Popular social fundraising platform GoFundMe has just launched a new way for people to fund their endeavors. It’s called Team Fundraising, a new feature that rolls out today, allowing people to combine forces and start joint campaigns for crowd-sourced donations.
GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon, who consistently talks about growing the “giving layer” of the Internet, says that addresses a massive new pool of prospective fundraisers and donors. It’s a tool to reach sports teams, school groups, and groups of people who want their own way to rally around a community cause or specific charity. Teams will still have a traditional GoFundMe page, but each will get a personalized link that lets the team track who has raised the most.
For some of these fundraisers, that eliminates the old model of going door-to-door to make solicitations (although that’s another important socializing experience the web just deleted). “There’s a huge amount of fundraising that happens in the offline world where kids are being asked to do somewhat ridiculous things like selling cookie dough and selling gift wrapping, and we think that’s a quaint idea,” Solomon says as one example.
In his view, people who work together on these types of campaigns often gain more motivation because they can be cooperative and competitive, and ultimately combine to raise way more money than someone might alone. “But it’s very inefficient and in the era where everyone has a mobile phone, everyone has a credit card. It’s a little bit crazy not to do all of this online.”
GoFundMe tested that idea by giving several groups early access before the formal launch. Teams of anywhere from 20 to 60 or so people have since combined to raise several thousand dollars for things like sending a cheerleading squad to nationals, or a high school science team to their own STEM-related tournament. In Boston, supporters of the It Takes A Village Foundation, created a universal page collectively to raise money for an upcoming running-for-charity event, while in Seattle over 300 supporters affiliated with the Gender Justice League combined to raise more than $45,000 toward the city’s Trans Pride Seattle celebration.
On the back end, the platform is designed to help teams of all sizes coordinate their actions. There’s a fundraiser-specific dashboard that allowed everyone to easily communicate and track their campaign progress, and built-in leaderboard to encourage what a press release calls “friendly competition” among team members, who can keep track of donations tied to their individual accounts. As donations roll in, the site tracks all of the activity, so people who shared a personalized link to the larger campaign can trace back which contributors gave through it and personally thank them.
How much GoFundMe profits from all of this is unclear because the company no longer charges a dedicated service fee. It’s moved to a tip-based model, which allows donors to give extra funds to support the service, without carving a flat fee from what recipients are receiving.
Either way, recruiting new users remains key, especially as Facebook has its own network-tapping fundraising tools. “If you’re exposed to something for the first time in this team environment, we also think it’s going open up different avenues where you’re going to come back when you have to help one of your neighbors, when you have to help a friend, when you want to help your favorite nonprofit,” says Solomon.