GoFundMe, the popular service for raising money for causes with some $5 billion raised to date, is expanding its platform to serve more community efforts: today the company is launching GoFundMe Team Fundraising, which lets groups of people collectively raise money for a single effort. The idea is that it will make it possible for schools, churches, sports teams, and other groups to set up fundraising campaigns on GoFundMe.
In many cases, groups have traditionally relied on people to use offline methods to raise money for a single cause, or if people have used digital platforms, harnessing those individual campaigns has not been straightforward.
The idea with GoFundMe’s team product is that the organization that is raising the money can create the main repository, and then link up individuals to that anchor so that they can collect contributions directly. Then those contributions can all feed into the main goal as they go along, and campaign leaders can run leaderboards to show how they are progressing. Early tests of the Team feature have included sports teams, school groups raising money for travel to an event; work teams raising for a cause; and local communities.
As with GoFundMe’s other fundraising options, there is no platform fee for starting or running a team campaign, as GoFundMe has now switched to a “tips” model. (There are still standard card processing fees.)
“Before, when a sports team, school club, professional organization or other group was looking to raise money together, the options were limited and could take a lot of time and resources in order to execute successfully,” said Rob Solomon, CEO of GoFundMe, in a statement. “With GoFundMe Team Fundraising, we’re introducing an easy social fundraising solution to maximize reach and success for groups.These new tools will also give our existing community another way to fundraise. Our goal is to make fundraising faster, easier and more efficient for anyone looking to raise money, whether an individual, nonprofit or team.”
The move to expand to a team option is somewhat overdue for GoFundMe: fundraising in groups either for something for that group, or for a cause supported by that group, is one of the more popular ways of driving and getting donations. GoFundMe has built a strong business around individuals starting campaigns for specific causes, so this, in a way, is part of a second wave of expansion for the company.
It’s not coming a moment too soon. GoFundMe is currently the market leader when it comes to fundraising platforms, but it is facing very strong competition in the form of Facebook. The social networking behemoth has been working hard to expand its own fundraising services (which also has a team element) as part of its strategy to highlight its role as a community builder and strengthener (and not just a place to get your entertainment and news fixes). A move today to build stronger bridges with non-profits — it launched Workplace for Good, a free tier of its Slack-competing enterprise product for publicly-focused organisations — will only strengthen its credibility with them.
And separate to that, Facebook is in the process of scoring a huge win for its team-based fundraising efforts at the moment, as three people (who all happen to be ex-Facebook employees) are using Facebook to raise money to support the families who are getting separated at the US/Mexico border. The campaign has gone viral and is now close to raising $10 million, originally aiming for a mere $1,500. Given GoFundMe’s extremely astute use of social media to help spread the word about its own campaigns, it will well understand the significance of that turn of events.
GoFundMe is also running several campaigns related to the wider effort to help these families.