A $1 Billion Year, One Million Lives Touched

By Rob Solomon, GoFundMe CEO

This week GoFundMe celebrated a significant milestone: In the past 365 days, one million campaigns were set up, raising $1 Billion for personal causes, and making GoFundMe the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. Nearly twelve million friends, family, and community members came together in the past twelve months to help pay for medical bills, provide a much-needed boost to cover educational costs, be there when disaster strikes, and to fund over one million causes. While these numbers are impressive, what is truly remarkable is that GoFundMe has quickly become an important technology platform.

One billion dollars raised is a good start, however, I’m convinced that it is just the beginning for cause-based crowdfunding. The renaissance that has occurred on the Internet over the past five years is awe-inspiring. Facebook recently saw one billion people on its platform in a single day. Twitter was there to instantly report and help enable the Arab spring. Uber makes cars magically appear within minutes at the touch of a button. AirBnB is turning anyone who wants to share their home into a revenue-generating innkeeper. Apple has sold more than 750 million iPhones. LinkedIn is building an economic graph connecting 400M professionals around the world. The pace of change is mind-boggling, and the impact on everyday life staggering.

While technology has disrupted many major industries, this has yet to happen in the charity and cause-based space at large. Giving is a vital aspect of society. Not only does GoFundMe make giving easy, but anyone can give at any level, and it brings together family and friends across the country.

There are nearly two million charities in North America, and the non-profit industry is a $300 billion per year market. One billion dollars of donations on the GoFundMe platform in the past year places GoFundMe among the ranks of the top 10 largest charities in America, puts it second only to the Gates Foundation if it were ranked among foundations in annual giving, and ranks it third among personal donors, just behind Bill and Melinda Gates and Ralph Wilson.

These numbers are massive, but the stories of the lives these campaigns have touched are even more powerful. In fact, it was these stories that brought me to GoFundMe just two months ago. I joined the company to build upon the work started by co-founders Brad Damphousse and Andy Ballester. I wanted my next job to be at a company with the potential to make a truly meaningful impact in the real world. GoFundMe is exactly that. The impact is evident in stories of people like Terelle Robinson who is going to college with the help of a GoFundMe campaign.

Terelle was raised by his grandmother. When she passed away during his first month of college, he found himself on his own and homeless. Community members launched a campaign to support his tuition at William & Mary, raising $5,600. 
Rev. Jeff Obafemi Carr and Rev. Dwayne A. Jones, two Tennessee men, raised more than $66,000 with a GoFundMe campaign to build micro homes for Nashville area homeless

They have built six micro homes. With 60 square feet, a Murphy bed, mini refrigerator, microwave and heating and air conditioning unit, the homes offer a secure personal space.

Sage Nelson, a 7-year-old described as “vibrant, silly and spunky,” is being treated for Burkitt’s lymphoma. Sage’s family and friends gave more than $40,000 in two weeks to a GoFundMe campaign to help with his medical treatment.

Each of these individual stories is inspiring; together, they are astounding. In today’s digital era, we are honored to be a technology that brings people together to support one another during times of hope, crisis, and times of basic need.

I am privileged to work alongside an extremely talented team of leaders. Together we share the same mission and know what it means to build something meaningful. Our team comes from the likes of LinkedIn, Yahoo!, Google, Twitter, GoPro and Kayak, and includes some of the most talented executives working on the Internet today. David Hahn, President and Chief Product Officer, spent a decade at LinkedIn helping to grow the business from a few million to hundreds of millions of users, and most recently served as an Executive-in-Residence at Greylock Partners. Ujjwal Singh, CTO, joins from Google, where he led the charge on Google Hangouts and managed the build-out of YouTube’s vertical channels. Hoang Vuong is our CFO and COO joining from Benchmark Capital where he was also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, and before that he ran a big part of DemandForce which was acquired by Intuit. And this team is growing week-by-week. I’m honored to work alongside these great executives, and humbled that some of the best VCs in the world have invested in GoFundMe, including Accel Partners, TCV, Greylock, Iconiq, Meritech, and Stripes Group.

Together, we are honored to celebrate this incredible milestone with the GoFundMe community and our team. We look forward to millions more campaigns, billions of dollars raised, and most importantly, making a huge positive impact on so many lives. We plan to change the world through giving, one campaign at a time.