Happy List 2019: GoFundMe campaigns are about far more than money, according to its CEO

GoFundMe has become the world’s “take action” button'

Tuesday 21 May 2019 10:12
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The Happy List 2019

Next year it will be 10 years since GoFundMe was founded in San Diego, California. Since then our simple, powerful fundraising platform has become synonymous with people helping other people online. In a world where the internet’s more negative elements tend to dominate the headlines, GoFundMe shows the best of humanity - campaign by campaign, donation by donation. That’s why, when my team in the UK suggested we team up with The Independent for this year’s Happy List, we said “yes” immediately.

The Happy List is a life affirming collection of powerful, inspiring stories which celebrate the very best of what brings people together. Personal connection, empathy, solidarity: each year, the Happy List has us crying and laughing and beaming with joy all at once.

The same is true of what we see every day at GoFundMe. We’ve built the world’s largest fundraising platform with over £5 billion raised for people and causes around the world.

Every single one of those campaigns has its own remarkable story. With hundreds of thousands of campaigns attracting millions of donors between them, the scale is absolutely extraordinary. Sometimes they simply raise money when it’s needed most. Often, they change lives forever.

Two women photographed smiling together

Take the case of Jamal, the young Syrian boy who was filmed being bullied at school. The video shocked the UK, and then the world, and within 24 hours kind-hearted strangers had raised over £150,000 for him and his family to build a new life.

The idea came from one person moved by the story; the energy and support came from thousands of people sharing and donating from more than 20 countries. Our world-class product, industry-leading support and safety teams made sure the money got safely to Jamal’s family. In this case and millions of others, GoFundMe has become the world’s “take action” button.

At its best, the internet fosters connection and kindness that unites the on and offline worlds - and none more so that the incredible story of Ross Coniam’s GoFundMe campaign. In 2018 Ross’s baby daughter Nora passed away nine hours after being born. In a feat of remarkable strength, he pledged to take part in nine major challenges in 2019 to benefit the charities who helped him and his family cope with their unimaginable loss.

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He wore his #Nine4Norah hoodie to Wembley for the FA Cup final, was spotted by TV presenter Jake Humphrey who found Ross’s GoFundMe page and shared it with his followers. In the following days, people across the UK and beyond donated more than £40,000. The simple act of taking the time to understand more about another person’s life led to something incredible.

These are just two cases that The Independent readers may know, but every minute of every day someone shows kindness to someone else on GoFundMe. This may seem like the simple act of giving money, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about standing shoulder-to-shoulder with people going through a tough time; it’s about helping a friend, family or a stranger in need. It’s about saying “when someone needed me - I was there”.

I hope you enjoy the 2019 Happy List and that together, we can spread a little more happiness.

The Happy List 2019

Now in its 11th year, the Happy List shines a light on the great Britons whose extraordinary efforts are for no personal gain, and who often go unrecognised outside their own communities. To enter someone you know click here

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