For nonprofits, fundraising is a must, and with the hundreds to thousands of fundraising options available for nonprofits, it can be challenging to determine which strategy or even which platform is best – Of these options, one of the most trusted and used platforms for online fundraising is GoFundMe.

Although any individual can set up and use crowdfunding for nearly any reason, nonprofits can also use GoFundMe’s to aid in fundraising. For nonprofits specifically, GoFundMe offers a number of benefits and tools to not only host fundraisers but maximize fundraising potential.

GoFundMe Explained

Since 2010, GoFundMe has been a platform for fundraising. To its credit, it has raised over $9 billion dollars for over 120 million donations to people, organizations, causes, business, nonprofits, and more. It serves as an online platform for social fundraising—otherwise referred to as crowdfunding. Like most fundraising, GoFundMe relies on reaching as many people as possible, but by providing individuals and organizations with the ability to fundraise securely online, GoFundMe campaigns can find great success. These campaigns are shareable and compatible with all major social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. From there, donors can be taken to GoFundMe’s website to learn more about a campaign and quickly and easily donate.

Digital Security

However, its ease-of-use and online shareability are not the only reasons people use GoFundMe for fundraising; one of the most notable is how secure and trusted the platform is. A Trust & Safety team is at work 24/7 to ensure the safety of donations and campaigns, and to protect users against potential fraud. GoFundMe even offers a donor protection guarantee; if a campaign does unfortunately turn out to be fraudulent, or if the donations are not used as intended, a donor can file a claim and potentially receive a refund. These factors make GoFundMe one of the safest and most trusted platforms for online fundraising. In fact, Craig Fugate, a former administrator for FEMA, praised GoFundMe’s security, stating, “The Trust and Safety Team inside GoFundMe works with key stakeholders, including government officials, to ensure that funds raised on the platform are verified and that they go to the cause for which the money is being raised.”

Additional Benefits

The benefits of GoFundMe do not stop at security and ease-of-use; they also include speed, tools, and customer service. The turnaround time with GoFundMe is quick, making donations available to the campaign creator sooner. For example, after Hurricane Harvey caused severe damage and flooding to Texas and Louisiana in August 2017, GoFundMe delivered over $27 million in donations to those affected within 30 days. However, speed is not the only useful factor with the platform. GoFundMe features a number of tools designed to maximize fundraising and improve donor and user experiences. But if anything goes wrong, the company offers 24/7 support through their Customer Happiness agents, who can offer guidance and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

GoFundMe for Nonprofits (a.k.a. GoFundMe Charity)

Although GoFundMe is available to anyone for nearly any cause, GoFundMe Charity specifically serves nonprofits, offering them numerous benefits. With GoFundMe Charity, there are two types of fundraising: the first is fundraising by individuals for nonprofits, using their own time, energy, and social network to generate donations for a nonprofit; the second is fundraising for nonprofits by nonprofits, not by unrelated individuals. GoFundMe Charity differs from the standard GoFundMe essentially by being more complex. The standard model is a simple, user-friendly way of raising money, typically with just one campaign; however, nonprofits are almost constantly fundraising. GoFundMe Charity – unlike the standard – gives nonprofits the tools to do so. It offers flexible campaigns based on the needs or branding of a nonprofit while also collecting data about supporters and the campaigns themselves to adapt and improve future fundraising efforts.

The Benefits of GoFundMe Charity

The Donate Button

Since GoFundMe Charity was created specifically for nonprofits, it offers a number of benefits that specifically aid in nonprofit fundraising; the first of which is the Donate Button. The Donate Button allows nonprofits to accept online donations with ease. It accepts donations from major credit card companies like Mastercard, Amex, Visa, and Discover. Unlike donate buttons from other fundraising solutions, GoFundMe Charity allows a nonprofit to create their own widgets, customize the gift frequency (one-time donations or recurring donations), customize the donation amounts, and add a custom logo and colors. It even allows for anonymous donations and donor comments. The Donate Button can be added to nearly any HTML website, or if a nonprofit uses WordPress for their website, GoFundMe Charity offers even more customizable options. Best of all, creating a custom donate button through GoFundMe Charity is free.

Fundraising Data Collection

Another benefit with GoFundMe Charity are the data insights. The platform tracks multiple variables and creates custom reports for nonprofits. These reports allow a nonprofit to track and manage donors, fundraisers, and every transaction that occurs. From them, a nonprofit can analyze their fundraising campaign’s performance while gathering data on donors, fundraising, and overall organization. They can be saved, scheduled to ensure consistent reporting, and sent out through email to be shared with the fundraising team or the board of directors. These reports can also be exported to Excel or in a .csv format to allow the data to be analyzed in other formats. However, not all donations a nonprofit receives are through online platforms, some are received offline, but with GoFundMe Charity, a nonprofit can create entirely comprehensive fundraising reports by adding in offline donation information. In doing so, GoFundMe Charity can act as a single system for recording donations.

Custom Campaigns

Fundraising is not a stringent, one-way system; it is complex and requires consistent consideration and reconsideration to create and run the best campaigns possible. With GoFundMe Charity, a nonprofit can run several different compelling campaigns. The platform offers powerful and appealing fundraising pages and microsites, which can be tailored to any need or audience. These pages or microsites are beneficial for email campaigns, giving days, recurring membership programs, or more urgent fundraising. The editing tool is user-friendly and intuitive, making it simple to create pleasing, responsive pages. Best of all, they can be updated as needed to continuously engage with donors.

The Cost of Using GoFundMe Charity

Like any fundraising service or platform, there are fees associated with using GoFundMe Charity. The platform offers two pricing models: free and flex. While the platform itself is free, including the previously mentioned fundraising tools, there are some costs to using it—even on the free model. When a donation is received, GoFundMe Charity processes it at a fee of 2.2% and $0.30 per donation. The difference between the free and flex model is in how that processing fee is paid. With the free model, the nonprofit covers the processing free; for example, if a nonprofit receives a donation of $100, they will actually receive $97.50, with the remaining $2.50 going to GoFundMe for processing the donation.

Under the flex model, the standard processing fee is the same, but there is an added platform fee of 3%. However, the flex model gives donors the option to cover processing fees themselves, ensuring that the nonprofit receives their full donation. In this scenario, if a nonprofit receives a $100 donation, they can expect to actually receive anywhere from $94.50 to $100—depending on whether or not the donor chooses to cover the fees. While the flex model gives a nonprofit the ability to receive fully donated amounts, it is only optional for donors to cover the fees, so there is a possibility that a nonprofit may pay more in processing fees on the flex plan than the free plan.

GoFundMe Can Help Any Nonprofit with Fundraising

Although GoFundMe is largely known as a platform for crowdfunding for individuals, the website and the company have evolved; GoFundMe Charity serves as a formidable and helpful solution for nonprofit fundraising. As a platform, it is easily shared across the Internet and social media, making for more potential donors, but it is also secure. The Trust & Safety Team are always hard at work ensuring that every donation goes where it is intended by donors, safely reaching those who need it. Despite charging a small processing fee for the service, GoFundMe is more than just affordable and offers quick turnaround time, getting funds where they need to be quickly. Beyond that, GoFundMe Charity offers several benefits for nonprofits specifically, including the ability to create custom donation buttons for websites, custom fundraising campaign pages, and tracking to provide nonprofits with all the information they need to maximize their fundraising potential. Overall, GoFundMe Charity is an inexpensive and comprehensive fundraising platform that any nonprofit can use effectively.

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By Richard Morris