Here to Help: GoFundMe Happiness Agents Share Tricks of the Trade
A behind-the-scenes look at the folks of GoFundMe’s customer service team
By Jenna Davis, GoFundMe Happiness Agent
Portraits by Meeshel Dotson, GoFundMe Happiness Agent
Armed with ergonomic keyboards and cans of Yerba Mate, Happiness Agents in San Diego and Dublin help anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 different customers via email on any given day — and they are laser-focused on doing it within five minutes flat while having a blast.
In between bouts of thunderous typing, there are hugs, sometimes tears, endless high fives, and even the soulful shaking of a rogue tambourine, depending on the day and occasion.
To join GoFundMe’s relentlessly dedicated customer service team, the average Happiness Agent has to go through at least four rounds of interviews and outshine roughly 350 other applicants. It’s no surprise they describe themselves as tenacious and fiercely compassionate.
We talked to Happiness Agents to get the inside scoop on their favorite kinds of campaigns, why they love clapping in the workplace, and what advice they have for campaign organizers.
What is the most unique part of being a Happiness Agent? Being a Happiness Agent at GoFundMe is kind of like experiencing the best rollercoaster ever created. It’s thrilling, engaging, joyful, scary, fast, uncomfortable, and memorable. We empathize with our customers’ hardships and joys. Then, once we’re done riding that life journey with them, we jump on another ride and embrace a new human story all over again.
Being a Happiness Agent at GoFundMe is kind of like experiencing the best rollercoaster ever created.
What is your favorite GoFundMe memory? The most incredible GoFundMe memory I’ve had was during the 2016 holiday season when some of our campaign organizers were invited to our company gathering. Each organizer shared their story with our team and many of us were in tears, applauding them for their courage and bravery. That night will always be cherished, as it truly embodies the reason why our work matters in this world and why we love it so much.
What is the most special experience you’ve had as a Customer Success Agent? My heart was broken when my old dog passed away. A week after it happened, I worked with a campaign organizer named Kathryn who had rescued a blind dog named Holden. She recently noticed that he had a paralyzed larynx, making it difficult for him to breathe and do all the fun, outdoorsy activities he was used to doing. We instantly bonded. I did my absolute best to make sure her campaign looked truly amazing as well as encourage her to not be afraid to share her story.
What do you think makes a campaign successful? Persistence. Campaign organizers who share their GoFundMe on a daily basis do the best. The more you get the word out and stand strongly behind your cause, the greater chance your community will follow in your lead.
What is the best piece of advice you have for campaign organizers? Make your campaign about building community, rather than just soliciting donations. The more ways that people can engage with your story outside of becoming a donor, the more the word will spread. The donations will follow.
What message do you have for our customers? You’re not just another email to us. When we read through your campaign, sometimes we tear up, sometimes we laugh out loud at your hilarious writing, sometimes we nudge someone next to us and say “Check out this cute dog!”
What is the best piece of advice you have for campaign organizers? Do something that makes you uncomfortable. I think this is what makes donors connect to the campaign the most — seeing the effort of the campaign organizer try whatever it takes to be successful.
How would you describe the Happiness Department in three words? Altruistic, buoyant, and conscientious.
What are your favorite types of campaigns? Entrepreneurial campaigns are my favorite. There is so much opportunity to get creative. I love seeing communities come together to help someone with a big dream or idea.
I love seeing communities come together to help someone with a big dream or idea.
What’s a fun fact about GoFundMe? We clap when people walk in. We clap when people leave. We clap when people drop things. We love to clap. We’ve also created more office-specific emojis than you could ever imagine.
What makes the Happiness Department different than other customer service teams? We’re a wonderfully eclectic mix of people from all different corners of the world. We are scientists, athletes, world travelers, adventurers, and so much more.
What’s one thing about the Happiness Department you think the public would be interested to know? We aren’t the normal 9–5 workplace! From trips to the beach before work to playing in sports leagues together at night, the GoFundMe team is like a family and we love spending time with each other inside and outside of the office.
What do you think makes a campaign successful? Many people think that you need a large network of friends to build a successful campaign. I believe people are more receptive to an authentic and detailed story. People are more likely to contribute if they can connect on a personal level with those in need.
What are your favorite types of campaigns? My favorite campaigns are those that are raising funds for social projects and those establishing scholarships in memory of a loved one. It’s nice to see people who want to do a great thing for the world use our platform.
What are your favorite types of campaigns? My absolute favorite campaigns are the ones that are raising money to buy medical assistance dogs, like for people with quadriplegia or kids with diabetes. I volunteer as a pet-assisted therapist in my free time, and I’ve seen first-hand the incredible difference these animals can make in the lives of their owners.
What makes the Happiness Department different from other customer service departments? I’ve never seen such a heady combination of intelligence and empathy in one group of people before. It’s really an incredible environment to be in — it pushes me, both professionally and personally, to new and greater heights every single day.
What is the best piece of advice you have for campaign organizers? What sets special campaigns apart are the ones that are written genuinely from the heart. The campaign stories whose words evoke hope and a vision for a brighter future, instead of simply stating facts, stand out as campaigns that cause supporters to engage and stay invested.
What sets special campaigns apart are the ones that are written genuinely from the heart.
What’s one thing you’d like campaign organizers to know? We cherish receiving thank-you cards and letters. Every time we receive one, they are circulated around the office, and often displayed on a big table. Though we’ve received hundreds from all over the world, one of my personal favorites came from Camille, whose campaign was to raise money for art supplies to teach art to inmates.
What is your favorite part about working for GoFundMe? We support each other in and out of the office. Whether an employee is the victim of a crime, suffering from an illness, or joyfully expecting their first child, our office is no stranger to using GoFundMe to support one another through those times. We really do practice what we preach.
Our office is no stranger to using GoFundMe to support one another.
What is the best piece of advice you have for campaign organizers? Don’t worry about what people will think. Don’t worry about using the wrong picture. You recognized a need and you’re trying to fill it, so be proud of that. Jump head-first into your campaign if it’s something you believe in— because if the passion is there, the rest has a way of falling into place.