Go Fund Me Revolutionizes Fundraising

By Paul B. Johnson The High Point Enterprise, N.C.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) GoFundMe has allowed individuals and groups seeking money for a cause to have an instantaneous and broad reach through social media. The organization, based in Redwood City, California, bills itself as "changing the way the world gives."

HIGH POINT

When the owners and employees of Spiro's Family Restaurant needed help after a devastating accidental fire, they turned to an online resource that's transformed the way people seek help in a crisis.

The family-owned south High Point restaurant, now closed because of a kitchen blaze Dec. 15, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for employees who were suddenly without a paycheck during the holidays.

As of Friday afternoon, the page -- www.gofundme/spiros-family-restaurant -- had raised nearly $1,800 for about 30 employees.

Restaurant owner Spiro Turnas told The High Point Enterprise last week that he hopes to reopen the eatery at the same location in the first half of next year. Turnas wants to build a bigger restaurant on Coltrane Avenue at S. Main Street to replace the building gutted by fire that can't be salvaged.

The GoFundMe page for Spiro's symbolizes the revolution in fundraising for causes, either personal or communitywide, brought on by the website established six years ago.

In North Carolina, people and groups seeking donations have launched 93,000 GoFundMe pages, raising more than $74.4 million from 1.2 million total donations, according to a report released this month by the organization.

In the High Point-Greensboro-Winston-Salem metropolitan area, 15,000 campaigns have raised $9.7 million through 161,000 donations, GoFundMe reports.

"Whether it's a young entrepreneur, a teacher raising money for student activities or a member of the community who has fallen on tough times, people in North Carolina always step up to help," said organization CEO Rob Solomon.

GoFundMe has allowed individuals and groups seeking money for a cause to have an instantaneous and broad reach through social media. The organization, based in Redwood City, California, bills itself as "changing the way the world gives."

GoFundMe pages are set up on the organization's website. The person or group seeking donations establishes a page to request donations online. GoFundMe pays for the service through fees.

"GoFundMe will deduct a 5 percent fee from each donation that you receive. A small processing fee of about 3 percent also will be deducted from each donation," according to the organization's website.

There are a little more than 1,000 GoFundMe pages listed when someone searches for campaigns in High Point through the website.

The campaigns range from helping secure money to cover medical expenses for children and adults to offsetting the costs associated with overseas Christian mission trips. Another popular pitch is for pet owners raising money for expensive treatments for their dogs, cats or even parrots.

Other local campaigns include restoring a barn to funding publication of first-time books. Perhaps most sobering -- some pages seek money to cover funeral expenses for cash-strapped families who lost a loved one.

Since its inception six years ago, GoFundMe reports that its users have raised more than $3 billion.

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