After GoFundMe launched in 2010, it took five years for them to hit the $1 billion mark for gifts. Now the crowdfunding site just hit the $3 billion mark for total giving. They accrued their second billion in nine months, and the next billion after that in just seven months. That money was raised by a pool of more than 25 million donors, who are now contributing at a record pace to pop-up charitable causes.
The latest milestone included outpourings of cash for major disasters and tragedies: The Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, for instance, raised roughly $7.8 million, the distribution of which Fast Company has tracked carefully. Site users generated another $11 million for flooding victims in Louisiana.
But according to a post on Medium by CEO Rob Solomon, donors are using the site in new ways. Rather than contribute solely to stories associated with major headlines, they’re investigating who in their own community might deserve assistance. As Solomon puts it in his note: "Community members looking out for each other, seeing an opportunity to change the life of someone in need."
Campaigns that Solomon says have been successful include a random stranger’s ask of $3,000 for "Fidencio the paleta man," an 89-year-old Chicagoan who was still pushing a food cart, which netted almost $385,000. Another stranger started a $250 campaign dubbed "Chauncy’s Chance" to buy a lawnmower for an impoverished high school student willing to work, which raised more than $340,000. In some cases, posters who have success with one campaign go on to seek out others in need. Solomon explains that the creator of Chauncy’s Chance lead to another opportunity for a recipient dubbed "The Can Man," and so on.
Here's a heart warming video about Fidencio's experience:
While it’s tough to make an exact comparison, appear to be gaining about three times than those with traction less than a year ago. Other big earners include education-based fundraisers—college tuition campaigns alone are generating a combined $1.5 million monthly—and sports-related causes.
GoFundMe’s donor base obviously grew between the $2 and $3 billion mark; they were touting "more than 20 million" back then. Yet Solomon is giving partial credit to something larger. "And in a summer of dark news and depressing headlines, these simple acts of compassion and generosity were exactly what so many of us craved —an affirmation that people are good, that they want to help, and that we all have the power to change things," he adds.