It is normal to have concerns about donating online, especially to someone you do not know. It is also common to see a GoFundMe created by someone inspired by a local figure or national news report. To help ease your concerns about your donation going to the right place, we put together these quick tips for you.
Get to know the campaign. GoFundMe encourages campaign organisers and beneficiaries to be transparent. After reading the campaign Story, you should be able to answer some, if not all, of these questions:
- Who is the campaign organiser?
- Who is the organiser raising money for?
- What is the relationship between the campaign organiser and beneficiary or benficiaries?
- How will the funds be spent?
- How will the funds be delivered to the beneficiary or beneficiaries?
If the funds are being raised for someone else, check for a beneficiary. Organisers who signed up in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Italy have the option to add a beneficiary to withdraw donations directly. If the organiser has added someone else to withdraw the funds, you will see "on behalf of ____" directly under the campaign organiser's name. If there is no beneficiary listed, the organiser may be withdrawing the funds directly or has yet to add a beneficiary. If you have any questions about the use of funds or if you are unable to connect the campaign organiser to the beneficiary, you should feel empowered to get in touch with the organiser by clicking on the envelope icon next to their name.
Is a Facebook account connected? You can tell if the campaign organiser has verified their Facebook account by looking for an image in the circle next to their name. If so, try searching for them on Facebook - social media is one way to confirm that the organiser and beneficiary are connected.
Research. It is always good practice to do research. For major news stories, you can fact check the basic campaign information through a simple Google search. Another good way to determine if something is “off” about a campaign is to conduct a reverse image search of the campaign image with Google. This will let you know if the image is original or copied from the internet.
Reach out. If you go through this list and are still unsure about the campaign, we strongly encourage you to contact the organiser directly by clicking on the envelope icon next to their name on the campaign.
If, after doing this, you feel that the campaign organiser and/or beneficiary are committing fraud or breaking the law, you can learn how to report a GoFundMe here.