What Is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding harnesses the power of social networks and the internet to give people the means to raise funds, help others overcome hardship, and meet aspirational goals. With crowdfunding, you can do everything from helping a friend pay for surgery to fulfilling a student’s dream of attending college, supporting a cause you believe in to helping an entire community recover from disaster.

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The rise of crowdfunding

In recent years, crowdfunding has transformed the traditional fundraising landscape, breaking down barriers between those in need and those available to help them—and making it possible for people to offer direct support to those who need it most. This is part of a larger trend toward individual giving. In 2017, charitable giving by individuals grew by 4% for a total of $390.05 billion, outpacing giving by both corporations and foundations.

In the US, with the cost of medical care increasing rapidly and insurance coverage out of reach for many, people often turn to crowdfunding to pay for medical expenses. Some sobering facts about medical costs:

  • 47% of Americans can’t afford to spend $400 when faced with an emergency.¹
  • Prescription drug costs have risen nearly 10%, adding even more financial pressure to individuals and families trying to maintain their health.²
  • Annual out-of-pocket medical expenses in the US have risen to $486 billion, or an average of $1,400 per person.³
  • 66% of people surveyed said that planning for out-of-pocket costs is both the biggest challenge and most stressful part of healthcare management.

How is crowdfunding on GoFundMe different?

GoFundMe is the #1 and most trusted leader in free online fundraising. We empower people to rally support for personal, medical, and charitable causes. We built our reputation by serving and supporting our community of fundraisers and donors, and we earn that trust back every day. GoFundMe’s giving community is more than 50 million strong and has raised more than $5 billion.

How it works

Our industry-leading fundraising tools help individuals, groups, and organizations share their stories far and wide, so even small donations can build to something extraordinary.


Create your fundraiser

GoFundMe helps you quickly create a fundraiser and tell your fundraising story. You can raise money as an individual or invite others to join your fundraising team. Learn more about team fundraising.


Share your fundraiser

Our sharing tools help you spread the word about your story via social media, emails, and even text messages. We make it easy to keep your network informed so you can raise more money.


Easily accept donations

GoFundMe allows you to connect donations directly to your or your beneficiary’s bank account, so you can get help right away. Plus, our free platform means that you keep the most from each donation.

What sets GoFundMe apart from other crowdfunding platforms

Free fundraising

Powered by donors™, GoFundMe offers free fundraising with a 0% platform fee. This means you get to keep more of the money you raise, reaching your goal more quickly.

Easy & fast

We know how important it is to get your money quickly. That’s why you can start withdrawing your funds as soon as you start receiving your donations.

Trust & safety

Backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, our platform is the safest, most secure place to give and receive donations. We have a dedicated Trust & Safety team that works day and night to prevent misuse and make sure funds reach the right hands.

Advanced tools

The key to fundraising success is sharing your fundraiser far and wide. GoFundMe makes it easy with built-in social fundraising tools to get your cause to more people for better results.

24/7 support

In case you have any questions or concerns along the way, our Customer Happiness agents are here to help. You can expect a fast response from one of our fundraising experts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Fundraising resources

Our resource center offers proven fundraising ideas and tips to set you up for success. Our blog offers fresh content weekly to help you drive more donations to your fundraiser.

Crowdfunding best practices

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Build your story

From your fundraiser title to your story and photos, your fundraiser should inspire people to donate—learn how with our Storytelling Tips. Upload several high-quality photos and videos to exponentially increases donations to your fundraiser.

For more tips, see Great Ideas for Naming Your Online Fundraiser, How Images Can Lead to Fundraising Success, and Videos Are Powerful Fundraiser Tools.

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Share and update

Every time you share your fundraiser, you’ll bring in an average of $43 in donations—so share your fundraiser often on social media and encourage others to do the same. Get enough sharing momentum going and your fundraiser could go viral. Well-written updates also keep supporters and potential donors engaged.

For more tips, see How to Write a Fundraising Update and Viral Fundraising: Make the Most of Your Fundraiser’s Potential.

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Organize offline events

A well-planned offline event can really help your online fundraiser by getting your community involved, rallying support from local businesses, and catching the attention of local media.

See our Fundraising Event Ideas page for more tips.

View more tips

Crowdfunding fundraiser success stories

Walt & Naima’s Winter Shelter Wish


Walt is only 7 years old, but he has a huge heart. That’s why, after devastating fires swept through Northern California, he wanted to do something to help the most vulnerable people in the Bay Area. He started a GoFundMe to benefit a local homeless shelter and raised over $10k.

Support Rancho Relaxo’s Expansion


Caitlin has a simple mission: to save as many animals as possible from abuse or neglect. She does this on Rancho Relaxo, an animal rescue farm that she founded. So far, she’s saved more than 300 animals, and she can continue her mission thanks to a GoFundMe that raised $146k.

From Compton 2 Harvard


Growing up in Compton, E-Jayy had no shortage of obstacles. Despite the odds, this dedicated young man got accepted to Harvard—but he still needed help with all the expenses that come with an Ivy League education. Donors gave more than $22k to help him with his freshman year.

View more success stories

Become our next success story

Our crowdfunding lessons help make fundraising simple. 

The leader in online fundraising

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Donor protection guarantee

GoFundMe has the first and only guarantee in the industry.

Simple setup

You can personalize and share your GoFundMe in just a few minutes.

0% platform fee

With a 0% platform fee, you get to keep even more of your money.

Mobile app

The GoFundMe app makes it easy to launch and manage your campaign on the go.

Social reach

Harness the power of social media to spread your story and get more support.

24/7 expert advice

Our best-in-class Customer Happiness agents will answer your questions, day or night.