GoFundMe, Facebook help people raise cash for wants, needs

Brenda Lynn plays with her two-and-a-half year old son, Kaleo at Barber Park, on Friday. Brenda Lynn didn't have the $500 to buy her 3-year-old autistic son Kaleo an iPad to help him improve his speech. She turned to personal crowdfunding site GoFundMe, as well as Facebook, to raise the funding she needed from friends and strangers.
Brenda Lynn plays with her two-and-a-half year old son, Kaleo… (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda,…)

February 1, 2013|By Walter Pacheco, Orlando Sentinel
Brenda Lynn says her autistic 3-year-old son, Kaleo, hardly speaks, and his inability to express himself frustrates him — except when using his speech therapist’s iPad.

“The iPad really controlled the tantrums and helped him communicate. I tried to get him one, but I couldn’t afford it on my own,” said the unemployed 39-year-old Orlando mom. “I applied for grants, but I wasn’t lucky enough.”

So she turned to Facebook and GoFundMe.com, a so-called crowdfunding website that allows people to solicit cash for personal causes. She asked for $500 and raised $620 in 17 hours.

Crowdfunding sites such Kickstarter, Indiegogo and RocketHub have for years helped entrepreneurs start or expand businesses. Now, people increasingly are using similar sites and social media to raise money for their personal wants and needs.

Dozens of Orlando residents use GoFundMe, seeking things such as a $350 birthday trip to New York, a $2,800 religious mission to Malawi and a $10,000 fertility treatment.

Brad Damphousse, GoFundMe CEO, said users should not expect complete strangers to pay for their dreams.

“Rather, someone’s honeymoon will be funded by wedding guests in lieu of other gifts,” he said.

The most popular categories on GoFundMe, which Damphousse founded in 2010, are medical illness and healing; volunteer and service; and education, schools and learning.

He did not share the number of active campaigns on the site, saying only it has “hundreds of thousands of users.” Damphousse also would not disclose how many campaigns succeeded in raising their goals.

There are three types of accounts users can start on GoFundMe. A personal donations account sends the user funds as they start to roll in, and there is no deadline. A charity campaign forwards all donations to the specific charity on a monthly basis.

The “all or nothing” account is similar to those found on Kickstarter where supporters will only be charged if the campaign reaches its goal before the deadline.

Money raised is sent to a personal account created by the user, much like PayPal. That account charges users a 2.9 percent fee plus 30 cents for every donation. GoFundMe also deducts 5 percent for each donation before it hits the users’ accounts.

GoFundMe also lets users post their campaigns to social-media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

“Once I posted my campaign on Facebook, the donations started to come in,” Lynn said.

Others are going straight to their friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter seeking money.

Jovanny Bartoleo, a musician for an Orlando band, said he raised cash for an $1,100 guitar that he wanted for an upcoming tour. So he asked his “buds on Facebook” to chip in.

“I raised about $900 on Facebook, and my brother gave me the rest,” he said.

Not everyone is on board with this. Some Facebook users say they don’t want to see donation requests from their friends in their newsfeed.

“I think it’s just rude,” said 26-year-old Orlando waiter Tara Mathison. “It seems like something you ask friends in person, not all over the Internet.”

Lynn said she was reluctant to ask for money for Kaleo’s iPad on Facebook and GoFundMe, but donors’ responses settled her apprehensions.

“I was really overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity,” said Lynn, who recently bought the device for her son. “I don’t question others’ intentions. To each his own, but I would not have done this if it wasn’t for something necessary.”

wpacheco@tribune.com or 407-420-6262. Read his blog at orlandosentinel.com/techblog


CNNMoneyDorothy's fading red slippers saved by $300000 in crowdfundingCNNMoneyThe ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland in the beloved 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" are set to undergo a major conservation effort following a successful crowdfunding campaign. The Smithson [...]

hypebot.comAriel Hyatt On Crowdfunding, New Book [INTERVIEW]hypebot.comArielHyattBookcaseHiRes-1-672x372 In this interview Ariel Hyatt, founder and owner of Cyber PR offers her two cents on crowdfunding and success strategies, delving into personal experience as well as offering takea [...]

AZCentral.comTiny companies lure investors under Arizona crowdfunding lawAZCentral.comWes Harrington is the founder and chief executive officer of NewSleep, a mattress manufacturer. His company has benefited from Arizona's new crowdfunding law, which allows investors to invest mo [...]

newsBTCAirbitz Launches Equity Crowdfunding Campaign To Develop New ...newsBTCAirbitz is looking to raise a minimum of US$100k during this equity crowdfunding campaign. So far, just US$2200 has been pledged.Airbitz to Leverage US JOBS Act to Raise Funding for ExpansionBitcoinist.netal [...]

BloombergCouples Desperate For Children Turn to Crowdfunding FertilityBloombergCrowdfunding has become a popular mechanism for many couples who can't afford the high costs of IVF, or adoption and surrogacy. “It's not an easy thing to share publicly,” says Crystal Barrett, 33 [...]

MarketWatchWhy a crowdfunding site is giving out $10,000 scholarships ...MarketWatchIt's another indication that families are struggling with college costs.and more » [...]

Huffington PostReal Estate Crowdfunding's Pathway of ChangeHuffington Post“Crowdfunding is just the Internet,” stated Attorney Mark Roderick as he opened last month's RealCap Chicago. RealCap is an annual conference that joins crowdfunding leaders and innovators to propel th [...]

Business Wire (press release)BizWireTV Accelerator Report: AltSchool Looks to Reinvent ...Business Wire (press release)On the latest BizWireTV Accelerator Report, AltSchool enters the next phase of its mission: to enable all children to reach their full potential.and more » [...]

Crowdfund InsiderMassive Rule 147 Amendments May Be On The Horizon Impacting ...Crowdfund InsiderAlmost a year ago, the SEC proposed certain amendments to the current Rule 147 which were intended to help foster, and increase the viability of, Intrastat.and more » [...]

Mountain XpressFaces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initatives | Mountain XpressMountain XpressEach week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features a feature ...and more » [...]

CFB Finance

Press Release

CrowdFund Beat News

Hello @CrowdFundBeat's 17330 followers - thank you so much for following! Wishing you all a happy Monday! >> bit.ly/_want_this_free

Live Crowdfunding .tv

What's Next Step in Regulation A+ JOBS ACTS Title IIII :L Interview : Steve Cinelli with Brian Korn Securities and Crowdfunding/Peer-to-Peer Lending Lawyer, Watch more video library | Conference | Interview | Campaign Showcase | Research | Education |