Empowering People to Help People: Why I am Joining GoFundMe

Dan Pfeiffer
3 min readDec 10, 2015

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In late 2006, I found myself unexpectedly unemployed and looking for a job. That’s when I met Barack Obama who was starting to put together a team to launch an improbable run for the White House. There was so much that drew me to the Obama campaign — his charisma, the talented team he was building, the chord he had clearly struck in the country. But the main reason I moved my life to Chicago in the dead of winter to work for Barack Obama was because I believed deeply in his message that individuals working together can change their country. And it is that exact sentiment that has led me to join GoFundMe this week as the Vice President of Communications and Policy.

So why GoFundMe?

I first interacted with a GoFundMe campaign earlier this year when a good friend was dealing with a terrible health situation. A friend of his family started a campaign to help defray medical costs. Within just a few days, hundreds of people had come together and raised more than $40,000. What made it such a powerful experience was not that we were able to raise so much money so quickly, but the way GoFundMe brought us together as a community. It felt different than simply writing a check — giving was a communal experience.

Spend just a few minutes on the site and you can’t help but be moved by what is happening. There is an incredible variety of heartwarming campaigns started every single day, for countless noble causes: helping a family member get a life-saving medical procedure; pitching in for car repairs so that an elderly neighbor can get to work and make ends meet; contributing to a college fund to help a hopeful student realize their dreams. And when tragedy strikes as it did during the the recent earthquake in Nepal or the raging wildfires in California, the world comes together to show its support on GoFundMe.

Every one of the tens of thousands of campaigns that are created each day on GoFundMe is a powerful reminder of the inherent goodness of humanity, which is sometimes easy to forget in the midst of the rancorous political debates that often consumed Washington during my time in politics.

Ultimately, GoFundMe is all about using technology and social connections to empower people to help people. That empowerment is incredibly important. If you need help for some unexpected reason, you can easily and quickly ask for help from your community. If you see someone or something that needs help, you can take the initiative on your own to help. This can all happen instantly, efficiently, and transparently without waiting for large institutions to take notice.

GoFundMe is already having a big impact. In the past year more than a $1 billion dollars has been raised on GoFundMe from 16 million donors in 29 countries. But if we do our jobs right, GoFundMe has the potential to revolutionize giving not just in America but across the globe.

Despite all of its recent momentum, this is only the very beginning of the GoFundMe story. I could not be more excited to join this incredibly talented team to help write and tell the next chapters of this story so that we can build this business to empower tens of millions of people to come together to improve their communities.

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