – GoFundMe gives users the most freedom for the types of projects you can fund with the service. Hoping to raise funds to help pay medical bills? GoFundMe is the easiest way to make that happen. Want to crowdfund your way to buying a llama? You can do that, too – my friend Mary used this platform to crowdfund her llama purchase and had all the money she needed in three days.

If you have the friend and family support to achieve your goal, GoFundMe is an easy and straightforward way to make it happen.

Becket Morgan
Becket Morgan is a writer and non-profit professional based in central Vermont. Follow her on Twitter @becketmorgan or add her to your circles on Google+.
Becket Morgan
Tags: Business,Entrepreneurship
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