aNewDomain.net — Launched in 2010, GoFundMe has quickly become the top crowdfunding platform for personal causes and life events. It is a service that works on behind-the-scenes details so you can focus on spreading the word to raise money for your endeavor. GoFundMe connects to Facebook and Twitter for easy sharing of updates with your followers and is available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the UK and in EU countries that use the Euro.
There are three different types of campaigns available: 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 conveniently send money to your charity of choice on a monthly basis via check. 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 follow the GoFundMe directions to create your site, share it with friends, collect online donations and track your results. You will automatically receive each donation in real time. Visitors donate on your secure page, with or without creating an account, using a credit or debit 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 five percent 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 up from four percent to nine percent. In addition, WePay charges a fee of 2.9 percent + $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 percent fee to process and deliver charity donation payments. Most donations on GoFundMe are considered personal gifts, which are not taxed as income in the U.S. — but you should consult a tax professional for specific advice.
GoFundMe will offer 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 available — Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe — GoFundMe gives users the most freedom for the types of projects they can fund with the service. Hoping to raise funds to help pay medical bills? GoFundMe is the easiest way to make it 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 is an aNewDomain.net contributor and non-profit professional based in central Vermont. She chronicles her adventures living in a 120-square foot tiny home at www.tinyhouseadventures.com. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @becketmoorby, +BecketMoorby on Google+ or www.facebook.com/tinyhouseadventures.