It is normal to have concerns about donating online, especially to someone you don’t 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 organizers 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 organizer?
- Who is the organizer raising money for?
- What is the relationship between the campaign organizer 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. Organizers 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 organizer has added someone else to withdraw the funds, you’ll see "on behalf of ____" directly under the campaign organizer's name. If there is no beneficiary listed, the organizer 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 organizer to the beneficiary, you should feel empowered to reach out to the organizer by clicking on the envelope icon next to their name.
Is a Facebook connected? You can tell if the campaign organizer has verified their Facebook 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 organizer 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 organizer directly by clicking the envelope icon next to their name on the campaign.
If you feel that the campaign organizer and/or beneficiary is committing fraud or breaking the law after doing this, you can learn how to report a GoFundMe here.