Hurricane Matthew is already wreaking havoc, affecting the Caribbean and threatening the U.S. Florida and South Carolina have declared a state of emergency, and communities up and down the eastern seaboard are preparing for the hurricane’s landfall.
As our giving community prepares for this storm, we here at GoFundMe are working with all parties involved to ensure that campaign recipients get the help they need. We are working closely with state and local officials, including the Florida Attorney General, to ensure resources get to people in need as soon as possible.
The Safest Place To Give, Guaranteed
As we all get ready to help those who could be affected by Hurricane Matthew, here’s an overview of how we ensure every dollar gets to the right person. We deploy proprietary technical tools and have multiple processes in place to verify the identities of campaign organizers and intended recipients of campaign funds, also known as beneficiaries. We also use other measures on par with the financial services industry in order to prevent misuse. In addition to these technical tools, our dedicated team of experts work around the clock to vet campaigns and investigate anything suspicious. When members of our giving community of more than 25 million users see something that’s not right, they tell us and we look into it.
It’s also important to understand that our platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means donors are now protected by a refund policy, and funds raised by GoFundMe campaigns are guaranteed to go to the right person. We want to ensure GoFundMe donors’ intentions are honored and the recipient gets the funds raised on their behalf. If something isn’t right, the donor will get their money back. Users can learn more about the GoFundMe Guarantee at gofundme.com/guarantee. Bottom line: when individuals and communities are going through a tough time, we have their back.
How Campaign Funds Are Released
It’s helpful to know how a donation ends up getting to a beneficiary (the person or group a campaign is intended to benefit). Generally, funds are collected by our payment processors, held, and then released only to the person named as the beneficiary. If a campaign organizer has a direct, personal connection to the beneficiary, then in some instances the campaign organizer may withdraw the funds to provide directly to the beneficiary. If any questions arise, our team will hold the funds unless the beneficiary is verified to our satisfaction. This layer of protection ensures that funds only go into the right hands.
We are here to help
There are two crucial features users can find on each and every GoFundMe campaign: a contact button for the campaign organizer (the person who started the campaign), and a ‘Report Campaign’ button. If you have any questions about the campaign, you can easily reach the organizer and ask them directly. In addition, clicking the ‘Report Campaign’ will result in one of our specialists investigating the campaign. If you can’t find the campaign you want to report, then you can send us a message here, and please provide as much information as you can about the campaign. We take these reports very seriously, and we will take immediate action if anything is wrong.
When all’s said and done, what matters most to us is that you are protected and those who need help get the help they deserve. If you have a question, please let us know.
We hope this sheds light on our safety and security measures. For additional information, please visit our Safety hub: gofundme.com/safety. For more information about the GoFundMe Guarantee, click here: gofundme.com/guarantee.