GoFundMe best practices for 2021?
February 8, 2021 2:15 PM   Subscribe

I've been tasked with setting up a GoFundMe for a friend whose family has been hard hit by Covid. I've never done this before, and the last question I find on this site is from 2017, and didn't have many answers anyway. Have you done this before? What do I need to know?

It's just a classic 2020/21 situation: entire family down with Covid, with the primary breadwinner intubated in the ICU. Partner is home with the kids, and all of them are sick to one degree or another. Just awful. MealTrain-type help is covered, but we'd love to just be able to help them pay their bills, hence GoFundMe. The partner has agreed to this, and also understandably has zero bandwidth to deal with it, so another friend and I are going to set it up.

How do you set a monetary goal when they're literally "every dollar helps"? What else do I need to know? Is there something better than GoFundMe?

posted by BlahLaLa to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe check their area for Covid-19 help through their local government and/or other organizations? I know here in Cincinnati there's help through several charities and through the county.

As for GFM, you can set a goal amount but then you can also increase it if it looks like you're going to hit it but the donations keep rolling in.
posted by cooker girl at 2:27 PM on February 8, 2021

Yes, set up an amount as a goal that you can explain - 4 months of their household bills or whatever - and then increase it later if necessary.

You can set it up so they can withdraw the money themselves which is better than you handling it as an intermediary, even though you are still the organizer for the GFM.

Ask for the names and contact details of a few friends from different areas of their life who can help you think of places to post about it and people to reach out to. Figure out what their social networks are, aside from the obvious, and try to tap into those. My beneficiary worked part time at a skating rink and the hockey teams came through for her in a big way, for example. I didn't know those people but since one of the beliefs she suggested did know them, she was able to start the ball rolling in that community.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:30 PM on February 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

When figuring out the goal amount, be generous. I'd want to cover several months of mortgage/rent and household expenses and also take a good chunk out of the bill they'll get from the hospital, which if they're in the US, will be significant even with "good" insurance. ICU care can be around $1,000+ per day, after insurance has paid. You can always increase the amount, but start with a realistic number, even if you're doing a back of the napkin calculation. Be transparent about how you came to the number without getting too personal. Tell donors what costs you're trying to cover in broad strokes and remind people that part of everyone recovering well will be removing as much financial stress as possible from the equation. Also ask people to share even if they can't donate and also be clear that anything at all helps. Updates also help to revitalize a campaign that has slowed, so be prepared to do updates.
posted by quince at 5:39 PM on February 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Having just done a GFM account for my neighbor, here are a few things to remember as you go forward with this.

1) Not everyone is comfortable with GFM for various reasons. You might consider offering alternative ways to help. But mostly don't take it personally when people you know don't participate.

2) As the manager of the account your name and connection to this account will be publicly visable on Google searches.

3). You will need a bank account for the donations to be deposited into. It can be yours or theirs.

4) You will want to do updates to this account so the donors can see how their gifts have helped the family, and you will want to thank each donor (GFM makes this easy).

It's not an insignificant amount of work, but it's very satisfying in the end, when you can see that you were able to do something meaningful to help.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:40 AM on February 9, 2021

Response by poster: Just coming back to say that we'd hoped to raise $10k, but we raised more than $40k. The thing that drove donations was people sharing it on Facebook, and then to a much lesser extent, Twitter. We had a couple of big donations but also it was kind of amazing how small donations can really add up.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:01 AM on May 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

Wow! You did something amazing for these people! Thanks for the update and congratulations!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:16 PM on May 13, 2021

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