In 2013, Ada Stack of Dublin, Ireland lost her young son Hugh before his first birthday, having spent every one of his 247 days on earth at his side at the hospital. That experience prompted her to found Hugh’s House, a Dublin charity that offers a place to stay for families while children from outside of the city are treated at two area hospitals.
On the official Hugh’s House GoFundMe campaign she writes:
We could have walked away and “moved on” with our lives but we can’t forget what we saw and felt.
In Temple Street hospital – the real family story
In hospital, we saw many families who for financial reasons, are not on the same journey.
I believe that everyone wants to do the best for their children but some need support.
Everyone involved in Hugh’s House is a volunteer, however they provide homecooked meals and other support to the families staying at the home.
Now Stack is speaking out to the Independent about GoFundMe’s cut:
“We don’t accept cash payments so we used GoFundMe. It’s very expensive with the percentage they take but it’s accountable and quick. They might get €2 of a €20 donation but people can donate on their couch, they don’t have to queue in banks.
“There’s no justifying their fees but we decided as an organisation to stay away from accepting cash payments.”
Ade said that the average donation the charity receives on the GoFundMe page is between €20 to €50 and that the site allows people to donate quickly to something they believe in and “they’ll know it’s going to the right place”.
“The fees are too high, it would be great to get them down but without the platform people might not donate. It makes fundraising more accessible to the ordinary person.”
Her campaign — one of the most successful campaigns in Ireland of all time — has raised €12,560 from 168 donors since July of 2015.
Just as in the U.S., GoFundMe takes 5% from every donation in Ireland; their international payment processor Stripe takes an additional 1.4% plus €0.25 per donation and VAT based on the campaign organizer’s location (23% in Ireland). Note: VAT is taken based off the fees, not the donation whole. Stripe’s cut can be as high as 2.9% if the donor’s credit card is not issued in the Euro Economic Area. Dang, you Europeans really have to make things complicated, don’t you?
Anyhoo, if we lazily do the math here, that means GoFundMe has taken a whopping €628 for itself from this campaign (about $703USD) Listen, I’m the first to trash them for a laundry list of valid reasons as well as a Post-it note worth of dubious ones, but that really doesn’t seem that bad.
Stripe gets about €175 in fees alone, plus approximately €33 in transaction fees. Doing this math has already given me a headache, so no way am I even taking a half-assed stab at figuring out VAT on top of this.
So, GoFundMe and Stripe snatched about €836 out of €12,560. To be fair, they also set up the platform, did all the marketing to tell people what GoFundMe even is, handled the credit card payments, and distributed funds raised to the campaign organizer’s bank account.
I can’t believe I’m defending them but really, it isn’t that bad. But hey, good on Ms Stack for speaking out anyway. High five.
The Independent says €3.4 million has been raised in Ireland on GoFundMe, with the platform and Stripe taking €200,000 for themselves. Again, that isn’t terrible. Let’s not pretend like this is the worst thing GoFundMe could possibly do; I have that whole laundry list of things above to point you to should you care to find something more important to get angry about.