About GoFundMe

By HighYa Staff

GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform that allows users to raise money for a wide variety of personal causes, including medical bills, special events, and even for animals and pets. According to the company’s website, they’ve helped millions of people raise more than $5 billion over the past several years.

Founded in 2010 and based out of San Diego, CA, the company has been featured on CNN, Forbes, New York Times, and TIME, and held an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, based on 115 closed complaints (as of 4/10/18).

Combined with feedback from sites like BestCompany.com, it appears GoFundMe has a relatively positive online reputation, with common compliments citing ease of use, helpful support, and the platform’s ability to help people in need. What relatively few complaints there were referenced high fees and less-than-stellar customer service.

How GoFundMe Works

Similar to Kickstarter and Indiegogo, GoFundMe is an online crowdfunding destination that helps you raise money for something in which you strongly believe.

In fact, when compared to their competition, GoFundMe allows you to raise money for almost anything you want—including school tuition, medical bills, business ideas, travel expenses, even for animals and pets—as long as it’s not illegal and doesn’t contain inappropriate content.

The company states that getting your personal crowdfunding campaign underway takes less than a minute, and there are no required deadlines or time limits. Depending on the type of campaign you choose, you can even keep all of your donations, even if you don’t reach your ultimate goal.

From start to finish, the GoFundMe process entails four primary steps:

  • Create your GoFundMe site.
  • Share your site with friends and family, invite contacts, and post to social media sites to garner traffic.
  • Collect online donations.
  • Track results.

GoFundMe Pricing and Support

GoFundMe recently removed their five percent fee for all US, UK, and Canadian personal campaigns, although this fee still exists for certified charity campaigns.

Keep in mind that according to their Pricing and Fees page, though, even free personal campaigns will still be charged a 2.9 percent payment processing fee, along with a $0.30 fee that is assessed per donation.

As perhaps an overly simplistic example, if your campaign raised $1,000 among 20 contributions, you’d pay $29 in processing fees, and another $6 in donation fees, allowing you to keep a total of $965. Remember that this figure will vary depending on the total number of donations and their size.

The GoFundMe Guarantee “ensures that donations are protected if campaign funds are not delivered to the intended beneficiary or donors are misled by a campaign organizer or beneficiary.” If not, they could reimburse donors up to $1,000, each.

In addition, refund requests are honored if the campaign’s funds are available (i.e., the user hasn’t withdrawn them). If they have been withdrawn, a company representative advised they’re still often honored, “but [the] process is longer and requires us working with the user who withdrew” them.

When you’re ready to withdraw your money, simply provide your bank account information, and your money will be deposited within 2-5 business days. Alternately, GoFundMe can send U.S. users a paper check, though this will typically take 7-10 business days.

If necessary, you can reach customer service by filling out a contact form on their website, to which the company promises to deliver “24/7 rapid response” (in most cases, within 15-30 minutes).

Pros:

  • Has helped individuals raise more than $5 billion in funding.
  • Completely free to start and run a campaign.
  • Campaign topics are completely open, as long as they’re not promoting anything illegal, or contain inappropriate content.
  • You get to keep your donations, even if you don’t reach your monetary goal. Also, withdraw funds from your campaign whenever you wish.
  • Customer support appears to be very active.
  • Mostly positive online customer feedback.

Cons:

  • Technically free for personal campaigns in the US, UK, and Canada, although a payment processing fee applies, along with an additional $0.30 fee for each donation made.

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Read 897 GoFundMe Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 4.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 686 4 star: 72 3 star: 7 2 star: 19 1 star:  113
Bottom Line: 84% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 897
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  • Editor’s Note: It is our understanding that this company has been asking its customers to leave feedback on HighYa. We assure you that each of these reviews has still been subjected to the same verification & vetting process that all submitted reviews go through. Learn More Here
  • 15 out 49 people found this review helpful

    Ridiculous

    • Jul 21, 2014

    I am all for animals because I have many myself but it's sad that people would rather donate more to animals than to people with college needs and medical needs.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 28, 2014

      LC,

      Well, people donate to what they want. GoFundMe is more about your social network helping you raise money for a cause. So, if you don't have a strong following on Facebook, it seems not to work so well. I do not have a zillion friends on Facebook, but other friends do, so I'd hoped they would share the page on their timeline. It is up to them to share, but it is up to me to promote the campaign. I for one am more likely to help an animal in need than a person who needs their college paid for. For one thing, the animal people aren't asking for $30,000, they might be asking for $3,000 to pay a veterinary bill.

    • Feb 8, 2015

      Anonymous,

      ANIMALS can not get money on their own! You want money for college? Get a student loan!

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  • 20 out 24 people found this review helpful

    Go Fund Me Fraud

    • Aug 4, 2014

    Go Fund Me does appear to fund legitimate and deserving causes, but we found one that is making fraudulent claims in order to make money. We have notified Go Fund Me twice so far. Each time they promised a quick response, but that has been the last we ever heard from them. It is not possible to call them or talk to a human being as no contact information is provided. They appear to be more interested in collecting fees than protecting folks who have been scammed and others who might be scammed.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 10, 2018

      Yanique S.

      GoFundMe is a free platform. I always got answers within a few hours max, from a real person about money, site, personal matters, you name it, they are polite and helpful. I wonder what happened to you to get you so wound? It is not my experience, and I contacted them at least 20 times. I'm not one to post everywhere, but I'm telling you, if you want to point at fraud in this business, go after the ones that charge fees first, no? Do your research before hurting a service.

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  • 20 out 27 people found this review helpful

    I was totally scammed!

    • Denver, CO,
    • Aug 4, 2014

    No one's fault but my own - I own my mistake and gullibility. It's too easy to set up a page for donations and I will NEVER trust this site again. There are no checks by Gofundme.com to verify legitimacy of person seeking donations. It seems you collect your percentage and it's all "buyer (or donor) beware." The offender took her page down so I cannot contact her. Stupid me! Verify and research this cause yourself before you donate anything.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 10, 2018

      Yanique S.

      There is a check in place to verify. I, for one, had to verify who I was using my passport before I could get money. The security in place was going to donate back the check right way from donation number one, within a short period, if I did not verify my person correctly. I wonder what happened to you, but it does not seem at all like the regular experience.

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  • 20 out 24 people found this review helpful

    People with multiple accounts

    • Sudbury, Ontario, Canada ,
    • Jul 6, 2015

    I understand that people need help, I get that. So set up a Go Fund Me page.

    The WARNING is if people have more than one fundraising page - like I found out with Cherokee Billie.

    She is running concurrent pages begging for me but claims she is getting an income from different sites.

    Frauds like this Cherokee Billie really burn me because it's double dipping and I felt she made me feel sorry for her when she really is a scammer and a fraud.

    So beware of profiles like Cherokee Billie. I'm just really upset I got duped when I could have donated money to someone who follows the rules and only has one fundraising page and is therefore not greedy.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Oct 13, 2014

      Holly Fagrossa,

      I was thinking about this also after I posted one for help for me and my family today. I noticed some similar accounts that I felt was someone trying to double dip or just didn't seem truthful. It's a dam shame that people like that ruin it for the ones who desperately need the help.

    • Aug 10, 2018

      Yanique S.

      It goes to show three things. Yes, some people are terrible and ruin it for others, but also that they are easy to spot and an average person can. Also, it's the people, not the websites that are to blame. I spoke to GoFundMe about having multiple pages in different languages. The first answer: You can, and if you're afraid of passing for fraud, start by telling people this is a single goal but written on separate pages for the user's sake. (A long message with one language after the other would throw people off, too long, and "why is my language the last one" etc.)

      It's good to spot and tell about frauds, let's not put everyone, not the site, in the same bag. I assure you it's easy to reimburse a disgruntled donor.

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  • 27 out 31 people found this review helpful

    GoFundMe needs to drop the bums and liars

    • New York,
    • Jul 6, 2015

    They need to weed out the bottom-feeders and parasites that lie, cheat, and double-dip. Only fund legitimate causes and people, folks.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 24, 2014

      Jen,

      Like Jahi Mcmath mother, perfect example of a bottom feeder. Needed $20,000 to move her dead daughter to a long care facility, then continued to keep taking in more money from people. Jahi is dead yet she keeps the site open.

    • Oct 4, 2014

      Jess,

      Hi Jen,

      I'm really curious about Jahi Mcmath and wanted to see if it is still going on. I couldn't find the name on the go fund me website. Do you have a link I could check out?

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  • 20 out 23 people found this review helpful

    GoFundMe Fraud.

    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Jul 7, 2015

    I've reported a woman who's raising $5000 for vet bills (but she has no animals). Last time it was a car to help her transport these animals. She claims to have an animal sanctuary and GFM is just one of her scams. I got one reply promising to look into it and then nothing. They're conducting fraud.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 21 out 25 people found this review helpful

    Too easy to be greedy and take advantage

    • Maryland,
    • Jul 7, 2015

    My friend created a GFM for the reforming of her cat and told me she only needed a certain amount. When the money started rolling in and she reached her goal, she refused to close the page. Our friendship suffered because I felt she was taking advantage of people's goodwill. She figured since she would get as much as she could out of it. I'm sure there are honest, moral people out there that really need help but I find the system too easy to get a quick buck with no work.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 28 out 31 people found this review helpful

    Easy Way for Liars to Get Money.

    • New York,
    • Jul 7, 2015

    Fight For Justice by Karen Ann Young is a great example of how this site fails. I personally know this person and if her lips are moving, it's a lie. Several people reported her to Go Fund Me. We always receive the usual email stating that they will look into it, but that's as far as it goes. They are making money off others, so why should they care if the story is real or not. Karen has never worked a day in her life and she did go through college on taxpayers money. She never did anything but sit home and collect assistance. She has had up to 9 dogs at a time and goes on forums to seek help for vet bills. She has a police record for stealing and resisting arrest. She is a scammer, but writes a good story and people fall for it. Hence, she is making money off other's trust and kindness, not knowing her stories are lies. The fact that Go Fund Me refuses to look into the truth says that they don't care as long as the money comes rolling in. Shame on Karen and shame on Go Fund Me!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Feb 11, 2015

      Mitch,

      I am shocked that there is no quality assurance to verify the claims of the people asking for money. I would suggest that the person setting up the web page be required to submit a copy of their driver's license (or Passport or other government ID) and have some kind of background check done on them before posting their web site up. This is like the websites that allow illegal activities to be posted (like Silk Road) and claim ignorance to any illegal or untrue claims by their customers. If this involves sending money across state lines, perhaps the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) should be alerted to these problems. Just my suggestion.

    • Apr 15, 2015

      Heather

      Give me a break Mitch and Diane! First of all, do you really think anyone is going to spend all that money to do background checks? The majority of citizens have been arrested at some point as well. Does that mean that we should not be able to have a fundraiser?! Agree that there are more than likely many scams on this site. I have seen some myself. But honestly, I believe is up to us, as donators, to verify the stories and fundraisers. Just saying. The site makes money whether it is real or not. Why would they care? This is a fundraising site, not A Church donation service/campaign or anything of the sort. The world sucks and so do the people in it sometimes. We need to just try and do what we know and feel is right and understand that karma will get these people in the end!

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  • 25 out 28 people found this review helpful

    Rich girl asking for money

    • Jersey City,
    • Oct 15, 2014

    While there may be real causes on this site, there are more scams. Rich people looking for money. There is one right now out of Jersey City right now. She is rich, her parents are rich, they have property in Florida and NJ, have boats, Mercedes Benz car, new trucks, jet-skis, and continue to travel around the world while asking for money. They receive a pension of over $70,000 a year. They are on this site claiming to have no money for medical expenses. BE AWARE!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Feb 26, 2015

      Amanda,

      What a stupid comment. How do you justify giving the website a bad rating because you believe one person is running a scam. Get a grip you.

    • Aug 10, 2018

      Yanique S.

      You DO have to submit your passport. It's just that it does not come until you get a donation. Before giving you the money, they prove for the passport, with a time limit. If one does not comply, the donor is reimbursed automatically. And like someone just said, don't attack the website, it's the individuals who lie, and they'd be anywhere else even large non-profits that have government accreditation scam. They are worse, I could cite multiple court cases that I know in Canada and the USA. GoFundMe has a bunch of features to help you with trust issues; for example, a person can leave an email address to reach personally. If this helps you, look for it. Either ask them questions or even don't donate to those who don't let people question or comment on their campaigns. The more open, the more real I guess. If you'd ask me, I would upload my actual bills, my diagnoses papers, just a few pointers. People like me, in REAL need, should not be victims of the others. I wish you'd found me first!

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  • 27 out 34 people found this review helpful

    The Ethics of some people

    • Falcon Heights, MN,
    • Aug 4, 2015

    I understand how some of the people on the GoFundMe site may really need the money for a benefit or loss. But I see lot of people on this site do it for selfish reasons and untrue reasons. Doesn't GoFundMe research the people who are posting? As an example: There is a Mother Kelliee Jo Nelson who is asking for money to go back to school at the age of 40 and using her daughters picture when she was in the hospital. Her daughter is fine now. A great kid with no problems, plus this mother kicked her daughter out of her home over two years ago. Its disgusting to see a mother trying to profit over her daughter. And it doesn't make GoFundMe a place of good.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Oct 30, 2014

      Kelliee Nelson,

      Dear Pamela.., I mean "Jill",

      Your post was brought to my attention by my daughter and after reading it and seeing her reaction to it I feel that there are clearly a few things that need to be addressed.

      Do you know me? Or my daughter? No. What gives you the right to judge either of our characters when you have no idea anything about us?

      1. I'm not, nor would I ever consider using my daughter to gain a profit. That's such an ugly, ludicrous,and obviously unwarranted accusation that I find it difficult to validate out with a response. That being said, I'm so very sorry that you feel differently than the 750,000 + people worldwide who have shared our story, the cast and producers of the show The Doctors, along with our many friends and family members. Forgive me if I don't feel that you're opinion is relevant.

      2. Perhaps you missed the entire category of people asking for help with tuition for various personal reasons. I didn't come up with the idea, in fact I saw it on the news. I guess that would mean that entire category of people are selfish?

      3. The reason (not that you deserve an explanation) that my daughter's picture is shown is because the near fatal tragedy that we experienced last March has motivated me to want to make a difference where I can. My intention is to become a chemical dependency counselor, and to focus my attention towards teens specifically. Obviously because my daughter is my inspiration it would make sense to share our experience when asking for donations, don't you think? It would certainly be different if I were posting her picture because I wanted to be a cosmetologist.

      4. My daughter did survive. We are extremely that she did. Not many kids in her situation do. Also a motivating factor for me.

      5. I DID NOT kick my daughter out of my house two years ago. She ELECTED to move in with her father ELEVEN MONTHS ago because she didn't like having to live with my rules and he is much more lenient. And three months after moving look what happened. But that's neither here not there.

      6. If you knew my daughter you'd know that she's as proud of me and this decision I've made as I am of her. She's happy that her mother wants to take steps to better herself and ultimately educate parents and their children how to prevent,avoid, and overcome chemical dependency.

      In closing, before you make an attempt to publicly humiliate someone I'd suggest making sure you have your facts straight. Most people find that helpful when expressing an educated point of view.

      If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact me directly.

      Thanks.

    • Oct 30, 2014

      Stephanie,

      Did you even take the time to read what her GoFundMe was about? Clearly not.

    • Nov 3, 2014

      Pete Stanton,

      It still seems somewhat self-serving to me to show a picture of a sick child in an attempt to gain money for oneself. Even if the claimed motive is to become "chemical dependency counselor". I think I will pass.

    • Nov 17, 2014

      Kitty,

      I feel like what people choose to ask for money for is hardly the fault of the company, though. They claim to fame seems to be that you can put whatever up there and try to get money for it, and not everyone is going to try that for the right reasons. People are fallible. I don't feel like that should garner the company a bad review: they're just providing a platform, not promoting any of their users.

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  • 20 out 23 people found this review helpful

    Continue to Give is way better then GoFundMe

    • Jun 8, 2015

    Continue to Give offers more then GoFundMe. It's so frustrating that GoFundMe charges so much! Some fundraisers are legit and they really need the money! Continue to Give offered my fundraiser more then just online giving. I could setup different projects, have a text to donate and QR code, accept donation on my blog and Facebook page, and have a kiosk for a fundraising event! The best part? I didn't pay all those fees! GFM will never get my business but CTG will!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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