How Viral Giving Fueled $3 Billion Raised on GoFundMe

It started with just one photo. Then Fidencio’s life was changed by a GoFundMe campaign.

I’m excited to announce that another billion dollars has been raised on GoFundMe, bringing us to more than $3 billion total raised on our social fundraising platform. That is an astounding amount of help given and help received — everyday people getting the assistance they need for their classrooms, their families, their favorite charities, their houses hit by storms, their community members in need.

One of the most thrilling trends to emerge since our last billion dollar milestone is the virality of our campaigns. I don’t just mean one campaign going viral — I mean people catching the giving spirit and being inspired to start campaigns to help other people all around the world.

I’m sure many of you have heard about Fidencio the Paleta Man, an 89-year-old resident of the Little Village neighborhood in Chicago. While Joel Cervantes Macias was driving to work, he saw Fidencio pushing his popsicle cart and was touched by this dignified man still hard at work. The rest is GoFundMe history: Joel snapped a photo, he and his friend started a campaign, and donors from more than 60 countries made it possible for Fidencio to finally retire.

But the amazing thing? It didn’t stop there. We started seeing campaigns pop up all over the country, directly inspired by what Joel did for Fidencio. Community members looking out for each other, seeing an opportunity to change the life of someone in need. And in a summer of dark news and depressing headlines, these simple acts of compassion and generosity were exactly what so many of us craved — an affirmation that people are good, that they want to help, and that we all have the power to change things.

We’ve also seen how one successful GoFundMe campaign can change the life both of the recipient and the person who organized it. Chauncy’s Chance is one such campaign. Like Joel and Fidencio, it was a chance encounter that led Matt White to start a campaign and then be utterly changed by what unfolded.

Matt met Chauncy Black when the teen approached him in a grocery store and offered to carry his bags in exchange for some donuts. The two ended up sharing a meal, and Matt started a GoFundMe campaign with the simple goal of getting Chauncy some new clothes and lawn care equipment to earn money. It turns out that Chauncy’s story wasn’t just moving to Matt — it touched the hearts of donors all over the country. More than $340,000 later, Chauncy and his mother moved into a new home, got much-needed health care, and a fresh start on life.

But Matt didn’t stop there — after seeing the depth of generosity in perfect strangers, he started another GoFundMe campaign, this time for “The Can Man.” Giving is contagious, and once Matt got the bug, he had to keep spreading empathy and helping others.

The team at GoFundMe is more inspired than ever to keep building upon the giving platform that helped Matt and Joel change the worlds of Chauncy and Fidencio. And with this milestone of $3 billion raised by our GoFundMe community of more than 25 million donors around the globe, we will make sure that anyone can become the next Matt or Joel—that anyone and everyone has the power to change their world, one cause at a time.