We’d like to thank Unicorn Booty editor-in-chief Daniel Villarreal for addressing this important subject. It’s one thing when we question GoFundMe statements; entirely another when a site that isn’t dedicated to outing GoFundMe takes it on.
You’ll note that we asked this same question a few weeks back. Just how much money does GoFundMe stand to make from the Pulse Victims Fund? By our calculations, it was $181,449 total; we purposely did not subtract GoFundMe’s $100,000 donation to the fund in that figure as that was a donation, not an offset to their fees (at least we hope so). Mind you, that was back when the fund was hovering around $3.5 million.
As Unicorn Booty now points out, GoFundMe’s potential cut has doubled since I did the math:
The most popular GoFundMe page for the Orlando shooting (“The Pulse Victims Fund”) has collected over $6,836,754 in donations for the victims and families of the June 12 tragedy. Since GoFundMe typically takes five to eight percent of the funds donated through its platform, the crowdfunding site stands to make anywhere from $546,940 to $341,837 off of the Orlando shooting.
The updates on the page say that the campaign’s organizers will “ensure that every penny donated will be correctly and quickly dispersed to the victims and families,“ but it does not explicitly state whether GoFundMe plans on waiving its usual fee — we have written GoFundMe and the campaign’s organizers, but they have yet to respond to our inquiry.
It’s worth pointing out here that GoFundMe does not charge between 5% and 8% on donations. GoFundMe collects 5%, its payment partner WePay takes another 2.9% plus 30 cents per donation. We’re splitting hairs here but if we’re going to talk about just how much money GoFundMe itself stands to collect, it’s important to distinguish their cut from the full 7.9%.
GoFundMe has previously stated they are working around the clock to ensure the legitimacy of Pulse shooting fundraisers — um, why can’t they do that for everyone? — and that kind of work isn’t cheap. But as Unicorn Booty points out, other fundraising efforts have promised to fundraise at their own expense so the maximum amount of donations reach intended beneficiaries, so why not GoFundMe?
While GoFundMe is a business and their site will still help victims’ families receive millions, this occasion raises an eyebrow, a very important question about the ethics of their business model in times of domestic terrorism and the importance of alternative community fundraising methods, such as the One Orlando fund, a campaign that pledges to give 100 percent of all donations directly to the families with no middleman taking a cut.
Should GoFundMe take the altruistic path and waive fees for this particular fundraiser? And if so, why not other fundraisers? A policy is a policy, and we can respect that. But I believe the issue here is the doublespeak in GoFundMe statements and the fact that certain media outlets erroneously picked up their $100,000 donation to the fund as “equivalent” to waiving their fees. As we pointed out, that was true several million dollars ago. Now? Not so much.
The Pulse Victims Fund stands at $6,847,195 as of the writing of this post.