GoFundMe Policies

What You Need to Know About the New GoFundMe Refund Policy

Shut up and take my money

Up until October 4, 2016 (that’s yesterday, if you’re reading this hot off the virtual press), the GoFundMe refund policy was fairly simple: there was none. Anyone clicking the “Donate Now” button on a GoFundMe campaign was greeted with the following:

people you know and trust

In a handful of cases this year, GoFundMe diverted from that policy and offered refunds to those who donated to scams, but only if those donors requested a refund. This despite the fact that GoFundMe has a record of every single donor who contributed to a campaign which was proven fraudulent, but whatevs.

Since the announcement of the new GoFundMe refund policy — dubbed the GoFundMe Guarantee — donors are now greeted with this:

GoFundMe refund policy

Note donors are still warned only to give to people they know and trust.

According to the press release, the GoFundMe Guarantee “adds unprecedented security to all stages of the giving experience.”

“GoFundMe wouldn’t exist without the empathy of our donors, and the GoFundMe Guarantee is about protecting their generosity with the industry’s first and only guarantee,” said Rob Solomon, GoFundMe CEO. “We want every donor to know that we have their back. It’s a big deal to give, and we want there to be complete peace of mind when you donate on our platform.”

Under the GoFundMe Guarantee, donors who find evidence of misuse or deception are entitled to a refund of up to $1,000. In addition, if the campaign organizer doesn’t deliver funds to the intended recipient, GoFundMe will donate the undelivered amount, up to $25,000, to the right person.

According to the small print, the GoFundMe Guarantee applies to campaigns in the United States and Canada created on or after October 3, 2016. So anyone ripped off prior to that is SOL, sorry guys.

Additionally, the policy states that donors may receive a refund (or other resolution, to be defined shortly) when they donate to a Covered Campaign and the campaign organizer or beneficiary (if one exists) of the Covered Campaign commits a Misuse. Covered Campaign is defined above, as one created in the U.S. or Canada on or after October 3.

Misuse is defined as the following:

  1. The campaign organizer does not deliver funds to the Intended Beneficiary (as defined below);
  2. The campaign’s content is inaccurate with respect to a material fact about the campaign organizer, beneficiary, or campaign that would induce a reasonable donor to donate to the campaign; and
  3. The campaign organizer or beneficiary is formally charged with a crime directly related to their actions, omissions, and/or misrepresentations made by that individual in the campaign.

Note, the GoFundMe refund policy clearly states that Misuse is determined at their sole discretion. Add to that, you may not get an actual refund at all:

In some circumstances, we may provide refunds by a credit redeemable for a donation of the same amount to another campaign.

Also interesting, the fact that the following disqualifies you from receiving a refund:

Disagreement with how a campaign organizer or beneficiary uses funds raised in excess of the stated campaign goal at the time of your donation

So, if Francine Funeral creates a campaign for $600 to cremate Uncle Bruce, raises $1200, and uses the “extra” $600 on a 50″ TV, you’re SOL.

Although GoFundMe has changed the language on every donation page, the language buried in the GoFundMe refund policy terms is pretty clear:

You agree that a certain minimum donation amount may apply to qualify for benefits under this Policy, and that all donation payments remain final and will not be refunded unless GoFundMe, in its sole discretion, agrees to issue a refund under the terms of this or other Policy. [emphasis mine]

So, while they’re patting themselves on the back for this “First and Only Guarantee in Industry,” this appears on its surface to be one big CYA to cover what GoFundMe says is a “very rare” occurrence on its platform. If it’s so rare, why is there a policy at all?

Everyone feeling so much safer now? LOL, that’s a rhetorical joke, don’t answer.


  1. zachary kumalae

    If I chose to issue a refund to donors of my campaign, are fees still deducted or do they get a full refund?

    • I asked around, it should be the full amount (not minus fees) but you should ask GoFundMe directly just to be safe. Let me know what they say!

  2. Rita

    I was running a campaign for the first time for a friend who lives in Tanzania and works at a safari facility. He wanted it for a higher education purpose so he would be more effective in doing his job with animals. I just wrote up what he asked for. He only asked for $1,800 to cover the cost for this.

    A few days ago, we got a donation for $4,820 from someone we don’t know. The next day we got $450. We were thrilled. I was arranging with Go Fund Me on how to handle the withdrawal as I had to be the go between here in the U.S. since Go Fund Me doesn’t partner with Tanzania. I got through e-mailing and then saw an e-mail from Go Fund Me saying they were cancelling our campaign and refunding all of the donations. No explanation given. I never withdrew any of the funds as it had just occurred and I saw that I didn’t have to give them any bank account information until the first donation happened.

    I wrote to Go Fund Me contact center 3 times. No answer yet. Makes no sense. All I did was post his request and share on FB. He had other groups that he shared what I wrote up for him so the donor must have come from one of his sites. I was asked to help him because Go Fund Me doesn’t partner with his country yet.

    I am dazed and confused and hope they give me an answer.

    • Please keep me posted on what they say. Guessing they were unrelated fake donations using stolen cards but why would anyone do that?? If they do use a stolen card to make donations, it’s usually in small dollar amounts just to test if the card works.

  3. Shandrea

    My sister started a page that was supposed to be for me and my kids dad how do i stop this and make sure people g. It ashley aragon for jayden gallegos hit and run victim

  4. Judy Hysinger

    I resently donated 250.00 to a friend named Joselyn Parker, she could not get her money because of not knowing a bank Number??? So can I have a refund on it??? Like I said I sent this out of my heat, and it saddens me that she can’t get the money at all so I want a refund so I can wire it to Walmart? Or get it to her another way???

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